Work Ethos

Our faith and daily life are inseparable. All work, even the most mundane, is a form of worship if done as if for Christ in a spirit of love and dedication. We prove our love to him with our deeds.

We honor and value all forms of work, whether that is a farmer’s physical exertion on the land, a craftsman’s precision, an engineer’s innovation, a designer’s inspiration. There are many different jobs within a Bruderhof settlement – school principal, working in the laundry, product designer, and IT among others – but none is considered higher or lower than the other. The work we do is not only an economic activity but also a service we provide for each other and our neighbors.

None of us has a career. We agree to work wherever we are needed, regardless of our preferences or prior training. Our vocation is not the task at hand but life in community. Thus we contribute our talents and energies in whatever way we can until the end of our lives.

Three Bruderhof members reviewing a book layout on a computer in the Plough Publishing House office


In addition to work done directly for each other within the Bruderhof, our members work in manufacturing businesses that provide our livelihood with departments spread among several settlements. Working within these businesses is another common job a member will take on. We recognize that any income earned is not our own achievement but a provision from God to be used for his service, such as spreading the gospel and helping the needy.

Three adults preparing Community Playthings chairs for shipment in a Bruderhof work shop

Community Playthings Logo Community Playthings designs and manufactures quality wooden classroom and play environments for schools and daycare centers. The business was started in the 1950s, producing wooden blocks, and over the years the line has expanded. In the Bruderhof, we feel childhood is for play, and the simple, durable products Community Playthings makes encourage the kind of child development we’d like to see: being absorbed in an activity, blocking out distractions, interacting with other kids, resolving differences, exercising creativity, being physically active, showing initiative and independence. Made from sustainably harvested wood, our product line includes tables, shelves, outdoor structures, and basic toys. Community Playthings is based in New York, Pennsylvania, and the United Kingdom. 

rifton_equipment_logo Rifton Equipment designs and manufactures adaptive equipment for children and adults with disabilities. For example, our equipment allows a child with severe cerebral palsy to interact with the world from a standing position for the first time. When the Bruderhof started Rifton in the mid-1970s, no one was selling rehabilitative equipment for kids. Through our Community Playthings business, we  received requests from physical therapists to adapt our products for the disabled. Rifton helps provide our livelihood, but it’s more than that. Every Bruderhof member who works at Rifton knows that his or her work is profoundly changing the life of a disabled child. Rifton is based in New York and Pennsylvania. Our Bruderhof product designers are highly sophisticated, and our focus and commitment is to continually improving design and producing products that will perform and last.

danthonia_designs_logo Danthonia Designs, based in Australia, supplies custom dimensional signage. Employing traditional artisanal crafts in a high-technology world, we create everything from carved, high-density urethane signs for businesses to state-of-the-art LED message boards for schools. Danthonia’s fifty-plus designers and artisans serve clients in Australia and internationally.

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