News & Events

Learning the Language

By Mary Strand I spent the first couple years of my life in a very small, town in the middle-of-no-where Upstate New York. My days were filled by giggling with my older siblings, jumping in piles of Fall leaves, and swinging from the tire swing on the apple tree in the back yard. My life in my tiny town was all I knew. My small world was suddenly turned upside down when my family moved to Costa Rica just after I turned three years old. I began preschool in a place where I was the only English speaker. I lay with my eyes wide open during naptime listening to the whispers of my classmates in language that I did not know.  It was not long before I began to pick up the Spanish language. As I was immersed in the culture, my ears constantly being filled with the lush sounds of the language rolling off my neighbors’ tongues, ... [read more]

Grateful for the Noise


Trish is excited for the weekly community dinner! By Trish JohnstonI’ve been thinking a lot lately about what silence is, how we experience it and what it means in our lives. We live in a world in which silence is often valued. Most of the time, it’s not socially acceptable to talk about, for example, which political candidate we support, or our personal faith, or any current event that’s particularly touchy. Often times, we’re scared to be anything but silent about things like our emotions, our need and our wants. By revealing these to other human beings we show our true selves, and are left vulnerable and exposed, a feeling that we as a culture have come to dread.I want to tell you about my housemates. We all live together in a big old house in the middle of center city. But we’re more than just housemates. We are attempting ... [read more]

Surrendering Is Necessary

By Shontae Walker This year I am learning to enjoy every single moment and simply do what I love to do, which is dancing, getting to know God more and deepening my relationship with Him and step by step becoming a better version of myself. I have realized that focusing on enjoying each moment and deepening my relationship with God are things that will help me maintain a sense of thankfulness and gratitude in the midst of the twist and turns and surprises in life. These things are foundational for me no matter where life takes me, which is what I am learning. On a more practical note, I am currently in the process of applying to business school. My hopes is to work towards developing the necessary skills to create a business that functions as a non-profit, but is sustained by earned revenue. I want this business to help not only children and youth, but other organizations that ... [read more]

I Am a Church Girl

​By Jill Disbro My name is Jill and I am a church girl. Short and sweet. I am a church girl. While this may not be the first thing I say to every person I meet on the street, I find that when I am asked to describe who I am and where I come from, one of the first things that I must explain is that I am one of those people who “grew up in the church.” I went to church every Sunday, I always went to Sunday school, participated in every youth outing and volunteer opportunity, and as I got older volunteered in Vacation Bible School. My formation as a child, teenager, and now as a young adult has been defined by my experience at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio.  While this may sound like the description of an angelic, Christian child, I assure you it ... [read more]

The Virtue of Interruptability

​By Cory Brautigam Don’t waste your life never allowing yourself to be interrupted. I continually find it true that it is better to be a person who is easily interrupted than a person who never allows interruptions to affect them. Maybe I’m just putting in a good word for spontaneity, but I think there is something more to being a person who is attentive to interruption than just being spontaneous.  Interruption is the breaking of continuity. Whether it is the continuity of a conversation, the continuity of a walk in the park, or the continuity of life, interruptions interfere. They come in all shapes and sizes. When you’re walking down the street and a homeless person tries to engage you in conversation: interruption. When you’re writing a blog post and your housemate strikes up a conversation: interruption. We generally consider interruptions bad. The reason for this, I believe, is two-fold. First, interruptions get in the way of ... [read more]

Affirming the Sacred amid the Profane


​By Donnecia Brown Recently, I attended The Episcopal Young Adult Pilgrimage to Ferguson, MO. It was intensely emotional in the most beautiful way possible. In Ferguson, I met a tangible God and encountered resurrection power. I stood at Michael Brown’s memorial in the presence of God. I stood in solidarity with all the black lives that have been unjustly taken. I stood with Tamir Rice (Ohio), Sandra Bland (Texas), Eric Garner (New York), Trayvon Martin (Florida), John Crawford (Ohio), Ezell Ford (California), Yvette Smith (Texas), Jonathan Ferrell (North Carolina), Freddie Gray(Maryland), Walter Scott (South Carolina), Dontre Hamilton (Milwakee), Tanisha Anderson (Ohio), and hundreds of other victims. I grew weary thinking about these black and brown people who did not get the benefit of the doubt. I sobbed for lost childhoods, unachieved goals, victim blaming, and mourning communities. I petitioned God about the communal trauma people of color continue to experience. We ... [read more]

We’re Just Ordinary People

​By Leanna Browne I feel like this year has me questioning a lot of things so far – What am I really doing (in the fight for liberation)? Is Servant Year actually making an impact? How is the work I am doing really contributing to liberation? More importantly, what is the goal of our work? I could go on and on with questions, but I’ll pause here. I guess my inquisitive nature as a child is revealing itself (perhaps because it never left). As Servant Year members, though we earn modest stipends, we are provided with comforts. For example, we are all given places to live, placements to provide us with an enriching experience, mentors to help support us in our professional and/or spiritual journeys, small group meetings to help create communities outside of our houses, monthly speaker series to engage us in discussions around relevant topics, formation opportunities to develop spiritually, etc. I’d say we are pretty protected by all ... [read more]

My Service Is Not About Me

​By Anisa Knox In late August, I arrived at the Free Church of St. John of Kensington eager to begin my year of service and intentional community living. I honestly did not know know what to expect. My doubts about my placement soon dissipated as I was warmly welcomed by a team of individuals who were active community members. The vicar of Free Church, Padre Jose taught me step-by-step about the various community services Free Church provides, including the Food Pantry and the After-school program. Not only do I work directly with the community but also with local officials to obtain funding and help address some of the needs of the community.​Several communities in Northern Philadelphia, especially Kensington suffer from high crime rates, poverty, and hunger. My social responsibility is to partner with local organizations and churches to provide quality services in the areas of education, nutrition and sports that ... [read more]

Learning to Think on My Feet

​By Danielle Brown Working at St. James School has been tough, hectic and time consuming. On paper, the job description blatantly outlines the mandatory 12-hours days, but considering lesson planning, material checking, and Xeroxing, 12-hours days easily turn into 14-hours days with work on the weekends, too. The learning curb is incredibly steep; I must make three large mistakes daily. I am constantly asking my co-workers for advice or for quick grading, attendance checking, and other miscellaneous tutorials. There are days I am mentally exhausted, physically sick, and spiritually stretched to my limits. I am constantly treading water and sometimes I can only do enough to come up for air only every few minutes. But I would not trade my placement for the world, and here are five reasons why. One: I joined the Episcopal Service Corps to become closer to my faith, and to place Christianity at the forefront of my ... [read more]

Challenges and Rewards

​By Ongachi Simuli My Servant Year work placement is with the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Germantown. Here at St. Luke’s I wear many hats; I am the Director of Youth Ministry and Christian Education. I will also be taking over as Director of the Food Pantry.  I am very excited and honored to be in this position. My vision for the church is to ignite a familiar enthusiasm towards Christian education in youth as well as adults.  In addition, I seek to implement more art, music, trips into the curriculum. My first major goal this year is to establish a solid framework for Christian education classes. I look forward to exploring Christian education with the parishioners of St. Luke’s and am blessed to be working with such open minded people. Currently, I am in the process of starting new classes after Sunday mass this November. Youth ministry is taking ... [read more]