It’s been two weeks. Two weeks of getting to know each other, learning about how to form community within the ESC house and in the wider areas of our neighborhood and the city. What does it mean to build consensus? Why should we care about racism as Christians? How do you write a house covenant with guidelines that hold the house community accountable? How can we use one-on-one conversations as building blocks of community? These are only some of the questions we explored in our orientation time. Now, as we are preparing to start our service on Tuesday morning, I have spent some time reflecting on our journey so far, and I have been thinking about how God has been walking with us in our journeys so far.
My journey started on Sunday, August 20th. After my church service at home, I started the drive up to Baltimore from Salisbury, MD (my home). When I was about halfway there, I got a battery light in my car, followed by a check-engine light. Long story short, my mom came to my rescue, helped me load all of my things into her car, and drove me the rest of the way to Baltimore. What a day! I arrived and then went on a walking tour of our neighborhood, Bolton Hill. Having car troubles made the day extremely stressful, and when things are that bad, it is hard to see God working around you. Boy, I was so glad to see my mom that day. God was definitely present there, and also in the conversations we had in the car on the way to Baltimore. It was almost like God was telling me to take some time out and enjoy the company of my family a little more. Don’t take that for granted.
Orientation was full of the Holy Spirit. I have enjoyed all of the conversations about living in intentional community with each other this year. I have also very much enjoyed getting to know the other Gileads and exploring the city with them on our Baltimore scavenger hunt. It just so happens we are all Episcopalians, but have different backgrounds with the Church, and different paths that have led us to our year of service. It fills my heart with joy to be living with Christians my age equally as passionate about justice and service as I am. We will all be doing different kinds of service this year, but it is all God’s work.
One of my favorite parts of orientation was our official commissioning by the Assisting Bishop of the Diocese of Maryland. The Holy Spirit was certainly present when alumni, program team members, ESC MD board members, clergy, and other supporters of the program all gathered together to pray for us and officially welcome us to Baltimore and wish us Godspeed in our service year. My favorite part was the blessing of our hands to do Christ’s work this year. Bishop Chilton came to each of us with a prayer and with holy oil to put on our hands. It was very special.
I have been overwhelmed in the best way possible by the support given to us by the ESC MD team as well as by Memorial Episcopal Church in Bolton Hill. Our residence is part of the rectory of the parish, and we have been so thankful to have such a wonderful place to live in for this year.
And now, we prepare our hearts and minds for our service to begin on Tuesday. I can’t wait to start my work at Great Kids Farm and see where God leads me this year!