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Lydia Gilmer: New Episcopal Service Corps Member from the Central Gulf Coast

Meet Lydia Gilmer, recent graduate from Troy University and part of the Canterbury Club, a campus ministry of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Troy, Alabama. Lydia will be embarking on a new journey as a member of the Episcopal Service Corps, a "network of young adults ages 21-32 serving through locally organized intentional communities that are dedicated to: serving others in solidarity, promoting justice in community, deepening spiritual awareness, discerning vocation, and living simply." Below, Lydia shares about her involvement so far with Episcopal Service Corps, and what she hopes to get out of the experience. In addition, Natalie Klopfenstein is also a new member of the Episcopal Service Corps from the Central Gulf Coast.

How did you become interested in the Episcopal Service Corp?

In Canterbury Club, Nat shared how she found the ESC program and was going to apply to it. While I talked with her and helped her look through the possible placement sites, I realized I felt called to this program as well. She encouraged me to look into it more and apply.

Did you take the Discernment Quiz offered by the ESC?

I did [take the discernment quiz] and found it very helpful to narrow down the impressive number of programs across the country. I based my selections on the type of service I was most interest in like education, women’s empowerment, and legal services.

How was the application process?

The process was intense, but in such an invigorating way. There were two main stages: the application packet and the interviews. The questions throughout the process were thought provoking and I already learned a lot about my self just by answering the questions and speaking with the various ESC programs.

How were you placed in a program? Did you get to be a part of that decision process?

The ESC has a tradition called “First Offer Friday.” It is the earliest day an applicant will know if any of the programs they interviewed with has extended an offer. I was elated to receive multiple offers and then spent a week of prayer, discussion, and discernment to decide which offer I would except. It was a hard choice to make. The interviews allowed me to get to know the various programs and all of them were impressive.

Do you have to raise money or pay in order to participate in the program?

I did not.

Where is your program location?

I will be part of the Johnson Service Corps in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

What do you hope to get from the experience?

I hope to able to do good in the community and to grow and learn from it. I’ve never had the chance to fully give myself to service work, and I’m grateful for this opportunity.

What excites you the most about the experience?

I am very excited about the location and the Faith Formation sessions. I’ve always wanted to see North Carolina. In early spring, I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church, and I’m looking forward to growing my faith and involvement in the ESC.

What concerns you the most about the experience?

Admittedly, living in intentional community is my biggest concern. I am an introvert who needs my own space, but I want to get out of my comfort zone and want to learn how to create a peaceful, shared living space.

If you would like to reach out to Lydia Gilmer, you can email her at


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