College-age Students Thirsty for Life-Giving Waters of Jesus

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.

Habitat for Humanity

The Rev. John Badders presented the Habitat for Humanity reports, noting that West Texas Builders is the diocesan connection to Habitat for Humanity International.  Badders reminded Council that the purpose of Habitat for Humanity is to “create opportunities for all people to live in decent and durable homes.”

Habitat, said Badders, has a vision of a world in which everyone has a decent place to live.  “We remember that God’s grace abounds for all people and that we are the hands and feet of that grace.”

Badders brought Council up to date on the challenge that Bishop Lillibridge put before the diocese in 2012 when he called for three new Habitat houses to be build in the next six years. In 2012, the first house was built in Lockhart; the second in Seguin in 2015.

The third house will be started this spring in Kerrville with a ground-breaking on April 9 at 10 am.  The Rev. Stockton Williams invited all to that event and put out a general call for volunteers on that  house. St. Peter’s will be the host church of the build, and Rich Schneider of that congregation will be the chair.

To hear the audio report, click here:

“Strength” Bible Study

Bishop Gary Lillibridge invited Diocesan Council to engage in a second Bible study, focusing on the word “strength” as found in the verse representing the annual theme, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

“Like ‘joy,’ the word ‘strength’ and its various derivatives, can be found throughout Scripture. According to my concordances, over 500 times,” said Lillibridge.

Examples include Exodus 15:2, “The Lord is my strength and my might, and has become my salvation;” Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me;” and 2 Corinthians 12:9, where Paul writes, “But he (the Lord) said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Lillibridge said in these examples, strength speaks to us about confidence. He said, “Hebrews comes to mind when I hear the words assurance, certainty, and confidence (11:1), “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen;” (NRSV) or “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certainty of what we do not see” (NIV).

“This exemplifies confidence in the faith that God will see us through, and thereby brings the literal meaning of the name ‘Nehemiah’ to bear in our own lives,” said Lillibridge.

Bringing forth other scriptural and liturgical examples, Lillibridge said, “Joy and strength become part of what we understand as the comfort and consolation of God, possible in all circumstances – even those events which we do not celebrate.”

Hear the full audio here:

Diocesan Council then engaged in a study on the word “strength” together. You can find the questions, along with Lillibridge’s full introduction on the Go Green page.

Artemisia Bowden and St. Philip’s College – Audio Reports

Dr. Adena Loston, the current president of St. Philip’s College, also addressed Council, reporting that St. Philip’s now enrolls 12,000-plus students yearly in a variety of degree programs, many in vocational areas. The school graduates the largest number of licensed vocational nurses of any college in the state.

To hear the the introduction, click here:

To hear about the current status of St. Philip’s College, click here: