The Reverend Paul Carling, Ph.D.
The Reverend Paul Carling, Ph.D.


Seven years ago this summer, I walked into Dwight Chapel, greeted by Bishop Laura Ahrens, who introduced me to the four students who had arrived for worship. They were, all in one, members, attenders and co-chairs of the ministry. And they were bright eyed, eager, and ready to re-build. I knew without doubt, if ECY were to succeed, it would be through the wisdom, energy and hope I saw on their faces. And so we started.

Seven years later, God has blessed Yale with a thriving Episcopal ministry that is transforming lives every day – not just among undergraduates, but graduate and professional students, young adults 21-35 in the larger community, and countless priests-in-training at Berkeley Divinity School. Beyond Dwight Hall, we have built amazing partnerships with like-minded organizations on campus and beyond, and embraced God’s call to service and justice. We have become, in word and deed, a truly student-led community. The charts here show the growth that we, together, have accomplished in these years.

And I mean WE. The steadfast, faithful and hope-filled support that each member of the Friends of ECY (and that means YOU) have offered, through your prayers, your suggestions and critiques, your gifts of time and talent, and your extraordinary financial generosity – your collective gift of believing in the essential role ECY plays for a church that will not only endure, but thrive – have been the fundamental building blocks of a new foundation for ECY.

As I listen for God’s call for the next chapter of my journey, I pray you will pause, pray and consider your commitment to the future of this truly new ECY. We can be a ministry that is sustainable over the next 150 years, with resources to guarantee a full time Chaplain, and resources to equip for leadership the students who now steward this precious jewel called ECY into a bright future. Like that first day in summer 2014, like it has always been, the future of the ECY you know, love sustain, is in your hands.

I pray you will take good care of it as you always have.

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It’s hard to overstate the impact that ECY has had on my life over the past decade. When I stepped foot in Dwight eight years ago for an ECY service (my first time ever at an Episcopal liturgy), I couldn’t have imagined what lay ahead. ECY became my spiritual home, where I could explore life’s deepest questions alongside others and find rest and beauty amid the hectic pace of life at Yale. Seeing new and returning students come to ECY year after year is a sign to me that ECY has something valuable to offer: the experience of encountering God—in Scripture, in the Eucharist, and in one another. Who could have known that 8 years later, I would be a priest, I’d be graduating from Law School, and Rev. Paul would have married me to my soulmate Abbie.

I’m so excited to see what the future holds for ECY!

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Our son Armando arrived at Yale University in the fall of 2010 as a Roman Catholic student with plans to pursue a degree in Economics and Math. Today, over a decade later, he is fulfilling the Lord’s call and is still at Yale pursuing completely different career paths. All along his journey, there’s been a relentless influence at the center of it all: Padre Paul.

Padre Paul led Armando by example to mature his faith and to always strive to serve others. He blessed and facilitated Armando’s journey to priesthood, serving as his religious mentor. As his spiritual leader, Padre Paul has been there when Armando has made consequential life decisions, not to impose but to expose him to his own truth and support him along the way.

And as a friend, Padre Paul presented and vested him for ordination, has celebrated his awards and graduations, provided him and his wife Abbie with pre-marital counseling, and celebrated their marriage on the same day as his 74th birthday. As parents we can’t ask for a better friend!

Padre Paul’s labor of love can be easily demonstrated by how he always serves with extravagant faith, hope, and humility while instilling these same principles at the core of his support to our son and the many other ECY students who have been blessed by his presence. Without a doubt, if it weren’t for Padre Paul, our son’s experience would never have been the same.

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ECY profoundly shaped my vocational path. From the moment I stumbled into church as a lonely, homesick first-year, I found a community of radical welcome and a rare space of reflection, vulnerability, and unconditional acceptance. As a Peer Minister and a mentee through the Berkeley program, I glimpsed the diverse ways that young adults may be called to ministry and began to see my own path in the church. After college, ECY gave me the courage and support to walk away from a PhD in biology to pursue an MDiv degree and ordination, bridging my passion for science and faith. At every step, Father Paul has been a compassionate listener, a steady guide, and source that I could be anything I longed for, with God’s help. ECY invites students to discover and affirm their most authentic selves within an environment of true spiritual nourishment and community.


In the fall of her freshman year (2014), a homesick Emily stumbled into ECY, in search of community. She found Fr. Paul’s radical welcome and a sense of home in the Episcopal liturgy. Fr. Paul’s pastoral presence was pivotal for her at many key moments, including big life decisions(leave of absence, graduate school school choices), and helping her process illness and depression. He met her where she was, and invited her beyond, and did so with so much love and respect. ECY gave her a space to practice preaching, helping her discover embodied aspects of worship, spiritual leadership, and her own voice.

In her junior and senior year, ECY connected Emily with Nathan, a spiritual mentor through the Berkeley-ECY mentor program, who helped her first articulate her call to ordination, and glimpse the diversity of possible paths for young adults in the church. In her senior year, she confirmed her faith at the Easter Vigil service and helped envision and lay the foundation for a peer ministry program with 3 other students. Her ongoing connection with Fr. Paul and ECY gave her the courage to walk away from a PhD in science, begin the process of ordination, and start an MDiv at Yale Divinity School. Now she’s a Theologian-in-Residence and loves seeing how ECY has grown and shepherds new students. Looking back, the role that Fr. Paul and ECY played, have been perhaps some of the most pivotal in her adult life. I am so grateful.

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Especially during the corona virus pandemic, ECY became a safe haven for me when I felt isolated from the wider Yale community. I was welcomed at ECY with open arms and immediately included in liturgy planning groups, anti-racism discussion sessions, and the many other activities ECY hosts. It is a joy for me to logon every Sunday to join my friends in prayer. I can see everyone’s faces on Zoom, and it makes the experience all the more intimate. I also meet with Paul individually. He might be busy working on young adult initiatives for the diocese or planning a forum with other college chaplains, but his primary concern is his students, so he always makes time for me. On a college campus, I rarely see (let alone connect with) people who are older than me. Paul has become a rock, helping me make decisions rooted in love.


For twenty years I have attended monthly clergy group meetings with two former ECY chaplains. Donald Schelland Rick Fabian were at Yale in the 1970’s. Their stories about the campus ministry opportunities for Yale students have impressed me a great deal over the years. I was delighted when our two children both decided to attend Yale. I’ve been involved with about a half dozen college chaplaincies and ECY is one of my favorites. It has connected our children to other amazing young people and leaders. It has nourished their spiritual lives during a very difficult time and it has challenged them as they develop their adult relation to faith. This year, I had an opportunity to attend ECY’s worship and hear Melia preach, and I was blown away by the intense caring, the mutual support, the deep joy, and the beautiful worship and music I saw. I even used one of the prayers in a service I led back home. I am deeply grateful to Paul Carling, the volunteers and students at ECY. I can’t imagine being in a better college spiritual environment. This really is what every young person most needs.

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How welcoming it was, on the day Andrew moved in his first year, to be visited by Rev. Carling. It made the transition to residence at Yale more friendly, at a time when things were new, and everyone a bit anxious. Over the years, we have had the opportunity to worship with ECY, hear Andrew preach, and feel the power of that community in shaping young lives. ECY has given Andrew a way to participate in the wider Yale community, contribute to outreach in New Haven, and exercise leadership in an organization making areal difference. After course work and daily activities, we think ECY gives Andrew time to reflect, and consider the roles of faith, fellowship, and nature in our lives. And now he has become a strong leader of the church.

We thank Rev. Carling, ECY staff and members for making all this possible.

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As Brigitte’s grandfather I am obviously biased but regardless,   I have observed the transformation of a wonderful young lady through her dedication and devotion to her Christian faith. Brigitte has invited me many times to the Episcopal Church at Yale’s services to be present as she had been asked to participate in services and even deliver a sermon on one occasion, and Rev. Paul has always been extremely welcoming. This immersion in the Christian faith has been uplifting in her life and maturing.

The understanding of her heritage and the heritage of the faith has been more than educational but transformative and key in becoming a mature adult woman.

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A bittersweet benefit of the alone time I’ve had this year, my first post-Yale, has been the opportunity to reflect on my incredible spiritual development as an undergraduate with ECY. Dwelling with my memories as a Co-Chair, I am overcome with gratitude for this community that at once took me seriously, nurturing my voice as a young adult leader in the church, but never took itself too seriously, holding fast to the vibrant, playful joys that come with campus ministry. As my chaplain and spiritual mentor, I think Paul will always best represent the embodiment of this ECY spirit to me – the radical welcomer, the fiery advocate, the Game Night fanatic.

As ECY, my life in the church, and the world continue to evolve, however, I could not be more excited to join together in celebrating the dynamic, forward-looking energy of our shared mission and life together in Christ.

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One of my earliest experiences with Rev. Paul was driving with him in his Subaru up to the SSJE monastery in Boston. As Paul skillfully maneuvered the rush hour Mass Pike traffic, we had one of the most touching conversations I’ve experienced. We dealt with everything from the theology behind Anglican realignment to the chaos of driving in New York and Kingston, Jamaica (not least our strong feelings about taxi drivers). I don’t think I’ve ever had a more honest connection with another individual. Paul has a God-given knack for understanding young people where they are in their spiritual lives. I’m thankful for the blessing that he has been in my life through his ministry at ECY.

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Thank you, Rev. Paul!