As I now begin my post-grad life in Austin, I’ve had the chance to look back on the past four years of my spiritual walk. I can’t help but think how different things would have turned out had I not had the privilege to consider a place like St. John the Divine my home from such an early age. I think it’s safe to say that, more than anything else in life, the time I spent learning and growing at SJD has equipped me to carry my faith with me through my college years and now beyond. I’m proud to say that I’m a true cradle Episcopalian/SJD-er, and I owe that blessing to my wonderful parents, Marty and Devera Allday, who have done an incredible job encouraging me chase after the Lord with all my heart.

Since Larry Hall baptized me when I was six months old, I don’t think there has ever been a time when our family wasn’t constantly up at the church as much as we could be. SJD simply was, and continues to be, a major focal point of family life for us. I received crucial lessons in the fundamentals of the Gospel as a young boy in Catechesis. I forged strong relationships with both peers and leaders alike as a member of the tweens and youth ministries. I learned what Christ-like service looks like while partnering with Villa Amistad in Bolivia and Agape Development Ministries in Houston’s Third Ward. I found freedom from sin and shame while attending a weekend retreat at Camp Allen.

I cannot stress enough how grateful I am that my family has called St. John the Divine our spiritual home for the last 23 years. Choosing to follow Christ in college is by no means easy; however, I know for a fact it would have been nearly impossible had I not received the foundation I got from SJD. Thank you to the long, long list of people who have helped make this place feel like home. Know that God used you to paint me a picture of abundant life and lead me running into his open arms.

Austin Allday - recent University of Texas graduate