Koinonia, the winning word in this year’s National Spelling Bee, has an important connection to Georgia and Habitat for Humanity.
Koinonia is a noun that means Christian fellowship.
The word is also the name of Koinonia Farm, a community farm situated just outside of Americus in southwest Georgia. It was at Koinonia that the idea for Habitat for Humanity home-building organization first germinated in the mid-1970s.
According to the Koinonia Farm web site, it was founded in 1942 by Clarence Jordan and others as a “demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God.” Jordan, a minister, was known for his re-telling of New Testament stories and lessons. His “Cotton Patch” sermons were popularized in an off-Broadway play, “Cotton Patch Gospel.” The play, a musical created by Atlanta actor Tom Key and playwright Russell Treyz, had music and lyrics by Harry Chapin.
Habitat’ for Humanity’s administrative headquarters are now located in Atlanta, but the nonprofit home-building group’s international headquarters remain in Americus, not far from Plains, the hometown of former President Jimmy Carter. The former president is arguably Habitat’s most famous volunteer. He and his wife Rosalynn have led annual work projects for the home-building organization since 1984.
The headquarters includes Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village & Discovery Center. The six-acre village gives visitors an opportunity to learn more about the organization’s work and view life-size Habitat houses from countries around the world.
Koinonia is also the title of a song used in many Christian churches (and probably quite a few Vacation Bible Schools). Here’s one version.
-Compiled by Brian O’Shea
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