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Students at the University of Georgia to be ‘intentional community’ in new centre

11 June 2021

The US Episcopal Church is building the new £13-million centre

DON PLUMMER

Plans for the new student housing and worship area, the Wright House, to be completed, it is expected, by autumn 2022

Plans for the new student housing and worship area, the Wright House, to be completed, it is expected, by autumn 2022

A NEW student accommodation and study centre at the University of Georgia, in Athens, Georgia, in the United States, offers a “new concept for college ministry”, the US Episcopal Church, which is building the £13-million centre, has said.

Its new “live, study, pray” centre has been named the Wright House after the diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Robert Wright. The centre is being rebuilt on the site of the old Episcopal Centre and chapel at the university. The plan is to offer reasonably priced student accommodation, with living and study spaces, a worship area, and a programme of activities.

It is intended to be not just a hall of residence, but an “intentional community” of people studying and praying together. It will be open to students of all faiths and none who are members of the university.

Bishop Wright said that the project offered a new approach to campus ministry.

Canon Lang Lowrey, who developed the project for the diocese with an Atlanta property company, said: “The principal idea of this project is to bring people together in an intentional community — not just Episcopalians, but people of other denominations and people of no religion. We are also doing it because many students, while they get scholarships and money, can’t afford housing.”

A foundation is being set up to subsidise costs for some students. A report from the Hope Center, in Georgia, found that, in 2018, nearly nine per cent of college students in Georgia were homeless, and a further 39 per cent had insecure housing.

If the accommodation is oversubscribed, Episcopalians will be given preference. The Wright House will also offer a chaplain, who will provide “robust programming” for all the residents, Canon Lowrey says. It will allow students to “live more intentionally to their life goals and calling”.

Building work began at the end of April. It is planned that the Wright House will open to new students in August 2022.

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