Bridging the Gap series: How a simple phone call can change a life

Today I welcome as guest blogger the Rev. Canon John W. Newton, Canon For Lifelong Christian Formation for the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. This is the first of several blog posts focused on how the church can “Bridge the Gap” for graduating high school seniors to whatever is next in their lives: be it a gap year, an internship, a job, a community college or a college/university experience.

Supporting Our High School Seniors

Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?

We will!  (Book of Common Prayer, pg. 303)

studentsWhat I love about our baptismal liturgy is that every Episcopalian takes a public vow before God and the entire congregation to do everything in our power to support every baptized member of the Church.  When I am present for a baptism I must confess that sometimes the phrase “all in your power” intimidates me.  It sounds like a large daunting task, and in some sense, I suppose it is.  But sometimes things in “our power” are actually quite easy, like making a phone call or sending an email.  A simple phone call, after all, changed my life.

When I was a senior in high school I got a call from Jimmy Bartz, who at the time was the Campus Missioner at the University of Texas where I was to attend college upon graduating.  Jimmy called and simply introduced himself, told me about the campus ministry he oversaw, and asked if we could meet when I moved to Austin to begin college.

Waller-20130404-00895I accepted Jimmy’s invitation and got plugged into the campus ministry at the University of Texas.  In fact, it was in the context of that campus ministry that I heard God’s Voice calling me into the priesthood.  Like I said, a simple phone call changed my life.

Now in reading this you might be tempted to assume I am referring to Jimmy’s phone call.  I am not.  The real hero was the person that called Jimmy and gave him my name and number.

As the spring semester draws to a close I ask that you would prayerfully consider helping your graduating seniors with their transition into what God has in store for them next.  Do whatever is “in your power” to find out where they are attending college and to contact a nearby Episcopal campus ministry or parish.  We have all pledged to do all in our power to support our seniors.  Remember, not everything in our power requires all of our power.  A simple phone call can change someone’s life.

collegeretreatWho do you know that is graduating and going to college in the fall?  What “in your power” might you do to make sure that an Episcopal Church actively welcomes them during such a critical time in their life?

Again, I ask because it wasn’t Jimmy that changed my life.  It was the unnamed hero that called Jimmy and gave him my name.

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Comments

  1. Steve Seely says:

    Took your advice and reached out to the Chaplain at NC State for one of the seniors going from Washington DC to there this fall. The student was thrilled and I made new friend in North Carolina. Blessings all around!

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