Every year, the Episcopal Church awards funding to youth ministries through its Young Adult and Campus Ministry Grant Program. The grants provide funding for dioceses, congregations and college campuses that engage in ministry with young adults.
On May 3, the program announced that $139,000 is being awarded to 20 such ministries across the country.
Among the recipients is the Lutheran Episcopal Campus Ministry at Northeastern University in Boston, which will receive $5,000 to further its Path of Life program.
Path of Life is a yearlong spiritual practices program for Episcopal campus ministries at Northeastern, MIT and Boston College.
“Through our program, we hope to introduce students to the breadth of practices through which they can reground themselves, connect more deeply and deepen their relationship with God over the course of their lives,” said the Rev. Megan Holding, Acting Episcopal Chaplain at Northeastern.
Holding said that applying for the grant was a team effort by the Rev. Thea Keith-Lucas, Episcopal Chaplain at MIT, and the Rev. Grant Barber, Acting Chaplain at Boston College. Path of Life was shaped by a mutual interest of the three to unite the chaplaincies and create community. “We wanted [to create] something where we could bring students together and also introduce them to different forms of prayer,” Holding said.
A major goal of the joint program is to introduce students to a variety of spiritual practices, including activities they might not necessarily view as prayer.
“We all pray differently at different times in our lives and on different days. There is a richness that can come out of a variety of different prayer practices,” Holding said.
The program will offer students the opportunity to experience spirituality through avenues such as nature, art, service, music and contemplation. While partaking in Path of Life, students might learn about environmental theology, create crosses or participate in a Taize worship service.
Because students from all three chaplaincies will participate in the activities together, the chaplains hope to foster a sense of community between the schools, helping students connect to the larger church.
The grant will also help to fund a year-end retreat, where the students will come together to reflect on everything they learned together throughout the year. Looking toward the future, Holding also hopes to create and test a framework for the program that can be replicated and shared with other chaplaincies, congregations and ministries. “Prayer can be deep quiet contemplation, but it can also be engaging the depths of who you are. We want to equip young people with a wide variety of ways to connect with God, no matter what happens in their lives,” Holding said.