Submitted by: Amy Cook, Canon for Faith Formation and board member at Ecumenical House, San Francisco State University
Submitted to: the 174th Diocesan Convention, 26 September 2023
“EcHouse” is the ecumenical college chaplaincy at San Francisco State University shared between the Episcopal, Presbyterian, UCC, and Methodist churches in the area. This ministry partnership has been around for decades, but pandemic disrupted both ministry to the students and major funding sources. It was with great sadness that the board had to end their contract last year with the amazing Chaplain & Director of Ministry, the Rev. Hannah Elyse Cornthwaite. The bright spot amidst the difficulties of pandemic and the loss of Hannah is our new partnership with Larkin Street Youth Services to add the house to their LGBTQ+ residential offerings. Now the house serves as a residence for formerly homeless LGBTQ+ youth with Larkin Street providing surrounding support services.
This year has been a time of discernment for the EcHouse board as we have reflected on what we learned during Hannah’s tenure as chaplain, and the lessons are many. We know that there is hunger – both physical and spiritual – in the area, and that local relationships are key. Our discernment has revealed a broadening of the ministry possibilities and we are exploring what a new spiritual community in this area might look like.
At this point in our discerning, the Board would like to invite anyone interested in helping us explore an ecumenical ministry to unchurched and seeking individuals both on the campus and off to contact us. Do you go to San Francisco State, or work there, or live in that area? Would you like to help us envision new ministry possibilities that feed bodies and souls? Please contact Amy Cook (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Board of EcHouse is comprised of members from the Episcopal, Presbyterian (PC(USA)), UCC, and United Methodist Churches and each of these four denominations owns a stake in the physical property and has contributed to ministry to students at San Francisco State University over the years. This board remains committed to ministry in the neighborhood and the University utilizing our shared assets. The ministry is registered with the state of California as The San Francisco Campus Christian Centers.
Amy Cook, Canon for Faith Formation and board member at Ecumenical House, San Francisco State University