About Koinonia of Columbia
Kelly and I have each been very blessed in our family life with great examples of loving parents, safe environments to learn and grow, and a foundation of Christian faith. We have grown to appreciate the gift of eternal life through Christ. This gift is learned, then cherished in many different ways, but in the end, our understanding, respect and love is what drives what we do every day. For many years, Kelly has watched and admired the mission in North Charleston, Metanoia. Kelly has introduced me to this Community Development Corporation (CDC). It resonates deeply with our personal family goals and its witness has influenced the birthing of Koinonia of Columbia.
Our personal journey is firmly based in faith, love and hope. Kelly and I have a deep faith in the order and magnificence of God’s creation. We also firmly believe that God has gifted each and every person with a part of God’s love that will live eternally. The fallen humanity here on Earth is very hard, sometimes humanly impossible, to reconcile with Heavenly love. Kelly and I believe that we are here to “learn.” Learning to appreciate the gift of eternal life that is offered to each soul. Learning how to get along with and depend on one another - from our family to our community, extended to races, cultures, etc.
Our family is a trans-racial family. We have chosen to adopt our children from a very young birth-mother, whose enormous gift for our children was the love and respect of their lives, and the search for a safe, happy home full of love for them. We thought, prayed and were led by God to this trans-racial family. We are certainly aware of standing out in a crowd, being watched and most importantly being encouraged by nine out of ten people that we meet. The encouragement and joy we receive from so many loving, caring people are clear evidence for the hunger and thirst for racial reconciliation in our communities.
It is this respect for the lives we encounter that we wish to partner with God and others to promote safe, joyful, learning environments for children, youth and adults in our community.
In all that we do, our personal goals are to help build a strong, loving community that will grow in spirit and economy by learning how to get along with one another. Through this respect of one another, it is our goal to get beyond merely getting along with each other, but to thrive together. Regardless of background, gender, race, culture, heritage, we are all created equal in the eyes of God. That equality is measured in Love.
We are profoundly aware and grateful that God has allowed our paths to cross with many over the years who share this same vision of our God’s, believing in the transformative power of active love within communities, including Kelly’s ordaining church, Eau Claire Baptist. Founded in 1921, God has called ECBC to be a Lighthouse in the neighborhood of Eau Claire for 96 years now and she has served her neighbors so compassionately. In October 2016, the church sponsored the establishment of a Mothers’ Support Group that meets weekly and is open to mothers throughout Eau Claire as well as the church. Out of this effort and ECBC’s lifelong intentional vision to love her neighbors grew the church’s partnership with Koinonia of Columbia, Inc.
Anchored deep like the tree at the riverside…
Flying in formation together…
so that all may know community = koinonia
Koinonia of Columbia Staff
Ms. Jennifer Adams : Summer Enrichment Program Director; member of ECBC; BA from Columbia College; Recruited and served over 900 at risk youth and their families during her tenure with Communities in Schools, providing them with a variety of services to include case management, advocacy, mentoring and tutoring, and helping to fill gaps of services in the community; Created and coordinated a 10-week summer program that operated for 8 years
Koinonia of Columbia Board of Directors
We confirmed in our 501c(3) application that no Board of Director or Officer would receive any compensation for services or time devoted to Koinonia of Columbia, Inc.
Ms. Shelia Washington: Administrative Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator at Logan Elementary; Member of Central Baptist Church; Richland District 1 employee for 19 years
Mr. Walter Gause: Deacon at ECBC; resident of Eau Claire community since 1976; former employee of the City of Columbia and Environmental Specialist with FN
Dr. Richard Moore: Retired Principal of Logan Elementary; Richland District 1 employee for 38 years Deacon Chair at ECBC and lifelong ECBC member
Rev. Kelly Strum: Servant Leader of Koinonia and former Co-Pastor of ECBC; MDiv graduate of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary; Masters in Education in Elementary School Counseling from USC; School Counselor for 7 years in Lexington District 1