Eight students, accompanied by Cini Bretzlaff-Holstein, adjunct professor of social work, and Nikki Bruna, social work project coordinator, spent Janurary 7 – 14 at Koinonia Farm. Their days were filled with chapel, service work, meals, and fellowship with each other and with the residents of the farm.
Founded in 1942 by Clarence Jordan, Koinonia Farm is a community of Christians that pray, work, study, and live together. Many social justice-seeking organizations, like Habitat for Humanity and the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, are products of Jordan’s intentional community.
“It was inspiring to see the students embrace the idea of being intentional about community,” said Bruna. “This almost immediately fostered a sense of kindness, peace, and commitment to the entire group. This was seen in our interactions with one another, the way we treated those we encountered, and how we approached our work.”
Something students appreciated while practicing intentional community were the evening conversations that followed each day.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion times we processed as a group,” said Sophia Briseno ’13 of Mason City, Illinois. “We all huddled around a small heater or brought blankets and talked about heavy concepts for several hours.”
Bruna said the intentional community and experience of Koinonia Farm is one that encourages students to take home the intentional mentality.
“This Interim allows students to experience firsthand the impact of living in an intentional community and think about what lessons they can bring back and incorporate in their own community,” said Bruna.
Bruna’s desire for post-Interim thought from participating students is evident.
“One question I kept asking and am still working through is, ‘Should you look for a community that will define you, or will you define the community you are in?’” said Briseno.