Staff · Volunteer
In May 2013, Sarah received a Master of Divinity from Duke University and a Master of Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill. Throughout graduate school, she deepened her understanding of the intersection of spirituality and action for social justice. This intersection is the primary interest driving her understanding of her vocation and personal life. She is passionate about grassroots community organizing and ensuring that all community members, especially the most vulnerable, recognize their power to create positive change. Sarah strives to live from the belief that spiritual practice leads us to create goodness with others in the world and that acting for social justice requires a commitment to spiritual practice that sustains us in our work.
After graduating with a Bachelors of Humanities from Stetson University, Sarah embarked on an adventure in Washington, DC that set her on the path she is walking today. After college, she participated in Discipleship Year with Church of the Saviour, an ecumenical faith community in the heart of NW DC. Discipleship Year shares many practices with JIP—working at service and justice non-profits, living in intentional community with a simple lifestyle, and reflecting on the connections of faith, servant leadership and social justice. Because of how transformational this experience was for Sarah, she is excited about leading JIP so that many young people can have the opportunity to serve and grow while developing the habits and practices that will shape the rest of their lives.
At her home in Durham, Sarah enjoys gardening, cooking, meditating, crafting, practicing hospitality and playing with Molly, her black Labrador Retriever. She is grateful to have a spiritual home and family at Pilgrim United Church of Christ. In her community, Sarah is active in Durham CAN, a local community organizing group, and REAL Durham, a program providing people in material poverty with a circle of support to reach their goals of self-sufficiency. In her free time, she also likes to travel, go camping and hiking, run, practice yoga, watch sunsets and read, especially memoirs, fiction and poetry.
for Intern Formation
Susan grew up on the Mississippi River in a small town in Arkansas. She came to North Carolina to attend Duke Divinity School, and never left. Ordained as a United Methodist Minister by the Arkansas Conference, Susan served as Executive Director of Orange Congregations in Mission and then as a freelance writer before coming to the Johnson Intern Program in 2005. She is currently serving the program as Curriculum Consultant for Intern Formation.
Susan lives on a farm in Orange County with her husband, Peter Kramer, and their two daughters live nearby in Durham. Susan enjoys reading and learning, particularly in the areas of spirituality and health. She loves teaching Servant Leadership while continuing to deepen her path in that wisdom tradition
Susan has written a bi-weekly newspaper column for the Chapel Hill Herald since 1998. She enjoys riding her horse, spinning wool, knitting, gardening, and occasionally competing in triathlons.
Spiritual Director to the Interns
As a spiritual companion to each of the Johnson Interns, my role is to help them pay attention to and recognize God’s presence in their relationships and experiences. My relationship with the Interns begins at the opening retreat in August, where I facilitate a conversation about how the community would like to shape its common life and spiritual growth through a covenant called the Rule of Life. This raises questions about how the Interns will be hospitable to others, take care of household duties like cooking and cleaning, and maintain stability by considering the needs of the community before their individual needs while, simultaneously, setting boundaries about privacy and personal space. After the retreat I continue to get to know each Intern individually, being available to them over the course of the year to talk about how they see and sense the presence of a higher power (which they may call God) in their experiences, how a sense of vocation is taking shape within them, and what is happening spiritually when they go through dark times. It is a conversation that usually focuses on being attentive to the places where an Intern may feel connected or disconnected from the spiritual journey he or she has undertaken as a Johnson Intern. For me each conversation is a holy and privileged one as these young adults share their lives with openness and trust.