An Adventure Shared
This book tells the story of one particular community first-hand. Here you’ll find all the highs and lows of the first Bamford Quaker Community over its 25 year life. Rachel Rowlands plots the life of this small intentional community set in the Derbyshire Dales. From inspiration, through ‘forming, storming and norming’, to desperation and out the other side.
As well as a detailed history of the group Rachel uses the book to give a personal account of her motivations for wanting to live with others.
“I wanted the opportunity to worship with others more frequently than once a week at Sunday Meeting for Worship. I also wanted to share with others spiritually at a deeper level than I had found possible in a large Quaker Meeting… As a single person, I wanted to live with others with similar values and in a way that involved more commitment than had been the case in the shared households I’d lived in previously.”
Quakers have – throughout their history – been the inspiration, founders and source of funding for a whole series of social and community experiments such as utopian colonies, model villages and pacifist land groups. However, present-day Quaker-inspired projects with a high profile are somewhat thin on the ground. In a way, the Bamford group of Quakers were different from their predecessors in that the Quaker communities of the past had largely been set up by Quakers mostly for non-Quakers. Bamford was to be a community of Quakers run on Quaker principles – it was to be a Community of Friends.
In 2010 – after a quarter of a century of communal living – the group took the decision to move on and pass the baton to others who, phoenix-like, have established a new ‘second’ Bamford Quaker community – but that is another story.
Rachel sums up her own feelings well: “Many of my original hopes and ideas were fulfilled by living in Community. I appreciated the opportunity to live closely with others who shared many of my values, concerns and interests. I appreciated members’ commitment, much of the time, to living together through the inevitable ups and downs and times of conflict and tension. The Community was, for me, a place of acceptance where I could increasingly feel free to be myself.”