Statements from Reba and Mark Korban at Agape’s 40th Anniversary Celebration
Statement by Reba Korban
“Suzanne & Brayton asked Mark & I to talk a little bit about our journey from Koinonia Farm to Jonah House to Agape.
Our journey together began at Koinonia Farm. For those unfamiliar with Koinonia… Koinonia is an ecumenical Christian community in Southwest Georgia, begun by Clarence & Florence Jordan in the 1940’s. Clarence liked to refer to Koinonia as an “experiment”, or a “demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God”. Clarence was a gentle, humble, and nonviolent man who was also known to stare down a Ku Klux Klanner or two. He had a terrific sense of humor and wit that saved him more than once from some pretty tense situations. He also had an uncanny way of speaking truth. Once when he was invited into a wealthy person’s home, he declared, “Nice piece of plunder you have here.”
Clarence had a PhD in agriculture and Greek New Testament and he molded these things together into Koinonia. Having grown up in the south, he wanted to establish an experiment in Christian communal living which would be a place of brotherhood, nonviolence, and economic sharing. It was his idea of brotherhood especially, that got him into trouble. When he was turned away from entering a church one Sunday morning because he brought a black friend with him, he said, “Well everything is integrated here now except the churches and the jails… and I have hope for the jails.”
My family moved to Koinonia in the Summer of 1968 and Mark arrived ten years later.
It was at Koinonia, that Mark & I became involved in nonviolent resistance to war in general and nuclear weapons in particular. In the late 70’s, we participated in the “Plutonium Path Caravan” which referred to the path of the White Train which carried plutonium across the southern states to a facility in Texas that manufactured nuclear weapons. This awareness led us to Washington DC during the “Year of the Child” for a mobilization by various peace communities to protest and witness against nuclear weapons on behalf of the children of the world. That Summer we met Phil Berrigan and Liz McAllister from Jonah House and decided to move to Baltimore to join their work against nuclear proliferation. A favorite memory of our time at Jonah House is taking our son Jonathan, and Phil & Liz’s children Frida & Jerry, to play in the Baltimore city fountains during the hot days of Summer.
While at Jonah House we became involved in the wider East Coast peace community called Atlantic Life Community and it was through this wider group that we met Brayton & Suzanne. They introduced us to the Boston area peace community called Ailanthus. At that time they were beginning to explore the possibility of forming a more intentional community which greatly appealed to us, so we moved our little family of three to Boston.
Our relationship with Suzanne & Brayton as well as others in Ailanthus has been deep and long lasting. During those years our family grew from three to six, with the proficient & capable hands of our very dear Ailanthus friend & midwife, Cathleen Cooney. It was during this time that Suzanne & Brayton, among others, introduced us to Fr. Emmanuel, Charles McCarthy. Through Charlie’s workshops on Christian Nonviolence, our understanding and commitment to nonviolence grew. As we all know, nonviolence isn’t only about resistance, it’s a way of life. We ended up moving our family to Vermont about the time Brayton & Suzanne bought land that would become Agape. Several other members of Ailanthus also ended up in Vermont, namely Paul Hood and Bob Theifels. Those connections which began over 40 years
ago have remained as strong as they were in the beginning, our lives are still intertwined with one another, and we are incredibly grateful.
So on this 40th Anniversary of Agape, I offer this modest attempt to express what Brayton, Suzanne (& Agape) have meant to us these past 40+ years. Those of us who are parents know it takes more than parents to raise a child. Mark and I are filled gratitude for the impact Suzanne and Brayton have had in our children’s lives. Their friendship and positive influence has extended to three generations of our family and I have no doubt they will become known to a 4th generation as well. Thank you, Brayton & Suzanne for your presence in our lives…what a gift!
May God grant Brayton, Suzanne and Agape many more years to come.”
Song Sung by Mark Korban
Every Bullet From A Gun
Every bullet from a gun
is terror on the run.
It doesn’t matter what the cause
or who thinks they’re right or wrong;
when the bullet rips the flesh we’re all the same.
In the heart of the one
who pulls the trigger on the gun,
or in the body of the one
who bears the blow.
Something precious is lost;
we pay a heavy cost
when the path of violence we choose to go.
Every bomb from a plane
or in a car trunk is the same.
It doesn’t matter if congress approves,
or if it’s the guerrillas who make the move.
The ends don’t justify the means, they never did.
Take a look back in the years;
the use of force has always brought tears.
The violent revolution corrupts the original dream.
We have to do it right to emerge from this dark night,
so humanity can inherit their long sought peace.
Every life that is truly lived;
every love that is given,
has enriched the human race
and been a channel of the grace,
that has enabled us to survive.
We can contribute to the common wealth
by serving others and forgetting the self;
the thought finally dawns that’s the reason we’re here.
Someday we will be healed
of this pain that is so real,
and the sun will rise and shine on our face.