Koinonia Farm, Koinonia, GA

Koinonia Farm was founded in 1942 by Clarence and Florence Jordan and Martin and Mabel England in as a “demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God.” For them, this meant an intentional community of believers sharing their lives and resources, following the example of the first Christian communities as described in the Acts of the Apostles. Other families soon joined, and visitors to the farm were invited to “serve a period of apprenticeship in developing community life on the teachings and principles of Jesus.”

Koinonians shared not only faith and resources, but also work. They farmed the land for their livelihood, and sought ways to work in partnership with the land, “to conserve the soil, God’s holy earth” (Clarence Jordan). They preached, taught, and were members of local churches. From the beginning, Koinonians emphasized the brotherhood and sisterhood of all people. When they could afford to hire seasonal help, Black and White workers were paid a fair, equal wage. When the community and its guests and workers prayed or ate a meal, they all sat together at the table, regardless of color.

The Koinonians commitment to racial equality, pacifism, and economic sharing brought bullets, bombs and a boycott in the 1950s as the KKK and others attempted to force them out. They responded with prayer, nonviolent resistance, and a renewed commitment to live the Gospel.

As the threats of violence dwindled, they focused on the poor quality of local housing and began a project to build decent, affordable homes for neighbors. Clarence Jordan also focused on a passion he held to pen a version of the New Testament from the original Greek to south Georgia vernacular. From his writing shack nestled in one of the farms pecan orchards, he wrote the Cotton Patch Version, prepared for nationwide speaking engagements, and, in 1969 while working on a sermon, it is where he died suddenly.

The Koinonia community carried on Clarence’s legacy. The housing ministry evolved into Habitat for Humanity International under the leadership of Millard and Linda Fuller, who were members of Koinonia.