Episcopal Community Services (ECS) and the parishes within the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania have long been in communion.
These institutions are inextricably linked by our common history and values.
ECS’s roots run deep in both the Episcopal community and the field of social work. ECS was founded to coordinate the anti-poverty work of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, and over the years, its work has evolved with the changing needs of Philadelphians. Today, ECS’s mission is to challenge and reduce intergenerational poverty. Its bond with the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania is a critical component in ECS’s ability to achieve its objectives.
In 2022, following the retirement of the Rev. David Anderson, ECS called Kyle Evans as its next Chaplain. This position is one of some historical significance for ECS and was resurrected in 2019 to fulfill the overlapping goals of ECS and the Diocese. These goals are laid out in a Covenant that was adopted by both ECS’s Board of Trustees and the Bishop Diocesan on behalf of the Diocese as a whole.
The Chaplain partners with both parishes and individuals better understand how their common work reveals the heart of the Gospel, giving witness—in word and action—to Christ’s unconditional affirmation of humanity, through which we honor God in the world.
The Chaplain will build relationships within the parishes in order to support the Covenant between of ECS and the Diocese. In addition to helping break the myths of urban poverty, the Chaplain serves as a bridge between the people served by ECS and each congregation’s desire to engage in meaningful outreach and volunteer work. In order to confront the challenges of poverty, the Episcopal community must first better understand the issues of poverty and the solutions that we can provide. ECS hopes to be a catalyst for education and discussions. Together, we are stronger as we live out our Baptismal Covenant.
In addition to the Chaplain role, ECS has developed the following offerings for consideration by the parishes:
ECS’ chaplain will meet with a rector, vestry, or outreach committee to establish agreement on the partnership goals and joint activities between ECS and the parish.
ECS offers an introduction to understanding issues of poverty and its impact on people and families in our region, viewed through the lens of the most current social work, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and brain science findings and practices. This presentation, is tailored for and available to parishes and community organizations.
The chaplain, or another member of the ECS team, may visit one of the parish’s ministries or social groups. Whether it’s the Men’s Breakfast, Women’s Bible Study, or an Adult Forum, ECS will tailor the discussion to meet the parish’s goals.
- For parishes that are interested in launching their own ministries, ECS can provide training on the following.
- Cook-Off: A group of volunteers gathering at St. Barnabas Community Resource Center to prepare individual meals that are then distributed to food insecure individuals and families in West Philadelphia.
- Companionship and Visiting for the Elderly: Volunteers are matched with the elderly or infirm, and visit them on a regular basis providing companionship.
- MindSet: A program focused on career development and financial stability, MindSet pairs one-on-one coaching with group training to help individuals set goals, develop skills, and achieve self-sufficiency.
- Seeing Youth Succeed: For teens, Saturday mornings are where they develop critical thinking skills and learn to work on and contribute to a team.
- Afterschool Programming (Out of School Time (OST)): For children in kindergarten through 8th grade, after-school and summer programs offer structured support during critical after-school hours.
To inquire about any of ECS’s programs, click here.
Formerly the Advocacy Action Network (AAN), Just/Now is ECS’s faith-based advocacy program that calls on parishioners to act on their faith by getting educating and advocating in their communities to fight racism and poverty in Philadelphia and beyond. To learn more, click here [link to Just/Now page] or email Ken Anderson, Assistant Director of Inclusion and Advocacy at firstname.lastname@example.org.