Greetings from Eric

“Every human activity can be put at the service of the divine and of love. We should all exercise our gift to build community.” ― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

Hello new friends!

As some of you have probably already heard, I will be joining the Episcopal Student Center at UT this year as the new campus missioner. Though it has been and continues to be a whirlwind of a change for me (and, I imagine, for y'all as well), I am extremely excited to begin this next semester and get to know both the students and the campus. I have heard such great things about the Student Center for a long time now, and as I've started meeting folks involved in the ministry I've been greatly impressed by energy, leadership, and faithfulness present in this community. I know that God has gifted this community with amazing people, and has great things in store for all of us this year.

To tell you a little bit about myself: I am a native Canadian, born in Toronto, which I am fiercely proud of. I have lived in Texas for the past 8 years, 6 of them in Austin and the last 2 in Houston, and, if there's anything I love as much as being Canadian, it's being an adopted Texan! Though I was not born or raised in the Episcopal Church, I found my way into it while wandering and wondering on my spiritual path growing up, and time and time again have found myself strengthened, guided, challenged, and equipped by the treasures of the Church, and one of the things I'm passionate about is helping the Student Center share those treasures with one another and with the community around us.

Friends, if there is one thing that stands out to me thus far, as I have gotten to know the folks involved here at the Student Center, it is that there is a real longing to bring the world closer to something resembling the Kingdom of God, a willingness to learn about, and get involved in, and work towards a better world. And so I am very much looking forward to getting started this year, working in such an amazing place, with such amazing young leaders. See you all soon!

God bless and keep you,

Fr. Eric Holloway+

Introducing Our New Program Coordinator: Caleb Parker!

Dear ones,

It’s been a year since I left behind your wonderful community at the corner of W 27th St and University Ave in Austin, TX. Though I was only a short trip down I-35, and though I found plenty of occasions to visit, I missed the Episcopal Student Center dearly. In case Beth, alumni, or others haven’t already told you, or in case you don’t already know from experience, life can be tough for us young folk in traditional churches. And though I very much enjoyed my time at St. Mark’s San Antonio, though I always felt welcomed by the people and renewed by the worship, I never found the same kind of close-knit community that I found at the ESC. Y’all truly have something special. Cherish it. And if you’ve been welcomed into our building but not yet found a home there, if you’re only reading this because your inbox is terribly empty in the summer months, I encourage you to be persistent. Even a little importunate. We can handle it, and I guarantee you that—given the opportunity—there are countless people eager to welcome you, to pray with you, to befriend you, and to make you feel at home.

Truth be told, I was always fairly certain that I would return to the Episcopal Student Center in one way or another, perhaps as a grad student, perhaps as a young professional, and perhaps in my current capacity, since I knew that Hannah was beginning the discernment process for ordained ministry. And over the past year, the excitement to return has only grown. Not until recently, however, did that excitement start to look a little bit different to me. At the start, I was excited to return to the friendships I had made at the ESC, to the comfortable familiarity I felt there, to the twice-a-week dinners and the Canterbury Cups, to the college retreats and the mission trips, to the impromptu movie nights and occasional broomball with the Lutherans. And while many of those things will still be present, I have recently become more and more excited to connect with everyone in the community whom I don’t yet know, to two entirely new classes of students, to other newcomers, and to those who simply traveled in different circles than I. As for those of you I know already, I look forward to the (quite possibly tricky) adventure of forming a new, pastoral relationship with you and with the community as a whole. Basically, I’m excited about everything.

During my years at UT, there wasn’t a single community more dear to me than the Episcopal Student Center, not a single community that felt like such a second home. It nurtured me in times of doubt and encouraged me to pursue active self-examination in times of complacency. In short, it transformed my life. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve the very same ministry that served me so well. See you all this Fall!

Peace and grace to you always,
Caleb

P.S. I am also eager to connect with other communities closely tied to ours, to our alumni network, to All Saints’ Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Texas as a whole, to All Saints’ Episcopal Day School, to TAMU Canterbury and other Episcopal campus ministries, and to the greater community of faith in Austin.