Johnson Service Corps is a diverse, ecumenical community of young adults ages 21 to 28 dedicated to service and social justice in Chapel Hill and Durham, NC.
Your year in the Johnson Service Corps is an opportunity to grow personally, professionally and spiritually through a well-supported mix of justice work, leadership training, spiritual practice, and living in intentional community in Durham, North Carolina. JSC internship placements include economic, environmental, and racial justice-oriented nonprofits.
Our placements offer experience in areas like policy development and implementation, direct service to marginalized women and families or the homeless, or rural agriculture cooperatives. You will live in a house with four to six corps members; together you will cook, share, clean, pray, and handle conflict. Corps members participate in weekly leadership training and in a faith community of their choice. All corps members are supported with a network of relationships that includes peers, mentors, therapists, and other partners.
The JSC community welcomes people of all spiritual traditions and those who are new to exploring spirituality.
There’s an expectation of welcome and acceptance for all as we engage in discerning how we may each be called to express our faith in how we live and work. While we are rooted in the contemplative and social justice practices of the Christian tradition, a variety of spiritual practices are introduced, and corps members are welcome to contribute from their own traditions.
You are encouraged to adopt a daily personal practice and to adapt it over the course of the year. Popular practices have included book studies, music, and a wide variety of prayer. Within the household, a regular weekly practice is adopted (and modified!) during the year. And corps members are encouraged to participate in a local spiritual community while they are here.
The Durham-Chapel Hill area offers a wide mix of churches, other houses of worship and spiritual practice centers. Prior corps members have become involved with yoga studios, Buddhist temples, a local farm church, and a synagogue, along with more mainline Christian congregations.
You will also have a mentor from the community who may serve as a spiritual advisor if that’s what you agree to, and personal spiritual directors are available on request. There are opportunities for spiritual reflection, prayer and worship for the entire cohort throughout the year, including several retreats. We’ve found that everyone’s spirituality deepens through learning how others express their faith and through respecting their faith expression.Rooted in the contemplative and social justice practices of the Christian tradition, we welcome people of all spiritual expressions who seek to discern their call and live out that call authentically.
Fridays are when the entire cohort comes together for faith formation, leadership training classes, field trips, guest speakers and reflection time.
Corps members serve 32 hours weekly with the non-profit partner where they are matched. This is usually Monday through Thursday, although some have special events that may occur on evenings or weekends.
Types of service include: Addiction and recovery support, Arts, Congregation-based ministry, Community organizing, Education, Employment Services, Conservation, Disability services, Food justice, Healthcare, Homelessness, Housing insecurity, Immigrant/refugee services, Legal services, LGBTQIA+ support, Racial reconciliation, Special education, Violence prevention, Women’s empowerment, Youth-based services, Public policy/advocacy.
Corps members arrive in mid-August and commit to participation through June of the following year. JSC provides housing, utilities, food stipend, health insurance, group counseling, quarterly retreats, mentorship, $500 monthly stipend, and $1000 completion bonus.
There’s an emergency fund for, well, emergencies, and assistance is available for things like application fees for graduate school or other post-JSC programs. Prospective applicants who face financial constraints are encouraged to discuss that during the interview process so that we can work with you.
Corps members live together in intentional community of 4-6 people per household. During Orientation, the community is led through a process of forming a “Community Covenant” of how they intend to live together.
Within the household, the community shares three meals weekly and determines how responsibilities rotate for that and all other community efforts. There’s also a weekly house business meeting, a weekly shared spiritual practice, a monthly hospitality meal, and anything else the group agrees to do. Through this process, corps members hone their communication and collaboration skills. While this sounds like a full schedule, we also make personal time a priority. And there’s plenty of time for fun! In the past, corps members have enjoyed trivia nights, hiking, and the local music scene.
Intentional community living is counter-cultural. It challenges us to be compassionate to ourselves and to others. Corps members often point to intentional community living as the most transformative experience of the year.
About the Durham/Chapel Hill Area
There’s a reason the vibrant Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina community is a popular place for young people. As a cluster of college towns with prominent public and private universities – including HBCUs – we know how to welcome newcomers. The area is known for food, art, music, protest and an active outdoor lifestyle. Our corps members recommend the farmers markets, Jordan Lake, museums, breweries, Durham Bulls baseball, comedy clubs, music festivals, and hiking in the amazing state parks, all easily enjoyed on a budget. And our temperate climate means we can be outdoors nearly year-round! Students from both Durham and Chapel Hill were early leaders in the sit-in movement of 1960s. One of the South’s first Gay Pride marches was organized over 30 years ago by young people living in these two communities. The first African-American female Episcopal priest and the founders of the country’s first black-owned insurance company were raised in Durham. These roots nourish the community today as progressive Southern cities where all are welcome, and protest marches happen alongside college basketball. Most of the area is served by a free public bus system and there is one car available for shared use. If you want to learn more about living in the south as an LGBTQ+ person, we’re happy to connect you with alums of our program who can share their lived experience.
Learn more about Johnson Service Corps.