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A People of Mission

Posted by Dave Griffith on May 8, 2015 at 5:35 PM

This week we hosted a group from Church of the Redeemer. They wanted to see firsthand our work at St. Barnabas Mission, our shelter in West Philadelphia for woman with children and our youth center at Third Street in Old City Philadelphia, work that they actively support.


I deeply appreciate our relationship with the parishes of the Diocese with whom we have a strong affiliation. Many support ECS directly with financial support and many if not most of our volunteers come from parishes. Our partnership with the Diocese in Darby where we have opened a joint mission to deal with one community’s chronic poverty is the latest example of these relationships at work.


The visit got me to thinking about Mission. One can certainly argue that the Mission of the Church is Mission. My Rector at Trinity Solebury calls often on this notion. Rooted deeply in our baptismal covenant is our call to service, to love one’s neighbor as ourselves, even if that neighbor is a stranger and to respect the dignity of every human being. While ECS is a traditional social service agency working with the most vulnerable to provide tools and services to lift people up and out of poverty, we are also deeply committed to working with our parishes to live into the words attributed to St Francis. “Preach the gospel, and sometimes use words.” To lean in and live our covenant.


Mission is a conscious act. It is at its core the commitment of time to serve a cause in the service of others. It requires a decision to give of oneself. At ECS we are committed to helping people build that capacity. We provide the opportunity for hands on outreach, we train volunteers in this work, our partnership with the University of Pennsylvania will only elevate this training, and we support organizations that do this work by helping them build capacity with ECS consulting.


We believe firmly that the vitality of a parish is directly tied to vitality of its work in mission. Bishop Dan talks about ECS being the outreach arm of the Diocese. Yes we do some of the heavy lifting with some of the most vulnerable in our region, but we know that this work is going on in many places and in many ways throughout the diocese. One only needs to look to the growth of our Deacon programs and their focus on mission to see the changes that are underway. Core to our ECS mission is to help build capacity for this work throughout our diocese.


My message is simple. Mission is not a solo sport. The leverage that comes when we pool resources, when we stop caring who does the work and focus on the work needed and most importantly, actually do the work. At ECS we stand ready to go shoulder to shoulder with our parish brothers and sisters in this work. Frankly, we can’t do our work without you and we know there are way more folks in need than we can possibly get to. As you have heard me talk about the starfish, it all start with one stranger and it can grow. We have seen it so many times over.


If we are to be a people of Mission, then we need to lean in.



Categories: Griffith Thoughts, Leadership, ECS Outreach

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