“What does the transfiguration have to do with a year of discernment? Why is God represented so often as a cloud?”
Episcopal Service Corps members are given the opportunity to lead worship in partner parishes, and this past Sunday, February 26th, members of Confluence Year In Columbus, Ohio crafted the prayers and sermon for their host parish, St. John’s Franklinton. ESC member, Steven Simpkins delivered the following sermon which wrestles with the above questions.
“It was about a month before my dad died. I had a moment like Peter in the Gospel reading today. I wanted to make a dwelling for the space of the dazzling white I experienced. I was amazed, terrified, and overwhelmed with love all at the same time. I wanted to eternalize that so it could be revered and honored again and again. The small seizures my dad was stricken with made him blind. His Hazelnut eyes were cloudy and he listened to where a voice came from and tried to look in that general direction. He was signing his Power of Attorney over to me. When the lawyer asked my dad if he was certain that he wanted me to be the Power of Attorney, my dad with
Take some time to hear from ESC Corps Member Gabriela Machado about her experience working with the Hoboken Shelter during her 2016-17 Episcopal Service Corps year with NEWARK ACTS.
“Since moving to New Jersey in September for my year of service with the Episcopal Service Corps (NEWARK ACTS) I have been volunteering at the Hoboken Shelter during the 11am – 3pm lunch. They shelter 50 people nightly, serve 500 meals daily, host 1,000 showers weekly, and provide support services such as case management, counselling, job and life skills training, creative arts workshops, emergency homelessness prevention grants, and permanent supportive housing solutions.
Volunteering at the Shelter has been a real joy, and I think that is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the dedicated and wonderful members of staff make sure that everyone has fun while volunteering – be it chopping carrots, shucking corn, wiping counters, serving lunch, doing dishes, folding envelopes and keeping the kitchen running. Pictured holding the sign is Q, the chef on Mondays through to Wednesdays. His stories, his cheerful disposition, his jokes, and his CHICKEN (y’all should come just to try his chicken and gravy) always makes for an enjoyable time at
A Frightening Privilege Written by The Reverend Richard Lawson and The Reverend Sandy Webb City of Soul: The Episcopal Service Corps in Memphis program directors
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there will my servant be also.
The disciples meet Jesus on the quiet shores of Galilee. Following Jesus is easy at Galilee, where he spends his time preaching and teaching and walking on the water. Discipleship means intellectual conversation and your fill of fish and bread.
Jerusalem is a very different place. Discipleship in Jerusalem means looking poverty square in the face. Discipleship means exorcising the world’s demons. Discipleship means standing in the gap between what is and what can be, demanding that the world live into its potential.
The hard part about following is that we don’t get to lead. When Jesus’ work is in Jerusalem, his servants cannot stay in Galilee. Discipleship is a frightening privilege: We get to walk with Jesus, but we have to go where he goes.
Episcopal Service Corps interns follow Jesus to Jerusalem. They leave behind the comforts of home and proclaim Good News in the parts of our country most devoid of light. They know
Discipleship: A Leader Follows Written by Carolyn Fado Grace-on-the-Hill corps member
I am participating in the Grace-on-the-Hill program and my worksite is Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School (AJCES) in the East End of Richmond. It is in a low-income and underprivileged area, in the midst of housing projects. A few shootings happen in the area every year. The public schools here are unaccredited. At AJCES, every student who attends receives a full scholarship. The school gives the students the opportunity to get a better education and therefore succeed. I was particularly attracted to this position because I thought it would be a good opportunity to help others. After all, isn’t that what being a good Christian disciple, or even just a good person, is all about?
Let’s take a minute to talk about what being a disciple means. To someone like me, the word seems archaic. Being a disciple means following the teaching of Christ. Jesus teaches us to treat our neighbors as we want to be treated ourselves. We can extend neighbors to mean all humans. Briefly, I believe that following Jesus means recognizing that everyone has God’s spirit.
When I think about discipleship, there is also a voice
Reflection on Discipleship Written by Melanie Williams Confluence Year corps member
My senior year of college, a well-loved professor asked me what I felt I must do. Not what I felt obligated to do because of forces outside of myself, but what I felt I must do because it was something that claimed me. Because it was an unavoidable part of myself, which when denied, cried out to be recognized and acted upon. Because it was as necessary to me as breathing. I had to think about it for some time. I’m not always sure if I have a thing like this. But after a while I answered, “I must be with those who suffer.” And after another moment, “Also, I must dance.”
Something we talked about often that year was a practice of holding grief and joy in the same breath. I see this practiced every week within the various congregations of St. John’s in Franklinton where we sing praises to God after gathering prayer requests about loved ones who have cancer, are imprisoned, suffer hunger, are homeless, have died. I see it in my work place when I hear the stories of refugees who have been forced to
Reflection on Discipleship Written by Sarah Hill SSJE Monastic Internship Program corps member
I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to write a Lenten reflection during the fifth week of Lent, using the theme of discipleship. I write as a member of the SSJE Monastic Intern program in Boston, MA.
The Brothers of SSJE often speak of the idea of “conversion”. When I first heard this term, I was confused because I assumed that the men choosing to live in a monastery had already been “converted”. What are they being converted to if they are Christians? These men were already followers of Christ in the most explicit way; they had experienced conversion from life outside the Religious life and had subsequently committed to the vowed life.
However, thinking of conversion as an event assumes a single occurrence. Something that happened once, and is now in the past. Rather, the Brothers speak about ‘conversion’ as an active and ongoing process: the conversion of daily living. In each moment and in each breath, engaging in the process of becoming more fully the person that God created them to be. The person God calls each one of us to be. This type
Reflection on Discipleship Written by Rebecca Gordon The Abraham Project corps member
When I was a sophomore in college at UNCA I officially joined a college ministry. I dabbled in it a bit during my freshman year when I was sucked into a women’s small group by the sweetest RA on Earth, and by the fall of the next year I had started seriously attending worship services on Tuesdays. Then spring rolled around and friends of mine in the ministry started pushing me to apply for their leadership team. My new official title became the InterVarsity Inreach Coordinator. I oversaw everything we did as a chapter that built fellowship, and these were mostly fun events, too! I organized movie nights, a picnic, and yes, I often thought heavily about the state of discipleship in our chapter. My campus minister and I met a couple of times about it and we talked off and on about ways to encourage that in our chapter. As I look back on it now, I feel that as much as I thought I understood the concept at the time, and I do not blame my campus minister or my college ministry for this, it was