Chasing Destiny into Baltimore

I have always  felt a calling on my life, and as the child of two idealistic people they named me Destinee because they felt a woman named after fate itself could be fearless enough to define her own. When I decided to do the Episcopal Service Corps program in Baltimore many people commended my call to service while simultaneously spewing their skewed perceptions of this city. I know what you’re thinking: “Didn’t President Trump call this city a dirty, rat and rodent infested mess?”

Yes, yes he did.

But I came here despite the rumors, because I loved this city even before I was given the privilege to live here. At North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University the most artistic, brilliant, and driven people were from this area. Though this bustling city has its problems (as most major cities do) this city has revived my spirit after a period of transition and loss. I’m in my 20’s , and if you’re too or ever have been you know this decade can kill you. But God has been molding me, and pointed me in this direction.

As the intern at Epiphany Community Center I wear many hats. I work with the church and community center on their family stability program, youth work, and youth ministry. Working with various populations has allowed me to see myself as just one part of the whole body of Christ. I have never felt more connected to my fellow man than I am now. As I help my community, I help myself. As I am compassionate towards my community, I easily extend compassion to myself. As I heal the youth, I heal myself. Often we come into service work thinking we are giving of ourselves, but in reality Baltimore has given me the opportunity to love myself and love my God even more.


Kelly at Public Justice Center

Hi! My name is Kelly. I recently graduated from Messiah College with a BA in English. I’m so excited to spend my service year with Public Justice Center, a legal organization that confronts injustice through both individual representation and systemic advocacy. So far I’ve completed intakes with clients, researched systemic issues in public schools, and helped create a social media campaign for the National Week of Action Against School Pushout. PJC’s work perfectly integrates my interest in education with my skills in reading, writing, communication, and technology. Check out this infographic I’ve been working on for our social media!


Abby is… New in Town

Hello all!

This is my first blog post and I’m über nervous, so bear with me:)

I came to Baltimore because I love this city, and for the fact that I was still reasonably close to my family and friends in the Eastern Shore, Ocean City to be exact. Furthermore, I knew many people here and was already pretty acquainted with the dynamics of the city.  However, after moving here and actually living in the heart of it all, I realized there was so much more than just the tourist destinations I tended to go near.  Through many adventures I found small and unique avenues that many disregard and forget about, but which hold some of the best features of the city. We may not be the richest, cleanest, or nicest to look at; but in some of the strangest places I found many wonderful and caring people who hold immense pride and love for where they live.  So many are amazing activists who wish to see this city flourish and live again. And I’m proud I’m doing my service year here!

Wading In, Washing Off Muck

 Scott Slater is a member of our ESC-MD Advisory Board. He was part of the founding group, rotated off what became the Advisory Board and missed us so much he returned to this work. In this photo you can see him leading a talk at Happening this past weekend- with nearly 90 teens at The Bishop Claggett Center, our Diocesan camp and conference center. is his reflection on that important work with Diocesan youth, and one of the many ways in which our Canon to the Ordinary (someone who works directly for the Bishop) continues a ministry so important to him and to the Church.  Scott spent two years in his earlier life with a young adult year of service program, one which changed his own life, and he works hard with ESC-MD and in other ways, to ensure that other young lives may change so that they in turn may help change the lives of others.

God, Decisions, Grace’s Life

Grace Santandreu ESCMD 2016-17

What has been most formative in your life? You might think of some amazing moments, eye opening hardships, and relatable interactions with people closest too you. This post is a shout out to the Episcopal Service Corps and its hand in forming me into the person I am now, 18 months after finishing my year.  I learned a lot about myself, and continue to learn, especially on my approach to group dynamics and my outlook on life decisions and important relationships, and also my relationship to God. Maybe I learned more about my own name.

In Reflections we used some different personality indicators to show us where we fell on spectrums. One that gave me a lot to think about was one that showed strengths and weaknesses in group decision making. I had known that I am a strong listener and collectively take in individual perspectives of a group before a decision can be reached to effectively benefit everyone. I also learned that my accommodating nature that would lend my opinions a back seat during group decision making. My housemates gave me a chance to grow into a more effective communicator while taking my personal style into perspective.

I also expected my time with ESCMD to show me two things-about my relationship with God, and a way to making life decisions- all by the end of the year. During my ESC year, I was exposed to more social justice, racism education and environmental farm practices than all previous years, and learned I needed more time to reflect.  What I learned in my eye-opening year is that a relationship with God is very much a living thing, not a static thing. I learned from mentors that focusing, and re-focusing, on what truly matters is the important part.  I realized was that I needed more time to even decide about next academic steps, so took a job totally un-related. Now I am getting ready to take that next step forward in surprising ways. It’s not always what I want, but what community needs and God wants.

Formation of who you are comes from many different experiences, and how you respond. I am glad to have had my experience with ESCMD as it has taught me important lessons to carry with me beyond this year of service. Thank you to all who had supported me through my ESC year. Let’s see what the following chapters of life have in store!

Gileads tabling at Diocesan Convention

Supporting Team ESCMD – Baltimore Running Festival

Reflections on site at Great Kids Farm, Creation prayers, stream clean-up


Great Kids Farm media campaign with supervisor Beth


Baltimore Orchard and Pies

Gwen Kokes served with Civic Works’s Baltimore Orchard Project under Episcopal Service Corps Maryland in 2015-2016. She planted fruit trees, taught others how to care for theirs, and connected with community volunteers. She is now Civic Works’s Volunteer Manager, coordinating the 3,000 volunteers and the 200 AmeriCorps Members that serve with Civic Works. As an ESCMD member, she learned the valuable lessons of teamwork, communication, and patience, all of which she uses everyday to help make Baltimore even more community driven. Many of our Gileads stay in Baltimore, and continue the work of change.

Life Changing Year

“Participating in a year of service with Episcopal Service Corps in Baltimore was life changing for me. If you need a change, some work experience, time to decide what you want to do, knowledge about social justice issues, a community… and really so much more, consider a year of service.” Jessica Berry Gilead of 2103-2014. Great Kids Farm was her service site, working with the Farm Educator, and fellow Gilead Walker Smith.   Link for application is on our home page. And also right here

Sorority sisters Jess and Kelly, and Gileads a year apart

Jess P, Bishop Sutton, Jess B, Kate R

Walker and Jess on their last day at Great Kids Farm

Field trip! Introducing Great Kids Farm green house work to fellow Gileads

Best work ever! welcoming a Baltimore City School class for a field trip

Giving Thanks Over and Over Again

This past week I have been so thankful for all of the blessings in my life! One of my many blessings has been coming up to Baltimore through the Episcopal Service Corps! This past year I gained true friends, loving mentors, and a place to call home. Please consider giving so that more people can experience this blessing! Hannah Hutchens, Gilead 2017-2018, and also current House Member.

 #givingtuesday #wechangebaltimore #ESCMD


I’m so thankful for the Episcopal Service Corps Maryland. I would not be the strong, confident person I am today without the unending love, support, and community ESC-MD has provided. You can play a part in continuing the growth of this community by giving a gift on #GivingTuesday. Jessica Pandolfino (with some of the other Gilead women of 2013-2014). Lend your support as #wechangeBmore…

Gilead Community

We continue to change Baltimore as ESCMD House Members! While working in our city, these Members are living as community in the Gilead  Residence.

Here are the words of their painted Covenant:

Living in Community is more than just sharing a roof. It’s participating with each other in life. It’s fostering an understanding for our differences. It’s cooperating for the common good. Welcome to our home!

Kait is Ministry Associate with the Cathedral of the Incarnation.  She hails from Rhode Island and came to Baltimore last year for a Gilead Year, for a year of service with the Cathedral- she liked it so much and they liked her so much that she is now on staff continuing to change lives in the city. She has even joined the Choir!  In time off she loves to bake, and also volunteer with Diocese of Maryland Youth programs.

Hannah is Director of Youth and Community Engagement at Memorial Church (our Housing Partner.) She came to Baltimore last year for a Gilead Year, for a year of service with Project PLASE.  Memorial became her church home while she was an Episcopal Service Corps Member and is now on staff to broaden the ministry scope of the parish with children and youth, and through engaging the neighorhood in a variety of ways.

Kevin is on staff at Mountain Manor Treatment Center. He came to Baltimore to continue his work as a clinical psychologist, and to be close to his significant other. He says this about living in the Gilead Residence:” Living here is an excellent fit for me as I enjoy living with others who share my values of service, community, and loving your neighbor. This year I hope to deepen my understanding of my shared humanity and common connections with the folks in Baltimore. ”