1324 GA Highway 49 South | Americus Georgia 31719

(229) 924-0391  |  info@koinoniafarm.org


She saw us and began to cry. It is a picture I’ve carried in my mind, my heart since. Her tears were an expression of gratitude, thanks. Katie and Wyatt were interns at Koinonia in the Spring of 2014. At its end, they returned to Baylor University, where Wyatt was graduating from seminary (Katie had graduated earlier with a Master’s in History). Jim and I surprised them at the graduation ceremony. We even got to go out with them afterward for ice cream. A treat we didn’t expect but a delightful one.

Saying goodbye is the hardest part of life at Koinonia. Oh, people do come back, but never as often as they and we hope they will. So, I believed the trip to Texas was a special way to say goodbye without saying the word “goodbye” (I’ve never liked the word). I always intend to stay in touch with interns, but over time, I don’t. We’ve had so many terrific interns through the years. Katie and Wyatt ranked at the top of the list (if we kept a list ☺). Likely, somewhere within me, I thought it would be the last time I’d see them. I believed, at least subconsciously, that this was goodbye. It wasn’t.

If you have been to Koinonia, you’ve seen that each guestroom is named for someone. Some are Civil Rights heroes, people who have worked for social justice, people who have lived holy lives, or all three. Bringing her background in history to the task, this was one of the projects Katie worked on as an intern, writing the biographies that hang on the wall outside each room. She finished up the last few once she and Wyatt settled in their new home in rural Virginia. It worked so well that we asked her to help with other assignments from afar. They were all done well. She was a good writer and probably one of the best editors I’ve ever had. We requested her help with more and more assignments. Before long, she stepped into the role of communications coordinator. She had big shoes to fill and did just that some 561.5 miles from Koinonia.  

Katie has been at the heart of every Facebook post, Instagram post, product email, product catalog, and two websites. She’s managed each Open House and all the photoshoots, attended conferences and board meetings, and edited every Brief Thoughts. She handled the internship and the Come, Stay Awhile & Serve application process. The timeline that circles the walls of our dining hall is Katie’s work. She would want to give credit to the people at the farm and some of her gifted family members who helped. I do, but hers was the guiding heartbeat. Quiet, smart, organized, talented, always one step ahead, and a person trusted. Though states away, it did not feel like it. She was very much a presence to us at all times.

I was impressed with her work and grew ever more in awe of her person. At Koinonia, we often pray to be a good and decent people. Katie is a good and decent person. We also say that drama is for the stage, not for our life together in community. Often, when I feel the drama rising within me, I think of Katie and chuckle, “Not for our life here, save it for the stage.” She is the most even-keel person I have ever known. She had an impact without ever having to say a word.

Last September, Katie and Wyatt moved to Atlanta and I knew. Not by anything she said, not by one iota of slack in her work, but she had other offers before she even arrived in the city. In January, she told me. May 31 was to be her last day. For a decade, Katie has been a part of my life. I have communicated with her almost every day. But now, that goodbye I thought was happening in May 2014 is happening in May 2024. And Katie is doing the goodbye well, just as she has done everything else well — simple, quiet, no drama. She’s crossing every t and dotting every i. She has kept every commitment she’s made. She knows how to leave well, just as she knew how to be with us well.

So, once again, I have the opportunity to say goodbye in a special way. Though she’ll be reluctant to accept the focus, I hope she feels saying it through Brief Thoughts is special. See you later, Katie.

P.S. Loved coming to Lynchburg, Virginia, when you and Wyatt turned 30. Atlanta is not nearly as far. The whole farm is ready to travel to celebrate your 40th in just a few short years. Invite us! Rah! Onward. 

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