Frequently Asked Questions about Episcopal Volunteers in Mission
Thank you for your interest in the Episcopal Volunteers in Mission (EVIM) program. Please take a few minutes to read through these frequently asked questions.
Q: What is the Episcopal Volunteers in Mission program and who can apply?
A: Episcopal Volunteers in Mission is a ministry for Episcopalians who are interested in exploring their faith in new ways by living and serving in communities around the Anglican Communion. This is an opportunity to be part of the life of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the daily life and work of a local community. At the same time, it brings the gifts and resources of the global Church into the lives of those who seek to continue their own faith journeys with brothers and sisters from another part of God’s world.
Episcopal Volunteers in Mission is open to Episcopalians ages 30+ – for those between the ages of 21 and 30, please visit www.episcopalchurch.org/yasc to learn about the Young Adult Service Corps.
Applicants must have a high degree of maturity, resilience, and flexibility. A deep commitment to your faith, the willingness to be a humble guest, and the ability to be an authentic companion are essential.
Q: Do I need to be Episcopalian to apply?
A: Yes. As a member of this program, you will be representing your parish, diocese, and The Episcopal Church.
Q: What do I get out of the Episcopal Volunteers in Mission program?
A: You get a unique opportunity to be in relationship with brothers and sisters in Christ you haven’t met yet. You have the opportunity to share your own faith story, listen to those of others, and through that mutual sharing help build up the global body of Christ.
APPLICATION, DISCERNMENT, AND ORIENTATION
When are applications due, and what does the application/discernment process include? A: Applications are due on a rolling basis, but participation in a two-week cross-cultural orientation program, which takes place in late June of each year is a mandatory part of the program.
The 2017 dates:
Orientation: June 18-July 1 Departures: July-September
Q: What does the orientation entail?
A: The two-week missionary orientation is facilitated by the Mission Personnel Office and is a mandatory part of the Episcopal Volunteers in Mission program. During the orientation, candidates will prepare for cross-cultural life and work. Topics of discussion include, but are not limited to, the history of mission in The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, region-specific information, cross-cultural communication, and security, health, and wellness overseas. The orientation is held at Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, NY and the whole experience is grounded in the daily life and routine of this Anglican Benedictine community. To learn more about Holy Cross, please visit www.holycrossmonastery.com.
Q: How are mission placements arranged, and may I request a specific placement?
A: All mission placements are made at the request of, and in collaboration with, a bishop of a diocese within the Anglican Communion. We make placements based upon the skills, gifts, and interests of the applicants and the needs of our partners around the Communion. Additionally, some placements may be made to support an existing companion relationship.
Q: What are some of the current EVIM placements?
A: Missionaries serve in a variety of ministries including, but not limited to, teaching, working in agricultural development, working with refugees and migrant workers, working in medical settings, and working in provincial/diocesan offices.
FINANCES, FUNDRAISING, AND HEALTH INSURANCE
Q: What costs associated with being a missionary does the Mission Personnel Office cover?
A: For applicants considering a full year of service, the Mission Personnel Office covers the full cost of the two-week mission orientation, one round-trip airfare, language study (up to $1,200), comprehensive international health insurance, and a monthly stipend. For those considering six months of service, the Mission Personnel Office would cover all of above except language study. The Mission Personnel Office will also reimburse visa and vaccination costs.
Q: Do I have to raise funds for my year of service?
A: There is a fundraising expectation for all candidates. This should not be seen as a barrier to your consideration for application. Rather, this is an opportunity for your parish and diocesan community to actively participate in your mission service. Those serving for one year will be asked to raise $10,000 and those serving for six months will be asked to raise $5,000.
Q: I have student loans. What do I do with them while I am overseas?
A: It is possible to defer your student loans for your time overseas. The Mission Personnel Office will provide you with the appropriate paperwork.
Q: Do I get health insurance while I am overseas?
A: The Mission Personnel Office provides comprehensive health, dental, and life insurance for all mission volunteers. This includes coverage for emergency medical evacuation. We also cover all pre-trip vaccination costs and a month of coverage upon return.
IN-COUNTRY LOGISTICS AND SUPPORT
Q: What will my host diocese provide for me while I am abroad?
A: The host diocese provides housing, which, depending on the location, ranges from family stays to private apartments. The host diocese will also assist with local orientation and training as needed.
Q: What is the role of the Mission Personnel Office while I am overseas?
A: The Mission Personnel staff will provide pastoral care and logistical support while you are overseas. Staff members follow blogs and Facebook updates and are available to talk on the phone and Skype and via e-mail. Staff members will also assist with health insurance issues and reimbursements for program-related costs.
Q: What is the role of my home parish and diocese?
A: While the Mission Personnel staff will keep in touch with you during your year of service, we also expect that your home parish/diocese will do the same. They should pray for you, follow your blog, and keep in touch with you. Having a strong support system at home is an immensely helpful part of mission service.
Q: What are the Mission Personnel Office’s expectations of me?
A: During your year of service, you should actively keep in touch with the Mission Personnel Office and your home parish and diocese. Many people choose to do this via blog or e-mail newsletter. Stories and photos from serving missionaries help tell the story of The Episcopal Church’s commitment to global mission and our brothers and sisters around the world and encourage others to get involved in local and international mission initiatives.
Q: How will the Mission Personnel Office share my story with the wider church?
A: As part of the Global Partnerships Office, the Mission Personnel Office maintains a strong presence on social media and has a close relationship with the Episcopal Church’s Office of Communication, which often runs missionary-related news stories in the Episcopal News Service.
If this sounds like an opportunity you’d like to explore, please feel free to reach out to Elizabeth Boe, Staff Officer for Global Mission Engagement and/or fill out an application at www.episcopalchurch.org/missionaries.