Winthrop Episcopal Lutheran Campus Ministry, or WELCM (pronounced "welcome") is an ecumenical partnership between Grace Lutheran Church and The Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Rock Hill, the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, and the South Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), serving the campus of Winthrop University.
"To be a welcoming community that explores and strengthens our relationship with God and cultivates Christian discipleship."
Through service, study, prayer, worship, and fellowship, we gather to grow our connection and commitment to God, ourselves and one another.
WHAT WE DO
WELCM hosts weekly Gatherings on Tuesday evenings during term at our beautiful location just off-campus. Dinner in the garden starts at 6 pm; our program of Bible-based discussion and prayer will be held at 7 via Zoom.
WELCM also offers Thursday contemplative Bible study, Sunday Evening Prayer services on campus, monthly fellowship activities, service projects, and regular retreats.
WELCM welcomes you! We prioritize inclusivity, and seek to build an authentic, non-judging Christian community that reflects the diversity of Winthrop. Our members come from various church backgrounds; some are simply questioning and questing.
Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you belong with us!
Since 2008, campus ministry at Winthrop has been a joyful collaboration between these two congregations and denominations.
If you are new to Lutheran or Episcopal culture, our worship may be slightly more formal than you are used to. We read Old and New Testament Scripture passages aloud; we celebrate the Eucharist (Communion) every Sunday. Most of our prayers are written down, rather than improvised. Our ministers wear collars, and include women as well as men.
WELCM's campus minister is Dr. Olga-Maria Cruz, who holds the BA in English, the Master of Divinity in Theology, and the PhD in Christian Ethics.
Before coming to Winthrop, Olga-Maria offered ecumenical campus ministry at Saint Leo University in Florida. Prior to that, she taught for twelve years in four departments at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. Her most popular classes were Intro to Ethics, English Composition, Women's Literature, and Intro to Yoga.
Olga-Maria is also a writer and musician with a strong background in yoga and meditation. She runs the website OpenMindfull, a curated collection of resources on mindfulness and interfaith spirituality. Olga-Maria currently serves as the President of Winthrop Cooperative Campus Ministries.
Our peer minister for 2020-21 is Grace Tristan, a junior majoring in Early Childhood Education. Sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, Grace will work with Olga-Maria to create and implement programming for WELCM, especially taking point on fellowship activities.
Ellery McNeill is our student Board member.