by Kelsey Nowack, The Catholic University of America
App Reviewed can be found here!
Community is one of the most essential aspects of living a well rounded life. However, sometimes upon leaving the bubble of our home parish or college, a good Catholic community can be hard to find. So, we rely on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to keep us in the loop, but they come with their own challenges. In Lent, when many people are trying to disconnect from social media, the need to stay up to date with events can get in the way. But what if there was an easier way?
Koin is a free app that can be found on the Apple App Store, aimed at helping Catholics build community. The name comes from the word “koinonia”, Greek for Christian fellowship or community. The description in the App Store reads:
“Find interesting things to do and meet great Catholics via interest based groups that host in-person events. Browse and choose between groups and events found only on Koin or host your own. Create your own Catholic community.”
It sounds like a perfect solution to the many challenges of staying connected and building an authentic Catholic community. I figured I had to check it out for myself!
“The app definitely has a lot to offer […] There truly is something for everyone.”
Upon downloading the app (for free!) I opened it to find a login screen. The set up was similar to any other social media app, requiring a name, email address, and password. And just like that, you’re in! The app then had me go through a process of selecting my interests and giving my location, which is Washington DC. I selected about 33 interests, just to see the range of offerings. They include anything from outdoor activities to Women’s groups, and even scootering. I had the option to join a group, so I joined a hiking group. Then I was in!
The app definitely has a lot to offer. There are four main pages; Home, Explore, Notifications, and Messages. On the home page, my groups are listed at the top for easy access, as well as the option to start your own group. Below that is a calendar of events coming up, as well as the past ones you attended. This is one of the best features in my opinion because it helps you combine the events of all the things you’re interested in into one calendar. That way, if you have a time conflict with one event, it is easy to find another the same night.
The Explore page gives you the opportunity to search through events. You can either search by time, like today, tomorrow, this week, or next week. It also has the option to search by categories like faith, food and drink, and dance. There truly is something for everyone. The other pages are Notifications and Messages. I didn’t have the opportunity to try these features, but they seem like a great chance to build deeper relationships out of the initial meet up.
“It is unapologetically Catholic, and will undoubtedly lead to the establishment of more authentic, fruitful community.”
We also spoke to the developer of the app, Eric Niehaus, and asked him a few questions about Koin.
What’s the purpose behind creating Koin?
“Our purpose is to win more souls to Christ by way of cultivating stronger, more beautiful community, in the form of new or further deepened platonic, romantic, and professional relationships.”
Describe the direction or approach you think the Church should have when delving into social media platforms like this one.
“I think we must remember that we have only one goal, this side of eternity: getting souls to Heaven. Every structure, device, and method is merely a means to that end. As such, we should eagerly pursue means that prove efficacious. While Koin is new and different, we believe it’s fundamentally good, because it creates stronger, more beautiful community, which not only keeps people in the Church but also attracts outsiders into it.”
What about non-Catholics?
“While Koin is principally for practicing Catholics, it’s our hope that the abundance of joy created from strong and beautiful community would overflow into the non-Catholic world, attracting people to it Via Pulchritudinis (the way of beauty).”
My overall opinion on the Koin App? I am excited and optimistic to watch it grow. Koin offers all the features of a normal social media “events” function, but adds so much value. It is unapologetically Catholic, and will undoubtedly lead to the establishment of more authentic, fruitful community.
I absolutely encourage you to go download the app and sign up for Koin! You will get an email when it comes to your city, and then you will have new Catholic community in no time!