Episcopal Social Services, Wichita
Episcopal Social Services (ESS) is a social service agency in Wichita, Kansas, started by a consortium of Episcopal Parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. ESS provides an array of social services and programs aimed at helping people break the cycle of poverty.
In 2013 alone, ESS assisted more than 450 people with vocational and employment services, counseled 200 at-risk youth, worked to help rehabilitate more than 250 people with mental illness, served 35,000 meals, and gave support to 300 people a month in managing their finances through a representative payee-program. Despite the great work that ESS does, its leaders realized something was missing. While many of the people ESS served expressed spiritual concerns, there was no chaplain in place to offer counsel or education opportunities.
With assistance from a 2014 Jubilee Impact Grant, Episcopal Social Services will be able to establish a chaplaincy program. The chaplain services are welcomed by staff and volunteers, as well as clients involved in an array of rehabilitation, vocational, representative payee, and youth services.
Addressing the spiritual concerns of its clients was a missing component in ESS’s daily work, and incorporating chaplain services will offer education through counseling and sharing resources, spiritual and emotional support, and compassionate listening. The implementation of the chaplaincy program will engage the mission of both The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Social Services and provide a new, valuable service to the community!
The Rev. Melanie Mullen
Director of Reconciliation, Justice and Creation Care