The Fuller Center for Housing’s ministry and Georgia’s historic Koinonia Farm will forever be inextricably linked. This intentional Christian community of blacks and whites living together in peace and harmony is where Fuller Center founders Millard and Linda Fuller would learn from theologian Clarence Jordan the principles of partnership behind their housing ministry.
“Briars in the Cotton Patch” is a groundbreaking 2003 documentary by filmmaker Faith Fuller that shines a spotlight on the farm’s spiritual, peace-loving mission and the hatred and hardships they endured as neighbors, the KKK and segregationists vehemently — and sometimes violently — expressed opposition to Koinonia’s vision of peace, love and racial equality. It is particularly relevant viewing in light of recent strife in America.
“There was Koinonia with kind of a beacon light for people who believe in racial equality,” former President Jimmy Carter says in the film.
“He was challenging conventional wisdom,” Millard Fuller recalls of Clarence Jordan, his spiritual mentor, in the documentary. “The thing that pricked people the most here in Southwest Georgia was the consistent way that Koinonia kept saying that black folks were as good as white folks. So, I think Koinonia did serve as a ‘briar’ or as an irritant in society.”
Narrated by former Atlanta Mayor and U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, the documentary features rare footage and audio recordings of Jordan, who died in 1969. It also explains how the Fullers infused the farm with new energy when they arrived in the 1960s and how they worked with Jordan to develop the principles of their affordable housing movement — principles that remain the backbone of The Fuller Center for Housing today.
The complete hour-long documentary is now available for free streaming at Redeem TV, a faith-based media service where users can register to watch for free. It also is available at Amazon for streaming (free for Prime members) and DVD purchase.
“Briars in the Cotton Patch” trailer: