By Caitlyn Darnell
I’ll admit, I was terrified to come here. I plastered on a smile the first Sunday that I met you all, but deep down I was completely terrified about being here. I am the kind of person that gets very excited about ideas, so when I first heard about the Episcopal Service Corps I knew I was going to apply. I anxiously waited for the application to open and submitted it as quickly as I could. I waited for interviews to come in, interviewed, and made the decision to come down here. I even turned down my top choice because I discerned that this was where I was supposed to be.
And then the fear hit. I accepted my place at The Abraham Project just as all of my friends were sending off applications to grad school and starting to apply for jobs. Then they were accepted to grad school with great fellowships, or got jobs with great pay. I had jumped into choosing TAP with both feet, and suddenly felt like the water I jumped into was very cold. I was stepping into something completely unknown to me, and not knowing exactly what to expect from my experience scared me. I didn’t know my housemates, I didn’t yet know my nonprofit placement, and I knew nothing about the city. I could have run. I could have called Father Steve and turned down my position. But I trusted that God was sending me where I should go. Like Abraham, I trusted God. I prayed and I trusted.
I’ve been transformed by my experience here. Despite growing up an Episcopalian and having been a member of multiple Episcopal churches, this is the first church I have truly felt at home in. I love the liturgy, the Daily office, and the deep seriousness with which faith is treated here. I’ve grown in my faith more quickly than I even realized was possible. TAP has given me exactly what I needed. I needed space after graduation to breathe again, even though that wasn’t the path my friends took. I needed to take a break from academic rigors to rediscover my Christian identity, and most importantly, myself. As it came time for me to decide what my next year would look like, I knew that I wanted to stay in Winston Salem and at St. Timothy’s.
Knowing that I feel a call to ministry in the Episcopal Church, I was offered a second year of TAP with my service placement being at St. Tim’s rather than a local non-profit. I will still live in the TAP house and continue to be a part of the community, mentoring the new interns without imposing my own previous community experience on them. I am very excited to learn more about what service and mission look like from within a church now that I’ve learned about it from a nonprofit angle. I am so blessed that I will be here with you all. Instead of waiting with anxious fear like I was this same time a year ago, I am now waiting with an anxious excitement for the new year to begin.