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Blue Ridge SERVICE CORPS

An Episcopal Service Corps Program in the Diocese of Western North Carolina.

 
 
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Our vision

To continue the perpetual spirit of Western North Carolina by building up brave leaders, engaging with our communities to strengthen our relationships with young adults, and expand young adult ministry.  

Starting in 2019, The Diocese of Western North Carolina will launch an Episcopal Service program.  This program invites young adults to complete a year of service by walking their path and seeing where God is at work in their lives.  Our community will nurture these individuals through the work they will do at local nonprofits, living in intentional community, and deepening spiritual awareness.

Episcopal Service Corps (ESC) is a national program, but in our diocese alone we have had at least 10 young adults complete a year of service. Our diocese is special because it’s organic upbringing has been woven deeply into the hearts of people that grew up here. As young adults we have felt called to continue what we know, and what has been a constant in our lives: service. The people in Western North Carolina have helped to nourish the constant foundation in our Episcopal faith and we hope to continue that tradition.


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OUR MISSION

Our mission is simple, to serve. We invite anyone wishing to serve their greater community to join us. We are grounded in the ability to bring change and hope to this community through acts of service, leadership development, and spiritual awareness.

At Blue Ridge Service Corps, we welcome everyone into our community, regardless of walk of faith, gender, sexuality, or race. We are all part of God’s creation, and at Blue Ridge Service Corps we celebrate being exactly who God created us to be. We aim to be an inclusive, judgement-free community where everyone can feel safe and valued while they do God’s work.

We welcome you as you are. We cannot wait for you to join us.

 
 

Learn more about the experience being in Blue Ridge Service Corps in this video.

 

Want to keep up with everything going on at Blue Ridge Service Corps? Sign up for our online newsletter below!

 
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Meet the Advisory Board

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Beth Lilly

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Linda Watt

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The Rev. John Roberts

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Page Pearson

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The Rev. Anna Shine

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Carla Schell

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Eden Lewis

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The Rev. J. Clarkson

 
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Elly Withers

“I think all young Episcopalians should participate in a service year. A year of service helps young adults learn how to put all that they have learned from their youth into action. It also helps us transition into living out our Baptismal Covenant in everyday life.”

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Jared Grant

“It is hard to express the true value of my time spent serving with the ESC program. Without the relationships and formation I experienced working in the broader church I would not be on the path that I am today. Time spent in service to God’s creation is beneficial to you, the Church, and the world as a whole.”




more faces of service

Hover over an image below to read about their experience completing a year of service with Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) or Episcopal Service Corps (ESC). .

“I think that programs like Episcopal Service Corps (ESC) can provide a diocese with a constant source of labor, creativity and young adult involvement. One of the biggest issues I see in our diocese, and in the national church, is the lack of young adult participation. ESC would ensure that there is a consistent presence of young adult volunteers coming into our diocese. They would bring with them a different perspective on faith and mission. They would bring a creativity and ingenuity unfettered by the idea that things must be way a certain way “because they have always been this way.”

The diocese of WNC is a vibrant community with ample opportunities to volunteer and serve the greater mission of the church. Asheville and the surrounding area are increasingly desirable places to live. This combination has the potential to make the Western North Carolina ESC an incredibly fruitful project - one that could bring so much life into our diocese.”

-Will Bryant

Will Bryant

“Episcopal Service Corps is an experience that has greatly shaped my life and way of living. I had just finished college and there was a lot of fear, stress, and anxiety about my next stage in life. Living in an intentional community with people who were going through similar emotions really helped my transition from college into the workforce. Our spiritual discussions and practices helped settle my anxious feelings and become more focused in the present moment. During my experience, I found myself more thankful for what I had and a stronger desire to help people in the community. I connected and interacted with people in my volunteer site who had totally different life experiences. Learning about their way of living and past experiences helped me appreciate my own more and realize the diversity in our nation. ESC gave me the opportunity to connect life moments with my spiritual faith and beliefs.

Growing up in a church in the Western diocese of NC shaped my beliefs. There were many opportunities of involvement outside of my church to connect with other children and young adults. Having the opportunity to be a camper and then a counselor at Camp Henry helped me want to be Christian. Because of that experience, I decided to be involved in Episcopal Campus Ministry at UNC Wilmington and then become a member in Colorado Episcopal Service Corps. All these experiences helped me become more compassionate and have the ability to question and search for my beliefs without judgment.”

-Kristi Smith

Kristi Smith

“I have always known the connection between faith and action. Following Christ cannot involve remaining stationary, or limiting yourself to certain experiences in life. This mindset was a huge part of my decision to join the Episcopal Service Corps. My year in inner city Los Angeles was an eye-opener. I wanted to be effective and asked to be put in the most difficult placement they had, and my request was honored. I spent a year among those in abject poverty, working at a school with children who were homeless, actively recruited by gangs, couldn’t speak a word of English, neglected by parents, dealing with severe mental health issues, and more, all happening in the United States. This experience changed my entire outlook on life, my beliefs, my career choices, and above all my faith. Not one of my days was “easy.” This program requires hard work and dedication, and will challenge you physically, spiritually, and emotionally. One of my corps members said it best in her post: “ESC is staring straight into the face of the suffering and pain in the world, ill-equipped to alleviate any of it, but going to work anyway because you believe in a better world.” This program creates Disciples of Christ and gives people a concrete opportunity to be his hands and feet. Without ESC, I would not be where I am today both as a person and in my relationship with God.”

-Dorothy Hart

Dorothy Hart

“My year with the Episcopal Service Corps was both challenging and rewarding and helped me grow immensely as a person. By building relationships with the women at my site placement, Eden House, I got to witness the unbelievable strength they had on a daily basis to recover from their traumatic pasts. This was not only inspirational, but it helped direct me towards my next steps in my life and academic career. (Currently getting Masters in Public Health @ LSU, focusing my research/studies on the effects of early childhood trauma and adversity and how it affects long term health outcomes.)

The Episcopal Service Corps allows it's members to move to a new city and experience the culture and community that it has to offer. Additionally, ESC provides it's members with an excellent opportunity to network within the Episcopal church and the social justice community in that given city.”

-Helen Lindau

Helen Lindau

“The ESC challenged me, changed me, inspired me, and molded me into a young adult. I cannot begin to list everything the program did for my life, but I will highlight the most significant take-backs from the year. First and foremost it taught me the importance of showing up. That presence is just as powerful as being the speaker or group leader or "running the show." Simply, show up. Similar to showing up, but not the same, is the importance of accountability. People rely on you, whatever personal problems you may be dealing with, if you say you are going to do something, you need to be there and you need to do it. Lastly, most importantly, I experienced the power of daily prayer. Before the program I would talk to God when I wanted to on my time. Daily prayer taught me discipline and obedience and allowed me to give myself fully to God on a daily basis.”

-Page Pearson

Page Pearson

“I can't think of any other way to describe what the ESC meant to me other than it changed my life. This is not hyperbole, I owe the person I am today to the two years I spent at Saint Hilda's House in New Haven, CT. While the diocese of WNC did all it could to prepare me for being a follower of Jesus, it took me getting out of my comfort zone and living the gospel for 2 years to really change the way I thought, lived, prayed and loved all of God's children.

Asheville and the Swannanoa Valley could be the place where other young adults learn how to live out the Gospel. We have the need and resources to facilitate such a program both in our urban and rural communities. In a time when it is said that the Church is dying, the ESC is a glimpse of what God's kingdom on Earth should look like. If the diocese goes forward with having an ESC program, I promise you it will change lives.”

-Will Oxford

Will Oxford

 
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Join us.

We cannot wait to have you as a part of Blue Ridge Service Corps program based in Asheville, North Carolina. Our program is open to people of all faiths hoping to serve in an intentional community. Apply today for your opportunity to serve in our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

The following application is processed through the national Episcopal Service Corps organization. Please specify ‘Blue Ridge Service Corps’ on the application to serve with us.

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Episcopal Service Corps

Episcopal Service Corps (ESC) is a network of locally organized and incorporated intentional communities dedicated to serving others in solidarity, promoting justice in community, deepening spiritual awareness and vocational discernment, and living simply in an intentional community.

 

Megan Cox is the director of Blue Ridge Service Corps. If you would like to volunteer, donate, or get involved in this ministry, please contact Megan to get started. Being an active volunteer isn’t the only way to get involved, and we would love to have you be a part of this ministry.

Email: mcox@diocesewnc.org

Call: (828)225-6656

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Watch this video to learn more about Megan!