The Canterbury Association at University of Houston traces its beginnings back to 1951, and since that time, it has taken many different forms. At one point, University of Houston Canterbury was based at a house off of Wheeler, where students came for lunch from campus and celebrated Eucharist in an attic chapel. When it was too hot, they took the service outside to the backyard – kneelers, altar, vestments, and all.
Later on, it was yoked with Autry House at Rice, the Church of the Redeemer, or Iglesia Cristo Rey. After the death of Fr. Israel Ahimbisibwe, an Anglican grad student shepherded the small group based at the AD Bruce Religion Center through a time of transition. 2015 was a year of grieving, learning, and revisioning, which resulted in the launch of Houston Canterbury in January 2016.
Today, Houston Canterbury is a unique ministry that does not fit the classical Episcopal Student Center mold of college ministry. We are a vibrant network of missional communities on-campus (at UH, TSU, and UHD) and off-campus, gathering in the southeast and west side of town. Because we are community-based, we are a ready partner for families, parishes, and community-serving organizations seeking to support students taking the long and local road through higher education, especially first generation college students.
As we look to the future, we hope to bring the presence of the Episcopal Church as a witness to the loving, liberating, life-giving ministry of Jesus Christ into places where we have not been present. We expect to see a strengthening of Houston-area young adult leadership in church and community engagement. We seek to develop new expressions of ministry to commuter, community college, and first generation college students.