The Ekklesia Project

   September 2009   

*Local and Regional Conversations about God's Economy

*Meet the EP: Craig Wong

*Book Review:
Holiness and Ecclesiology in the New Testament

*The Koinonia Story in a Nutshell

*Integrating the Newsletter with bLOGOS


New on bLOGOS:

Our bloggers continue to provide commentary on the lectionary.  We hope the pastors among us find these reflections useful for their own Sunday preaching, and that those lay persons among us find them to be useful additions to what they might hear in their own communities.

Loving Enemies: A Training Program
by Brian Volck

Numbers 11: (4-6, 10-16) 24-29; Psalm 19; James 5:1-6 (Catholic); 5:13-20 (Revised Common); Mark 9:38-50

Kids in Church
by Debra Dean Murphy
Mark 9:30-37

Setting Nature on Fire
by Halden Doerge
James 3:1-12

Local and Regional Conversations about God's Economy
Gathering 2009 fostered enough conversation about living God's economic vision that we pledged to try to continue with local conversations in the fall.  Conversations are being held as follows. Click on the hot links to contact the local host about your interest in attending. All are free, except for the exciting conference being held at Englewood Christian Church. 
Nov. 13-14  Through the Consuming Fire: Economic Faithfulness in an age of Consumerism  Englewood Christian Church, Indianapolis, IN
Nov. 14 10am-3pm, Christ Church, Des Moines, IA, contact host Michael Gulker 
November 22, 6:30pm, Dale Ziemer will host at his home in Palatine (for the greater Chicago area)

Any Thursday evening, Joey Aszterbaum welcomes you for conversation at the farm in San Jacinto, CA

Other conversations may be announced in the next newsletter.  If you attended Gathering 2009 and would like to host a conversation in your area, please contact Brent Laytham.
Meet the EP: Craig Wong       Craig

Craig share these words about himself and his community:

As a member of Grace Fellowship Community Church (GFCC) and the director of our partner nonprofit, Grace Urban Ministries (see, it has been deeply soul-satisfying to commune with the strange lot that is EP.  It was 2004 when our dear brethren at the Church of the Sojourners first encouraged our GFCC staff to join the party, and we've been participating ever since. It was not a hard sell. Mentored by the late Pastor Bob Appleby, a man who from an early age understood the centrality of the Church in God's missional strategy, we quickly discovered in EP new and wonderful traveling partners on our ongoing ecclesiological journey.
It is this journey that I seek to bring to my writing as a columnist for PRISM, a publication of Evangelicals for Social Action and The Sider Center on Ministry & Public Policy (based at Palmer Theological Seminary in Philadelphia) which serves "as a catalyst and connector of a community of Christian leaders" (see Through the column, On Being the Church (see, my goal is to propose, and stimulate engagement with, an ecclesio-centered understanding of social ministry and public witness. Grounded in the truth preached each week through my pastors, Sharon Huey and company, and joined in the ongoing ministry of the congregation at large, my hope is to faithfully bring our collective joys, trials and foibles to this endeavor.

 (Craig Wong served on the planning committee for last year's EP gathering, and participated in this year's gathering as a board member of Dayspring Technologies (, a gospel-centered company led by Chi-Ming Chien of Redeemer Community Church ( Wong also serves on the board of the Christian Community Development Association (, a network of primarily urban churches and ministry organizations.)

Holiness and Ecclesiology in the New Testament
reviewed by Jon Stock

I have found myself drawn into several books recently, including the collection of essays entitled Holiness and Ecclesiology in the New Testament edited by Kent Brower and Andy Johnson (Eerdmans, 2007). Thholiness and ecclesiologye volume pulls together an excellent group of New Testament scholars (Richard Bauckham, I. Howard Marshall, Michael Gorman and Joel Green, for example) to consider what the books of the New Testament have to say about holiness. What is particularly refreshing about this collection is the very intentional connection that the authors make with ecclesiology. Take this quote from the introduction: "God's call to holiness comes to a people/community, not to isolated individuals. Holiness is profoundly ethical in character and lived in the public sphere. But this is far more than simply individual ethical living in a societal context. Such a recognition is crucial when the typical Protestant way of thinking about holiness/sanctification in the North American and UK contexts has been to focus on isolated individuals and then argue about what God's grace is or is not able to accomplish in their lives. By gathering the twelve around him as a microcosm of restored Israel, Jesus displayed God's intention to form a people who would embody god's character and draw the nations to God." (xxii)

The Koinonia Story in a Nutshell    

We asked Bren Dubay to tell us a bit about the history and mission of Koinonia Farm.  Below is an excerpt; the full article can be found on bLOGOS.

Thanks to Church of the Servant King in Eugene, Oregon, Koinonia Farm Director Bren Dubay and Ekklesia Project Director Brent Laytham met during Pentecost 2008. Bren was visiting the folks in Eugene to learn how another community shares life together. Brent was there as a guest speaker celebrating the birth of the church with Church of the Servant King. Inspired by Brent's teaching, Bren promised she'd attend the 2008 Gathering. This led to her coming back in 2009 and co-presenting a workshop, "Doing Business for the Kingdom or the Empire," with Chi-Ming Chien of Dayspring Technologies. 

Many of those involved in the Ekklesia Project know of Koinonia Farm and Clarence Jordan. Clarence, his wife Florence and their friends Mabel and Martin England founded Koinonia (Greek for loving community) in 1942. InspireKoinoniad by the Book of Acts, they wanted to live in an intentional Christian community and live out their deeply held beliefs drawn from Jesus' teachings: peacemaking, radical sharing, and brother/ sisterhood among all people.

In the 1950s and 60s, Koinonia was fiercely challenged for these beliefs-reviled by many for its racial integration, pacifist actions, and supposed Communism. Koinonians and their children endured threats, beatings, bullets, a boycott, exile from some of the local churches and other sabotage. The community survived through prayer, a sense of humor, nonviolent resistance, and by starting a mail-order pecan business. The boycott ended in the 60s, but the pecan business remains the community's main source of income to this day.

To read the rest of Bren's article on bLOGOS, click here.

Integrating the Newsletter with bLOGOS

Articles and reviews appearing in the EP Newsletter are kept very brief so that the entire newsletter can be read in a few minutes.  Longer essays (and the opportunity to dialogue with one another about their content) are regularly featured on bLOGOS.  I think of this as the "push" and "pull" of EP communication--the newsletter comes to you, while you must go to bLOGOS.  To better integrate these two important resources, in this issue we include the first few paragraphs of Bren Dubay's reflections on Koinonia Farms and invite you to finish reading the article on bLOGOS.  Let me know if you find this approach helpful.  If you do, we will offer more such "to be continued" articles in the future.

John McFadden