Koinonia Farm hosts Peacebuilders Camp in July

Published 1:58 pm Saturday, June 30, 2018

AMERICUS — Having just celebrated its 75th anniversary, Koinonia Farm is integral to Sumter County, both in its efforts to help the community and its rich history.
Koinonia Farm originally began in 1942, when Clarence and Florence Jordan moved to Americus. With a doctoral in New Testament Greek and a call to the ministry, Clarence Jordan bought a plot of land and started Koinonia Farm to serve as both a traditional farm and a Christian commune.
Koinonia, meaning “community” in Greek, still functions the way it was originally intended. The farm has three areas of focus: hospitality, sustainable farming, and internships.
Grace Terry, marketing director of the farm, said the farm can host about 50 people overnight, and the door is always open for anyone wanting to visit.
“Above all, the farm is about showing kindness to our neighbors, whether in Americus or outside of it,” Terry said. “Everyone of any race or religion is welcome and it’s been that way since the beginning.”
While Koinonia Farm does offer accommodations for those just dropping in, its focus is on long-term visitors. The farm’s internship program allows people to stay anywhere from six months to a lifetime.
The goal of the internships is to provide people a way to understand what it is like to live in a Christian community. During their stay, residents complete chores, fellowship together, and have Bible study daily.
Evelyn Maclusky heard about Koinonia through a friend, and decided to quit her job and move to the farm with her husband last year. The couple is from Albany, New York, and has completed 11 months of their one-year stay.
“My husband and I are both Christians, and we wanted to experience living in a Christian community,” Maclusky said. “We’re very blessed to be able to be here and start this next chapter of our lives.”
For some members, living in a Christian community is more than just something to experience — it is their lifestyle. This is the case for community member Elizabeth Dede, who has lived in a Christian community for the past 33 years, the last 18 of which have been spent at
Koinonia Farm.
“For me, a Christian community is the way to live,” Dede said. “I have a family of people who support me, my needs are provided for and I get to share my life with the other members.”
Many have felt called to the Koinonia Farm way of life over the years, including Millard and Linda Fuller. The Fuller name is familiar to Americus residents, as the couple went on to become co-founders of Habitat for Humanity.
After becoming a millionaire at age 29, Millard Fuller felt that as his success in business grew, his health, marriage and quality of life suffered. This led the Fullers to sell all of their possessions and move to Koinonia Farm, rekindling their Christian faith and starting a new life of giving back to the community. From there, the couple began building houses for families around the city and eventually worldwide.
The members of Koinonia Farm still strive to give back to the community as much as they can, specifically regarding community outreach.
Next week, they will hold the annual Peacebuilders Camp for teenagers ages 11 to 14.
“The most important thing to know about us is that we welcome everyone,” Dede said. “Kids who are Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or nothing at all come and worship together for a week.”
Instead of trying to convert the kids to Christianity, the camp’s focus is on the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights. The campers study a different human right each day and discuss how they can apply them when they go back home.
To support these efforts and the needs of its members, the farm’s primary source of income is through its pecan production. All members are expected to help in the production of the pecans as well as other crops, while doing as little damage to the earth as possible.
Along with its pecan production, Koinonia Farm also grows crops such as blueberries, grapes and figs, and raises cattle as well. As with all their efforts, the members do their best to make sure nothing they do harms any other being, whether that be humans, animals or the earth.
“As individuals, we want to create an inner peace that overflows into our community,” Terry said. “That’s when we’ll begin to see peace across the world.”
Koinonia Farm has been a member of the Sumter County Chamber since 2012. The Chamber values their membership and hopes to continue to support the farm’s endeavors.
— Rosemary Scott, UGA journalism major