Article: Building Community Right Here at Home

Written by Cafe Campesino on Jun 1, 2006 in Article, NEWSLETTER |
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Koinonia and Café Campesino are good neighbors and friends. I thank the folks at Café Campesino for giving me this opportunity to shine a spotlight on our farm. We are located seven miles in one direction from Jimmy Carter’s hometown of Plains and seven miles in the other direction from Bill, Lee, Tripp and all the good people at Café Campesino in Americus.

Koinonia is a Greek word meaning “community” or “fellowship.” The word is oft repeated in the Christian scripture in reference to the fledgling church. What is the connection between the definition of the word and Café Campesino’s neighbor bearing the same name?

Koinonia is a Christian community with a very dramatic history. To this community of believers, following the teachings of Jesus means treating neighbors equally, loving their enemies as well as their friends, and living a simple, shared life. Established in 1942, Koinonia’s very presence challenged materialism, militarism and racism. In the 1950s and ‘60s, the community endured bullets, bombs and boycotts, but survived. Koinonia has gone on to give birth to many outstanding organizations including Habitat for Humanity International. Today Koinonia remains committed to living in community, providing hospitality to visitors and neighbors and working for social justice around the globe. We still get into plenty of trouble though!

The community supports itself by selling homegrown pecans and all sorts of delicious treats made in our on-site bakery. We also sell organic goods, fair-trade and community-made arts and crafts, and an excellent selection of books. A popular set of books are the Cotton Patch Version of the Gospels by Clarence Jordan, one of the co-founders of the community. We support our ministries through donations.

Hundreds of visitors come through Koinonia each year. We are a working farm with beautiful pecan orchards and a peace trail to walk. We are also a Georgia historic site with a unique museum exhibiting Koinonia history as well as the history of African Americans in Sumter County. As a place of spiritual renewal, we host all sorts of retreats, including private retreats and service retreats for both groups and individuals. Visitors are welcome to help us both with daily chores on the farm and with the work of our ministries. Housing and an RV park are available for guests. Community members, guests and neighbors gather at noon on weekdays for a community meal. You may also bring a dish and join the Sunday night potluck at 6:00 p.m.

Koinonia has inspired a much performed off-Broadway musical, Cotton Patch Gospel, and an Emmy Award winning documentary, Briars in the Cotton Patch. To find out more about us or to order our products, please visit our website at www.koinoniapartners.org or give us a call at 229 924-0391. Come see us. Everybody’s welcome!

Bren Dubay has been director at Koinonia since May 1, 2004. She and others are available to speak to groups or to help you give a presentation about Koinonia. You can reach her via e-mail at dubay@koinoniapartners.org, by mail at 1324 GA Hwy 49 S, Americus, GA 31719 or by phone at (229) 924-0391 or (877) 738-1741.

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