This summer, the Center for Christian Civics has welcomed two full-time college interns. In addition to providing support for our work (and helping clear out some long-standing project backlogs!), they’ve also been diving into new corners of political theology, learning about our approach to ministry, and getting to know mid-career believers who are putting their faith into practice in careers centered around government and policy.
At the start of the summer, we had each of them answer a few questions about their background, what brought them to DC, what they hope to learn this summer. First up is Curneisha Williams, a rising senior at Wofford College in South Carolina majoring in Business Economics with a minor in Mathematics.
Why did you want to spend your summer in DC?
DC has always been a destination for me—I want to go into public policy and DC is the hub. Initially I wanted to be here simply to immerse myself into the culture. I came here last year with a very different mindset to visit a friend and I feel in love with the tourist side of the city, which is more than enough to make you wanna move here. However, my dream was to live in the city as an intern on the Hill or at a government agency. When it was time to look for an opportunity here, I realized that God had very different intentions for me this summer. All of that to say: Between being able to live in DC, take classes, and intern at CXC (ed: That’s our internal shorthand for Center for Christian Civics.), I’m excited to see what this summer brings.
Who have been the biggest influences on your faith?
Since becoming serious about my faith in high school, I will say that the biggest influence has been community and quiet time. I’d never been introduced to authentic community or properly taught how to study the Bible until I came to college. I didn’t know what it was like to be surrounded by people who genuinely love you in the way that God intends for us to love one another. I remember the first time I ever felt the full effect of having day-to-day community, I wept. It’s an amazing thing. Before that, I saw Christianity as a personal journey with yourself and God. Yes, it is personal—but it is just as much a communal journey and I’m glad I’ve encountered that.
Bible study is a different and still developing story, but I will say that a couple of years ago was the first time I genuinely studied the Bible and had this extended period where I kind of craved to be in the word and talk to God. Yes, I do have my dry seasons—but because of those moments of craving, I always fall back to quiet time as the anchor of my faith.
Those things combined encouraged me to fight against my sin, ground my faith in the hope of the Lord, and reconnect with the Holy Spirit. Without that, I do not know where I’d be spiritually.
Why were you interested in working with the Center for Christian Civics this summer?
When I first heard about Center for Christian Civics, I was a little unclear of their mission, but after talking to Rick about the organization I realized that CXC is where i needed to be this summer! As I stated before, I do want to have a career in public policy, but I am also aware of the fact that careers in policy often come with compromising, prioritizing your work over all other commitments, and trading community for office meetings. I don’t want to be a public servant that forgets who she’s actually striving to serve. I don’t ever want to quench my thirst for Christ with the temporary satisfaction of meeting a goal—that’s not how I see my future. God has planted me in a space to potentially make changes, and I want to do that, but while serving him. CXC not only helps me to equip myself with practical tools to stay grounded in my faith but also allows me to help others do that, too. I love the work they’re doing and think it’s a huge need across the nation. Rick and the team are proof that, no matter how different, we can only come together for one common goal—it’s really cool for me to be able to intern under that type of leadership. Coming into the summer I was skeptical of what was in store, but Center for Christian Civics is the right internship for me.
What are you hoping to understand a little bit better at the end of the summer than you did at the start?
One of my primary goals is to see/think through for myself how do I integrate my spiritual and work life in a way that helps me grow and also ministers to others. I’m hoping to better understand how to navigate life in DC. More importantly, I want to understand myself more: I want to know what activities rejuvenate me and what activities drain me, ways to turn my passion into my work, etc.
In addition to that, I would like to think through what part of CXC’s mission my mind trusts but my heart does not. In the campus ministry I attend, they always suggests that we ask ourselves, “What part of scripture does our hearts have trouble believing/living by?” Since the organization’s focus is centered around a gospel-focused mission, I want to be intentional about doing the same here. I know the summer is going to be one of opportunities and growth–I’m excited.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
When I was in middle school, I wanted to be a noninvasive cardiologist. Now, do not ask me about the depths of the career because I have no idea! Actually, I went through many “dream career” options and, to be honest, I never thought about public policy or anything in that sector until recently. I tried to pursue every other option in the book until God kind of made it so that all roads led to servanthood on some type of political level. To be completely honest, I’ve just started opening up about my career goals because the industry can be so intimidating. So although I may seem like I’ve always been enthused about serving/ policy, it really is a newfound passion for me and I’m eager to see where this journey leads.
Oh, and for a lighter touch, I am an avid fan of the musical Hamilton!