Internship Frequently Asked Questions
1. As an intern, can I bring my pet to Koinonia?
Sorry, but unless you use a seeing-eye dog, the answer is no. The good news is there are many animals to love and play with here. We have farm dogs and cats. We also have cows, chickens, pigs and other various animals. The cats are spayed and neutered, and they and all the other animals always stay outdoors.
2. I am politically conservative / radically progressive / a Biblical literalist / an atheist / LGBT/ etc. How will I fit at Koinonia?
We are a Christian community founded on the values of peacemaking/nonviolence, simple living (need, not greed) or “radical sharing” as we prefer to call it, and brotherhood/ sisterhood among all people, regardless of age, ability, sex, gender, religion, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. If you cannot coexist with such values, you may have a hard time here.
There is much diversity at Koinonia with many visitors coming and going. We are open to people of all faiths and no faith. Koinonians are not interested in “converting” others to different beliefs, but rather in living a demonstration plot for those values to which we have committed. There is a great deal of study while an intern and much of that study is authored by Christian writers or is about Christianity, in particular, Christian community. Every intern is asked to immerse herself/himself in our life of prayer, work, study, service and fellowship. If any of your beliefs or non-beliefs would prevent you from any of this, the internship is not for you though you are most welcome to come visit us.
3. Do you evangelize?
Hopefully, we “preach” through the demonstration plot. We do not “put the pressure on” people to become Christian, or “our” kind of Christian, or any certain kind of Christian. As St. Francis of Assisi famously said, “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.”
4. I want to join your community after my internship. How do I do that?
The internship is to learn about living in an intentional way no matter what your vocation may be. It is a program with a beginning, middle and end. While here you’ll get to know Koinonia, learn its workings and culture, fall in love with us (or at least some of us) and give and receive the gifts of community. There is almost always a “honeymoon” phase in people’s experiences here, but the honeymoon will end. We are not utopia! We are not perfect! Beyond ideas of utopia and dystopia are understanding, insight, and true community.
There is the option to apply for a second year as an intern. If during your first or second year, you feel called to seek membership in the community, ask the internship coordinator for more information. The process begins with a petition. You and the members mutually discern whether you are called to serve God at and through this particular community. If your petition is accepted, you enter the community as a novice. The novitiate period is three years.
So, as you see, the process is a long one. We ask you to fully participate in the internship and not concern yourself with membership. If God has called you here for more than the period of your internship, trust and let it unfold.
5. Do I get any time off during my internship?
If you have been accepted for the one-year internship, you may take a total of six days away during the year. They do not have to be taken consecutively. In fact, it is best if they are not taken consecutively. Clear the dates with the internship coordinator as far in advance as possible. Limited days away may be granted September 1 to November 1 depending on the size of the pecan harvest and demands of the bakery. Do not expect to take any time away November 1 to January 5. This is our busiest time of year and we need everyone here. Your family is welcome to visit you for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas.
Please avoid being away on a day you have a study session. There is a curriculum we follow and having people gone at various times does not do well by the group or the curriculum.
We usually get a day and a half off each week, sometimes two. Parts of the year though, it may be only one day off and it may not be Sunday. Please remember you are coming to live at a working farm. Weekends and evenings are not necessarily considered “time off.” We seek to balance our chores with our play, but please expect that you will be asked to help with chores during non-traditional work hours, including early in the morning.
Summer interns are expected to be here for the entire period of the internship. If you have a commitment any time during the dates of the internship that you have not told us about, let us know immediately. Of course, if a family emergency arises, if you are sick, etc., we would certainly be accommodating.
6. What’s the policy on alcohol, drugs and tobacco at Koinonia?
All Koinonia buildings and vehicles are smoke-free. Alcohol may be used discreetly and in moderation in your residence outside of work hours. No alcohol is allowed in open, public areas. No level of drunkenness is acceptable. Illegal drugs are not allowed.
7. Can I bring my bicycle, car, TV, and my multitude of electronic devices and video games, a
complete house full of furniture, etc.?
Bring a bike, maybe a car, but nothing else listed above. Please remember that we aim to live simply. When deciding what to bring, keep in mind that you won’t have a big space to put it, and that you will be living with other people who may come from different lifestyles and levels of material wealth or austerity. Please just bring what you need during your stay.
As for furniture, intern lodging is fully furnished, so you do not need to bring any. Of course, if you have a baby, special physical needs, etc., you should bring whatever you need for those purposes, but in general, Koinonia is not a very good storage unit! We provide all of your bedding, plus towels and washcloths.
You may bring a vehicle though we do have shuttles to Americus various times throughout the week for errands, grocery shopping and we try to organize outings from time to time. If you bring your own car, please be willing to share it in terms of offering rides to others.
8. When I arrive, should I bring some basic groceries – coffee, bread and peanut butter, that
sort of thing?
Many of our meals are communal. All of our weekday lunches, and four dinners are shared. We sometimes have lunch together on Saturdays, too. Sunday evening we have our Gathered Worship service, which includes a potluck meal. Interns share breakfast at least one time per week. For the other meals, you’re welcome to anything in the leftover fridge in the dining hall, but it’s likely you will want some items to keep in your own fridge. We try to provide you with the basic starter groceries your first weekend – milk, bread, eggs, salt, pepper, oil, and maybe a few other items. If you would like anything else, though, it’d be good to bring it with you or plan to make a trip into town soon after you arrive.
9. Will I have much down time during the internship?
We’ve found that most interns do not have as much down time as they expected. The first weekend you will likely have quite a bit of time to yourself, but as you get to know other interns and members, you’ll want to spend time with them. Of course this will vary depending on your personal needs. In general, though, the internship tends to go faster than most expect it to.
10. Is this an internship for young people only?
No. We’ve had people of all ages participate in the internship. In one term, the youngest intern was 20 and the oldest was 91!
11. May families do an internship?
Absolutely. We love to welcome families — single parents with children, married couples with children, it doesn’t matter, all are welcome. We’ve had situations where just one of the parents participated in the internship and the other cared for the children. We’ve also had situations where both participated. Each parent may spend a half-day with the children while the other one is working in another area of Koinonia or perhaps one of our members cares for the children for half day while both parents work. A member will be with the children during study sessions and other activities when the presence of all interns is necessary.
12. Do I need a financial sponsor?
Koinonia needs financial sponsors, but we do not require you to have one. Should you know of someone who might like to donate to the internship program or any other area of Koinonia, please let the internship coordinator know. We do offer a very, very modest weekly allowance to interns. You may need all, some or none of the allowance depending on your situation. This is the same for the membership — members have the option of receiving a modest weekly allowance. Some take all of it, some take some of it and some take none of it depending on their different situations when entering the community — we attempt to live simply according to need.