Building Community, Everywhere We Go

Bryan Lee
Campbell University ’08 & ‘11
Occupation: Co-owner of Willow House ~ Coffee & Community

My journey to Campbell University from Eastern North Carolina was eye-opening and a breath of fresh air.

As I unraveled confusing aspects of my faith journey with curiosity, professors were patient and caring with me. Sometimes I struggled academically, and other times, I struggled mentally and spiritually as parts of me died, giving birth to new beauty. I loved it so much that I stayed for my BA in Religion (’08) in what was then called the Department of Religion & Philosophy (now the Department of Christian Studies) and the MA (’11).

Walking alongside teenagers in congregational ministry for more than 17 years was full of similar times as I navigated all the ups and downs that ministry brings. Surprising to me and often unbeknownst to them, it was my coworkers, youth parents, wise elders, and community leaders who showed the same patience and care as we journeyed together.

At the root of my time at Campbell University and my time in ministry was community.

Being a part of a community and working to build community. This is how we all made it through the ups and downs, the spiritually dark days, and the tough conversations in parking lots after youth group. And now, the journey looks a bit different. My partner and I are taking our community building on the road with our business, Willow House, serving coffee, food, good conversations, and bright smiles everywhere we go.

Our love of community and the universal language of a smile has already taken us to neighborhood events, wedding venues, a college campus, and festivals. One day we will open the doors on a building and love on our community as best as we know how. Until then, find us building community, everywhere we go.

Find us online or follow us on Instagram (@willowhousecofee), and when you see us, tell us your story, break bread with us, or just smile.