Celebrating Easter in Camden: Epiphany Fellowship's Story

Mission is everything to Epiphany Fellowship Church, a young, diverse, and energetic congregation located in Camden, NJ. Initially a plant of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Epiphany Fellowship is now five years old, and they've been in their current location – a mixed-use space on East State Street – for about two. This space and location is strategic for the church’s work, as it sits at the hub of several neighborhoods, and creates a welcoming environment for all kinds of people.

“Mission is so easy here,” says Ernie Grant, Epiphany Fellowship’s Connections Pastor. “I don’t need to think through needs – I already know them.” The needs of this community are great and many – poverty, hunger, drug abuse, violence, fatherlessness – and Epiphany Fellowship is working hard to address them by opening their doors, going out, and meeting people where they are.

Annually, Epiphany Fellowship seeks to do at least 24 outreach events in the community. Sometimes, these events are simple, like distributing snacks, drinks, and other items at the nearby transit center. Other times, the scale is much bigger, like when they help provide backpacks and school supplies to hundreds of local kids each fall, and their annual block party each spring. This is where Easter Outreach comes in.

For the past four years, Easter Outreach has been able to provide hundreds of meals for Epiphany Fellowship Church, which they in turn distribute to their friends and neighbors. But, “you’ve got to be creative with the meals,” Grant says, “otherwise you’re just giving out food.” This creativity has turned into a well-orchestrated community event. Epiphany Fellowship’s meeting space has a large and highly visible parking lot, where they set up bouncehouses and other activities for kids. In addition to handing out the food provided through Easter Outreach, they also give out free haircuts, clothing and shoes, and hygiene products, and connect people to resources like medical care. They also offer tours of the church, with the hope that this will help their neighbors feel more comfortable if they come back on a Sunday.  

These events always draw a large crowd, but they are successful in other ways as well. Grant says that “after those outreach events, we see so many people come to Jesus and get baptized.”

An Easter ham and sides may seem simple in the face of very big and very real problems, but the lasting and substantial connections created through this meal can have a huge impact. We are so thankful for the vital role that Epiphany Fellowship Church has played so far in Easter Outreach, and are excited to see how they will continue to make a difference in their neighborhood in 2016 and beyond!

To learn more about Epiphany Fellowship Camden, please visit their website. And consider giving to Easter Outreach, to help support this church's work. 

Easter Outreach 2016 at Epiphany Fellowship