Episcopal Farmworker Ministry responds to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families, and actively supports opportunities for them to become self-directive. We seek to minister to farmworkers in three principal ways:
- through direct services;
- through development and support of programs that work towards the empowerment of farmworkers;
- by encouraging leadership development, advocacy, and education aimed toward a systematic change of agricultural policy at local and state levels.
EFwM started in 1982 with just one outreach worker who provided transportation to service agencies, translation, English classes, and recreational activities to mostly Haitian migrant workers. Later in our first decade, we added drivers’ education classes, a migrant summer youth camp, and our immigration services, which began in response to the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, that led to amnesty for many.
In the early 1990’s, we built a daycare facility that would eventually become Saint Martin’s Migrant Head Start. Other programs that were fortified in the nineties were our migrant camp outreach, the English as a Second Language (ESL) program, and drivers education. EFwM also continued its work with immigration and began to offer assistance in filing income taxes, but this time with a client base that had become mostly Latino.
In 1996 we welcomed our first Sacramental Minister to develop a religious congregation of migrant workers.
In 1998 we opened our permanent facility, El Centro Episcopal, and it has allowed us to expand our programs and services even further. We have added two full-time immigration specialists. Meanwhile, our religious congregation continued to grow, and in 2000 we began to hold worship services in the winter as well as during the growing season.
The Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church and the other churches in the worldwide Anglican community are committed to follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, who served the poor, the needy, and the outcast. The Episcopal Church is organized into dioceses, of which there are three in North Carolina. Episcopal Farmworker Ministry is jointly sponsored by the Diocese of North Carolina and the Diocese of East Carolina.
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