I woke up this morning with my mind and heart..on people: Koinonia Partners experience

I have felt so welcomed here in the short amount of time since I arrived, and I woke up this morning just loving on everyone I met–even those who seemed a bit distant (which were only a few).

I remembered my good friend Jeannie telling me about the book, “Practicing the Presence of People”.  Unfortunately, I forgot about it.  Why is this? That is another topic.

Anyway, I looked up the book, read a bit, and found these quotes. Reading this plus the intro to the book has enriched my experience here already tremendously.


Here is a quote from the book:

“By  treating people the same way I treat God, I began to relax with them and  enjoy them.  Not only that, but the  more I make my peace with people, the deeper grows by peace with God.  The more I pay attention to people and  connect with them, the richer grows my prayer life.  The more I give myself to others, the more  happy and fulfilled I feel.” (4)    

One way that this book has helped me is to know how important it is for me to love myself.  After all, if God loves everyone especially, that includes me. So I look at myself through God’s eyes.  And, Jesus does say, “love your neighbor as yourself.”  Sounds like I need to love myself.  This helps me to get out of my critical mind which often thinks, “That person does not like me.”  I then start treating the person in a way that inspires them to distance from me.

This is a topic for another discussion.  I want to buy this book!



Tampa Underground: a micro church network

I met a young woman here at Koinonia Partners who belongs to this network in Tampa.  Here

http://tampaunderground.com/our-manifesto/  This looks very promising as a model.  I keep finding models that are so awesome. Now, what to do with all the information?  A documentary of course..or maybe a slide show.  I pray that I can take in all this information, digest it and share it in a way that inspires action.  Here’s a snippet from the web site:

“The Underground is a new kind of church made up of not just individuals, but communities. In fact, the Underground is a fellowship of microchurches – groups that reach out to their neighbors (home churches), seek to reach certain populations (missional churches), serve to see the Kingdom come on university campuses (university churches), and finally those that labor globally to share the Gospel (global movements). There are currently over 85 microchurches that form our makeup.”


Mustard Seed Associates–another amazing organization

One of the biggest perks to visiting real live people in community is that they like to tell me about their favorite organizations. Mitch, the hospitality coordinator here at Koinonia Partners share this wonderful organization with me: http://msainfo.us/about/

Here is a thumbnail description:

MSA aspires to become a networking hub for Christian imagination and innovation enabling individuals, families and communities of faith to create new forms of spiritual practices, sustainable lifestyles and sustainable communities locally and globally for life in these turbulent times. 

The Simple way is complicated!

Well, not in a bad way. It’s just that there are so many opportunities to serve and connect and learn. I don’t know where to start. So I just will list some of the things I have done so far. Since I can’t be on line after 5 (there are no coffee shops or places to get on internet in this Kensington Neighborhood in Philadelphia),  and I am working on a project for The Simple Way during office hours–I don’t have much time to blog.  But I hope to catch up when I get to Koinonia Partners.

Had a 35 minute interview with Shane Claiborne that was very inspiring. I video taped it, but now I have to learn how to edit it and get it on line.

Am working on a community mapping project which means I research a bunch of community organizations in the area, gather information and will input the data.  This is leading to me getting to know the community and some amazing people.  I love it!  This is just the job for me.

I am going to coordinate a trash pick up. Through a miraculous chain of events and simply by walking down Kensington Street, I made the connections so I have trash bags and a trash pick up point.  There is a lot of trash on my street!

I am going to the morning prayer meetings at 8 am, Very inspiring scripture reading, responsive reading, and prayer. 

Met with a preacher who’s organization has a great relationship with The Simple Way, and he is very interested in looking into Living Springs as a possibility for a retreat/discipleship center.

May have found a key volunteer that The SimpleWay needed- and I didn’t even know they were looking.

Participated in a bible study where mostly people who were in recovery attended–all men–it was a tough looking bunch.  Got welcomed, and at the end prayed over. Great time!

Walking around some of Philadelphia’s toughest streets.  Feeling very safe except for the cars that go really fast when they turn right.  I gotta be careful. Sad to see so much suffering. But so many people are reaching out.

The Hospitality House is like my retreat center–only the manager is staying there, quiet, kind of nice to have the space to myself although I do feel a little lonely at times.

Picked up trash just before the grassy field in the neighborhood was mowed. Shane called over to the office to see if I would do that because I had expressed willingness to pick up trash.  Met some very nice workers and even a person walking by who wanted to help out.

Found out that needle exchanges are necessary so that drug addicts don’t get hepatitis and aids in addition to the bad effects of drugs. Sad.  But important.

Getting to know this neighborhood and many at The Simple Way. Inspiring. I hope that my contribution will be helpful.

Got the best water melon ever for only $5 at the near by produce stand.  Eating very simply, but well.  Caretaker offered me anything I wanted in the frig after I helped clean it out of junky stuff.

Okay, back to work!





I could spend a month in the Phily area visiting intentional communities!

Here is some information which I was given by my contact at The Simple Way. I am staying at their Hospitality House–a kind of hostel for visitors. I had no idea there were so many communities in the area. I’m only here until Monday, so I’m not sure how many I will visit–but if I ever come back, I’ll know who to contact! So here is the scoop:
The Village House, which is the original community house located just down the street from the Hospitality House, still retains aspects of an intentional community as there are rhythms of shared life and resources, but you can decide once you arrive and get a sense of community life if it is an example of what you’re looking for. There is also a Catholic Worker house called House of Grace about 2 train stops away, also in Kensington. They run a free clinic. Here’s the info I have for them:
House of Grace Catholic Worker, 1826 E. Lehigh Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19125, 
We also have 2 sister communities in the area. One is Camden House, which is right across the river in Camden, NJ. They are affiliated with Sacred Heart Church, so I think the best way to reach them would be to attend Mass on Sunday to make a connection with them.
http://sacredheartcamden.org/ or to contact the parish school (most of the community members work there) and see if you can stop by (I get the sense that they may be open to volunteers coming during the day to help in the classrooms). http://sacredheartschoolcamden.org/
And New Jerusalem is a recovery community in North Philly that started up around the same time that The Simple Way did.
You can also check out the Bruderhof (they have a few communities on the East Coast). http://www.bruderhof.com/
And if you want to take some day trips, NYC and DC are not far. In Brooklyn, there is Radical Living NYC: http://radicalliving.wordpress.com/
and in DC there’s a network of intentional communities: http://www.dc.newmonastics.org/
And you can check out a wider directory of communities here: http://www.communityofcommunities.info/