An Alternative to Violence

Steve Gumaer on his visits to the Bruderhof

Video transcript:

My name is Steve Gumaer and I’m the president of Partners Relief & Development. It’s an aid organization that works in war zones, mostly in Myanmar and the surrounding countries and also in the Middle East. I was speaking at the House of Lords in the UK where the Bruderhof has a community and two Bruderhof members came to that talk. When I talked about the work that our team does with the Rohingya and the genocide that happened against them in 2017, I was invited to the Bruderhof to meet people and talk with them and explore possible ways of interacting with the Bruderhof about what happened and how to help those people.

I have lived many times in community. I worked with Youth With A Mission for years and in differing degrees of community and so the Bruderhof community wasn’t strange to me. The scale of it was surprising, but the community itself wasn’t and I never felt that it was awkward or strange. I felt rather welcomed and I felt the peace of the place when I got there and was drawn to it.

I came away from my first visit with the Bruderhof feeling provoked and challenged to consider the bigger questions of the Bruderhof: the commitment to simplicity and the commitment to not possessing things. The statement that was made when I was there on that first visit was that at the root of conflict is possession.  That made a big impression on me as my team and I work in war zones. I had to think about it. I also felt that these people have not just recently started living together in order to go back to a pure form of faith like in the Book of Acts, but rather they have been in covenanted communities since 1920. That challenged me and made me want to learn more and made me want to dig deeper into the heart of what the Bruderhof is all about.

The Bruderhof has made a pretty big impact in mine and my family’s life through this commitment to simplicity and to living outside of the materialist construction of the world, because we work in places where violence and politics harm children, and our work is to help them. The Bruderhof has helped me see an alternative to that state of conflict, that state of denial of justice, and that state of war. And if people are really interested in honestly exploring alternatives, I would start right here. I would start with the Bruderhof.


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