In 2014, as a member of The Chapel of the Cross, I heard about, and signed up for, a Servant Leadership course offered by what was then the Johnson Intern Program. Alongside the interns, I participated in very engaging and enlightening discussions about centering prayer, social justice, the true and false self, and the meaning of servanthood. I was, and still am, a big fan of those teachings. I also became a big fan of what was to become JSC. I found I enjoyed being with the interns, enjoyed learning more about their year of contemplation and service, and began participating in JIP activities as a volunteer. Eventually I ended up taking a position on the board of directors, serving as chair of that board for 2 years, from 2017 – 2019.
Sadly I am no longer living in Chapel Hill so I have not met the last several cohorts. I do, however, continue to read about, and be inspired by, this thriving program and the spirit-filled individuals who have benefited from their year together in JSC.
I’m going to quote my friend Susan Gladin, who served as Executive Director of the Johnson Intern Program, and designed the original curriculum for the Servant Leadership program. She says an important goal of the JSC participants is “to learn to hear the voice of a dominant culture, and to examine how we walk out into that honoring our true selves.” I see that as a worthy goal for us all.
I also treasure the privilege of working alongside Aleta Payne during her time as Executive Director. I remember her passion for the program as being rooted in her desire to secure our future. She spoke of her joy of being a part of something that aligns with her hope for a more compassionate world I feel the same, that JSC is providing a gift for the future of us all. That makes it a privilege for me to continue to support the program.
None of us know what the future will bring. But for me, knowing that each year JSC is sending out into our world a cohort of 8 – 10 individuals who not only see the world with a more compassionate, more holistic approach, but examine the vocations they choose based on that vision, I have hope for all of us.