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Koinonia Partners

 

Koinonia Partners

Koinonia Partners is a Georgia.

Contents

  • History 1
    • During the Civil Rights Movement 1.1
    • Habitat for Humanity International 1.2
    • Clarence Jordan's works while at Koinonia 1.3
    • Ministries and structure since 1969 1.4
  • Notes 2
  • External links 3

History

The farm was founded in 1942 by two couples, Clarence and Florence Jordan and Martin and Mabel England, as a “demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God.”[1] For them, this meant following the example of the first Christian communities as described in the Acts of the Apostles, amid the poverty and racism of the rural South. The name Koinonia is an ancient Greek word, used often in the New Testament, meaning deep fellowship. Koinonia members divested themselves of personal wealth and joined a "common purse" economic system. They envisioned an interracial community where blacks and whites could live and work together in a spirit of partnership.

Based on their interpretation of the New Testament, Koinonia members committed to the following precepts:

  1. Treat all human beings with dignity and justice
  2. Choose love over violence
  3. Share all possessions and live simply
  4. Be stewards of the land and its natural resources

Other families joined, and visitors came to “serve a period of apprenticeship in developing community life on the teachings and principles of Jesus.” Koinonians, visitors, and neighbors farmed, worshipped and ate together, attended Bible studies and held summer youth camps. When resources allowed the hiring of seasonal help, black and white workers were paid equally. Additional spiritual stewards of the community in the earlier years included Connie Browne and Will Wittkamper.

During the Civil Rights Movement

These practices were a break with the prevailing culture of Ku Klux Klan drove a 70+ car motorcade to the farm as an act of intimidation. Koinonia members discerned that their religious views called them to bear these acts nonviolently; members responded by writing editorials to the local newspaper clarifying the farm's position, maintaining an unarmed watch at the entrance to the community during the nights, and other acts of nonviolent witness.

As a way to survive in hostile surroundings, Koinonia members created a small mail-order catalog to sell their farm's

Habitat for Humanity International

Threats of physical violence dwindled in the late 1960s, but the population of Koinonia Farm was greatly diminished due to the stress of previous years. Koinonia members searched for a new focus, and considered closing the farm experiment if none were found.

Millard and Linda Fuller had spent a month at Koinonia several years earlier. Millard had been an extremely successful businessman before he and his wife Linda rededicated their lives to Christianity, divested of their wealth, and sought ways to live out their faith. Clarence Jordan, Millard Fuller, and other allies of Koinonia engaged in a series of meetings, out of which emerged a new direction for Koinonia.

Changing its name from Koinonia Farm to Koinonia Partners, the community refocused itself as a social service organization. The organization initiated several programs in partnership with its neighbors, chief among them Koinonia Partnership Housing, which organized the construction of affordable houses for low-income neighboring families previously living in shacks and dilapidated residences. Using volunteer labor and monetary donations, Koinonia built 194 homes from 1969 to 1992, which families bought with 20-year, no-interest Plains, all within Sumter County.

The Fullers guided the first four years of Koinonia Partnership Housing, and then moved to Habitat for Humanity International. Modeled after the Koinonia Partnership Housing program, this organization builds houses with families in need, then sells the houses to the families at no profit and no interest. Habitat for Humanity volunteers and homeowners have built more than 500,000 houses in more than 100 countries.

Clarence Jordan's works while at Koinonia

Founding member vernacular and discussions of the full membership of Koinonia on the translations and meanings. He also prepared for his nationwide speaking engagements there. Jordan's writing and speaking engagements brought the existence of Koinonia Farm (and later Koinonia Partners) to the awareness of many Christians, theologians, students, and others. Jordan's Cotton Patch Version of Matthew and John was the inspiration for a musical theater work by Harry Chapin, The Cotton Patch Gospel.

Ministries and structure since 1969

On October 29, 1969, Clarence Jordan died of a Fuller Center for Housing (the second organization founded by Millard and Linda Fuller, also pursuing affordable housing solutions for impoverished families worldwide).

Koinonia members and ministries since 1969 include civil rights work, prison ministry, racial reconciliation, peace activism, early childhood education, youth and teen outreach, affordable housing, language training, sustainable agriculture, economic development, home repair, elder programs, and more. Current ministries include affordable home repair for neighbors, an elder program, a summer youth camp, welcoming visitors and guests in hospitality, and educating the public about Koinonia history and legacy.

In 1993, Koinonia abandoned its “common purse” and experimented with a corporate non-profit structure. During this period the organization was known as Koinonia Partners, Inc. A board of directors and staff and volunteer positions were established to govern and operate the community, in place of the former community-based structure. This corporate structure was not suitable financially for the community, so in 2005, Koinonia again reorganized, ending the distinction between staff and volunteers and committing once more to the intentional Christian community model. The common purse has not been readopted; rather, each member receives an allowance based upon his or her needs, family and responsibilities.

The community, again known by its original name, Koinonia Farm, was designated a Community of Christ International Peace Award.[2]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Clarence Jordan
  2. ^ Community of Christ International Peace Award, Community of Christ, accessed May 19, 2008.

External links

  • Official website
  • Briars in the Cotton Patch: The Story of Koinonia Farm, PBS documentary
  • Photographs and videos of Koinonia Farm
In addition to his work on the farm, Jordan penned many works of theology in his writing shack, a small one-room structure set near the "Bottom Garden", now in one of the farm’s pecan orchards. Among the works penned there were four volumes collectively known as the

. Part of their vision for Koinonia was to offer training to African-American ministers living in the area. For the first few years of the Koinonia experiment, Jordan in particular was welcomed to preach and teach in local churches. Though the demands of farming in those early years did not allow time for formal training of others, Jordan used these visits to both black and white churches to offer guidance. New Testament Greek. Jordan held a doctorate in professors and ministers ordained. Jordan and fellow founding member Martin England were tenant farmers and sharecroppers and to assist Koinonia’s neighbors, most of whom were African-American [1]

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