Bill Nigut hosts a program devoted to conversations about Koinonia, the Christian communal farm founded in 1942 by Southern Baptist minister Clarence Jordan in Sumter County, Georgia. The residents of the farm were devoted to pacifism and non-violence and were advocates of integration at a time when South Georgia was roiling under the challenges of the civil rights movement. Our first guest is Jim Auchmutey, a former award-winning reporter and editor for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Jim talks about his book “The Class of 65; A Student, A Divided Town and the Long Road to Forgiveness.” The book tells the story of the high school career of Greg Wittkamper, a white resident of Koinonia who was bullied, harassed and subjected to physical violence throughout his career at Americus High School because of his beliefs. But ultimately this is a story of redemption and forgiveness, as you will hear.
Our second guest is Atlanta theater artist Tom Key, who was one of the creators of the musical “Cotton Patch Gospel,” which was based on the Southern translations of the New Testament written by Clarence Jordan during his life at Koinonia. Since it first opened Off Broadway in New York, where it was performed by Key, it’s been produced countless times in professional and amateur productions around the world. The songs for the show were written by Harry Chapin.