Canterbury Club Ministry, Fellowship and Communion for College Students and Young Adults.

The University of Central Florida Canterbury Club is ministry of the Church of the Incarnation and the

Diocese of Central Florida. It serves the students of UCF and draws in students from Valencia

Community College and Seminole State College as well as local young adults and alumni of these

schools. Started in 2007, it has grown from one intentional community of young adults into two. The

ministry is overseen by its chaplain, Fr. Jose Rodriguez, and a faithful team of lay ministers who are all

alumni or current students of the schools we serve.

The Community of St. Augustine of Canterbury meets at the Canterbury Retreat and Conference Center

on Monday nights and is facilitated by a team of lay leaders. This group mostly serves the non-

residential students of UCF and the local community colleges. The Community of St. Anselm of

Canterbury was started by Philip Nunez in 2014 who now serves as Youth Minister at Holy Trinity

Episcopal Church in Melbourne. This group sets is schedule each semester and is now facilitated by Sam

Nunez who serves as its Peer Minister on campus. Under Sam’s leadership this group continues to grow

and serves residential students at UCF.

Through partnership with other Christian organizations the UCF Canterbury Club developed an extensive

relationship with KYX Christian Fraternity and Theta Alpha Christian Sorority. Both fraternal

organizations have also developed extensive relationships with the Church of the Incarnation which the

fraternity calls its “home church” and where the sorority contributes extensively to the church’s Nursery

Ministry. Formally inviting the fraternal organizations into the life of the Church of the Incarnation was

one of Fr. Rory Harris’ first initiatives as vicar, now rector, of Church of the Incarnation.

For the past eight years I have been involved in a ministry that is, for the lack of a better word,

unique. This ministry is dedicated solely to college students and young adults. Canterbury Club

was started by Fr. Jose Rodriguez, while still a graduate student at UCF, and Nathan Adams,

then at Reformed Theological Seminary and now a seminarian and future priest in the Byzantine

Catholic Church. It was a place where the young adults that attended the Church of the

Incarnation could gather to eat snacks, read and study the scriptures, and enjoy fellowship. Good

healthy discussions ensued, sometimes taking us into the wee hours of one or two in the

morning.

At first, the group was primarily composed of members of the Church of the Incarnation in

Oviedo along with local seminarians. As then the mission Church of the Incarnation grew, new

faces from UCF started showing up on Sunday mornings and incorporating themselves into the

group. Fr. Jose and his wife Heather opened their home every single Monday night in order to

supply a place for the young people to meet.

When Church of the Incarnation moved from holding services at RTS to the Canterbury Retreat

and Conference Center, so did the group as it had outgrown the Rodriguez living room. The

conference center has since been a generous partner in support of student ministry. Students

from all walks of life and backgrounds are welcome.

As our group has grown so have the ministry’s needs. For the Community of St. Anselm,

Monday night dinner has become an important part of our outreach to local students. By

providing students a meal, many began staying for scripture study and prayer. According to a

report in The Washington Post, in 2014, hunger due to the rising costs of education has caused

college students to become part of the hunger related statistics. Monday nights have become a

place of feeding, both spiritual and physical. The local congregation has stepped in to provide

home cooked meals. The Canterbury Retreat and Conference Center has also been generous in

providing meals. In other places members of the church have been partnered with this ministry

to provide clothes, job referrals, and mentorship.

From the beginning of his episcopate, Bishop Greg Brewer, has made his support of this ministry

felt. He and Laura Lee paid us a visit on December 8, 2014 for our Christmas celebration. In the

spring of 2015 he came back for a celebration of student leadership at Canterbury alongside

leaders of the Community of St. Augustine and St. Anselm, KYX Christian Fraternity, Theta

Alpha Christian Sorority, our clergy and UCF President Dr. John Hitt. This year we received a

leadership grant from the Episcopal Church and we have recently partnered with a young adult

group in the Anglican Church of Canada at Taloyoak, Nunavut. We continue to grow locally by

expanding our relationships with others within the Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican

Communion.

The work involved is hard, the field is plentiful at UCF with 50,000+ students, and the harvest is

and will be great! Out of this group we have grown and strengthened the Kingdom at UCF. We

have had baptisms, confirmations and weddings. Already for 2016 we have three Canterbury

Club weddings on the books, college students preparing for confirmation, and we’ll close off

2015 with the baptism of a child born to a Canterbury Club family. Please join us in the UCF

Canterbury Club Prayer, recited every Sunday at the Church of the Incarnation in the Prayers of

the People:

Want to provide more help?

A gift of love in the form of financial support for this ministry will go a long way in providing

home cooked meals and programming for young adults in the UCF area. We are also in need of

talent should anyone want to participate in meal preparations on Monday nights. If you would

like to know more, you may contact Erick Perez at the Diocesan Office or Fr. Jose Rodriguez.

You may also visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/UCF4Christ you can also

write to us at ucf.canterbury@gmail.com or at UCF Canterbury Club, 1601 Alafaya Trail,

Oviedo FL 32765.

By Erick X Perez

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