My name is Andy Phillips and I was in the Johnson Service Corp back in 2013-2014! When I was in the program it was still called the Johnson Internship Program.
My year was transformative, but more after the fact than during. Coming right out of undergrad, I was incredibly thankful for a place to live with others who were in the same, unfamiliar boat of post-school life. Not only did I get a foot in the door to the non-profit world in the Triangle, but I also started to explore some of the ideas I was having at the end of school. When I applied to the program, I thought it was going to be an exclusively Christian program. While it was rooted in the Christian tradition, not everyone in the house came from that background. This was the best thing to happen to post-college Andy. My mind was opened to different ways of thinking about my Christian upbringing. I learned about third-way thinking, to accept both/and statements, and that everything belongs.
Working at Urban Ministries of Durham showed me these principles in action. Humans are more than just one or two things. People experiencing homelessness were circumstantially there: a check bounced, or they lost a job, or their mental health didn’t provide the means to cope with their situation. The one-two combo of the ideals of the program and working at a non-profit dismantled my more black-and-white view of the world.
Since the program, I have stayed in the non-profit field and continued to explore some of the teachings and perspectives I was exposed to in the program. I have discovered the works of Richard Rohr and made contemplative prayer a regular practice in my life. While the experience of living in intentional community with eight people is not something I feel the need to return to; I will always be grateful for the shift in perspective that I received.