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


Jan Hamill

About ESC Director

The Rev. Jan Hamill has a long career with formation related ministries- from school and university chaplaincies, youth ministry, diocesan commissions on ministries, to parish ministries. She was involved in an ongoing conversation in the Diocese of Maryland with others in related ministries, resulting in the forming of Episcopal Service Corps Maryland in 2010. She is married to the the Rev. Mark Gatza; they have 2 young adult children.
Bookmark the permalink.