“As a southern African American man, I knew nothing about this place. However, when you find out about Koinonia, you are like, ‘Why weren’t we learning about this? It seems like a historical secret of some sort that we haven’t been exposed to … My family for generations have lived in the south, unaware of Koinonia as a place that was bringing racial equality before civil rights took off, in the 1940s.” – Mario, Koinonia camp counselor
Koinonia Community is a farm and community on 573 acres in southern Georgia, modeling racial reconciliation and justice with camps and community involvement. The KKK could not bring it down in the 1960s, with shotguns, firebombs, and boycotts. Its partnership housing ministry birthed Habitat for Humanity in the 1970s.
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In 2003, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s family had barely moved in when he made a bold offer to a pastor in the Walltown neighborhood of Durham, North Carolina.
“We’d like to start a hospitality house in the neighborhood,” Jonathan said.
“Hold on,” Rev. Hayes said. “You’re saying you want people who don’t live with you to come live in your house?”
“Yeah. That’s right,” said Jonathan.
“When you gonna start this?” she wondered,
“Well, we already have the house. We just need to meet some people.”
“Like today?” she asked.
Their meeting migrated across the street, where Rev. Hayes introduced Jonathan to a man who had just gotten evicted.
To this day, Rutba House delights in sharing meals and hospitality with immigrants, inmates, and people of all classes from their two homes in Walltown.
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“This is a good place to see long stories. I love being a part of that … Even when life here is hard, it’s not boring and it’s not meaningless … I never say, ‘Why are we beating ourselves up?’ It always feels like we’re trying to do something that matters. We may be struggling or failing at that, but we’re trying to live lives that are giving to God in the best way that we can imagine … That just really makes life rich to me. It’s meaningful. Yeah. It’s rich.” – Zoe, COS member
Church of the Sojourners is a vibrant community that makes its home in the Mission District of San Francisco, California.
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