When I asked the audience at Central Presbyterian Church how many of them had ever heard of Koinonia, almost all the hands went up.
No surprise there. Central has a long tradition of social activism. This was one of the downtown churches that welcomed the thousands of people who crowded Atlanta for Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in 1968, in stark contrast to the State Capitol across the street, where Gov. Lester Maddox ringed the grounds with troopers and refused to lower the flag in respect for the passing of such a distinguished native son. The Presbyterians opened their sanctuary and offered shelter and sustenance to the throng of mourning pilgrims. In other words, they behaved like Christians.
Knowing some of that history, I was honored when Central invited me to speak about “The Class of ’65” at its summer studies series before the regular worship service this past Sunday. Gary Rowe, a former neighbor of ours and a veteran of church communications, asked me to come. One of the nicest things about writing a book is reconnecting with old friends you’ve fallen out of touch with like Gary (shown with me in the photo).
One of the other nice things is meeting new friends. One of them, Frances Padgett, said that her grandfather had arranged the sale of the farm property in Sumter County to establish Koinonia in 1942. Small world indeed.
Thank you, Central Presbyterian, for being such a warm and knowledgeable audience. That after-worship lunch was pretty good too.