Category Archives: English and a Second Language

Eagles’ Nest After School Tutoring Program



Thanks be to God! 

We are praying, planning, and recruiting toward starting Eagles’ Nest up again Fall of 2014! 

When we left our building on Garrett Road we left a neighborhood that God had called us to love and serve! We have been wrestling in prayer and conversation with how to continue being involved with people that we love and care about at Oak Creek Village for the past six months.  I have some great news! God has answered our prayers!

A few months ago Vintage Church moved into our former worship space and they heard about Eagles’ Nest. They are very interested in opening up their space for the program!

Therefore, we are partnering with Creekside Elementary School, the Gathering Church, and Vintage Church to start this ministry up again in the Fall of 2014. We need to recruit a minimum of twenty volunteers from all the churches involved in order to begin in the Fall.

Would you consider volunteering as a reading tutor? Tutors are needed Tuesdays & Thursdays from 3:45-6 p.m.

Anna Sircar has graciously volunteered to lead the team from All Saints Church. She is a veteran Eagles’ Nest Tutor with a passion for the kids in the neighborhood!

Contact Anna Sircar ( to sign up or for more information.


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Filed under Community, Discipleship, Eagles' Nest, English and a Second Language, Evangelism, In the News, Local Missions, Oak Creek Village Partnership, Social Justice, The Holy Spirit, Uncategorized

Living Epistle: Brendan Case on Eagles’ Nest and ESL

During the season of Epiphany we are featuring Living Epistles during our Sunday morning worship. Epiphany is a season in which we explore how Jesus is revealed as the saviour of the world and how we can join in and participate in God’s saving work. It is a season to marvel at the mission of God and to intentionally think about how we can be on mission with our God. Our vision for these 5 Living Epistles is to highlight ways that we can allow the light of Christ to shine through us so that Christ may be revealed to the world.

St. Paul uses the language of living epistle in 2 Corinthians chapter 3:

You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

When God gets a hold of us he writes upon our hearts –  he gives us new hearts – he gives us HIS heart for the world. We are living epistles. We may be the only Bible people read. We may be the only church people ever experience. We are called to live our faith and proclaim, demonstrate, and embody the gospel of Jesus! We are called to reveal Jesus to others. However, as we seek to meet real needs and share the good news of Jesus, the great mystery is that we encounter Jesus and he is revealed to us more fully

The Living Epistle yesterday was given by Brendan Case.

Brendan and Alissa Case

Brendan and Alissa Case

Here is what he said:

When we came to All Saints’ in July 2010, we quickly encountered another community: Oak Creek Village, the vast apartment complex abutting our little church. Oak Creek is overwhelmingly home to recent Latino immigrants, but also to a growing number of international refugees – Vietnamese, Nepalese, Iraqi, and others – placed by World Relief. This is a community struggling with language barriers and education gaps, many of them anxious and undocumented, mostly impoverished, but deeply hopeful.

I first got to know Oak Creek by volunteering with Eagle’s Nest, an after-school tutoring program for students from Oak Creek Elementary. These effortlessly bi-lingual children are suspended between two worlds, between their parents and school, between chiles rellenos and hamburgers, between Los Tres Reyes and Santa Claus. I worked with Alex and Eduardo, who were both reading well below grade level, and who both thought our time better spent playing under the table than working at it. Eduardo, who had a flair for the grotesque, did love the lessons when I would let him write an alternate ending to a story we had read, once transforming a heart-warming tale about a lost train rescued by a friendly helicopter into an explosive cataclysm in which all tragically perished.

When my class schedule kept me from working with Eagle’s Nest, I volunteered instead with a recently-inaugurated ESL program that meets at the Church of the Good Shepherd, hardly a mile west of here on Garrett Road. The students were about half Latino – many of them Eagle’s Nest parents – and about half World Relief refugees. Needless to say, my class, a welter of Vietnamese, Nepalese, and Spanish, was primed for hilarity, and I wasted no time in stepping in it. My second week of volunteering, I arrived to find an older Vietnamese man who hadn’t yet attended class sitting at one of the tables; naturally, I walked over to introduce myself: “I’m Brendan, what’s your name?”

I took it as an ill omen when he responded, “I’m new.”

“Yes, I know you’re new,” I answered, “but what’s your name?

“I’m new,” he persisted, the last syllable emphatic.

Name?” I intoned like a spell. “New!” he said, tapping his chest.

I gave up and turned to Prem, a Nepalese man whom I knew had a little English already: “Prem, do you know his name?”

Prem grinned broadly, and nodded towards the chuckling newcomer – the two had about five words in common, but I could see they were sharing a joke. “His name,” Prem said, pausing for effect, “is Mr. Ngu – N-g-u.”

Later, I learned that Mr. Ngu, who at this point was in his seventies, had fought for the South Vietnamese during the war, and, after Saigon fell to the Vietcong, was held as a political prisoner for twenty five years. After he was released, he was eventually brought to Durham by WorldRelief, without family or friends, his speech meaningless to almost everyone he met. And yet Mr. Ngu was relentlessly sunny, even as he struggled to understand why he could say “Three sheep,” but not, “three cat.”

I hope that I was helpful to the Oak Creek residents I spent time with, that I was encouraging, and perhaps in some fragmentary way displayed the love of Christ. But, I am certain about a few things. I know that my time with these immigrants and refugees taught me more about living in exile than has anything else in my short life. “Here we have no continuing city,” says the Epistle to the Hebrews, “but we seek one which is to come.” Mr. Ngu necessarily – tragically – has far fewer illusions than I do about the permanence of our earthly homes; the immigrants of Oak Creek know far better than I do the sorrow of singing the Lord’s songs in a strange land.

I am also certain that because we once were aliens and strangers to God’s covenant (Eph. 2:12), but have now been “transferred from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of his Beloved Son” (Col. 1:13), we are called in turn to welcome the stranger in our midst. I am certain that whatever hospitality we can offer these our neighbors is a service to Christ, himself born a refugee (Lk 2:4-7), who will say to the righteous on judgment day, “I was a stranger, and you took me in” (Mt. 25:38).

Please consider how you might welcome and learn from the community of Oak Creek.

For more information about volunteering with Eagles’ Nest or the ESL program we sponsor please email Thomas Kortus:

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Filed under Community, Discipleship, Eagles' Nest, English and a Second Language, Epiphany, Evangelism, Local Missions, Oak Creek Village Partnership, Social Justice, World Relief

Three Ways to Proclaim the Gospel in Word and Deed this Fall

I want to share three great ways to serve our local community and proclaim the gospel in word and deed. Please take some time to look over this information and do not hesitate to get involved in these opportunities! Eagles’ Nests and ESL classes begin next week! Make an eternal difference by loving people and meeting real needs in our neighborhood. My greatest joy as a priest is seeing people using their gifts for the sake of the gospel and seeing them experience the blessings they receive as they meet Jesus in those they are serving.

I would like to share one of my favorite prayers from the Book of Common Prayer. This prayer for mission time and time again serves to propel me into Jesus; mission to reconcile all things in heaven and on earth to the Father. 

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace:  So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name.  Amen.



Eagles’ Nest Tutors Needed on Tuesday and Thursday Afternoons  


Eagles’ Nest takes place at All Saints Church and is open to second, third and fourth grade students who are in the most need of reading help. We work hand in hand with Durham Public Schools and have seen tremendous results these past 7 years as we have worked with students.

Tutors are needed for Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6 pm. Volunteers are trained in guided reading, supported by Durham Public School ESL teachers and have the opportunity to touch a life with the love of Jesus. Due to the high priority placed on relationships volunteers must commit for the entire 14 week semester, but we do make allowances for traveling or other absences. Most volunteers commit to one day a week and have very positive experience working with the same student for the entire semester or year!

Important Eagles’ Nest information: 

  • Training will take place on Tuesday, September 6 and Thursday, September 8 from 3:45 – 5:30.  Volunteers need only attend one of these training sessions. Of course, we will get you out sooner if we can.
  • Tutoring starts on Tuesday, September 13 and Thursday, September 15.
  • Contact Laura Yost-Grande for more information or to volunteer:




Our steamy summer is coming to a close and we’re ramping up to start a new year of English for Speakers of other Languages (ESL)!  We’d love to have you volunteer with us for fall semester with prayer support, teaching, conversation partnership, hospitality, registration, or childcare.

This fall we have a committed group of folks sharing leadership responsibilities from several Christian denominations–I look forward to working with each of them!  We are still looking for a registration team leader–so let me know if you’re interested!

Below are some important dates to consider if you’re going to join us.  Please let me know as soon as possible if you have questions–people are already beginning to contact me with volunteer interest!  Priority placement will be given to those who were involved last semester, and then it’s first come, first serve!

Important Dates:

  • Saturday, September 10th 9am-noon in S207 at Church of the Good Shepherd–Volunteer orientation:  This is an opportunity to review the program mission, vision, values, and goals, meet your co-volunteers and plan for the semester.  Attendance is required for all ESL leadership team members, conversation partners, teachers, registration team members, and childcare workers.
  • Saturday, September 17th, 9am-noon at Church of the Good Shepherd–New Student registration:  All hands on deck!  This is the day we test the new students to determine which classes they’ll join.  It is an exciting time of meeting new folks in our community!
  • Saturday, September 24th-Saturday November 19th, 9am-11am:  Classes are in session!
For more information or to get involved contact  Lauren Alawine:
World Relief is an evangelical non-profit organization that resettles hundreds of international refugee in Durham and Chapel Hill. These individuals and families are in desperate need of community and help readjusting to a new life and a new place. Will you come alongside a family or individual and share the love of Christ?
Ways to get involved in the work of World Relief:

Volunteer Driver: given the high volume of appointments, volunteers can actually transport refugees to appointments and assist them through the process. After applying, volunteers will receive access to a calendar of appointments. Must have availability during regular business hours.

ESL Conversation Partner: practice conversational English with an individual refugee for at least one hour per week. The time of the meeting is determined by the volunteer and the refugee.

Job Coach: help refugees build a resume, look for work, fill out applications, and learn a strange new ritual called a job interview. Time is flexible and based on volunteer and refugee availability.

For more information CLICK HERE

Grace and Peace,
thomas kortus
associate rector of all saints church

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Filed under Discipleship, Eagles' Nest, English and a Second Language, Evangelism, In the News, Local Missions, Oak Creek Village Partnership, Social Justice, World Relief