Building Bridges – News from Chester Eastside, Inc.


As more than one observer has said recently, Chester Eastside, Inc., is all about building bridges. There are bridges between past and present, and there are those that link different sides of a common stream.

A bridge over troubled water

For those who came of age in the 1970s, Simon and Garfunkel’s rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water was a kind of anthem for people committed to making a difference in the world.

In recent years, Chester Eastside has had its own ‘bridge over troubled water’ as it dealt with a major loss of financial support on top of loss of the church building it called home for so many years. But we are nothing if not builders. Thanks to the support of countless organizations and individuals, Chester Eastside is continuing to make that difference in so many lives. In the words of the song, “When you’re down and out…. I’ll take your part.”

Still on that journey into the future; still able to make good use of that dedicated support from our friends.

A bridge between different worlds

One of the most basic functions of Chester Eastside, Inc., is bringing together a number of diverse people and organizations. College students who may not even have been aware there was a Chester, PA, when they enrolled in school and local residents who may have wondered if anybody out there really cared. Religious community members who wanted to live out their faith in action and Chesterites who helped them do it.

The recent dedication ceremony for the Judy Coslett Learning Center, held in the sanctuary of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, epitomizes that bridging function. The center, funded by a $20,000 grant from Presbyterian Women, was named after the late Judy Coslett, who for 27 years devoted her life to serving Chester children through the After School and Summer Camp Programs of Chester Eastside, Inc.  Here were members of St. Paul’s; other faith communities in Delaware County; young children from Chester wanting to express their gratitude for the years of dedicated work by a woman they called “the party lady” and “the secret Santa;” Coslett family members; fraternity members from Widener who had given generously of their time to Chester folks – and gained so much in the process.

Bridges: Never more urgently needed than in a time when the shrill voices of anger and recrimination, fear and suspicion seem to dominate the news.

By timmreardon