Communications - College Ministry Retreat

Bishop's Institute College Ministries Retreat

On Friday, April 7 - Saturday, April 8, 2017, The Bishop's Institute of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida hosted its second annual college retreat at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, Florida. Thirteen students and 6 adults attended this event and all were involved in the programming.  These students represented the University of Florida, Florida State University, and the University of North Florida. The students slept in sleeping bags at the Chapel of the Incarnation (nicknamed Chapel House).

The Bishop's Institute wanted to offer an informal opportunity for college students of faith to meet and talk through concepts of spiritual value. These same students collaborated to create the theme of this gathering: How to live your faith in your vocation after college.

The Rev. Beth Tjoflat, who is currently the priest for the Diocesan outreach ministry, Church Without Walls, was the event's speaker because she has had much experience in leading retreats and encouraging attendees to talk about their thoughts and feelings.

Comments from attending students about Mother Tjoflat include:

  • "She was so open!"
  • "I liked the way she talked about her life story and what she's lived through."
  • "She explained how discerning changes throughout life."
  • "I liked her process of discernment as it involves priesthood."
  • "This helped me in looking ahead that this would be a process throughout life."

Students talked through the following subjects:

  • What does a "calling" look like?
  • Understanding our relationships with God.
  • Discernment: How to recognize when the Spirit is moving a person in a certain direction.
  • How to remain faithful after college and into early adulthood, and beyond.

Hands down, the favorite break on Saturday for those in attendance was when student Mitchell Decker arranged a visit to see the Carillon bells, and then he played the bells for 30 minutes.

The Rev. Cn. Dr. H. Douglas Dupree,Canon Theologian & Rector, Bishop's Institute for Ministry and Leadership attended the retreat and shared, "The second annual Bishop's Institute retreat for college students was a real gift. I have worked with college students for over thirty years. Each and every one of them was a shining example of a student interested in and dedicated to their studies and attuned to discerning their faith in a mature and reflective way. The Rev. Beth Tjoflat helped all of us, in the short time we had together, to talk openly and candidly with one another about our journeys in faith. I learned from our speaker Beth and I learned from the testimonies of these wonderful students. Our college chaplains are blessed to have such fine young people to work with."