Howdy! We are Canterbury, the Episcopal Student Center, in College Station serving Texas A&M University and Blinn College.
We share a campus with St. Thomas Episcopal Church and the St. Thomas Early Learning Center located on the edge of the Texas A&M Campus in the shadow of Kyle Field. We have dinner and a Eucharist service every Wednesday evening during the school year, as well as weekly faith formation and fellowship opportunities.
We are a missional community in a variety of ways. We are looking to plant seeds whose fruit we may never see, hoping that the wider church will reap the harvest of the seeds we have sown. We depend on and are grateful for the support of the diocese, local parishes, and community members. Our members are never long term, and we would not wish for them to be. The work that our students do is not for themselves, but for those who come after them; furthermore, the work that we do with our students is for their future, not for their time with us.
Although we realize that the majority of the students we send out from our community will not become priests or deacons, we hope that their time here prepares them to be strong members in whatever faith community they find home. In addition, many students are not confident in the major they have chosen or the career path they are on and one of our purposes is to guide them and help them discover what their gifts are and how they are called by God to use them.
We at Canterbury enjoy a close relationship with our interfaith neighbors---the ELCA Lutheran ministry, the Hillel Jewish Ministry, and the Mormon Religious Institute who are literally our next-door neighbors. We have participated with them in fellowship and formation opportunities such as a “Vocations” panel discussion.
As Canterbury at Texas A&M turns 75 years old this year, we are using our past to inform what our next decade will grow towards. It’s difficult to have a clear picture of what our ministry will look like in the future because our student population will completely turn over three times in that time span. What we do know is that although student desires and needs change over time, there remains a longing for community, spiritual growth and a home away from home. Canterbury has provided these offerings for the past three-quarters of a century and will continue to do so for the next decade and beyond. In the times when life is anything but stable, Canterbury is a steadfast and reliable safe space in our college students’ lives. We do not offer any easy answers but we help students wrestle with the hard questions.
Texas A&M Canterbury Senior Warden, Lillian Brannen, offers, “Like any incoming freshman, I remember being so scared to move out of my hometown and venture into the unknown. But after growing up in the Episcopal Church, I knew that the Canterbury House would be a place I called home. The liturgy was familiar and comfortable when all else was unknown and new to me. Especially since I grew up with my dad talking about how the Canterbury House in Waco had been such a rock in his time at Baylor University, I knew going in that I would find peace and comfort in my own Canterbury community. Since coming here, I’ve not only grown in my faith and forged deep relationships, I’ve had the chance to find my voice as a leader and mentor to younger students as they find their path at Texas A&M.”
We look forward with hope as we welcome and engage with the incoming group of new students this year. If you ever find yourself in College Station, please stop by to say “Howdy!”
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