It’s about 35 years since I first set foot in an Episcopal Church, and I’ll bet that in the first year alone I met ten people who told me they had ‘become Episcopalian’ in college, usually because a friend or room-mate took them to an Episcopal Church or Canterbury Club (as most Episcopal college chaplaincies were once known). After entering ordained ministry some years later, I continued to hear similar accounts, but also became depressingly familiar with its contrary: parents telling me that their son or daughter had dropped out of church while in college, or, what seemed to some of them to be even worse, were attending a non-Episcopal Church—again, usually because a room-mate or friend had taken them to one.

Next week is orientation week at many colleges and universities around the country. Another cohort of freshmen will be free, often for the first time, to make decisions about how or whether to continue any commitment to the Christian faith.

What can you or your church do to help them?