Frequently Asked Questions
- Why serve in an Episcopal Church program?
- There is profound wisdom within the Episcopal Church about deepening ourselves and developing our gifts for the betterment for the world. The Episcopal Church is steeped in concern for the disenfranchised and activism on their behalf. It is also a church of tolerance, understanding and diversity.
- Do I have to be Episcopalian to serve?
- Episcopal Service Corps does not discriminate on the basis of religion.
Some programs may give preference to Episcopalian and/or Christian applicants, but 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.
You can see which programs offer positions to your age range by browsing ESC programs By Best Fit under the Programs tab at the top of this page and marking the Age of Corps Members to the appropriate age range.
- Do I need to have a college degree to serve with ESC?
- About half of ESC programs require corps members to have a college degree.
You can see which programs offer positions to your education level by browsing ESC programs By Best Fit under the Programs tab at the top of this page and marking the Degree Requirements to the appropriate level.
- Is this about proselytizing or converting people?
ESC does not seek to change the faith of the people being served or those serving. It is meant to bring the good news of justice and healing to those who are oppressed or neglected in our society.
- 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 seven programs. 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?
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 (usually $100-$200/month). Providing corps members with the these items allows them to focus on their service and their community without worrying about their necessities. Additionally, affiliation with ESC often allows for forbearance on federal student loans. Individual program websites can provide more information on the financial/practical arrangements.
- Can I defer my student loan payments while serving with ESC?
- Your can defer eligible student loans during your year of service.
- 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 possibly 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."