In the 2018-2019 academic year, the church relations snapshot highlights our church-relatedness and ways it has enabled Austin College to offer our students:
- Weekly Sunday evening communion services that are planned and led by students from a variety of Christian traditions;
- Weekly Lectio Divina Bible studies based on the common lectionary and tied to the following Sunday’s worship service;
- Christian and non-Christian student religious groups including:
- Catholic Students Association
- Hindu Students Association
- Intervarsity Christian Fellowship
- Jewish Students Association
- Muslim Students Association
- The Service Station program through which over 400 Austin College students were involved in some form of community service;
- Interfaith activities including:
- The annual Service of Lessons and Carols in which over 200 students, faculty, and staff participated in the College’s official Christmas celebration;
- Campus-wide dinners sponsored by the Indian Cultural Association celebrating the Hindu festivals of “Diwali” and “Masala”
- The Cunningham Lectures in which Dr. John Dunne of the University of Wisconsin-Madison spoke on “The Art & Science of Human Flourishing” and led a workshop on “The Varieties of Mindfulness: An Experiential Inquiry;” and Jean Sorenson from Grayson College and Andy Fort & Mark Dennis from TCU led additional conversations about Contemplative Studies in the classroom.
- A Voices of American Islam panel discussion and dinner sponsored by the Muslim Students Association,
- The ACtivators program through which 29 Austin College students traveled over 4000 miles to lead 22 different ministry events involving over 1300 children, youth, adults, and Senior Citizens.
- Since its founding in 1995, the ACtivators program has involved 587 Austin College students who have traveled over 176,000 miles to lead 706 ministry events involving over 56,000 children, youth, adults, and senior citizens from 21 presbyteries in 13 states.
To the church, we offered:
- 53 former ACtivators who currently serve as full-time clergy or educators in Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations in 12 different states;
- 25 former ACtivators who have served as Presbyterian Church (USA) Young Adult Volunteers;
- 7 Austin College graduates studying in Presbyterian seminaries;
- 1 Austin College graduate who is currently studying at Vanderbilt Divinity School;
- 4 ACtivators who served as youth directors, musicians, or mission interns in local congregations in 2018-19;
- Visits by President O’Day to Mission Presbytery, New Covenant Presbytery, First Presbyterian Church (Conroe, TX); Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church (Dallas); and First Presbyterian (Waco);
- Lectures and Church School classes by Chaplain John Williams at Northridge Presbyterian Church (Dallas), Eastminster Presbyterian Church (Dallas), St. Andrew Presbyterian Church (Denton), and Hope Presbyterian Church (Austin), as well as Sunday sermons in Sherman, Whitewright, Denton, Denison, Kilgore, and Bonham.
To the world, we offered:
- 60% of 2019 graduates who studied abroad for at least one month during their time at Austin College.
- The “First We Serve” activity in which—before they even went to their first class—Austin College freshmen prepared 38,082 nutritious meals for families in need on the Moskito Coast in Honduras.
- An Alternative Spring Break trip in March 2018 involving 40 students and faculty/staff sponsors who traveled to Rockport and Taft, Texas to participate in hurricane relief activities;
- Ongoing partnership with the Simbaredenga Newstart Children’s Home, an AIDS orphanage in Zimbabwe; and
- The continuation of our Global Outreach program through which students have raised over $18,000 in the last four years for microloans in Senegal through the Tostan program.
For more information, contact Chaplain John Williams at 903.813.2220.