Episcopal Campus Ministry at Atlanta's HBCU's
The Campus Ministry
As I sit in my office typing this blog, a group of food service providers from Morehouse College are working with local labor organizers in our large gathering space called the Koinonia Cafe. Across the hall, two men of Morehouse are studying in the computer lab, and next door to my office I can hear the buzz of the copier as two volunteers prepare the leaflets for tomorrow’s worship service. It’s actually a bit noisy inside of the Center on this blustery winter day, but the rowdiness is the welcomed sound of life and hope.
The Absalom Jones Episcopal Center is located in the heart of Atlanta’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCU’s). Founded in 1957, we are a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta and seek to serve the communities of Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College, Spelman College, and the Interdenominational Theological Center (these institutions of higher learning are known collectively as the Atlanta University Center). Over the years, our relationship with students, faculty, and staff from these institutions has shifted and fluxed. Currently those most actively engaged in this ministry are people from Morehouse College.
We worship in the Chapel twice a week. On Wednesday’s there is Holy Eucharist, and on Sunday nights we do Compline together. Compline @ 9 follows the traditional liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer and is combined with musical selections that range in tradition from Taize to Spirituals, to contemporary praise and worship songs. We are a small worshiping community, so the atmosphere is both intimate and sincere.
Hmmm… this part of the blog is much harder for me to write. It’s hard to know what information will be most captivating to the blogosphere. Thus, for now, I’ll keep it simple:
Long before I knew the words “Episcopal” and “priest,” I felt compelled — indeed, called, to serve God. Thus, at age 5, I was fully immersed in the baptismal pool of a country black Baptist church, and I emerged from the waters fully committed to loving God with my whole heart. Little did I know that loving God would at times be much easier than the process of learning to love myself – my black, kinky-haired, same-gender loving, female-bodied self.
Today, I’m a black, kinky-haired, same-gender loving, female-bodied, Episcopal priest. I have a great passion for social justice and a large part of my ministry to these campuses centers around helping the students be involved in justice-seeking work within our community and city.
…. enough about that for now…