COMMAnts from the Conference Minister – June 2018


Last week, a 14-year-old from Texas won the Scripps National Spelling Bee.  And what was the winning word? Koinonia.  That’s one of our words in the Christian Church!

“Koinonia” is often translated as spiritual fellowship or partnership.  It’s the image painted by verses like Acts 2:42-45, where those in the earliest church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers” and “had all things in common”.  It points toward the kind of beloved community we as Christians are called to build here on earth, a sacred way of relating to each other and to our world that is counter-cultural in character.

It seemed profoundly ironic that this young spelling champion, Karthik Nemmani, a son of an immigrant from India, should win by spelling a word meaning something our country seems wholly unable to embody these days, especially when it comes to immigrants.

How do you ‘spell’ koinonia when so much rhetoric around us is tearing us apart rather than building us up?  How do we spell koinonia when children are cruelly being ripped from their parents’ arms at our Southern border?  How do we spell koinonia when the ugly evil of racism invades our Twitter feed and our daily news and (for some among us) our bitter daily experience?

The true spirit of Koinonia seems pretty evasive these days. Yet it’s still our calling and aspiration as Church: to build among us a culture of generosity and sharing, to live as if every Child of God is a valued member of the community, to acknowledge the deep blessings God has given us and to be a blessing to others.

How do you spell koinonia? Are you getting it right in your home life, your community, and your congregation? Are we making it plain to the world in our living and our service?

Let us build together a beloved community steeped in generosity, abiding prayer, in faithful devotion, and extravagant love. After all, it’s what being Church is all about!

With you on the journey,




Reverend Shari Prestemon, Conference Minister

P.S. I hope to see you at Annual Meeting this weekend, where we can strengthen the ties that bind together that beautiful koinonia in the Minnesota Conference UCC!

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