This reflection is one that at some points of my college life I thought I would never be writing. St. A’s has been a foundational piece of both my college and faith experience. And it all started with Facebook.
My Dad sent me a text message saying a pastor named Dana would be contacting me so that I could come and worship with the Lutheran campus ministry called Ignite. By coincidence, my dad is an ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) minister, just as Pastor Dana is. Dana had posted on the ELCA Facebook page for ELCA clergy, and my dad sent him a message saying that his son was still trying to find a place to worship.
When Dana texted me, I was tentative at first. I was still looking for my niche and was a little nervous since I had not regularly attended any Lutheran services since my freshmen year of college. My experience was like Grace’s, one of the members who graduate last semester (shameless plug for her amazing blog post last semester). I showed up to only Pastor Dana. We chatted for a while and he asked if I would still want to worship. I told him that I was already here so what the heck! We walked into the Chapel and all the sudden here comes Grace running into the Chapel right as we sat down. That thirty-minute service of three was all it took to get me hooked. In true UK fashion, I was attending a UK basketball game immediately following the service and had to leave before dinner. I bet Dana thought I would never return. Jokes on him! I’m still here at St. A’s four years later!
Through my journey with St. A’s I have spiritually grown more than I ever thought one could. St. A’s gave me a foundation to fall on when college got tough, and, boy, did it get tough. St. A’s brought me friendships that will last a lifetime. It brought me connections with the Episcopal Church that allowed me to be a staff member at the Cathedral Domain (another shameless plug for one of the best places on Earth), where I spent one of the best summers of my life. St. A’s brought us Dana, TJ, and Rob. A true blessing to the students at St. A’s and the University of Kentucky campus. I have never encountered men who have such a passion for students and their faith. All of them have shaped my life in more ways than they will ever know.
St A’s is a place where people in all different points in their spiritual journey can come and feel welcomed. The energy that runs through all the students at every meeting never dampens: God is truly present every time. The late-night Bible studies that last till 12 am, game nights, movie nights, compline, dinners, Keeneland, and many more activities. I have had some of the most meaningful nights of my life through St. A’s; most of the time they are just from a Bible study that gets off topic. My favorite part of St. A’s is the compassion and care that every individual who walks through our doors. It’s what kept me coming back. If you need a place that lifts you up and encourages you, come to St. A’s. If you need a place that pushes you to experience God in more ways than you could imagine, go to St. A’s. Or if you just need a place to come sit, have dinner, and enjoy the company of people who will care about you more than you care for yourself sometimes, come to St. A’s. Our doors are always open.
I really don’t know how to end this because I don’t want it to end. I keep telling myself that St. A’s is just the beginning and not an end. So, I’ll end it in the most Lutheran way I know how. God is good all the time; all the time God is good. Thanks St. A’s, I don’t know where I would be without you.