A Holy Hostel:
Reflections on Calling at All Saints Anglican Church

By: Katya Kozachuk

 

At the crossroads between Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina there is a little Anglican parish called All Saints. All Saints is in a really particular place because it provides refuge and home to both Duke and the University of North Carolina students. While there is always be good natured tension in the church during the basketball season as the University of North Carolina, and Duke University are such longtime rivals, thankfully basketball preferences don’t get in the way of embodying Christ’s love and hospitality.

The people of All Saints often describe themselves as a hostel. Students are always moving in and out of their space. And over the years, they’ve found themselves hosting undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. As a community, they’ve intentionally created a space that cares for students, loves on students, and then sends students on their way to the next adventure. Along with being a hostel for students, All Saints is on the journey of discovering calling. As they explore calling, they’ve uncovered the power of being a holy hostel because it’s always been a part of their DNA as a church. They feel a renewed calling to be a place where people can discern “what’s next” in their God journey.

Additionally, All Saints parish also noticed that they are creating a sacred space of discernment. This scared space is for those who are thinking about ordination in the Anglican church. It’s something that they, as a community, are being aware of in new ways. While they are still navigating the depths of the scared space for discernment for everyone, they are also willing to walk alongside those on the ordination route. Indeed, they’ve realized that within their student body of congregants, there are often a handful of Duke Divinity students. Students who, for a very particular time in their lives, are diving into the reality of possibly pursuing ordination. This is something that they want to steward and grow into even more fully, for they know that with their specific geographical location this will be essential to their calling.

So, calling for the All Saints congregation is interwoven with this particular place where they sit. They have realized that the unique fragrance of God’s grace that they embody means creating a space for people and students to discern the next life steps. The congregation consists of parishioners who’ve been members for over five years, and it’s also made up of parishioners who only spend two or three years in their community. As a community, they are continually being challenged to remain open to loving new people who enter their space only for a specific time. What a gift to entirely welcome people and love people, without knowing whether they’ll still be there in a year or two. God’s callings challenge us to remain open and present with the people in our space and our community. To be called by God is to be fully open to the others in our midst.

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