Caring in Community
In caring for each other, we remember especially those with burdens to carry: widows and widowers, orphans, the disabled and sick, those with mental and emotional ailments, and those who are lonely. We embrace the opportunity to demonstrate compassion in these circumstances.
In other parts of society, single people can feel isolated and alone. In the Bruderhof community, they are honored and respected in their singleness. Younger singles are typically welcomed into a family to share meals and activities when the single doesn’t have other plans. Older singles are also welcomed into a family but experience a higher degree of independence and will often have their own apartment, where they can welcome guests and visitors. Single people are as included and valued in our community as families with children.
The Bruderhof views each disabled person as a gift from God, to be valued and cherished. We will go to any length to ensure a disabled person is cared for and included in the community throughout his or her life. That includes as much work and social participation as is possible. The young people in our community help care for and look after the disabled – a growth and life experience that profoundly touches many of our youth.
As members age, they continue to intimately participate in the lives of their extended families. There are always young people around to both assist and draw guidance from the elderly in our community. In modern society, the elderly can become invisible, and it can be difficult to support someone’s physical and mental needs inside the family. In the Bruderhof, every older person lives in and is cared for in his or her own home. Seniors continue to feel valued by working as many hours per day as they are able, typically doing so in the company of their friends. They are a tremendous resource, and we look to them constantly for counsel, wisdom, and perspective.
We are grateful for the God-given help of medical science to preserve life and alleviate suffering. Our larger settlements have health-care clinics and dental clinics on-site, run by Bruderhof clinicians and administrators. Our health-care clinics act as primary care providers, practicing preventative care and treating anything we can handle on-site, such as setting a broken bone or managing a chronic condition. For more complex situations, we refer to area specialists and hospitals. The benefit of community means our staff can make house calls within the Bruderhof. The doctor often knows everyone in a family and may care for a patient for many years of that patient’s life.