By Caroline Carter, GCSU
The Episcopal Church found me when, I felt empty, invaluable, and when God was the last thing on my mind. Despite my brokenness the church was able to turn my warped perceptions of me and life toward something greater than myself; toward God. Since then my faith has had it’s ups and downs, but has remained a constant in my life.
A different kind of challenge arose when I entered college. I didn’t have my home church or youth group anymore to help me through step by step. It was time for me to leave where my faith was first cultivated and start a new chapter on my journey. I have been lucky enough to find ministries on campus that have helped keep me pointed towards God. One of them being my college’s Canterbury club, which I have had the great opportunity to help start and run. This group has kept me centered in my passion for Episcopal ministry even though I am in a brand new place.
When My college’s Canterbury club heard that a young adult’s retreat for the diocese was happening at Camp Mikell we were so excited to go. For me, Camp Mikell is one of those rare places where God’s presence is completely palpable. Through the ministry done there I have been able to grow in my faith more than I ever had thought possible.
So, at first it was the place that drew me to this retreat, but as the weekend started it became much more to me. I think it’s so easy to get caught up in the routine of things; wake up, go to class, eat, sleep, repeat; this routine can create a bubble in our lives. In this bubble lives ourselves and the routine, nothing can come in and nothing can come out; that is unless we take the extra (and not always easy) effort to pop it.
This retreat taught me that this effort does not have to be made alone. Seeing Canterbury clubs from different campuses come together as one, helped me remember how great the Episcopal community really is. God calls us into fellowship, Hebrews 10:24-25 says “… let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up on meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another- and all the more as you see the day approaching.” This weekend really honed in on the kind of encouragement this verse speaks about. Through both small group conversations and group worship I was able to clearly see the support that the Episcopal community provides. The Episcopal community never ceases to amaze me when it comes to welcoming people. Whether you have never stepped foot in church or if you consider it your home, I have found that this group of believers will always treat you like family.
During this retreat God was clearly shown. He showed himself not only in the beautiful nature that makes up Camp Mikell, but also in the beautiful people that were there. Every person there reminded me of God’s unconditional and constant love. Through their encouragement I was able to break through my “routine bubble” and find the value in going outside of my comfort zone. The Episcopal Church, and the Christian Church as a whole, has changed my life for the better, and I will be forever grateful for that.