College years are often the most influential years of our lives. Students are in the transition from the world of their parents to the world of their future.
Who will they be? What will they do? What principles will guide them?Today’s students face many competing pressures. There are the enticements of secularism in both its modern and post-modern forms that suggest we can live as we please without reference to God. And there are other religions to be explored and discovered which offer alternative visions of God or the gods. In the midst of the disorientation of leaving home and the demands of student life, it is easy to get lost or overwhelmed. Things that were taken for granted growing up can be taken for granted no more.
It is therefore very important that the Christian Church takes seriously student life and pays close attention to the spiritual needs of these future leaders. All those who have been involved with raising children in the life of the church will want to see them continue to grow as Christ’s disciples during their years as a student. We will also want those who have not yet heard the Christian gospel have it presented to them in a compelling way, see it lived out in the student body, and become disciples of Jesus themselves.
Anglicanism has a strong tradition of serious scholarship and of paying close attention to the world of the mind. It is therefore very much at home on student campuses. Many of the most outstanding
Christian scholars of our day are Anglicans. We have a major contribution to make in the development of the minds of students.
The Anglican Communion is also proving very attractive at the moment to many young people who are rediscovering its biblical liturgy that provides words to express their deepest prayers. They are also finding fresh resources to develop them as people of worship and to help them be formed in the Christian life.
In addition, Anglicanism has strong ecumenical commitments at its roots. Through the work of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and others in the sixteenth century, it brings the insights of the Reformation into the life of the Catholic Church. Justification is by faith that results in a life of good works but is not brought about by those good works. It is a tradition that is able to hold together word and sacrament, past and present, mind and heart. It has been described as Reformed Catholicism, and as such offers a strongly ecumenical vision to young people weary of the denominational divisions of their parents.
At this time of great challenges and opportunities, it is vitally important that the Anglican Church undertakes ministry on college campuses. It matters for the life of the students. It matters for the life of the colleges. And it matters for the Church that wants to see mature lay and ordained leadership developing in the colleges across the land. May Anglican Campus Fellowship thrive and do great work for God’s kingdom.
The Very Rev. Dr. Justyn Terry