Darvell Community is part of the Bruderhof, an international communal movement of families and single men and women who seek to put into action Christ’s command to love God and neighbor.
Like the first Christians described in Acts 2 and 4, we feel called to a way of life in which all are of one heart and soul, no one possesses anything, and everything is shared in common. We also draw inspiration from the Anabaptists of the Reformation era who revived the early Christian example of discipleship in full community.
Jesus Christ and his spirit and teachings are the foundation of our community. We come from many cultures, countries, and walks of life. We have no private property but share everything in common, as the early Christians did. Each member gives his or her talents, time, and efforts wherever they are needed. Money and possessions are voluntarily pooled, and in turn each member is provided for and cared for. Meals are eaten together, and meetings for fellowship, singing, prayer, or decision making are held several evenings a week. We are conscious of our shortcomings, yet we are committed to trying to live out Jesus’ way, not only on Sundays, but every day.
The family is the basic unit of our community, though many of our members are single adults. Marriage is upheld as a sacred vow between one man and one woman that assumes faithfulness until death. Our families and community are built on this faithfulness and commitment – to God and to each other. We value modesty and sexual purity, and expect the same of our children and guests.
Founded in 1920, our community was one of many that sprang up in Germany after World War I among young people disillusioned with a society based on competition and greed and a church that had blessed the war. Eberhard Arnold, his wife Emmy, and a circle of fellow seekers left middle-class Berlin to start a rural settlement in the spirit of early Christianity and the Radical Reformation of the early 1500s, when thousands of Anabaptists left the institutional churches to live a life of sharing and service in Christian communities. During the 1930s, Nazi persecution forced the fledgling community to resettle in England.
We believe every human life is sacred, and for this reason we are opposed to war, abortion, and capital punishment. We have a long history of pacifism and remain committed to working for peace, reconciliation, and social justice. In community we can put this into practice. We hope to show by example that it is possible for ordinary people to live a life that addresses the needs of the whole person and the root causes of injustice, war, and isolation.
At the same time we remain involved in our neighbourhoods and wider society. We support disaster relief efforts, peace projects and assist with many local activities in schools, churches and hospitals.
Children are part of the reason we live together as we do. Children need an environment in which they can remain children, unencumbered by the materialism and violence in our society. Parents have the primary responsibility for their care and education, but have the support of teachers in our school and the rest of the community. Teenagers attend local colleges before moving on to further education, voluntary service, or other work.
Membership requires a voluntary lifetime commitment, so it is a choice that can only be made as an adult. Those who grow up in the community are encouraged to spend time elsewhere so they can make a mature, independent choice.
Work is love made visible. From washing clothes in the communal laundry or teaching in the school, to weighing a baby in the community clinic or fixing a water main, our communal work is a practical expression of our love for one another. No one receives a wage or salary. We earn our living by manufacturing and selling Community Playthings (classroom furniture and play equipment).
Disabled and elderly members enrich our community with their vitality and experience, and participate in the communal work as their strength allows. Because the community (which includes members who are doctors and nurses) is like an extended family, we are usually able to care for our sick and elderly at home and whenever possible, death takes place within the supportive atmosphere of the church community.