Koinonia of Erie County

Welcome to Erie County Koinonia

ballApplication Form

Testimonials:

"It was a life-changing experience!"

"All weekend it has amazed me how you people allow the Holy Spirit to flow through you. I also need to open up and let the Holy Spirit flow through me."

For more information contact Pastor Damon Peterson, Spiritual Director (email)

Considering a Koinonia Weekend?

What is Koinonia?
Overview of the Weekend
Who Can Attend Koinonia?

Koinonia and the Church
Your Responsibility and the Candidate

A Final Word


What is Koinonia?

Koinonia is an interdenominational movement dedicated to awakening and maintaining the vitality of a life with Jesus Christ and enhancing one's meaningful involvement in church and community.

The principal event of the Koinonia movement is a three-day weekend spiritual life experience designed to immerse the participants, called candidates, in the love of God and bring fresh awareness of the essential teachings of our Christian faith. Great care is taken to ensure the message given is of moderate theology.

The first weekends in Erie were held in 1983 and more have been held every year since. Currently there are five weekends held each year. Additional weekends are held as growth dictates need. Generally, men's weekends are held in January  and September with women's weekends occurring in February, April and October of each year. There is also a one day special needs event, held every two or three years, for people who would be physically unable to participate in one of the three day weekends.

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Koinonia and the Church

Koinonia is a movement of the church. It is not an entry point into the Christian life. Consider these four points:

1. The Koinonia Weekend is not primarily an individual experience. It presupposes an operative awareness of the Body of Christ. During the three-day weekend, participants grow as individual Christians in their understanding of the faith and their relationship to Christ - but always in a context of a Christian community. Throughout, the need to belong to a church and the need to be responsible to that church is emphasized.

2. Koinonia operates with a dynamic view of Christian leadership. It seeks primarily to find and support Christian lay leadership in both the church and the world. With respect to the world, it is hoped that these leaders will influence the areas of their daily lives, their work, home, recreation, etc. - for Christ. Participants may come to discover their role in ministry as lay persons, with gifts to give and the imperative to give them for the growth and health of their local church.

3. Clergy are strongly encouraged to attend the Koinonia weekend along with the lay persons. This provides the opportunity to share common experiences and understand the lay person's experience. Nothing has been found in recent years that is more effective in re-energizing clergy and providing them with renewed enthusiasm for their own ministry. Clergy who have attended a Koinonia may also assist on other weekends as a spiritual director. Everything that is done on a Koinonia weekend is intended to strengthen and clarify what the church is and how it carries out its Christ-ordained task. Pastoral leadership is central.

4. Koinonia requires pastoral endorsement. As Christs's representative and shepherd to your people, it is essential that you give both your approval and your support to one who wishes to make a Koinonia from your congregation.

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Overview of the Weekend

A Koinonia weekend begins about 8:00 p.m. Friday evening and concludes about 8:00 p.m. Sunday evening. The typical day begins at 7:00 a.m. with a chapel meditation. After breakfast follows a series of "talks" given both by lay and clergy leaders. After each talk a period of discussion and sharing by small groups is provided. This is where much of the lasting effect of Koinonia develops. The same schedule holds after lunch and dinner. The day usually ends about 10:00 p.m. There is ample time provided in each day for "breathers" and casual sharing.

The whole weekend is rooted in joy and prayer, and in a holy orientation that is both natural and deepening. Each weekend has its own character, though each is well planned before it comes together. Overall, the schedule is demanding, though far from rigid, and each person is important to the weekend, whether one of the leaders or one of the candidates. Usually 30 candidates are accepted to each weekend and they will be accompanied on the weekend by about 20 team members.

The talks presented on the weekend do not present a comprehensive review of Christian theology - even of the topics which are mentioned. They intend to present only what is essential to Christian living in ways which can be particularly meaningful to the participants.

It is clear from what has been described that persons who cannot physically or emotionally give themselves to the weekend probably should not make an application. However, if you feel you need further clarification or direction on the matter, please feel free to consult with one of the Koinonia Spiritual Directors.

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Who Can Attend Koinonia?

The following criteria are recommended for selection of candidates for a Koinonia weekend:

1. At least 18 years-of-age

2. Emotionally stable

3. Married couples apply concurrently, and the husband is to precede his wife. There is some room for single persons.

Koinonia is intended for persons who are seeking a deepening of their Christian faith - who seek to integrate head, heart, and hand in the worship and service of God through Jesus Christ. It is NOT a replacement for conversion, training new Christians, retreats, counseling, or grief therapy.

(When only one spouse desires to make a Koinonia weekend and the other refuses special care must be taken.)

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Your Responsibility and the Candidate

Even if you may not have made a Koinonia, as a candidate's pastor you are an important part of the Koinonia team.

1. THE APPLICATION. You are encouraged to pray about any person before they are approached about Koinonia or they fill out their application.

2. SUPPORT. Please continue to pray for the person before, during, and after the Koinonia weekend. Please include the Koinonia team in your prayers as well. No Koinonia can be successful without the prayers of many, many Christians.

3. AFTER THE KOINONIA WEEKEND. You may expect the person to return from his/her Koinonia weekend with a degree of excitement and discovery. The exact degree, of course, depends on the individual. Your interest in the person will be very important to his or her continued growth in faith. We encourage you to talk with the person about their experience. Your participant may also have an increased desire to learn about the Scriptures. On the weekend, positive suggestions are given for study. Your interest and desire to assist will help guide their continuing study along lines that are consistent with the basic Christian theology.

4. KOINONIA AND THE LAY MINISTRY. We would like to think every person who has made a Koinonia weekend comes back raring to go to work in lay ministry. Often they are and your lay person may become a useful resource in your ministry in the church. But this is not always the case. We encourage you to make suggestions to the individual; to challenge them to make use of their gifts and enthusiasm in concrete ways at the local level.

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A Final Word

Koinonia was never meant to be an alternative to church, or to be a para-church organization, the "true" church within the church nor TO DRAW ATTENTION TO ITSELF. Within Erie County, we are working to prevent this mistaken notion, and to develop, within the Koinonia community itself, the awareness of Koinonia as one, and only one, very wonderful way in which God is revitalizing His Church and enabling it to serve His purpose in the world.

As an ordained minister of Christ, we invite you to help us in the two-fold task of finding those persons who may benefit from the Koinonia experience and integrating this tool into the overall mission of the church.

For applications or further information:

Applications.  If you'd like answers to specific questions you can contact the Lay Leader or the Candidate Coordinator from the Contacts page.

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