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Annapolis College Ministry: A Student’s Perspective

The Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord

(Guest entry from Thomas Browning, St. John’s College OCF Student Leader)

Dear Friends of Annapolis College Ministry,

I’m grateful for this opportunity to address you all because without your generous support of the ministry, I would not be an Orthodox Christian today.

I came to St. John’s College looking for truth. I ran into Orthodox Christianity, told by another student to “Come and see.” I went and saw, and found that the words of the prayers spoke directly to me, even though I had never heard them before and knew nothing about the Orthodox faith. Ten months later, I was baptized and chrismated and I can say, having been an Orthodox Christian for two years, I have barely begun my journey in Christ. But I would never have begun at all if it had not been for you all and for Sdn. Robert’s presence at St. John’s.

SJCA students at the St. Raphael House mission project.This photo is from our mission trip this spring, which couldn’t have happened without the loving support of those who contribute to this ministry. But what it depicts is the trip’s group with Sdn. Robert in the center. Sdn. Robert is able to be a real leader, a real worker in the harvest of our Lord because of your generous contributions. He’s able to be our chaplain, our guide, our mentor. He leads us in worship, and he guides us during our college years. He’s able, through his love for us and for the mission of Christ’s Church, to really be there at the center of the Orthodox students at the Naval Academy and St. John’s College, guiding them ever closer to Christ.

Not only does this mean that he leads us in worship, but that he meets students one on one, guiding those already in the Faith deeper into the spiritual life, but also catechizing those new to Orthodoxy, or simply meeting with students that want to talk.

The Ministry is always growing. Two new students at St. John’s just joined the OCF, participating in worship and already undergoing catechesis, at the very end of the year. By the generosity of your contributions to the Ministry, Christ’s Church grows year round—one of these students will be attending Holy Cross this summer, the other is looking for an Orthodox church in her home state. And we can expect the Naval Academy’s plebe summer to bring more midshipmen, those who are Orthodox and those who are seeking Christ, into the Ministry’s outreach.

But without the consistent and generous contributions of you all, the Ministry could not exist. Those of us who are now in the Faith would be without it, those already in it would have no recourse during the school year to practice it. We could not have services on campus. We would have no mentor in the spiritual life. And those of us active in the Ministry’s management as student volunteers would have fewer opportunities to serve the Lord. As the ministry grows, as there is more and more work for Sdn. Robert, there is more and more need for your generosity.

Glory to God for all things. Glory to God for your generous support. Glory to God that Sdn. Robert serves the students of Annapolis.

Yours, in Christ our true God,

Thomas Browning
St. John’s College OCF Student Leader