Wanted: New Bruderhof Members

January 31, 2021 by

Lest there be any doubt, I am very keen to see new members at the Bruderhof. I think sometimes we get a little coy about this (none of us can stand proselytizing Christians) and indeed we do not see it as our job to try to convince others to live the way we do. However, I for one would love to have you come and join us! Quite often I get asked about what skill set I would look for in potential new members. Quite often people tell me their qualifications when inquiring about visiting. These are all important points.

We are very much in need of people who can do things; people who are willing to throw all of their energy and abilities into the cause of building up a life of brotherhood and community. It’s important to have skills for this, and off the top of my head, here is a list of work experience that can be useful in life at the Bruderhof, in no particular order (and in case you are wondering, the salaries are all the same):

  • Plumbing
  • Teaching
  • Computer programing
  • Nursing
  • Law
  • Brick laying
  • Agriculture
  • Medicine
  • Business
  • Forklift driving

If you come and stay with us, you will discover sooner or later that we are a pretty rubbish bunch. Most of us end up doing work we were not trained for and in many cases don’t feel qualified to do. We often make mistakes that we need to go back and fix. We’re often completely overwhelmed by the amount of work we need to do, and the number of problems we need to overcome. By working together we always do seem to find a way somehow. Here at Darvell where I live, our public relations manager was trained as a farmer. Our farmer was trained as a mechanic. The head of our sales office got her training as a teacher. Our dentist was trained as a blacksmith (only kidding, that’s just what it feels like) and our lawyer . . . really is nothing but a lawyer, but he’s a pretty nice guy for all that.

REmbedWashing dishes after a communal meal at Darvell, May 2019. Photo by Danny Burrows.

Important as skills and qualifications are, they are nowhere near the top of the list we consider when we get a request from someone wishing to join us. At the most important level we are not concerned with new members’ particular skills or abilities, or even a special depth of faith. Our main concern is that they are called by God, and that becoming part of this community fills them with joy. A better list of qualifications might be these:

  • People who are looking for a way of life that is in accord with the whole gospel: love, service, joy, sacrifice, redemption. A way of life that is itself a vocation, rather than something tacked on to everything else.
  • The conviction that this way of life is worthwhile overcomes the little daily annoyances and difficulties of spending time with people who may not be “your type.”
  • A sense of adventure. Community life is a challenge. Following Jesus is a challenge. It is not only probable, but actually likely, that as a member you would be asked to do work you have never done before, and possibly go to places you would never have considered.
  • Everybody here has crashed and burned a few times or more. That’s why we live together. That’s why we need Jesus. It’s a beautiful thing.

We can’t wait to see you. (As Covid restrictions are still pretty tight, the easiest way to do this is by Zoom; it’s not the same as visiting in person but it’s a good second best.)


About the author


Ian Barth

Ian lives at the Darvell community in East Sussex, UK with his wife Olivia and their four boys.

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