Woodcrest Community • Rifton, NY

About Us:
Woodcrest is the oldest Bruderhof community in the United States. We are similar to other large settlements in that we are made up of a lively mix of families and singles, young and old. Bruderhof children attend our elementary school, and adults work within the settlement.

Easily accessible from Interstate 87, Woodcrest is located about ninety miles north of New York City in the bucolic Hudson Valley. We enjoy stunning views of the Catskill Mountains and the Shawangunk Ridge. On our Ulster County acreage we have apartment buildings and other common buildings, including an elementary school, laundry facility, medical clinic, dining hall, and administrative offices. A workshop for the Rifton Equipment business is located here. And down the road you’ll find our mostly organic farm, which provides the majority of Woodcrest’s produce.

Connecting with Neighbors:
We regularly welcome friends and neighbors for communal dinner on Saturday evenings, and we host seasonal, public events throughout the year, such as a summer barbecue and carol singing around Christmas. During the summer, children from the local Boys and Girls Club come to enjoy gardening and outdoor games. In conjunction with local towns or nonprofits, you might find us repairing a bridge, building a playground, or replacing a roof. Woodcrest is also blessed to be located near the eight-thousand-acre Mohonk Preserve, a true New York jewel; we help maintain trails and participate in mountain bike safety patrols on weekends.

Point of Interest:
Over the years, our elementary students have built a straw-bale house to experiment with alternative building methods and sustainability.

Meet some of the people who live at Woodcrest:
Several current residents describe life at the Woodcrest Bruderhof:


Erna: Since I spent most of my childhood here at Woodcrest, this community feels like home and holds many of my best memories. It’s no coincidence that a lot of these took shape outdoors: we’re located in what I’m convinced is the most beautiful spot on earth, New York’s Hudson Valley. I am not married and have no children, a circumstance that allows me greater freedom in caring for my elderly father and younger sister who – along with her outsize personality and contagious belly laugh – happens to have Down syndrome. Right now, I’m taking a hiatus from working for Plough Publishing to support my father after the death of my mother from cancer. This means I’m on the receiving end of one of the greatest gifts of communal living: the brothers, sisters, and children surrounding us see to it that we lack for nothing. In turn, we try to give back to them and to our neighborhood in whatever way we can.


Ryan: I live at Woodcrest, an intentional Christian community in Rifton, NY. I work in sales and marketing for Rifton Equipment where we manufacture equipment for people with disabilities. My wife, Linda, and I have four young children. Spending time with the kids is the best part of each day, and we’re always looking for activities that they can participate in here on the community and in the local neighborhood. For example, our family tends a large raspberry patch. The goal? To teach the kids to do things for others. We try to produce enough raspberries to share with the three hundred people we are living together with here, as well as others we meet in our area. It is very rewarding to hand someone a container of freshly picked red raspberries. There are many opportunities for fun and hard work here including maple sugaring, gardening, sledding, skating, swimming, and hiking.


Lori: I’m forty-six years old and single, living in intentional community here at Woodcrest. I love the mid-Hudson and Catskill region with its access to nature, both river and mountains. I’m a physical therapist, providing services for the members of our Christian community together with the medical staff here. I’m also involved with our Rifton Equipment business of designing and manufacturing products for children and adults with physical disabilities. For Rifton, I help to provide online website resources as well as conduct equipment-related workshops, both of which I love to do. Working and living together with brothers and sisters who share the same faith and goals is rewarding and fun.

Steve Swinger

Steve: My family arrived for a one year visit in June of 1959. Woodcrest, an intentional Christian community, had started four years earlier and was still in its pioneering years. As I child, I was reminded of the Brethren Church Family Camp that we attended every year, but this place was far better – this was camp all year round, and it was like heaven on earth: in summer there was exploring, softball, football, fishing, swimming, hiking, and camping in the Catskill Mountains; in winter there was skating, sledding, and maple sapping. My parents soon found that Woodcrest was an answer to prayer: a place where they could live out the Sermon on the Mount daily with brothers and sisters of the faith, sharing everything in common. You guessed it – that “visit” turned out to be “home.” My final five years of grade school were spent in the Woodcrest School, overlooking the Shawangunk and Catskill Mountain ranges. After that, I attended Kingston High School for four years – sometimes up to forty students from Woodcrest, which just about filled a bus. Summers were great fun, with trips to the ocean or mountains, sometimes camping in the Adirondacks where Indian Lake was a favorite destination. I later went to college, where I studied printing technology. Then, when I thought I was “done with schooling,” I was asked to study nursing, as our communities needed more nurses! Soon after graduating, I married Rhona. We’ve been married for forty-six years now, and are blessed with eight children and twenty-nine grandchildren. We have encouraged them, as our parents did for us, to love and respect each person, to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Over the years it’s been a privilege to work in our medical clinic and homecare settings, caring for each person from birth to death. When I’m not doing that, I work for Rifton Equipment , where we design and manufacture adaptive equipment for people with disabilities. And then, of course, there are times when we can just be “Grandpa and Grandma!”

Contact Information

101 Woodcrest Drive
PO Box 903
Rifton, NY 12471
United States
Tel: 845-658-7700
Email:  woodcrest@bruderhof.com

Established: 1954

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