A ministry that began with a joint Lutheran-Episcopal ordination last October has found a place to call home.
The Rev. Patrick Seyler, who leads United in Faith Episcopal-Lutheran Mission out of the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Kennett Square, will soon shift his base of operations to the old La Comunidad Hispana building on Birch Street. The facility was damaged badly during the flood of 2003, but has been restored and updated so that Seyler and his staff can provide social services there.
On Sunday, June 4, there will be a community consultation at the new location from 2 to 4 p.m. to celebrate its opening and help plot the direction the mission will take. Everyone is welcome to attend. Seyler said he hopes to talk then about needs and identify gaps in social services in the borough, particularly among the Hispanic community as well as youth, women and people with disabilities. "We want to avoid duplication," he said, adding that he will definitely offer English classes and also literacy classes for Hispanics who can't read Spanish.
Right now the building is mostly empty, with just a few chairs, a table and stored items. But Seyler said they have some furniture coming and that he hasn't completely made up his mind how the office will be laid out.
Working with Seyler is Shannon Cortigine, who will staff the desk during regular hours during the week. She said she has the goal of clients and mission staff sharing their gifts to help each other.
As for Seyler's ministerial duties, he will continue preaching out of the Episcopal Church of the Advent on North Union Street in Kennett Square on Sunday afternoons. On June 11 at noon he has a bilingual Pentecostal service planned starting a noon with praise time, then teaching at 12:30 p.m., Holy Communion at 1:30 p.m. and fellowship meal at 2:30 p.m.
The United in Faith Ministry is supported largely by the Episcopal and Lutheran churches in the area. Seyler said he has been visiting many local Episcopal and Lutheran churches and developing partnerships for his work and asking for help.
Although the mission is technically Protestant, Seyler said it is "catholic" (or universal) in spirit, meaning that it addresses people of all faiths and stations in life. According to its mission statement, United in Faith seeks to develop an "all inclusive community of faith that supports, sustains and connects those who thirst for God, deep social change and for the care of the earth."