What a long, strange trip it’s been…

There I was, sitting in the back of my pastoral care class and this wild eyed dreamer named Kimberly started talking to me about a new way of doing church.  A church that had no doors, no physical location, and that was the combination of what I had been trying to synthesize up to that point.  I’m a computer technician by trade and training.  I have a heart for ministry nurtured by life as the son of a pastor and through my theological education at Candler School of Theology.  I had been trying to figure out ways of joining these two very separate spheres and here Kimberly dropped the solution in my lap.  That was sometime in the early part of 2007.

Before I knew it, I was signed into Second Life and creating content.  I began to build what I now refer to as the Koinonia Labyrinth.  At the time, I was fascinated with the concept of the seven circuit labyrinth and began to bring it into the community.  Building the labyrinth became a spiritual practice by itself.  This labyrinth is still in the community – now in a platform 1km above the surface so it doesn’t get in the way of our growing community.

The community that formed around the church at Koinonia was quite diverse even at the beginning.  Arkin Ariantho and his group were building a cathedral.  Drown Pharaoh, a PhD student seeking a degree in Islamic Studies in the UK was building a mosque.  It was an amazing time to be active in Second Life.  I’ll be back on later to tell more history but for now, the rest of my path.

When Xenia and Ex Nihilo were joined by the new island Qoheleth, I began what is now the Koinonia Chaplains’ Preserve.  Very early on, we provided chaplaincy services to a firm that provided security to various locations and entities in Second Life.  As the Chaplains continued, it became more a place where folks could find refuge and a listening ear.  The log cabin I built as a concept became the offices of a colleague.  The grounds now have a chapel and a theological library.

As the community has grown, I’ve become a helper to many residents who have become part of Koinonia.  The experience I have gained as a builder and helper I try to share with those who are new to Second Life or at least new to owning their own parcel.

I think that’s all I have for the moment.  Check back later for more.



  1. Kimberly Knight


    Thank you for adding these crucial elements to our story. I could not have done any of this if not for your steadfast partnership in ministry.

    Love ya man,

  2. John,
    Thanks for this. I am an MDiv student who was part of a class “Theology After Google” tasked with developing a project on ways “to do theology” on-line. I had no idea when I jumped into it that there was such a long history. Is the labyrinth still available for use?


    • John Peterson

      You’re welcome. It’s a wonderful ministry to be a part of. The labyrinth is indeed still available – if you’re in Second Life, search for Qoheleth. There is a large log cabin with a flat space behind it. There should be an elevator there that will take you to it.

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