Postcard: Winchester

As college students drift away from religion, one Methodist university sees an opportunity. Speed-dating for churches in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley

Andrew Cutraro / Aurora for TIME

Father Robert Barnes guides students and faculty at Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Va.

In the basement of Shenandoah University's Goodson Chapel one chilly November Sunday morning, John Copenhaver, a tall, white-haired professor of philosophy and religion, folded at the waist to demonstrate how to bow like a monk. The eight students clustered around him watched closely. One, taking stock of the incredulous faces around him, volunteered the group's unofficial credo: When in doubt, "find an old person, and do what they do."

Outside, a van stocked with apple-cider doughnuts was waiting to take them to the Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Va. While all the students were Christian, it would be their first Mass...

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