St. Luke’s, Stephenville, is the recipient of a $14,000 Young Adult and Campus Ministry Grant from The Episcopal Church. The Rev. Bradley Dyche, St. Luke’s rector, said the grant will be used to expand their campus ministry.
“At the St. Luke’s Branch of the Jesus Movement, we feed people in body, mind, and soul. And we are beyond thankful that the Episcopal Church has chosen to support our work at Tarleton State University. Now, in addition to addressing food insecurity for TSU students, we will also be able to provide ongoing pastoral care and life-skills training. We are joyfully looking forward to launching the U R Loved Library and feeding the hearts and minds of TSU students,” Dyche said.
Of the 21 grants given, St. Luke’s is one of the four largest. There were 57 applications, totaling $665,007 in requests, indicating a continued interest in this very important area of mission, according to the Rev. Shannon Kelly, officer for Young Adult and Campus Ministries.
St. Luke’s will use the grant for startup costs related to the Campus Missioner/Chaplain and the U R Loved Library. The grant addresses needs uncovered through a survey of students themselves.
Bishop Scott Mayer said, “I rejoice with St. Luke’s and applaud the wisdom of the Church in awarding this grant to a congregation that already has sunk deep roots into the Jesus Movement, proclaiming God’s love for everyone, no exceptions. They were among the first to address the issue of food insecurity on college campuses, and this grant will enable them to expand their care of the students.”
Initially it will fund a 10-hour per week lay Campus Missioner/Chaplain for two years. St. Luke’s will open their doors “one night per week to students for the U R Loved Library, a night when our buildings are open to all students for quiet study, free Wi-Fi, and healthy snacks. We will also make space available to student organizations with no regular place to meet,” according to the grant request.
Funding also will go toward “training adult and peer Mentors in pastoral care; these individuals will staff the U R Loved Library. One week per month, the U R Loved Library will, in an adjacent building, feature a speaking series entitled, ‘How to Not Suck at being an Adult’ with topics ranging from Personal Finance to Leadership. At the end of each Library night, an optional worship opportunity, such as Compline, will be available in the church itself.”
St. Luke’s is “dedicated to serving the needs of the faculty, staff, and students of Tarleton State University (TSU), located across the street. For eight years, our Episcopal Campus Ministry (ECM) has served 300-400 free, home-cooked lunches every Thursday. We hope students, faculty and staff feel as if they’ve walked into their parents’ or grandparents’ kitchen. We do not preach, and there are no strings, but there is always an invitation for community. Our priest is always present, and many have sought his counsel. And we wear buttons proclaiming, ‘You are Loved* *No Exceptions!’ As a result, we have several students who volunteer weekly to help with the lunch. And, we have begun seeing college students on Sunday mornings, even at the 8:00 service!”
St. Luke’s currently spends approximately $28,000 annually on these meals, part of which is offset by a recurring $5,000 grant from the Diocese of Fort Worth.
None of this existed ten years ago. In the wake of the departure of a previous bishop and other diocesan leaders, and under the dedicated guidance of a gifted deacon, the Rev. Dana Wilson, for the last several years, the parish has flourished and found its footing in serving its community, both on the campus of TSU and in the town of Stephenville.