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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 a farmer’s physical exertion on the land, a craftsman’s precision, an engineer’s innovation, or a designer’s inspiration. There are many different jobs within a Bruderhof settlement – school principal, community 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

Livelihood

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 believe childhood is for play, and Community Playthings’ simple, durable products encourage something we think every child needs: the type of play that is completely absorbing and requires interacting with other children, creativity, physical activity, and oportunities for 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 and Pennsylvania, and Community Playthings are also produced and sold by our communities in the United Kingdom.


rifton_equipment_logo Rifton Equipment designs and manufactures adaptive equipment for children and adults with disabilities, allowing children with severe cerebral palsy, for instance, to ride a trike or interact with the world from a standing position for the first time. During the 1970s, disabled children were increasingly sent to public schools, but very little rehabilitative equipment for children was available. Community Playthings began receiving requests from physical therapists to adapt our products for the disabled, and Rifton was developed as a separate product line. Today, 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. Rifton product designers are Bruderhof members who work closely with parents and therapists to create equipment that improves and enhances the lives of some of societies’ most vulnerable people.


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.

Learn More

about work from Foundations.