On Monday, May 2 a group of seventeen young adults came together in Mobile to play kickball, share a meal, and pray the service of Compline together. They were college seniors, graduate students, and professionals of various kinds. They were Episcopal, Roman Catholic, and unaffiliated. Some grew up in Mobile and many did not. The evening was filled with laughter, conversation, and prayer – and we do this every month!
Lamppost began in November of 2019 at St. Paul’s, Mobile with a very simple vision. On the first Monday of every month, we gather for worship, dinner, and group activity. Thirty months later we have missed only one monthly gathering. Despite being a new and fragile ministry at the start of the pandemic, we adapted our gatherings online, cautiously moved back to meeting in person, and now finally enjoy more unrestricted events.
The pandemic chapter was a period of significant growth and development, both in terms of participation and clarity of mission. It turns out the ministry of friendship and connection is vital at all times and urgent in the lives of young adults – finishing school, navigating jobs, changing cities, and losing the support networks of childhood and home. Add to this mix the irregular hours of a seven-day workweek, social time with friends, and vanishingly scarce opportunities for rest, and it is no wonder that “young people” are conspicuously absent on Sunday mornings.
The sweeping, generational trends of church attendance and affiliation are complex, but the longing for God’s presence and the need for community are human and not generational. Lamppost is sustained by a passion for answering this need all around us.
And this ministry is to be shared! We began at St. Paul’s and return there often, but we seek partnership with all the Episcopal churches of our area.
In April we were hosted by Trinity, Mobile (pictured). Gathering in the Meadow at Trinity, we learned about the labyrinth and garden, grilled burgers (and veggie burgers), welcomed a number of new friends to the group, and said Evening Prayer in the midst of a stunning sunset. We can’t wait to collaborate with Trinity again soon and with more and more of our Mobile churches.
For all that is stated above, the strongest endorsement of Lamppost is this – those who come and participate so often return with more friends. And, if it’s worth sharing with one or two, we think it’s worth sharing with all of you!
For more information, please contact the Rev. Pete Burgess at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Instagram @lamppost_stp