This past Spring, as part of our 55th Anniversary celebrations, the Ecumenical CampusMinistry at the University of Guelph gathered students and partners to reflect and vision together about our mission—where we’d seen God at work in our midst, and what God was calling forth from our shared future together.
Together, we identified three priorities that guide our witness as a Christian community at UofG—meaningful community, radical inclusion, and faith exploration.
Because of ECM’s ministry, UofG students will forge meaningful community. They’ll find friends they will trust and confide in, who are facing the same challenges of being away from home in a tough academic environment, and with whom they can pray and laugh, break bread and try new things. Our weekly community dinners and vespers worship services are some of the most-utilized doorways into this significant community. A university campus can be overflowing with people, but still an overwhelmingly lonely place for students who struggle to find connection. Thanks to campus ministry, some of those students will find meaningful communityas part of the Body of Christ.
This Fall, students will be challenged to receive and offer radical inclusion. ECM is the only Christian ministry at UofG that is explicitly affirming of 2SLGBTQIA+ persons and relationships. We operate UofG’s Queer Christian Community, host regular learning groups on anti-oppression, right relations, and gender expression, and are a core member of the university’s Multi-Faith Resource Team. We feel this is part of what it means to be followers of Jesus. This summer’s hateful stabbings that targeted a Gender Studies class at nearby University of Waterloo remind us how important it is to stand up for inclusion on our campuses. Real lives hang in the balance. Thanks to campus ministry, many UofG students will live into God’s vision of justice by making our ministry a place of radical inclusion.
Through ECM’s ministry, UofGstudents will explore their faith by broadening their religious literacy, engaging in spiritual practices that reveal God’s presence, and by renewing their commitment to follow Jesus in ways that make sense for today. Some will find a new spiritual home in our ecumenical mix of Anglican, Presbyterian, and United Church expressions. Others will be opened to a life of faith for the very first time. Others still will find opportunities to lean into a calling towards Christian leadership. Whereverone’s starting point, our campus ministry will be a place where the questions and praises, the mysteries and comforts, of faith will find equal footing with the pursuit of academic rigour and probing of developmental frontiers.
For the past 55 years, the Anglican Diocese of Niagara has partnered with United and Presbyterian churches to offer this kind of Christ-centred welcome to students at the University of Guelph. We can’t wait to welcome this Fall’s cohort of students, through whom the Spirit will work to enliven these visions for our ministry, campus, and world. To learn more about the Ecumenical Campus Ministry at the University of Guelph, visit ECMguelph.org or email [email protected].