St Albans Church

St. Al's Stories: Juliana

She’s a student intern helping with St. Albans Young Adult group. She sits on parish council and sometimes sings on Sunday mornings. Juliana Colwell is as involved at St. Albans as you can get.  


Juliana found the church through Open Table, a free monthly meal at St. Albans for students hosted by various churches. She was church-shopping at the time, trying out a few different churches in Ottawa but decided to give St. Albans a try one Sunday morning and continued going ever since.

She said she was intrigued by the young adult focus and the large number of students at the Sunday services. Now it’s come full circle as Juliana is the Young Adults group intern where she helps run the Tuesday night discussions on “the questions you can’t ask in church.” These topics have included free will, the concepts of heaven and hell, the importance of silence and how to spread faith without being an asshole. But Juliana said she wants to ensure it’s a group that extends past the weekly meetings.

“We have a community focus so it’s very inclusive and welcoming and everyone can speak their mind whatever way they see fit. There’s also the presence of being in the community itself,” she said, adding how events this year have included garbage community clean-up, a night at Winterlude and a retreat in Quebec.

Every Tuesday night, there’s new faces at the Young Adults group and Juliana said it’s important to make sure everyone feels included, regardless of where they’re from and what got them there.

“Sometimes it can be a bit daunting to walk into a church if you’ve never been before, but it’s also something quite wonderful and it’s not as scary as people make it sometimes,” she said. 

Juliana struggled to find the right words to describe the feeling of community at St. Albans and what she felt that made her immediately want to get involved. She said it’s the feeling of being included and part of something bigger, a feeling she strives to create for all newcomers at the young adult group.

“You’re always welcome,” she said. “That’s the thing I really like about it because no matter what your background is, you’re accepted, you are part of the group and you are part of the community.”   

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