All Corps members are provided safe and comfortable housing with the focus on building community as a cohort. Oftentimes, the housing is a rectory or parsonage next to an Episcopal church.
Living together in community can be challenging at times, but also incredibly rewarding, as described by an ESC alum: "Building community is kind of like creating a family that’s forged by vulnerability, authenticity, tears and laughter. It means seeing yourself through the lens of the of the 'we' instead of the 'me.' It means long night walks, tough conversations, funny antics, sharing circles, dirty dishes, taking out the trash, broken commitments and forgiveness. It means being willing to try again. Community is the coming together of six individuals who become one heart."
"It’s assuring, especially after a year of living by myself, in my last year of college. Knowing that people I can come home to. Being able to say 'Helluu,' which is kind of our version of the classic 50s 'Honey, I’m home' kind of thing but it’s also it’s our own thing, a certain ritual and routine to tell people that we are coming home to them."
Life Together alum
Every program offers formation days. Some are half days, some full days. Some meet in shared space, others go off site for a more retreat-style setting. During formation time, the Corps community gathers to pray, check, and discuss topics in theology, spirituality, and social justice. Some favorite formation topics are liberation theology, Sabbath as resistance, Celtic spirituality, embodiment, contemplative photography, and nonviolent communication.
Our Corps members report that they love having the opportunity to gather intentionally to share our expertise and experience and to have set-side time to learn and grow personally and as a community.
"Coming from different denominations within the wider Christian tradition, we’ve had the opportunity to introduce one another to practices and tools from our own spiritual journeys, and learn from each other as we go."
Seattle SC 2021-2022 alum
Every Corps deploys to volunteer through local placement sites. These are mostly local nonprofits or other mission-driven organizations. From farming to immigrant outreach and from ministry to community organizing, these opportunities place Corps members in heart of the community for the work of justice-making.
Most programs involve 32 hours/week of experiential immersion, focused on honing professional skill development and moving forward social justice initiatives.
"Serving at the Youth and Family center, I’ve become more aware of the importance of showing up and listening. It’s easy when the pantry gets busy or when there’s a lot going on to shut down and to do what needs done. I’ve realized though the importance of stopping, of letting go of the need to make everything happen fast, to really listen and build a relationship with the person in front of me. "
Deaconess Anne House 2021-2022 alum
Weekly community meals are a great way for each community to spend time together cooking and delighting in good food.
"My favorite thing about living in community is trying everyone's home meals. Some are recipes passed down, others are college fill-ups. I would not have known the joy of butternut squash, full chicken with rosemary, or my favorite, pistachio pesto, without these community dinners."
ESC 2021-2022 alum
"These weekly community meals have been a great way for us to enjoy each other’s company, have some quality ABBA dance parties, and delight in good food. Cooking for 6 people can be a challenge!"
Seattle SC 2021-2022 alum
Through Episcopal Service Corps, young adults have an opportunity to explore faith through a variety of spiritual practices. Because our Corps come from diverse backgrounds, spiritual practice can have a variety of meanings.
Oftentimes, our practices involve prayer, music, and study of sacred writings from a wide range of traditions.Programs are often located near an Episcopal church will allows members to attend services, workshops, and other educational opportunities.
Every program requires some form of “mandatory fun,” an opportunity for the community to bond. This can look as laid-back as watching movies and playing board games or as busy as a day visiting local attractions. Making time for “mandatory fun” is an opportunity for every Corps to create memories that they will carry with them well beyond the program year.
Every ESC year incorporates one or more retreats. These can be a day, a week, or two weeks in length. Regardless of the timing, our retreats are designed for our Corps to go deep. We go deep in true community life. We go deep in reflecting on our intention and call. We go deep in exploring what it means to be a spiritual being. Here in ESC, we go deep.
"There are so many opportunities to reflect and ask deep questions of myself and others in this program. The year has been a bumpy one, as is any adventurous part of one’s life, but looking back thus far I can say one thing: never stop looking for yourself, for you are always one moment away from new: new perspectives, new opinions, new experiences, new challenges, newfound identity, new confidence—it all leads to a place within where you go from asking “who am I?” to curiously saying “ah, now that makes sense… what next?” That has been my favorite part of the program, albeit that question should never completely go away because in life we should always be checking in with ourselves “who am I?” And the plentiful vocational and spiritual questions that come with it. But, I can say with a full smile, I am a lot closer to the discovery of my own heart, my own identity, than I ever was in August— and that is something I will never forget.” Jennica