About St. Paul's Church Episcopal Service Corps
In order to further our goal of evangelizing with youth and young adults, the Vestry and Rector of St. Paul’s have approved the formation of an Episcopal Service Corps (ESC) site in Steamboat Springs. By sending five young adults into the community in service and in the name of St. Paul’s, we will impact five different service agencies and their clientele. They will be visible witnesses among their peer group of ‘twenty-somethings’ in town. They will witness to the enthusiasm and ideals of the next generation of Christians. The ESC program will place St. Paul’s at the forefront of serving the Steamboat Springs community.
Episcopal Service Corps is a federation of young adult service programs across the United States. ESC helps young adults discern the inner “voice” that is calling them to their life’s work, and to develop the skills to listen and respond through a life of service. ESC creates diverse communities that strive to diminish the boundaries that frequently divide humanity. God created one human family. For more information see: www.episcopalservicecorps.org.
The programs of ESC provide opportunities for young adults of various backgrounds to:
- Engage in a deeper level of service to those in need
- Deepen spiritual awareness and discern vocation
- Develop leadership skills in the paradigm of servant leadership
- Live a simple, sustainable lifestyle
The programs vary and are managed independently. They are based in the Episcopal Church.
The basics of the program are as follows:
- A minimum of four interns are selected from applications for the local program submitted through the national website.
- The interns live together in an intentional Christian community in housing provided by the local program.
- They exercise their ministry with local organizations that pay $12,000 into the program for the privilege of having an intern.
- They are provided health insurance and Workman’s Comp.
- They participate in intentional spiritual formation activities, prayer, worship, and common meals.
- Programs are 10 month long internships.
St. Paul's Steering Committee has developed the elements of a successful program and the budget necessary to sustain it. This is being done in conjunction with the Office of the Bishop of Colorado and other potential sites in the Diocese of Colorado. Sources of funding both within the parish and through granting agencies are being developed.
St. Paul’s will have the privilege of pouring into these young adults through sponsoring families, sharing in spiritual discernment, and worship. The interns can bring the needs of Steamboat more consciously to mind among us. This can foster a renewed sense of mission and ministry to our local community by our congregation.
ESC programs adhere to the following practices:
Intentional Christian Community
ESC believes that interns grow through living with other Christians while trying to practice the ancient ways of the faith intentionally, including eating and praying together. This communal lifestyle is counter-cultural, and in some ways monastic. Through this experience, interns come to a deep understanding of how their actions affect others. Communal living is an attempt to live out Jesus' commandment to love neighbor as self in a literal and intentional way.
Service of others in solidarity, promoting justice through community
Through non-profits, parishes, or both, interns work alongside the people in their neighborhoods. Jesus was just as likely to spend his time with a poor leper as he was a temple leader. Therefore interns practice this lifestyle as a means of promoting a more just and sustainable world. Global ideals are brought about through local action. The action of living in solidarity is sacramental. It is an outward visible sign of God's inward spiritual grace and love for the world.
Deepening of spiritual awareness and vocational discernment
Throughout the experience in each of the programs, interns are asked, “Where is God in all this?” Through different methods, from spiritual direction, to Eucharist, to Bible study, to journaling, interns are invited to reflect on their experience, to build a capacity to spot God in their daily lives, and develop a language to articulate their experience of God. Often interns go on to pursue advanced theological education. ESC provides interns with a base of life in prayer that sustains them in their future ministries.
The slogan "Live simply so that others may simply live," is often attributed to Ghandi, and it effectively describes what ESC means by simple living. Simple living promotes trust in God for providence, and not in the world or self.