University of Rhode Island
St. Augustine’s Church is the Episcopal Center for the University of Rhode Island. Its community embodies a progressive understanding of Christianity, enlivened by the URI campus and its intellectual vigor. St. Augustine’s offers a place to explore, learn, and inquire into your faith at any age. Their worship is come-as-you-are, child-friendly, and informal. Life within this community offers camaraderie in the Gospel work of feeding, sheltering, and celebrating God’s goodness; practicing wise stewardship in creation; offering deep prayer; not to mention hosting great parties.
The Episcopal Center at URI is integrated into the life of St. Augustine’s congregation. However, there are several ministries that are by, with or for students including:
The Feed A Friend program – a direct outreach to the URI campus community. Once a month parishioners host a meal in the parish hall for students. The only ‘admission’ is that each friend bring a friend. The menus are chosen by the students.
LGBTQ Outreach includes hosting the LGBTQ Spirit Group, joining Sing Out’s performances when they occur, supporting Coming Out week activities, hosting the LGBTQ Anniversary Symposium Opening, and enjoying getting to know the LGBTQ students through other programs.
Campus “To Go” Ministries started in 2013 with “Ashes To Go” on Ash Wednesday. Clergy and parishioners descended on the URI campus with signs and ashes so that students who were unable to make it to church were still able to receive them. The response was unbelievable and this has become an annual tradition. From here, the next step was “Hot Cross Buns To Go” on Holy Thursday; “Smarties To Go” on the day before final exams where students were given a prayer and a “Smarties” candy; and “Apples To Go” before final exams this fall. There’s no telling where this ministry will go…
The Rhody Outpost is an outgrowth of a talk by the director of the Johnny Cake Center and two of our URI students who recognized the hunger that exists on college campuses. With a collaborative effort from the Johnny Cake Center’s, the Feinstein Foundation, URI and St. Augustine’s, the students created a food pantry in St. Augustine’s facility that serves URI students in need of assistance.
Contact The Rev. Jan Grinnell for more information or visit St. Augustine’s and Episcopal Ministry Center at URI.
Rhode Island College (RIC)
A new chaplaincy at RIC was started in 2017 when Dante Tavolaro was ordained as a deacon and began serving as a deacon at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Greenwich and as a Chaplain at RIC. Dante has since been ordained to the priesthood and has been welcomed back to his alma mater. He has organized students to provide food to students facing food shortages, especially at holidays. At the request of students, he has started celebrating the Eucharist on campus and is expanding his ministry there.
Young Adult Ministry
The largest missing population in our churches are young adults aged 22-35. In 2018, the Rev. Cara Rockhill joined the Bishop’s staff as the young adult missioner with a unique mission — to explore and experiment with ways to engage young adults who do not attend church. Her first year was devoted to research and learning. She quickly discovered that evangelical denominations form congregations that are predominately attended by young adults, including several in the Providence area. But many of these young adults grew up in churches or have some church affiliation. They often do not connect with young adults who are alienated from church or have been wounded, directly or indirectly, by churches or people of faith. Engaging these young adults in exploring God’s place in their life and the life of faith requires a different approach. Cara has set up two websites (this age-group initially connects via online platforms). You can explore and support her ministry at www.pvdbravespace.org and www.pvdcathedral.org.