Koinonia

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History:

Koinonia is a utopian group of islands purchased by a group of five individuals. The five founders, Brooke, Libby, Luke, Nathan, And Emma, met in a creative writing group during university. During a group writing assignment the members were paired up and given the prompt of a utopia themed novella. The process of the assignment enthralled the students even after the course had ended. The five classmates stayed friends through graduation and never ceased dreaming about their utopia, Koinonia. In 2007 the utopian dreamers were faced with an interesting offer gained through one of the friend’s work connections: they were able to take possession of a group of nameless islands (exact location withheld) and bring their utopia to life with the help of a government grant. The deal was if the utopia attracted enough people and was deemed a success within five years all debt would be cleared and Koinonia could live on in peace, but if the plan failed the five friends would have to pay back the grant in full and leave the islands. It is 2017 and for five years Koinonia has remained grounded and continues to grow. [1]

Layout:

There is a total of three islands lined in a row all close enough to swim or row to. The middle island is slightly bigger than the others making it the mainland, which is dedicated to housing, leisure, community, and all things day-to-day. This mainland is where member live, trade, and grow together. Members of the community trade out of their homes, attend the church, help at town hall, and plays sports. The second island is utilized for production of clothes, food, and all necessities. Koinonia makes everything it uses, so this island is quite busy with gardens and buildings for producing materials. The third island is reserved strictly for isolation, mediation, retreats, and other spirit-based activities. There is only one building in the middle of the island about the size of a mobile home which is reserved for gatherings during retreats. The rest of the island is untouched allowing for a connection with nature. Members of the community go to the island from anywhere to an evening for reading to a weekend camping getaway. [2]

Politics and Work:

As the community is self-governed and separate from the rest of society there is not much that needs to be taken care of in the big picture. There is a town hall on the mainland where new member applications are processed and jobs are assigned. There is no one person in charge, although the original five are often looked to in seniority, so working in town hall is on the job list like any other task, and members take turns. All jobs such as, gardening, making clothes, processing applications, island maintenance, and making the work schedule are rotated through each member so that everyone eventually has to do every job. Members are able to swift jobs and shifts and such if they wish since they are grown individuals, so long as it does not create a disturbance. Special jobs like delegating a town meeting are assigned at random. All big decisions such as building a new building or contacting the rest of the world are decided in a town meeting type gathering. Topics are addressed by the delegator and members of the community who chose to attend (attendance is not mandatory, but encouraged) may speak up, and at the end of a topic all present members vote. In the case of a guideline being broken a second chance is granted in the case of minor offences (small theft, disorder, etc.); everyone deserves a second chance. In the case of second offences and major offences a mandatory community meeting is held with all members excluding that in question and a couple watching him. We have only have one case of a major offence and the offender was swiftly provided a plane ride home and handed to the authorities. [3]

Applicants:

Applications are processed based on community guidelines, agreed upon during creation of Koinonia (withheld for privacy reasons), and if the applicant meets 8 of the 10 criteria they are granted a trial period. The trial period is three weeks long where the applicant dives fully into the community as if they had always been there. They are expected to act and fulfill responsibilities like the rest of the community. At the end of the three weeks a town meeting is held: if the applicant is accepted by the community they continue their stay and a home is either built for them or they join a home. If the applicant is not accepted then they are given a plane ride home. The members are blindfolded during the trip as to secure privacy. The guidelines are there simply to make sure none of the wrong-minded type of individuals find themselves in the community. Sexual orientation, race, gender, and all things we do not control are not taken into account during the application process; all are loved and welcome. We are an accepting community and do not want to turn people away. [4]

Ideals and Values:

Koinonia is a community founded on love for people and the desire to support fellow humans. “Why can’t we all just get along?” is the simple question that birthed the peaceful community. Members are expected to live in harmony leaving all primal and violent aspects of humanity to the rest of the world. Koinonia is a vegetarian community farming all of its’ own food. Money does not exist on the islands in that we make everything we need to survive; the rest of the world has nothing we need and they having nothing we need, so for now trade is non-existent and contact rare. Members are allowed to visit the rest of the world at anytime using our plane since most people still do have ties there; we just request they bring back things for the community such as books and paints. Members trade their hobbies and services, and education is community and novel based. Koinonia thrives on art and encourages its’ members to find creative outlets. The islands are covered in art from the members, but they are sure not to disturb the natural state too drastically. The values of the community can be related to pantheism in our treatment of the earth as nearly divine. We live in harmony with the earth not dominance. We aim to leave those things that hinder humanity like war and greed, and focus on an existence spreading love and acceptance. [5]