This coming Thursday we have a gathering in north Baltimore County we have named
. Koinonia Spring 2023 Let me explain why it’s important.
Three years on from the traumatic pandemic of 2020 we are beginning to see the fallout in Unity churches. Initially, things went reasonably well—ministers adapted to new technology, congregants learned to use Zoom and other virtually meeting technology, and donors continued to support the church. But over time, ministers have got burned out, congregants have come to enjoy “watching” from home, and, in many cases, the church as given up their meeting space in order to reduce expenses.
Three years on, many churches have lost their minister, they are not able to recover the attendance and commitment they had before 2020, and they can’t afford to rent a place to meet on Sunday. They now feel trapped. And
the mistake many churches are making is assuming that their option is to remain a “virtual” church or close their doors. I don’t see it that way.
What I see is that people want affiliation with spiritual community, they will support ministries and ministers, and, most important, they will get out of their pajamas and go to places that offer transformational experiences. They just don’t want to do it every Sunday. That trend was evident long before 2020 but the pandemic has brought it to a crisis much quicker than we have been able to adjust.
CFO Acadia, Kennebunk ME
I witnessed this in November 2021, soon after vaccinations became available, when I attended a weeklong event in Kennebunkport, Maine called “Acadia Camps Farthest Out.” My experience was transformational. I followed up by attending three more camps in 2022: Journey Farthest Out at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampsire, Autumn Journey Farthest Out in South Lake Tahoe, and again to the Acadia Camps Farthest Out in Kennebunkport, Maine.
I wrote about it last August and I’m writing about it today because it explains how Koinonia this coming Thursday offers a way out for Unity churches that feel trapped in virtual ministry.
What I learned at these camps is that people want a time to rest, relax and have a life of peaceful living. I learned that they will drive several hours to get it. I learned that the essential components for a day of peaceful living are heartfelt singing and an extended time of reflective prayer and meditation, a wholistic experience of arts and creativity, an inspirational speaker, and a time to share insights about living more peacefully. In a nutshell, people want community. And the Greek word for the type of community they want is not
ecclesia, but rather koinonia. Ecclesia is a gathering, koinonia is a fellowship.
This Thursday’s Koinonia is an experiment. If my impressions are right, the way out for stressed ministries and ministers is to meet for a full day—providing enough time for transformational experiences to occur—and to meet bimonthly or quarterly—providing enough frequency so that spiritual connections and attachments are formed.
If you can join us, it will be helpful to register today or tomorrow. I will need to order lunches on Tuesday. If you want to experience what I’m talking about, know that registration is open for all three camps I’ve been attending.
Don’t close your doors. Gather up your flock and pack one of these camps. Learn how they operate. Start meeting in person bimonthly or quarterly for a full day of singing, prayer, wholistic arts, inspirational messages and community discussion. You may soon find that they want it every Sunday.
Sunday, April 16, 2023
Download 8.5"x11" flyer for Koinonia 2023
Download PDF of this page
Listen/Download Audio of this message
This morning we are announcing We gather on Thursday, April 20, 2023 at 8:30, meet from 9-4 and we provide lunch at noon. Koinonia Spring 2023, A Day Of Peaceful Living through singing, reflective prayer, inspiration and community discussion.
The location is , adjacent to Koinonia Farm, in Stevenson, Maryland, north Baltimore County. We have the Carriage House conference facilities rented for the day, providing plenty of room for our gathering and a second room for sharing books and fliers relating to peaceful living, community organizations and wholistic living. You are welcome to walk the gardens of this beautiful estate, meet friends and connect with people in what we hope to be an annual or semi-annual gathering. The Gramercy Mansion Estate
Let me explain why it’s important, what has inspired this gathering, who it is for and how you can join us.
It’s important because many people want to live more peacefully. It just may be that the essential components of peaceful living are, in no particular order, a daily time of inspiration, reflective prayer, heartfelt discussions with others, and singing in some form or fashion. Koinonia is a day devoted to these four essentials. Both our morning and afternoon sessions include heartfelt singing and an extended reflective prayer and meditation, an inspirational speaker, and a time to share insights about living more peacefully.
Inspiration for this day has come through people who have been inspired by: the Unity movement, a positive, practical, progressive approach to Christianity based on the teachings of Jesus and the power of prayer; Journey Farthest Out, a movement of camping experiences where people find balance physically, mentally and spiritually by steeping themselves in prayer so deeply that it becomes integrated into our very bodies and manifested in all we say and do; The Church of Conscious Harmony, a community dedicated to facilitating the spiritual journey for people who want to make God-devotion the center of their lives while living in the ordinary world; and The Arbinger Institute, publisher of The Anatomy of Peace, a book about helping people resolve conflict with a heart at peace.
Inspiration for our location has come from which acquired a 44-acre estate in the Green Spring Valley north of Baltimore, and soon launched a program, and community life, featuring retreat, study, spiritual community–and training to take literacy, agriculture, health, and similar practical skills into the undeveloped world. Much of the Peace Corps’ program was modeled after Koinonia’s. The community’s center of gravity was nonsectarian Christianity, with strong Quaker influences. The Koinonia Foundation,
You are welcome to come and participate, regardless of where you may be in life and how your life is going. We believe people who will find Koinonia a blessing include individuals in the mid-Atlantic area who wish to establish spiritual friendships, wives and husbands who want to get away for a peaceful day, pastors and prayer teams who wish to explore spiritual pathways, community volunteers, counselors, wholistic health providers, and creative writers, musicians, and artists who wish to expand their network and share their offerings. If the $25 cost is a difficulty for you, please let me know. Bring your stories to share, your books to swap, your fliers to distribute, and your instruments to play. Most important, bring your Self.
Right now, we are looking for people who will manage or help with: welcoming and sign-in, catering for lunch, publicity and social media, audio equipment setup, and organizing the book swap room. Please email me to let me know you can help. If it’s convenient for you, I’ll arrange to meet with you at the location to get acquainted, see the grounds, and discuss the setup.
St Paul wrote “to set the mind on Spirit is peace and life.” We affirm that singing, reflective prayer and meditation, inspiration, and community discussion will set our mind and heart on Spirit and we will find ourselves living more peacefully. Registration is open now. Please let us know you're coming.
Sunday, February 19, 2023
Listen/Download Audio of this message
Photos taken December 28, 2022
(Click to see in high resolution)
Main Meeting Room
Sharing/Book Swap Room
Mansion from meeting room
Gardens - Back of Mansion
Gardens - Japanese Tea Room
Gardens - Fish Pond (video)