More than 30 young adults who arrived in Washington, D.C. to attend the November 5 formal seating of 26th Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in Washington National Cathedral, were housed over night by St. Thomas Parish in Dupont Circle and St. Albans Episcopal Church.
The pilgrimage to Washington began as a conversation between Thom Chu, program director for Ministries with Young People at the Episcopal Church Center, and Dustin Cole, parish administrator at St. John's Episcopal Church in Georgetown, in the Washington, D.C. area, when they attended at the Young Adult Ministry Network Gathering in Denver, Colorado. As the November 4-5 weekend of services celebrating Jefferts Schori's investiture and seating at Washington National Cathedral neared, preparations began and the appeal went out.
"It has truly been a collaborative effort," said Cole, a parishioner at St. Thomas'. "A friend who works at the Cathedral secured a number of tickets. I then spoke with the vestry [at St. Thomas] and found space for people to sleep. Plus we have a bus from one of the women who runs the senior program to transport everyone to the Cathedral."
According to the confirmation email sent to participants, Georgetown Ministry Center provided a limited number of sleeping cots, light meals and storage for personal belongings. Students were asked to bring sleeping bags and a $10-20 donation to defray the costs of transportation and food.
Although Cole said the stay is only for November 4, the students had the "chance to hang out and get to know each other."
He said young people from Hawaii, California, New York, South and North Carolina, have accepted the invitation. In addition, Canterbury House in Houghton, Michigan, sent a delegation of three that stayed at the rectory of St. Alban's near the Cathedral.
Houghton's Canterbury House campus ministry opened in January 2006 as a student drop-in center, seeking to transform what had been a largely defunct ministry. It had been using its resources to support individual Episcopal students through scholarship aid.
"This group from Northern Michigan is amazing," said Chu. "Trinity Church in Houghton has only recently restarted its work at Michigan Tech with a paid campus minister and these students wanted to get to D.C."
"Traveling to the National Cathedral will be a profound experience for these individuals,” said Suzanna Raker, of Trinity Church. "It will also be a chance to witness a historic event."
Cole said it is "really exciting to find people in their 20s and 30s who are so passionate about the church."