We have just finished our second full year of Labyrinth Progressive Student Ministry, and it is exciting to look back over the past two years and reflect on where we started and where we are headed. We started with a core group of 8 students, and this year we had between 20 and 25 students participating in Labyrinth activities each semester. We started with 2 supporting congregations–UBC and UCC, and now we have 4–UBC, UCC, First Baptist, and the Congregational Church of Austin.
Besides growing in numbers, we have also begun to establish traditions that are helping to ground and shape our mission and identity. Each year in the Fall, we join forces with students of other faiths for a service project. In 2013 we worked with members of Texas Hillel and the UT Muslim Students Association to make 500 sandwiches to deliver to The Arch downtown. In 2014, as part of our participation in the University Interfaith Council, we worked alongside other campus ministry groups at Austin Interfaith’s Hands on Housing projects. Each Spring Labyrinth also organizes a fundraiser to raise money for an organization of their choice. Last year the proceeds were donated to Micah 6, and this year, the funds were given to the Gender & Sexuality Center at UT.
As we look ahead to 2015-2016, one of the things I am most happy to report is that we are making plans to collaborate with students from the Hillel Jewish student center to engage in a series of conversations on race, and to seriously consider how we might work together for racial reconciliation on campus and beyond. This opportunity will combine Labyrinth’s commitments to both interfaith dialogue and social justice.
For most of our students, Labyrinth is their primary worshiping community. As supporting congregations, it may feel difficult to stay connected and feel invested in Labyrinth when you do not see most of our students in your services on a regular basis. But remember! This is why we started Labyrinth–to offer students a safe, alternative space to find spiritual community that meets them where they are. I hope you will feel proud of your investment in this new and innovative approach to campus ministry. It reflects well on you, and though you may not see the students frequently now, I feel confident that our students are the future leaders of churches just like UBC, UCC, First Austin, and the Congregational Church.
Thank you for your investment of time, energy, money, prayers, and encouragement. Labyrinth depends on all of these things. Indeed, I personally depend on all of these things. To helps us all stay more connected next year, I am working to build a database of people I am calling “friends of Labyrinth.” If you would like to be included in this list, please email me (email@example.com) and ask to have your name and contact information added. In doing so, you will receive weekly email updates (beginning in the Fall) with all of the latest information about our Labyrinth activities, as well as opportunities to volunteer. Let’s stay in touch.
With joy and gratitude,
Labyrinth Campus Minister