"The Greek word koinonia describes relationships where people know each other well. From koinonia (often translated "fellowship") we get our English words common, community, and commmunion. Koinonia describes relationships of great depth where people mutually share their lives with one another. They share their time, thoughts, feelings, burdens, insecurities, joys, brokenness, and sometimes even their possessions. I deeply desire human relationships of this kind. However, the greatest and most complete koinonia relationship possible is with God's Son, Jesus, and you are called to a koinonia relationship with him (1 Cor. 1:9)
-- "Custom Designed: A Life Worthy of the Call" Wendy A.W. Berthelsen
Wendy is the aunt of one of the youth on our trip. Oddly enough, her niece was reading Wendy's soon-to-be-published book and came across this quote about koinonia...and, as irony would have it, she shared this quote with me while sharing a smoothie at the Koinonia Coffee Shop in Jackson, MS. The coffee shop was a condemned building located next to an abandoned church. Five years ago, a group from Windsor Heights Lutheran began work on transforming that house.
Today, the abandoned church has been transformed into the central headquarters of Voice of Calvary. The condemned house has been restored - the bottom level is the coffee shop, and the second level is where the owner and her husband live. It's an amazing change; one that has brought life into an economically depressed area of town.
I reminded of the koinonia that is being created within our group of 23. I also reflect on the koinonia we have shared with Voice of Calvary Ministries. Over 75 sets of hands from our congregation have worked near this place in the past 8 years. In our attempt to be a blessing to the people of Jackson, WE are the ones who have been inspired and blessed by the ministry of our partners at Voice of Calvary. God is truly present in a special way in this neighborhood...and we are fortunate to be a part of the koinonia that this partnership brings.