Brent House, the Episcopal campus ministry at the University of Chicago, has been awarded a grant of $29,300 by the Episcopal Church. The funds will support an initiative at Brent House and several other campus ministries to introduce college students to the spirituality and prayer practices of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. The grant is one of three leadership grants given through the church’s 2017 Young Adult and Campus Ministry grant process.
The Rev. Stacy Alan, Brent House chaplain, says the program, which will include a series of retreats and facilitated small prayer groups, builds on the informal Ignatian programs that Brent House already offers.
“Students find a new, more mature energy in their relationships with God, and they are given a vocabulary to understand the dynamics of that relationship. These all become powerful resources in discipleship and discernment,” Alan says.
Although Ignatian spirituality is usually associated with the Roman Catholic Church, Alan says that Anglican baptismal theology is central to the habits of discernment she hopes students will gain. “Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises is one of the most dynamic, nuanced, and flexible programs for developing habits of lifelong discernment in the Western Christian tradition,” she says. “The Baptismal Covenant has some striking parallels with Ignatius’ work, so I’m hoping the program will not only build and strengthen habits of discernment, but help the participants to ground them in a robust understanding of their baptism.”
Alan will recruit and train facilitators and develop curricula for the new program during the 2017-2018 academic year. Students will begin participating in the fall of 2018.