Another year of Maryland Episcopal Service Corps, another blog and blogger. To start this year off only a month behind, let's begin with introductions and explanations.
Who are we?
If you've just arrived from some random point on the internet and haven't yet figured out why you've been directed here, we are the Episcopal Service Corps interns for the diocese of Maryland.
That's great. Now what the heck is Episcopal Service Corps?
Episcopal Service Corps is a part of the new ministries of the Episcopal Church. Young adults between 21 and 30 spend one year living in intentional community and doing service work in various different diocese around America. We're sort of like Americorps, only smaller, and run by a church organization instead of the government. There are similar programs in many other religious groups.
Wait, intentional community? What's that?
So, in many service organizations you're part of a program, but you find your own housing and live by yourself. Episcopal Service Corps programs include the concept of intentional community, that the service corps members will live with each other in housing provided by the program, and that part of our year of service is learning to live with one another as part of a planned community and household. Our program, ESC Maryland, has a house in the city of Baltimore that we as interns share. We have communal meals, communal worship at least once a week, and in general, have to learn to live with one another and grow as a group as well as as individuals.
This is important for us and for our faith lives. After all, a core part of Christian belief is that where two or three are gathered in God's name, God is present. We decided to go the extra mile and have seven people in the house.
So, all of you are Episcopalian?
Nope! Although most of us have at least a bit of familiarity with the Episcopal Church or other mainline Protestant churches, you don't have to be Episcopalian to join this program. There are some Episcopalians this year, some who are various denominations of Christian, and some who are still actively engaged in figuring out what they believe and where they fit into any religious community, if they fit at all. We're all just committed to continuing our faith journeys together for this next year, and seeing where the road will lead us.
Okay. So what do you do, aside from live together?
Each of us has a work site that we spend 35 hours a week serving as an intern at. These are service organizations in and around Baltimore City itself, many focused on issues of urban poverty and it's effects. Over the next months we should be talking about each intern's particular job site and what the intern himself or herself does there. As it is, we've only been working at our jobsites for two weeks now, so many of us are just finishing up our trainings before we find what our actual work for the year will be!
Right. Okay, now who are all you people? Just a mass of faceless interns?
I can promise you that all of us do actually have faces, though someone better at me at doing pictures will be the one providing you with proof later on. This year, 2014-2015, the intern batch includes Margaret Clinch, Kelly Crabtree, Jarred Ervin, Sarah Harrs, Matthew Konerth, Dan Sherman, and Clara Summers.
And which one of you is writing this?
That would be me, Margaret. I'll probably be the primary one posting, unless someone else in the group hijacks the blog to talk about how awesome their work is.