The 2011-2012 Service Corps class discusses the various components that make up the Trinity Cathedral Urban Service Corps program.
- Sarah Townsend, 2011-2012 Trinity Cathedral Urban Service Corps member from Dallas
- Peter Moorhouse, 2011-2012 Trinity Cathedral Urban Service Corps Member from Jewett, Ohio
Alex was lucky enough to be chosen out of the speed dating process to work at The Cleveland Leadership Center, where he has been busy writing grants and has been engaged in the various leadership programs that CLC offers. Marguerite has been working at The Stockyard Clark-Fulton and Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office where she has been given the prestigious title of “Greenspace Specialist.” Her main duties have been graffiti abatement, supporting urban gardeners and researching the feasibility of using goats to “mow” grass on vacant lots. Sarah has been working at Westcreek Preservation Committee designing their website, going door to door with fliers, and coordinating and attending meetings to discuss the importance of new trails and environmentally sustainable development in Parma. Peter is working at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries where he works with individuals to promote self-advocacy at the 2100 Lakeside Mens Shelter, and has been helping to implement and research various advocacy-based projects to support the elderly, violence prevention in schools and environmental justice. Gwen has been working at Trinity Cathedral with the hunger program, Blessings in a Backpack, where she exercises her leadership skills in organizing the rest of her fellow interns and volunteers on Fridays to prepare backpacks of food for nearby low-income students. Laura is working for Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, making block club postcard reminders, learning about the dynamics of the community involvement office and helping to plan and attend various events such as the Eco-Village Design Charrette, annual fundraiser and various block club meetings.”
–Laura Brown, 2011-2012 Trinity Cathedral Urban Service Corps Member from Indianapolis
- Alex Barton, 2011-2012 Trinity Cathedral Urban Service Corps Member from Baltimore
Alex recommends a few online spots to learn more about Cleveland:
In our own home, we strive to live as simply and sustainably as possible. Our drive to live simply is supported by the structure of our program. Six people living together naturally use fewer resources than six people living individually; our limited stipends and communal food budget make it easier not to over-consume – although we hear that ESC is more generous than a few other church-based service programs out there! We get a bus and train pass, free, through the program, and Cleveland is pretty easy to get around via bike and foot. Though most of us have cars, we don’t use them much. We’ve agreed, in our community vows, to reduce, reuse, recycle and to be aware of our place in the larger ecosystem. Rather than being militant eco-nerds, we look at sustainability as a process and a continual conversation. We do not, for instance, shun anyone who leaves a light on by mistake. We did, however, buy a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share with locally grown, organic vegetables and have been cooking on our own as much as possible, rather than buying packaged, factory-farmed fare. We’ve baked several loaves of bread, made a few batches of yogurt, experimented with lacto-fermented vegetables and might go into brewing our own beer! We compost our food scraps, try to turn off lights, and recently installed fluorescent light bulbs, a programmable thermostat, and a low-flow showerhead as part of a ‘Green Your Block Club Challenge.’ In the spring, we hope to grow herbs in our yard.
The other part of sustainability and simplicity that I see, especially with regards to service and community living, is in balancing commitments. One of the challenges of this program for me is that there are so many wonderful opportunities in Cleveland, both in terms of community involvement and service as well as social and cultural activities. I am continually trying to balance my desire to be involved with my knowledge that I also need to keep things ‘simple’ and limit what I take on, so that I am able to ‘sustain’ myself. Like everything, it is a learning process, and this program, right now, is the perfect place to do this learning.”
-Marguerite Hutcheson, 2011-2012 Trinity Cathedral Urban Service Corps Member from Boston
That being said, we are an intentional community that prays together and has committed to being open with each other about our faith journey as we participate in a wide variety of religious activities. Trinity Cathedral is a huge support in so many ways including:
Members donate money, time and household items and have been quick to respond if we expressed interest/need for something.
We’re paired with a host family from the congregation who is there to connect with us, be a resource and give us a chance to get out and about in the city. This year, some of the experiences have included outings to sporting events, symphony concerts and home-cooked meals. Yum!
We try to attend church services at Trinity at least twice a month. Most of us attend more than that and it’s a great experience! There are three distinctly different Sunday morning services so there’s a great chance of finding something that we can connect with.
We’re able to participate completely in the life of the congregation, including Wednesday night programming, Sunday classes and forums, neighborhood ministries and more. This is a busy place and there is so much to choose from.
Church members have offered their expertise in many different ways; from hosting us for dinner to leading reflections to giving us insight into their careers. They are present as a resource and support, it is so appreciated!
-Gwen Stembridge, 2011-2012 Trinity Cathedral Urban Service Corps Member from Atlanta