Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I have to be a member of The Episcopal Church to serve through ESC?
- Some programs may give preference to Episcopalian and/or Christian applicants, but all are open to people from diverse faith backgrounds. You do not need to Episcopalian, or even Christian, to serve with ESC; however, all Corps members need to be open to attending Episcopal services, praying, and discussing God/faith/spirituality. Each program's website can answer this question more fully.
- How old do I have to be to serve with ESC?
- Generally, ESC programs require Corps members to be 21-29 years old. A few programs offer positions to people outside of that range, offering positions to people as young as 19 years old or up to 32 years old.
- Do I need to have a college degree to serve with ESC?
- Many of ESC's programs require Corps members to have a 4-year college degree, but not all, depending on the service opportunities available locally. If you do not have a 4-year degree, reach out to the ESC office to find out which programs have service opportunities available, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Do I have to apply to all the programs if I'm only interested in one or a few?
- Though all programs share a common application, you may apply to up to five programs and will be asked to rank your top three. Applicants frequently choose to apply to fewer. As in the Episcopal Church itself, there is considerable diversity in how each program lives out community and mission.
- How much free time will I have?
- Corps members are young adults with a wide variety of interests and goals. ESC promotes a balance of work, rest, social interaction, and deep reflection. Most Corps members serve normal office hours, and all programs require dedicated, intentional time with the ESC community. Outside of this, most evenings and weekends are your own time.
- Can I have another job while serving with ESC?
- No. ESC service is a full-time commitment.
- Can I afford to serve with ESC?
- First and foremost, ESC is concerned with the health and safety of its Corps members. ESC shows this by providing its Corps members with all that they need to live during their year of service. Barring outstanding circumstances (e.g. credit card debt, car payments, financially supporting a loved one), Corps members have no need of additional income while serving with ESC.
All ESC programs provide housing (a house or apartment to share with other members of their program), grocery stipend, transportation, health insurance, and small personal stipend which varies by program. Providing Corps members with the these items allows them to focus on their service and their community without worrying about their necessities.
- Why should I serve through ESC instead of AmeriCorps?
- We believe that the support offered by the ESC community is extraordinary and unmatched by any AmeriCorps program. Corps members not only have their house community that offers emotional and spiritual support, but also are connected to ESC supporters (churches, nonprofits, diocese, and individuals) that donate their time and resources to mentor and advise corps members during their year of service.
- Can I defer my student loan payments while serving with ESC?
- There are a variety of options available to Corps members, including income-driven repayment plans & the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLFP) for those with federal direct student loan debt. There are also deferment or forbearance options, in addition to standard repayment plans. Individual programs can provide more information on these financial/practical arrangements.
If you have private loans, you’ll need to talk with your lender about repayment options. If you have a co-signer on any loan, it’s also important to discuss any loan repayment plans with your co-signer.
- Does ESC offer an end of service education award?
- While a few ESC programs offer an end of the year bonus to help their corps members transition out of their year of service, ESC does not formally offer a service education award.
- I'm still figuring out my religion/spirituality. Is ESC right for me?
Each corps member brings their own religious experiences and spiritual understandings to their community. ESC believes that growth stems from taking the time to deeply engage with big questions. ESC offers a range of tools and practices for you to explore your faith further.
- I'm interested in becoming a pastor. Is ESC right for me?
Vocational discernment is at the heart of ESC's mission. As a Corps member, you are particularly well situated to discern a religious calling. Additionally, ESC believes that vocation is found both inside and outside the Church. All corps members are encouraged to explore the question: Who and what am I called to be?
- I'm interested in applying to grad school. Is ESC right for me?
Many Corps members use their year of service to apply to grad school. ESC programs conclude in June and July. This allows for an easy transition into the academic year. Your ESC experience, at your service site and beyond, will help to clarify your career interests.
- How does ESC define "intentional community"?
- In ESC, intentional community is an attempt to live out Jesus' commandment to love one's neighbor as oneself in a literal and purposeful way. Each community develops a "Rule of Life" in order to be in deeper relationship with one another through practices of shared meals, prayers, and lives. Intentional community is counter-cultural, and, in some ways, monastic. Exactly how this practice is lived out is different in each program.
- What do ESC alumni go on to do?
- ESC alumni contribute their gifts in a wide array of fields such as nonprofit, law, healthcare, advocacy, the arts, government, and religion. Service inevitably deepens a person's understanding of themself and their call. In the words of theologian Frederick Buechner, call is "the point at which our deepest gladness meets the world's deepest need."