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Documentary tells tale of Habitat for Humanity’s roots

Habersham theater to air film about South Ga. interracial commune in 1960s

POSTED: March 17, 2011 12:30 a.m.

If you've never heard of Koinonia Farm, or its impact on organizations like Habitat for Humanity, it's worth your attention.

On Friday, The Habersham Community Theatre will show the documentary, "Briars in the Cottonpatch: The Story of Koinonia Farm," which will bring you up to date.

The farm was established in 1942 by Clarence and Florence Jordan and Martin and Mabel England as a Christian farm community in Americus. During the height of segregation, the community functioned as a color-blind commune where all races of people lived, worked and prayed side by side.

Because of its attitude toward racial equality, the farm was the target of numerous bombings, death threats and various acts of violence.

Millard and Linda Fuller were Koinonia residents for a number of years and helped launch the Koinonia Partnership Housing program. Through the partnership, the Koinonia Partners built affordable houses for low-income families. The families would pay back the interest-free mortgages for their homes over a 20-year period.

Using the Koinonia model, the couple would go on to co-found Habitat for Humanity International. Their daughter, Faith Fuller, is the documentary's director.

The free documentary showing is open to the public and will be held at the Demorest Methodist Congregational Federated Church, 611 Georgia St., Demorest. It will be followed by a discussion with Bren Dubay, Koinonia Farm director.

The theater group will also host a book discussion at 7:30 p.m. April 1 at the Demorest church, centered around "The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew and John," which was written by Koinonia founder Clarence Jordan. The book is a "1960s version of these two New Testament books with a Southern accent, fervent, earthy, rich in humor."

These events precede the community theatre's production of Cotton Patch Gospel, a musical that debuted on Broadway in 1981. The musical is based on Jordan's book.

The Habersham group's production will hit the stage in late April.

 



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