In rural Georgia, Jubilee Partners offers refugees and other immigrants a home and a community.
With over sixty million people worldwide displaced by violence, how to treat refugees has become one of the great moral issues of our time. Yes, the Bible calls us to welcome the stranger. But what can even the best-intentioned person do in the face of unprecedented mass migration? Jubilee Partners, a community dedicated for decades to welcoming suffering people who have been displaced by war and other disasters, demonstrates that a Christian community can give support in ways an individual citizen never could.
Jubilee Partners grew out of Koinonia Farm, the Georgia community founded by Clarence Jordan and others in 1942 with a commitment to racial reconciliation and sustainable agriculture. In 1979, three years after helping to launch the house-building organization Habitat for Humanity, Koinonia’s members set out to establish a new community. They chose 260 beautiful but undeveloped acres in northeast Georgia.
During their first months there, Jubilee Partners’ six founding members listened to news reports about thousands of Vietnamese boat people seeking refuge in America. Living in tents themselves, with no hot showers, they resonated with the boat people’s plight, and decided to respond.
On a recent visit to Plough’s editorial offices, Don Mosley, one of those founding members, reflected on how much has changed – and how much hasn’t – in the thirty-seven years since. "In the beginning, people were scared of us. The local newspaper did a headline story – an exposé, the editor called it – on this commune moving into the area. The reporter who came out and did the story went back and said, ‘There’s nothing there to expose. These are really nice people who want to help people!’” Today local relations couldn’t be better, Mosley says.