Winthrop Episcopal Lutheran Campus Ministries, 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.
WELCM aims to share God's love and extend God's welcome to all the Winthrop community. 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 at our beautiful home just off-campus. We start with dinner at 6:30, followed by Bible study, discussion, and prayer. Monthly we share Eucharistic worship.
WELCM also offers Thursday contemplative Bible study, Sunday Evening Prayer services on campus, monthly fellowship activities, service projects, & annual 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!
For the past ten years, 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) nearly every time we worship. 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 Olga-Maria Cruz, who holds the BA in English, the Master of Divinity in Theology, and the PhD in Christian Ethics.
Previously, Olga-Maria worked to build ecumenical campus ministry at Saint Leo University in Florida. She also taught for many years at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, creating courses in Ethics, Philosophy, Literature, and Women’s Studies. She 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.
Our peer ministers this year are Samantha McCall, a senior majoring in Early Childhood Education, and Josie Hyatt, a senior majoring in social work. Sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, Samantha and Josie work together and in concert with Olga-Maria to create and implement programming for WELCM, especially taking point on fellowship activities, service, in-reach and outreach.
Grace Kirven is serving as our student Board member, as well as coordinating WELCM's social media. Elizabeth Coté is our liaison to the Lutheran Campus Ministry task force.