Sam: Wren Chapel

I grew up Episcopalian and went to church a lot. But when I went to college, I didn’t do anything with religion or church, I left that at home and fulfilled it as an obligation when I was home and my parents wanted me to go to church. But I never really found “my place” in a physical sense when I was first at college. I’ve transferred colleges twice. At my first college, I tried to find a cool place where I could feel present and calm, but never managed to do that. And even though my second university was much more peaceful, with a very different setting and feel, I still couldn’t find that place.
Then I transferred to William & Mary, but I didn’t get in to Canterbury, the episcopal association here, at first. I got a concussion, had migraine issues, had to go on medical leave, and met my girlfriend. She has her own religious background and story, but after visiting me in Annapolis and going with me to my home episcopal church, she decided to check out our episcopal ministry down here. Now the episcopal church has a strong connection to William & Mary, because it was the state church of England during colonial times. So Bruton Parish in CW sponsors the ministry on campus, and the Wren Chapel was built for the Episcopal church, even though other denominations can use this space as well.
So she gets into this, and once I came back to William & Mary after my medical leave, she encouraged me to come to evening prayer here, put on by the episcopal campus ministry. By then, I had learned a lot about being present and being calm and mindful, but I still felt the calmest I’ve ever felt while at college right here. I didn’t expect that to happen to me in a religious place, because I never thought of myself as really fervently religious. I figured it was part of my heritage, but not a deep part of who I am. It turned out that it mattered to me emotionally, and I still come here for evening prayer pretty consistently. Maybe I should be more consistent…but it’s still a significant part of my experience here.

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