Grace House is a radically welcoming and inclusive community advocacy ministry that inspires, equips, and engages our campus by modeling Jesus’ love, service, and compassion.
Grace House allows students to experience Jesus’ hospitality, connect them with other students on their spiritual journey, help them grow in their faith as they learn how they can transform the world, and empower students to do the work of liberation that God has called them to do.
About Grace House
Grace [Coffee] House is a joint ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta and the Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). We proudly serve the Georgia Tech community in Atlanta, Georgia.
Grace House is a community of friendship, direction, authenticity, service, and a home away from home.
It may seem on the surface that our welcome is just a cup of coffee but really, our welcome is hope. Hope is needed in a world that seems fraught with division and hope is needed in the lives of Georgia Tech students. Hope that they will see the other side of a looming midterm, hope that at some point a social life will return, hope that all this hard work is going to be worth it, hope that one day they might have time to sleep, or hope that there is someplace they can still go to get a free cup of coffee, a smile, and for someone to ask “how’s your week going?”. We want to live into that hope for students in all that we do.
Grace House is an Open and Affirming Christian organization, fully living into our Baptismal covenant, especially that part about
Seeking to Serve Christ in ALL Persons, Loving our Neighbor as Ourself & Striving for Justice and Peace Among ALL People, and Respecting the Dignity of EVERY Human Being.
All Grace House Staff is Safe-Space trained and also trained on Bystander Intervention. We are also a Reconciled in Christ congregation. If at any time you do not feel respected, honored or loved in our home, we would love to talk to you about it and correct it.
Is Grace House for Me?
Only you can determine if Grace House is a place for you. But I will describe the typical person at Grace House. If you identify with any of these characteristics and want to know more, head on over to the Join tab. You don’t really have to join anything…we just want to get your contact information in so you can get a little more plugged in. “Join” was merely a convenient word for the menu. :0)
Who is Grace House? “Grace” is a student. Grace is a dropout. They are graduates affiliated with a church. They are lonely and looking for a place to belong. Grace is old. Grace is young. Grace is looking for something different. Something authentic. Something spiritual. Something meaningful.
Grace is tired. Tired of constantly being “on” and looking like they have it all together. Grace is frustrated with what they see around them, and wants to see the world change from its current state. Yet, they are so burned out, sad, fed up, beat up, irritated, and tired that they desperately need a place of refuge. Grace needs a place to come in and just be. Or cry. Or even just color without any pressure to change, compete, work, like, choose, or please. Grace needs a place to be fed literally and spiritually so they can go back out into the world with renewed hope to keep fighting one more day.
Grace might be fed up with the church. They may have left the masjid. They may have no idea what these two words even mean because they didn’t grow up with any religious tradition. Grace feels like loving one’s neighbor is important but doesn’t see anyone doing this in real-time. Grace also feels like social justice isn’t a want but a need. A desperate need. Grace thinks Jesus is pretty cool but doesn’t really see anyone living like or modeling the ways of Jesus, especially those who call themselves “Christians”.
Finally, Grace doesn’t have all the answers when it comes to faith and doesn’t pretend to. Sometimes, they aren’t even sure they HAVE faith, much less hope. But they want to seek out answers, maybe struggle with them for a bit, but do so in a safe, nurturing environment. Or maybe, Grace just wants to hear an alternative narrative than what they grew up with and decide for themself what to believe. But Grace sure could use a sounding board on that journey.
If Grace kinda sounds like you, maybe you should look into Grace House.
Pastor Andrew Rickel
Campus Pastor & Executive Director
He mostly grew up in Baltimore Maryland before spending time at Lenoir-Rhyne in Hickory, N.C. when it was still a College. After undergrad he spent four summers as the Associate Director of Mar-Lu-Ridge, a Lutheran Outdoor Ministry site outside Frederick, Maryland. Andrew officially graduated with his Master of Divinity from The Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, but his education spanned Gettysburg, the Washington D.C. Theological Consortium, George Fox Divinity School in Portland, Oregon and Luther Seminary. He was ordained in 2016 and served Holy Trinity Lutheran in Portland, Oregon before taking the call to Grace House.
The real stars in Andrew’s life are his family, an incredible partner in Colleen and two darling kids Elijah and Nari. When Andrew’s not on campus or with his family you can find him watching basketball or listening to hip-hop.
Pastor Matt Pritchard
Director of Partnerships & Kingdom Experiments Campus Pastor
Matt (he/him) has over 20 years of campus ministry experience and is an expert in theological contextualization. Passionate extending peace and justice in the world, Matt has extensive experience in anti-racist, inter-cultural and cross-cultural development. Matt brings practical skills in organizational formation, community decision-making and legal/technical/financial systems to his work.
In addition to being our Director of Partnerships, Matt serves as a Campus Pastor with Grace House funded through individuals and organizations giving to Village Church’s Kingdom Experiments.
Matt is ordained in Mennonite Church USA and, when not working with Grace House, serves as Associate Conference Minister for Emerging Communities of Faith in Central District Conference of Mennonite Church USA.
Matt is a member of the Association for Christian Fundraising, formerly The Association of Lutheran Development Executives.
Passion Collective Intern 2023 / 2024
Michael (he/him) is 26 years old and has a lot of experience in ministry! He was a part of Clemson Lutheran Campus Ministry for three years. He was a part of Lutheridge and Luther Springs summer staff working as a counselor for five years and senior staff for one year. He also did Young Adult in Global Mission, YAGM, through the ELCA, during August 2019-March 2020 doing youth work in the U.K. Some of his skills are being an excellent listener and being a comfortable person to talk to. He’s been told he can be a great leader and guide at times as well as giving people a place to grow and show themselves and their true colors!
Passion Collective Intern 2023 / 2024
Sammi (she/her) is a recent graduate from Montana State University-Northern, where she studied Business Administration. While in college, she attended Messiah Lutheran Church, an Evangelical Lutheran Church in Havre, Montana. Her time there led to opportunities to serve on the Montana Synod’s Racial Justice Task Force, working on bridging gaps in local communities. Sammi brings skills of organization, communication, and a listening ear to her work.
When not busy with work or school, Sammi enjoys reading, baking, music, and spending time in community with others.
Passion Collective Intern 2023 / 2024
Eric (he/him) is a GT alum (‘16) from Palm City, FL. He was raised in The Episcopal Church but was heavily involved in CCF while at Tech and interned there in 2017-18. He then went to seminary in Johnson City, TN and rediscovered his Episcopal roots during his time there. Eric is passionate about cross-cultural ministry particularly in Latin American contexts. He spent two semesters working in campus ministry in Latin America – in Santiago, Chile in 2015 and in Montevideo, Uruguay in 2017.
Eric will be entering the discernment process for ordination to the priesthood with the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta and will use his time at Grace House to help discern this call.