Bishop Matt Gunter is pleased to announce the formation of a diocesan Campus Ministry Task Force. Chaired by the Rev. Tyler Richards, Rector of St. Anne's, De Pere, the Task Force is charged with helping congregations in communities with a college of university to connect with students, especially those who are Episcopalian.
During the Task Force's initial meeting, it was noted there are very few Episcopal Campus ministries targeting this sort of work, often due to lack of resources and increased challenges the church faces in having a campus presence. Bishop Gunter noted that "local parishes are often where campus ministry needs to happen since most Wisconsin post-secondary institutions have an Episcopal church nearby" It is understood that congregations may not be able to launch a full-fledged campus program. However, there are many simple and significant ways to connect with students. It may be in sharing a meal, giving a ride, providing a safe place for discussion, or conversation over coffee on a Tuesday afternoon.
The first project being tackled is establishing a consistent way for church leaders to receive information to be able to make contact with students. An Episcopal college-student database for the State of Wisconsin is being created to allow collect information to reach out to nearby Episcopal students. With this online tool, students, parents or church leaders may enter a student's contact information which will be shared with the nearest congregation.
The congregation is then able to reach out to the student. They may want to just "Hello" or "Welcome" and offer an opportunity to get together. It is up to each congregation to determine what they want to do based on their gifts and resources. The Task Force plans to provide some resources to assist congregational leaders in deciding what to do.
The database launches in mid-July. Promotion of the database, which will be accessible through the diocesan website, will be made to every congregation in the State as well as more broadly through social media networks.