As faithful Christians living in the Philadelphia area, our Gospel responsibility to care for the downtrodden and distressed cannot be ignored. The hardships of life surround and at times overwhelm us, and we are urged to be a sign of God’s hope and compassion for our communities. With waning resources, this requires creativity and diligence for us as a presbytery. As the power of the Holy Spirit continues to surprise us, newfound alliances are forging innovative ways of sharing the Gospel light. As we seek to be church in this day and age, allegiances are forming across denominational lines. Rather than be divided by our theological and structural differences, the Holy Spirit is uniting us through our common calling. One example of such collaboration is unfolding at Chester Eastside.
Once housed in the impressive Third Presbyterian Church in Chester, Chester Eastside has recently moved to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, a mere block away. St. Paul’s has the capacity to house all of Chester Eastside’s initiatives, including their food program, after-school program, adult education/GED program, Parents First, and a summer day camp. Led by Rev. Bernice Warren, Chester Eastside continues its great tradition of providing a place of hope, nurture, and community building. The willingness for collaboration among two denominations shows us new ways to enact the Gospel with prudence and efficiency.“Like the phoenix of Greek mythology, the new Chester Eastside, Inc., has risen out of the ashes of its former self,” affirms board member Mr. Willard Richan, “more determined than ever to fulfill its mission of meeting basic human needs, helping people of all ages be all that they can be, and working for a more just society.” When the prominent building at 9th and Potter became an overwhelming expense requiring expansive, costly repair, moving to St. Paul’s was a logical next step in the life of Chester Eastside. Without building overhead (including a condemned sanctuary), the ministry is now free to fulfill its mission safely and effectively.
Let us remember the people of Chester and the ministry of Chester Eastside in our heartfelt prayers, as we rejoice in our presence in this struggling city. May we give thanks for this joint effort by Episcopalians and Presbyterians to bring the hope of Jesus Christ to the city of Chester. To read more about Chester Eastside, click here.