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Us profile: ‘When I was a kid, I always simply wanted to be who I am’

April 2, 2018 GMT

Name: Kevin Phillips.

Age: 57.

Residence: Lincoln.

Occupation: Priest at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Marysville, Organization Development Consultant.

What’s your walk-up intro music?: “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin.

Hobbies, interests: I used to run/bike/swim, now I walk/bike/swim. I enjoy spending time with my dog Scooter on long walks with a friend.

What brought you to the Yuba-Sutter area? The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California asked if I would come to St. John’s Church, Marysville to assess the potential of the parish and the community. I found St John’s Church to be a remarkably faithful community committed to serving others. They are a friendly group of people who really do love their neighbor as themselves. This gives the parish lots of potential.

What do you like about the Yuba-Sutter area? I grew up in the Yuba City. A region gets in your bones. When I am here, it always feels like being home.

Where would you like to retire to/live for a year? I would like to retire someplace warm, with great soil, ample water, and plenty of kind and generous people who know what it means to care for and support one another.

Dream vacation: Walking the spine of the Alps in France through Switzerland, Germany, Austria to Slovenia.

What is the closest you’ve been to a famous person? I once had lunch with Andrew Young, one of the leaders of the Beloved Community and a colleague of Martin Luther King Jr. We talked about the early years of the movement, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the challenges he, MLK and Ralph Abernathy faced in the early years.

What would you do with a million dollars? I would invest it in the Young Artists Conservatory of Music for the development of children and youth in the performing arts.

Favorite memory to share: My twin brother, Kyle, and my cousin, Greg, used to go up the Yuba River and play ‘Superman.’ Wearing swimming goggles, we would float in the river and let the current push us downstream. We would stretch out like Superman underwater. The bottom of the river would rush by as we were carried away. It felt like we were flying.

What did you want to be when you were a kid? When I was a kid, I always simply wanted to be who I am. I grew up in the family that taught us to step up and be who we are. The rest is just details.

Favorite places in the area: Currently, my favorite place is St. John’s Episcopal Church in Marysville. This historic church carries a lot of dignity. The people are authentic with genuine faith. I feel so good when I am here.

Dream job: I am doing it. I am an Episcopal Priest and an Organizational Development Consultant. In addition to leading the church, I come alongside organizations that are struggling or in transition and help them solve problems that limit their growth and their ability to flourish. There is absolutely nothing I would rather do.

Pet peeve: There seems to be a focus on individual success and the piling up with personal wealth at the expense of the community. So many people seem to lose sight of the fact that when I succeed, but my community fails, I have gained nothing. I cannot flourish if my community does not flourish with me.

What do you like about yourself? I like that I am always open to relationships with others. Sometimes when people ask me what I do, I say, “I drive around and make friends.” Someone once said that I was like a Golden Retriever. I come bounding up to people eager to be greeted with a warm pat on the head. That’s really true.

What/where is your heaven on earth? Wherever I am at the moment.

Favorite book: John Macmurray’s “Gifford Lectures of 1953-54, The Form of the Personal.” A close second is my own book: “The Root Values: Releasing the Power of Community.”

What movie stops you while flipping through the TV channels? I don’t flip through TV channels. My favorite movie is probably “Pulp Fiction.” I like the broken narrative form of Quentin Tarantino. He reminds me that reality is a story we tell. It does not really all come together until the end.

Favorite musical group/sports team: Musically, I am anchored in the music of my childhood. The Eagles, Jackson Brown, The Doobie Brothers, etc.

Who should play you in a movie? Well, I wake up and walk out the door feeling like Dean Martin. By about 10 a.m., I look in the mirror and realize that I am much more like Jerry Lewis. Somehow, by the end of the day, everything seems to work out despite my very best efforts.