The Rev. Rod Clark shared about the Order of Naucratius in which members follow the words of Jesus when he said, “The people are hungry, and you feed them.”
The Order of Naucratius focuses on holy hunting and fishing where men and women donate a significant portion of their catch or kill to feed hungry neighbors.
Those involved in the Order believe, “We have known God and His glory in nature. And, we believe that our pastimes can become ministry when we live our lives by three rules: prayer, charity, and conservation.”
Sarah Kates, chair of the diocesan Christian Formation Department, suggested to Council that there are many ways to do Christian formation and that “Church is not only happening in a building, it is happening all over the place whether or not we are there – at Mission Road Foundation in San Antonio, at Camp Capers, in homes of hungry families, in hospitals and during lunch hour in high school.”
She spoke of work being done at St. David’s Church and School through a program called “Snack Pak 4-Kids” in which volunteers gather food pack to send home with hungry children for weekends and school breaks.
Kates said that to be better followers of Jesus we must eat his word: learn about his life and his teachings and how it all fits together in God’s big story. “We need to walk alongside one another sharing stories and experiences about how the gospel is lived out.”
Recently the Christian Formation Department contacted 25 churches in the diocese to learn about the strengths and challenges of their Christian formation programs. They learned such things as doing a 30-minute Christian formation time with breakfast right before Eucharist on Sunday, doing a week-long VBS for ‘tweens in the community, distributing Ash Wednesday ashes in the drop-off line at school.
The Christian Formation Department is gathering these and other ideas and will post them on the diocesan website in the near future. Churches will be able to search through the information, contact sister churches, and adapt it for their own communities.
Kates encouraged churches to go find new opportunities and new places to spread the gospel, and not to be hampered by “what we have always done.”
Jill Oettinger shares the amazing work done by Good Samaritan Community Services. She focuses her report on how Good Sam helps to close the educational gap that occurs during each summer. Oettinger also announced that they will expanding their program into Brownsville.
Saturday morning at Council began with our Daily Devotions and the commissioning of this year’s Youth in Action.
Bishop Lillibridge also called for the Rev. Stockton Williams to thank him for his 12 years of service as the Happening Spiritual Director. “Happening is an active, active ministry in our diocese,” said Lillibridge, as the youth gathered and the Council participants raised their hands as having been on a Happening weekend.
“The Happening movement is special, and it’s because of people like Stockton why it keeps growing,” said Lillibridge. Happening is a spiritual retreat weekend for high schoolers in grades ten through 12.
Williams, who will retire later this year as Rector of St. Peter’s, Kerrville, said, “I’ve been on many retreat teams – Cursillo, Men’s Walk to Emmaus – but the greatest of these is Happening because of the youth. I am so inspired by their love for Jesus. If you ever have a chance to be part of Happening, go! It is the best ever.”
Lillibridge announced that the new Spiritual Director of Happening is the Rev. Michael Koehler.
Greg Richards, director of College Missions, said he is amazingly appreciative to be able to direct this mission in our diocese, which involves 300 people, four campuses, prayer, worship, play, and followers of Jesus who invite their friends to join their joy.
College Missions is currently in its third year of the Elisha Leadership Initiative, the intensive year-long internship program that raises up the next ministry leaders. “Our results have been better than anticipated, with former interns now working in ministry and in non-profits. This year, we have another great team of interns,” said Richards.
The program involves interns working in local churches and within the Department of College Missions and being trained for leadership. Partnerships continue with St. Luke’s, San Antonio; Grace, San Antonio; and Good Samaritan Community Services. This spring, St. Paul’s, San Antonio, will join the partnership.
On the ground, four college missioners are on the department’s staff. The college missioners oversee programs, meet with students, lead Bible studies, and form relationships on the various college campuses, The University of Texas-San Antonio, St. Mary’s University, University of the Incarnate Word, and Texas State University. “Our ministry is impossible without this amazing team,” said Richards.
This past year, a hybrid position with Camps and Conferences formed. Willy Macha has engaged this in the Corpus Christi area, researching how best to incorporate College Missions in that area.
Five years ago Richards started to plan out how to re-implement college ministry in this diocese. Since then, College Missions has seen phenomenal growth. Much of this growth is attributed to Allie Melancon, assistant director of College Missions. “She is an amazing leader who loves Jesus and loves college students,” said Richards.
Another leader is the Rev. Jason Roberts, who serves in the advisory board. “I am so thankful for his work and more thankful for his friendship,” said Richards.
This fall, College Missions takes another big step toward their goal. “We want to put a full-time college missioner in the Valley to spread this program,” said Richards. “We plan to implement this in the fall, and more info will be coming soon.”
Two things to take away, said Richards: “College Missions is a thriving, growing ministry that absolutely needs your support in various ways – tell people, pray for us, give to us; Also, God is doing amazing things in the lives of young people. College-age folks are thirsty for the life-giving waters of Jesus.”
Listen here to the full audio:
Please see the Ministry Moment: College Missions video here.