In 2015, under the guidance of the Rev. Stephen Trever, Assistant Rector, and others, a Campus Ministry Committee was formed. Its chief purpose is to nurture engagement with the university community.
St. Mark’s was begun by two University of California faculty families in the late 19th century. In a very real sense, the parish and university grew up together. Up until the 1920s, parish by-laws required that at least one member of each vestry be a UC faculty person and St. Mark’s had maintained a close connection with the university community until the late 20th century. Thanks to the work of a student member of the parish, the re-establishment of connections with the university are again a priority for the parish.
The Campus Ministry Committee supports the work of the Berkeley Canterbury Foundation (BCF), a ministry to university students shared with the Lutheran Church. The Rev. Trever and Donn Morgan are members of its board and the Episcopal chaplain is invited to preach at the parish each semester. St. Mark’s gives funding to this ministry and tries to coordinate its own programs with those of BCF.
Another effort is to encourage closer cooperation with other parishes that have programs relating to the university: St. Alban’s, Good Shepherd, All Souls, and St. Clement’s. Together we have developed a template for an annual brochure for each parish that lists their offerings for students. We are also exploring the possibility of sharing with some of these parishes the responsibility for the Study Hall program described below.
Our major program is the Study Hall providing students preparing for exams a quiet, spacious parish hall or library with reliable wi-fi for study during “dead week” and exam week at the end of both semesters. Free coffee, tea, and snacks—many home-baked by parishioners—are also provided. The Study Hall is open from Noon until 10 PM on weekdays and from 2-8 PM on weekends. The parish provides food and funding, as well as offering 194 hours of staffing (door and a study hall monitors). The response from students has been good, with many returning each semester.
The Campus Ministry Committee invites ideas, suggestions, and comments from all members of the parish and university. We want to offer a warm, welcoming place for those seeking a church home or the special ministries to the campus community.