Koinonia Mutual Aid: Fostering Community, Healing, and Solidarity

“All Beings Celebrate Creation”, Emmy Brett, October 2023, Collage with words by Hildegard von Bingen translated by Gabriele Ulhein, 6 x 6 inches

Koinonia Mutual Aid, founded by marginalized faith leaders, centres its mission on healing through community and relationships. A bold message resonates on its website: “All We Need is Each Other.” This emphasizes the power of solidarity within our community.

Membership in Koinonia is open to LGBTQIA+ and/or BIPOC faith leaders. One can also become a sustainer by providing financial support to both Koinonia and its members. Furthermore, there’s a fund available to reimburse members for various expenses, extending beyond emergencies to cover everyday needs like a cup of coffee or a relaxing massage.

Among the valuable resources provided by Koinonia is the concept of pods. Pods are made up of people who can offer support to help members navigate life events or transitions, particularly crucial during times of trauma when isolation can be overwhelming.

I’ve experienced the benefits of a pod as I prepared for gender-affirming top surgery. The wisdom and support of my pod members have been truly invaluable. Koinonia has also assisted me in raising funds to offset surgery costs and promote overall wellness. This community has empowered me to seek help in ways I never thought possible, allowing my folks to rally behind me. The relationships I’ve cultivated within Koinonia have been life changing.

Faith leaders often grapple with conflicting demands and antiquated institutional policies that overlook unique needs. We are asked to place others’ needs above our own and are unclear about where to look for support when the same institution that promises to support us is also tasked with disciplining us. Koinonia Mutual Aid grants us the time and space to forge connections, dream collectively, and offer unwavering support. It’s a place for growth, mutual learning, and mutual support.

The need for community care and mutual aid is at an all-time high. We yearn for spaces where we are nurtured, understood, and can both unravel and practise asking for assistance. These spaces provide refuge for saying, “I’m not okay,” met with responses like “Tell me more” and “I’m here.”

Koinonia Mutual Aid fulfills this need, fostering a community where relationships, support, and care are prioritized.

Margarette Ouji (she/they) is a trans/queer Iranian pastor and crochet enthusiast striving for a liberated community grounded in ancestral wisdom and good food.

Issue 71

This article first appeared in Geez magazine Issue 71, Winter 2024, Will These Bones Live? Collective Hopes for the Future.

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