Episcopal Community Services (ECS) and the parishes within the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania have long been in communion with one another.
These institutions are inextricably linked by our common history and values.
ECS’ 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’ mission is to challenge and reduce intergenerational poverty. Its bond with the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania is a critical component in ECS’ ability to achieve its objective.
Beginning in January 2019, ECS is pleased to welcome The Rev. David R. Anderson as chaplain. This position is one of some historical significance for ECS and has been resurrected at this time to fulfill the overlapping goals of ECS and the Diocese. These goals are laid out in a Covenant that has been adopted by both ECS’ Board of Trustees and the Bishop Diocesan on behalf of the Diocese as a whole.
The chaplain will help 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 will be 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.
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 the issues of poverty and its impact on people and families in our region, viewed through the lens of the most current social work practices and the newest findings in brain science. This presentation, Challenging Poverty, is available to community groups or as a special event.
A guest speaker is available to provide a sermon, a reading, or announcement. Speakers can include members of the Board of Trustees, the executive director, chaplain, or other leadership staff.
The chaplain, or another member of the ECS team, may visit one of the parish’s 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 goal.
For parishes that are interested in launching their own ministries, ECS can provide training on the following.
- Cook-Off: A group of volunteers gathering in community to prepare individual meals that are then distributed to the hungry.
- Companionship and Visiting for the Elderly: Volunteers are matched with the elderly or infirm, and visit them on a regular basis providing companionship.
ECS provides dynamic programs that help people improve their lives. The following services might be a good fit for members of a congregation
- MindSet: A new 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.
- RISE: In this workforce development program, job experiences are supported by education and one-on-one mentoring, helping adults begin careers and chart a path to achieve their goals.
- Seeing Youth Succeed: For teens, Saturday mornings at ECS is where they develop critical thinking skills and learn to work on and contribute to a team.
- Afterschool Programming: For children in Kindergarten through 8th grades, afterschool and summer programs offer structured support during critical afterschool hours.