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Year of Service in EDSD

What does it mean to serve? On TikTok, ‘serve’ means ‘looking good;’ in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, it means something similar, being the good for each other—to care for our neighbors in the same way we care for ourselves (Matthew 22:37).

Throughout 2023, the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego is setting out to serve our neighbors. In preparation, Bishop Susan and guest speakers hosted a four-week webinar series on the Theology of Service that you can view here.  And, throughout Lent, hundreds are reading The New Parish* as a book study–learning how your parish, your church, is responsible for more than just the people that attend; it is responsible for the care of the neighborhood–of the neighbors.  

But how do we set out to serve? How do we start?

Diocesan Missioner for Community Engagement, Deann Rios, created guiding principles, guiding questions, and helpful support links that will aid in finding what is right for your community.

Guiding Principles

  1. Pick something local—something that will impact the community around which your congregation worships. 
  2. Partner with locals—find individuals, community organizations, and civic institutions that are already seeking the goodwill of your neighborhood and partner with them. 
  3. Be practical—select activities that align with your congregants’ availability and abilities.
  4. Have fun—service is something to be joyful about!

Guiding Questions

  1. Who do we already know? Use the Relationship Inventory Guide from EDSD’s community engagement work to consider who you might already have connections with. 
  2. Who can we partner with? Ask your community partners who need help! If you still are looking for partners, consider a few practices to familiarize yourself with the surrounding community. Simple: Put your church’s address in Google Maps and slowly scroll out. Do you see schools, parks, or non-profits in the community? For an in-depth analysis of your neighborhood, register on the MissionInsite website using the diocesan code (3353D). This tool will help to conduct a deeper study of your neighborhood demographics. 
  3. How can we help right now? After determining who you can partner with, match potential service opportunities with the times your people are available and their ability levels.


Service reconnects us to one another–an exchange that involves using one’s resources for the benefit of another. This effort for another’s benefit is “service.” No other word fits so well. No other word captures the essential meaning. This is one way we fulfill Jesus’ command to love our neighbors.  

In benefiting another, we benefit as well. Service provides opportunities for us to grow. It transforms us into happier members of society. It creates a more connected, stronger community. And it is the work of Jesus Christ, your church, and your Diocese. 

*The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches Are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community by Paul Sparks (Author), Tim Soerens (Author), Dwight J. Friesen (Author). More here

Category: #Communications, #Creation Care, #Migration, #Multicultural Ministry, #Service

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One reply to “Year of Service in EDSD

  1. Kelly Park | on March 9, 2023

    Hey Chris!
    I appreciate the commitment that the EDSD has to service, and to being the good for one another. But the way the term “serve” is used on TikTok comes from Black queer culture, particularly from the ballroom scene in the 80s. I think that an implication that it is new internet slang is a small but significant oversight – especially in a communication meant for people who (I imagine) may not be familiar with the term’s true origins. Thanks for listening.


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