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Welcome to FIC – Fellowship for Intentional Community

Community is essential to a Cooperative and Sustainable world

Intentional communities are groups of people living together with some shared resources on the basis of explicit common values.

Examples includeecovillages,cohousing, communes, student co-ops, spiritual communities,and more.

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) is a nonprofit organizationdedicated tosupporting and promoting the development of intentional communities, and the evolution of cooperative culture.

Find intentional communities in theDirectory, read inspiration and lessons inCommunities magazine, and explore books, videos, and teaching games in theCommunity Bookstore.

Climate Disruption hurts us all, and yet many of us dont know what to do.

We need some cultural reorientation, and we need it quickly. Thats why we published Together Resilient: Building Community in the Age of Climate Disruption.

Were also launchinga national speaking tour to help bring the important lessons intentional communities have learned about resilience and sustainability to a broader audience.

To sponsor a tour stop click here or contact [emailprotected].

Together Resilient is available in both print and digital download!

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Welcome to FIC – Fellowship for Intentional Community

Communities Directory – Find Intentional Communities

The Intentional Communities Directory is part of the Intentional Communities website, a project of the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC). Intentional Communities can update their listings online so you get the most up to date information possible. You can add your community now.

If you are looking for an intentional community, ecovillage, cohousing, commune, co-op, or other cooperative living arrangement, browse through our community lists geographic, or by type of community (ecovillages, communes, cohousing, co-ops, or christian), look at our maps, or search our database. You can filter your search on many key characteristics of each community such as location, size, etc.

You can also find communities looking for people, community homes and land for sale, and more, in the Community Classifieds.

To obtain more information about any listed community, contact that community directly using the contact information they have provided. Readers of this site are invited to comment on communities that they have direct experience with. Look towards the bottom of each community listing for a place to add your comment (you must be a registered user) or to see what other readers have to say.

This website is funded completely by donations plus volunteer/far below market rate labor. If you find this site useful we encourage you to donate to our Online Communities Directory Fund.

The FIC also sells theCommunities Directory book. The 7th Edition is now available!It features over 1,200 communities, plus includes charts comparing communities, maps, articles, and bonus resources to help you visit, join, or create a community.

Help us promote the online Communities Directory by linking to this site. Thank you!

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Communities Directory – Find Intentional Communities

Seattle: the city of never-ending change – Crosscut

Sound Transit’s Pioneer Square Station (2015) Credit: Brook Ward

Four decades living in Seattle have made this city home that, even though I was born elsewhere, I can surely claim it as my own. I can even lay claim to a family history in the Northwest that extends back to the 1890s when my great-grandparents helped establish a commune in the Skagit Valley that went by the name of Equality Colony. They and their friends and families created what we might call today a self-sufficient, intentional community; perhaps my life-long interest in communities actually had genetic roots.

My wife is one of those increasingly rare people who was actually born here. As I write this, however, it is less than 72 hours until our flight takes off for Rome and retirement in a small Italian town, a plan that has been four years in the making.

Yet, over almost exactly 40 years, I adopted Seattle as my community and stayed with it through lots of ups and downs. During that time, Ive written for a number of local publications, including The Seattle Times and, for somefive years, Crosscut. David Brewster, Crosscuts founder, gave me a boost into part-time writing years ago with the Seattle Weekly back when it was the citys bold experiment in journalism. So, I have some parting thoughts about the city.

Seattle is a great city in spite of itself. We often get in our own way, taking steps forward then retrenching. The Seattle Commons and the Monorail debacles are prime examples.

On the other hand, the region has been transformed by big bond issues that were approved by voters, some of which have been largely forgotten as the changes they brought are almost taken for granted. From Forward Thrust in the 1960s to the Pike Place Market, Farmlands Preservation, Sound Transit and repeated Seattle parks and housing levies, we have collectively constructed the framework that many other cities failed to develop.

The private sector played its own striking role. Boeing changed how we travel. Microsoft changed how we work. And Amazon changed how we shop. All were homegrown businesses that started small, literally in garages, and expanded into companies with global impact.

When I first arrived here, Seattle was still pretty much a lackluster, bush-league provincial city, seemingly at the edge of the continental frontier. So little was known about the place that, as I recall, Time Magazine once datelined an article with Seattle, Oregon.

I think we are on the map now.

What I personally found here was a place that honored individual initiative. One could champion a project and have a lot of help from others. Architect Victor Steinbrueck, who I once had the pleasure of working with, organized a grassroots citizens initiative to save Pike Place Market from a planned demolition. Jim Ellis led the cleaning up of the bay, the formation of Metro and the preservation of vast forest lands. Currently, Gene Duvernoy is one of the successors to this great legacy of activism, with the irrepressible and effective organization Forterra. All are examples of the Power of One.

Just as effective are the many non-profit housing developers who have built many thousands of places to live for low and moderate income people including El Centro de la Raza to CHHP to Bellwether. And, of course, a multitude of arts organizations large and small have added the passion, creativity, and advocacy to make this urban region what it is. Finally, Seattle and its surrounding cities are becoming a rich stew pot of races, ethnicities, cultures, and languages that did not exist only a few decades ago.

So with these great legacies and social and cultural bones, what might be in store for Seattle over the next, say 10 to 15 years?

We already know that we will see a central waterfront transformed into an elegant and accessible esplanade connecting the beloved Market to the shoreline. In this massive change, I hope there will still be a place for the scores of squid giggers who now line the edge of Piers 62/63 with their eerie lights and flashing poles. We also have to ensure locations for small, homegrown enterprises whether shops, cafes, services or sources of food.

We will see a sea change in how people travel once the Sound Transit 3 work is completed. Already, we have seen shifts to commuter rail and light rail and, in recent weeks, the very promising free-ranging bike share system. The geography of this region constrains an expansion of the highway system thankfully. The area, in all likelihood, will see the repurposing of some roads and streets into shared public spaces, with a severe limitation on the use of private vehicles.

The Seattle region will, without doubt, see another huge disruption of the economy, likely within three years. The nation and the region are already overdue for a recession. But I believe there will also be a life-altering discovery or development here that will affect millions of people very likely in the intersection of life sciences with computer technology. This will add to Seattles cachet as a progressive, global urban center.

The Citys housing stock will change, as politically painful as that will be. Large sections of the city that are now exclusively detached houses will be replaced with attached homes, alley houses and cottages. More towers will be built in and around the city center, which will extend from the Ship Canal to Safeco Field.

Lots of folks will find these changes uncomfortable or less affordable and they will likely leave, as it has been the case throughout the history of cities. They will be rapidly replaced by new people eager to find opportunity here.

And, somewhat fatalistically, I do have to think there will be one great, tragic disaster perhaps human-caused but more likely a natural one. The area is, after all, due for an earthquake. The city will recover. But it will be significantly altered, just as the great fire of 1889 resulted in a massive reinvention of Seattle.

But hey, you dont have to take my word for any of it. Im outta here.

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Seattle: the city of never-ending change – Crosscut

Commune – Wikipedia

Not to be confused with comune.

A commune (the French word appearing in the 12th century from Medieval Latin communia, meaning a large gathering of people sharing a common life; from Latin communis, things held in common)[1] is an intentional community of people living together, sharing common interests, often having common values and beliefs, as well as shared property, possessions, resources, and, in some communes, work, income or assets.

In addition to the communal economy, consensus decision-making, non-hierarchical structures and ecological living have become important core principles for many communes. There are many contemporary intentional communities all over the world, a list of which can be found at the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC).[2] For the usually larger-scale, political entities in communist political theory, see socialist communes, which are similar but distinct social organizations.

Benjamin Zablocki categorized communities this way:[3]

Many communal ventures encompass more than one of these categorizations. Some communes, such as the ashrams of the Vedanta Society or the Theosophical commune Lomaland, formed around spiritual leaders, while others formed around political ideologies. For others, the “glue” is simply the desire for a more shared, sociable lifestyle.

The central characteristics of communes, or core principles that define communes, have been expressed in various forms over the years. Before 1840 such communities were known as “communist and socialist settlements”; by 1860, they were also called “communitarian” and by around 1920 the term “intentional community”[citation needed] had been added to the vernacular of some theorists. The term “communitarian” was invented by the Suffolk-born radical John Goodwyn Barmby, subsequently a Unitarian minister.[4]

At the start of the 1970s, “The New Communes” author Ron E. Roberts classified communes as a subclass of a larger category of Utopias. He listed three main characteristics. Communes of this period tended to develop their own characteristics of theory though, so while many strived for variously expressed forms of egalitarianism Roberts’ list should never be read as typical. Roberts’ three listed items were: first, egalitarianism that communes specifically rejected hierarchy or graduations of social status as being necessary to social order. Second, human scale that members of some communes saw the scale of society as it was then organized as being too industrialized (or factory sized) and therefore unsympathetic to human dimensions. And third, that communes were consciously anti-bureaucratic.

Twenty five years later, Dr. Bill Metcalf, in his edited book “Shared Visions, Shared Lives” defined communes as having the following core principles: the importance of the group as opposed to the nuclear family unit, a “common purse”, a collective household, group decision making in general and intimate affairs. Sharing everyday life and facilities, a commune is an idealized form of family, being a new sort of “primary group” (generally with fewer than 20 people although again there are outstanding examples of much larger communes or communes that experienced episodes with much larger populations). Commune members have emotional bonds to the whole group rather than to any sub-group, and the commune is experienced with emotions which go beyond just social collectivity.

With the simple definition of a commune as an intentional community with 100% income sharing, the online directory of the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC)[2] lists 186 communes worldwide (17 August 2011).[7] Some of these are religious institutions such as abbeys and monasteries. Others are based in anthroposophic philosophy, including Camphill villages that provide support for the education, employment, and daily lives of adults and children with developmental disabilities, mental health problems or other special needs.[8] Many communes are part of the New Age movement.

Many cultures naturally practice communal or tribal living, and would not designate their way of life as a planned ‘commune’ per se, though their living situation may have many characteristics of a commune.

In Germany, a large number of the intentional communities define themselves as communes and there is a network of political communes called “Kommuja”[9] with about 30 member groups (May 2009). Germany has a long tradition of intentional communities going back to the groups inspired by the principles of Lebensreform in the 19th century. Later, about 100 intentional communities were started in the Weimar Republic after World War I, many had a communal economy. In the 1960s, there was a resurgence of communities calling themselves communes, starting with the Kommune 1 in Berlin, followed by Kommune 2 (also Berlin) and Kommune 3 in Wolfsburg.

In the German commune book, Das KommuneBuch, communes are defined by Elisabeth Vo as communities which:

Kibbutzim in Israel, (sing., kibbutz) are examples of officially organized communes, the first of which were based on agriculture. Today, there are dozens of urban communes growing in the cities of Israel, often called urban kibbutzim. The urban kibbutzim are smaller and more anarchist.[11] Most of the urban communes in Israel emphasize social change, education, and local involvement in the cities where they live. Some of the urban communes have members who are graduates of zionist-socialist youth movements, like HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed, HaMahanot HaOlim and Hashomer Hatsair.[12]

In 1831 John Vandeleur (a landlord) established a commune on his Ralahine Estate at Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare. Vandeleur asked Edward Thomas Craig, an English socialist, to formulate rules and regulations for the commune. It was set up with a population of 22 adult single men, 7 married men and their 7 wives, 5 single women, 4 orphan boys and 5 children under the age of 9 years. No money was employed, only credit notes which could be used in the commune shop. All occupants were committed to a life with no alcohol, tobacco, snuff or gambling. All were required to work for 12 hours a day during the summer and from dawn to dusk in winter. The social experiment prospered for a time and 29 new members joined. However, in 1833 the experiment collapsed due to the gambling debts of John Vandeleur. The members of the commune met for the last time on 23 November 1833 and placed on record a declaration of the contentment, peace and happiness they had experienced for two years under the arrangements introduced by Mr. Vandeleur and Mr. Craig and which through no fault of the Association was now at an end.[13]

In imperial Russia, the vast majority of Russian peasants held their land in communal ownership within a mir community, which acted as a village government and a cooperative.[14][15] The very widespread and influential pre-Soviet Russian tradition of Monastic communities of both sexes could also be considered a form of communal living. After the end of Communism in Russia monastic communities have again become more common, populous and, to a lesser degree, more influential in Russian society. Various patterns of Russian behaviortoloka (), pomochi (), artel’ ()are also based on Communal (“”) traditions.

A nineteenth century advocate and practitioner of communal living was the utopian socialist John Goodwyn Barmby, who founded a Communist Church before becoming a Unitarian minister.[16] The UK today has several communes or intentional communities, increasing since the New Towns Act 1946 to recuperate a lost sense of community at the centralization of population in Post-War New Towns such as Crawley or Corby.

The Simon Community in London is an example of social cooperation, made to ease homelessness within London. It provides food and religion and is staffed by homeless people and volunteers. Mildly nomadic, they run street “cafs” which distribute food to their known members and to the general public.

The Bruderhof has three locations in the UK[18] and follows the example of the earliest Christians in the Book of Acts by living in community and sharing all things in common.[19] In Glandwr, near Crymych, Pembrokeshire, a co-op called Lammas Ecovillage focuses on planning and sustainable development. Granted planning permission by the Welsh Government in 2009, it has since created 9 holdings and is a central communal hub for its community.[20] In Scotland, the Findhorn Foundation founded by Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean in 1962[21] is prominent for its educational centre and experimental architectural community project based at The Park, in Moray, Scotland, near the village of Findhorn.[22]

The Findhorn Ecovillage community at The Park, Findhorn, a village in Moray, Scotland, and at Cluny Hill in Forres, now houses more than 400 people.[23]

There is a long history of communes in America (see this short discussion of Utopian communities) which led to the rise in the communes of the hippie movementthe “back-to-the-land” ventures of the 1960s and 1970s .[24] One commune that played a large role in the hippie movement was Kaliflower, a utopian living cooperative that existed in San Francisco between 1967 and 1973 built on values of free love and anti-capitalism.

Andrew Jacobs of The New York Times wrote that “after decades of contraction, the American commune movement has been expanding since the mid-1990s, spurred by the growth of settlements that seek to marry the utopian-minded commune of the 1960s with the American predilection for privacy and capital appreciation.”[25] (See Intentional community). The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) is the best source for listings of and more information about communes in the United States.

As of 2010, the Venezuelan state has initiated the construction of almost 200 “socialist communes” which are billed as autonomous and independent from the government. The communes have their own “productive gardens that grow their own vegetables as a method of self-supply. The communes also make independent decisions in regards to administration and the use of funding.[26] The idea has been denounced as an attempt to undermine elected local governments, since the central government could shift its funding away from these in favor of communes, which are overseen by the federal Ministry of Communes and Social Protection.[27]

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Commune – Wikipedia

Pulaski County’s most fascinating people: Family of six renovates school bus into tiny home – Waynesville Daily Guide

The Daily Guide has been looking for fascinating people in our community to talk to, learn about, and tell their stories. The McGinnity family is about as fascinating as people get, especially with their latest project of creating a tiny home.

Raven McGinnity, a traveling herbalist and mother of four, contacted the Daily Guide with news about her and her familys recent renovation plans. Married duo Oaken and Raven McGinnity are turning a school bus into a tiny home according to Raven.

The soon-to-be tiny home is a work-in-progress. According to Raven, we started the project in March and it is almost complete (the wood stove won’t be added until September). We travel to speak on local plant medicine, plant medicine making, minimalism with children, and renovating a skoolie. The McGinnitys nicknamed the school bus Viggo.

We plan on traveling a lot for our business, Raven & Oak, because we teach workshops and speak at festivals, Raven said.

It started as the place we were going to live when we visited Dancing Rabbit, an ecovillage in northern Missouri, according to R. McGinnity. We are interested in Intentional Communities and this program gives us a chance to see and learn about one that has been around for 20 years. Then as we thought about it, what better way to teach our children than on the road where they can see the places we talk about, meet such a diverse population, and enjoy the years they are little while we can.

Raven said, on the couples website, I am an herbalist, medicine woman, and doula. I make and sell remedies and blog about herbal medicine, natural living, minimalism, and life as a hippie.

I am a tree hugger, Oaken said on their website. I believe people can take back their overall health through the healing properties of plants and fungi; and their vitality by learning and utilizing sustainable traditional skills inside and out. I teach classes on traditional folk skills.

It definitely would be considered a tiny home, Raven said, with the caveat of no shower (camp shower only but plan on using campgrounds). The skoolie is mobile already. We have a sink, kitchen cabinets, composting toilet, beds for 6 (4 twins and a queen) plus ample storage. We are upgrading a few things this month to have a fridge as well.

Raven said she feels the best way to teach her kids is driving a school bus across the country. She said, In November, we drive up to Florida for a tiny house festival to give tours on all the same things [workshops on plant medicine, tours through Viggo] all over again. We get to do this work promoting our business a little bit, but, also, because I only drive 3 hours at a time in a school bus, we now get to see all the little parts of the country that we never would have seen if we were in a car. When youre in a car, youre like, Lets just get there! I dont want to stay in this car any longer than I have to. But in a skoolie you get to go slower anyway, youre just like, Well take our time to get down there. What better way to learn U.S. history and geography than driving?

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Pulaski County’s most fascinating people: Family of six renovates school bus into tiny home – Waynesville Daily Guide

Two Brews With Rodney Blu: Brandon Harris On Spike Lee And ‘Making Rent’ – D Magazine

[Editors note: This is the first in a Q&A series conceived and named by Rodney Blu, creator of AlreadyDTX.Hell sit down with a visiting artist of note long enough for them to drink two beers. We have David Redmon and Ashley Sabin of Carnivalesque Films to thank for this pilot, as David happened to be following Harris around for a forthcoming documentary on Sunday and offered us the footage.]

New York City writer and filmmaker Brandon Harris removes the political correctness, the new artisanal cupcake shop, and the glitz and glamour from the g-word gentrification in his new memoir Making Rent In Bed-Stuy: A Memoir Of Trying To Make It In New York City. Of course, images from Spike Lees Do the Right Thing move right alongside Harris story, and he introduced a screening at the Texas Theatre on Sunday. The landmark buildings in the center of a reimagining by developers thats sent home prices soaring.

I noticed Harris walk out of the theatre soon after the film started and followed him to the bar.

[Do The Right Thing] is, I think, more meaningful today than it was when it was made, Harris said. Were coming to a crisis point concerning the ways in which the police treat African-American men, the way in which African-American communities can or cannot grow depending on the desires of others who are from outside of those communities to control them economically, socially, and politically.

Your book tour has landed in the gentrification capitol of Dallas, pretty much, I offered.

Thats intentional, brother. That was intentional, man, and trust me, I adore this cinema, I adore the men that run it. I think they have nothing but good intentions, Harris said. Obviously its restoration and the type of individuals that normally come here are a harbinger of, in our current climate, in our current societal groundwork or framework, the harbinger of a change that will push people out of this neighborhood, that have called it home or made it their home.

Where is each of our culpability, and how do we change that? I think a lot of people are looking for answers to those questions. Certainly we can say that from the state, help has not been coming. One in four Americans that qualify for housing assistance get it. The majority of housing subsidies in this country go to people who make over $100,000 a year, through tax incentives and tax purposes and the benefits of home ownership in general.

Our hourlong conversation grew from that question Buggin Out asks Sal about the Wall of Fame in his pizza shop: Why are there no brothers on the wall? You can watch an excerpt of our talk in the video below.

Later, we looked on the Texas Theatres own Wall of Fame, and Harris had a lot to say about the different ways Black filmmakers make their mark.

Blu: As a culture, you know, we are concerned with creating things that hopefully open the eyes of those who are either intentionally or unintentionally a part of the system of oppression, we create things that hopefully have meaning and move someone to change as opposed to creating capital we want to inspire change in the hearts and minds of people

Harris: Have you read any Ishmael Reed? Do you know who he is?

Blu: No.

Harris: I think hes like the greatest black avant-garde novelist of his generation. Mumbo Jumbo is his most well known book, nominated for a National Book Award. Hes a guy who always fought against the cultural nationalists, who felt like they had to make art that was like, woke, or somehow important, somehow meaningful. Ive sympathized with that. I dont, as an artist who identifies as African-American, feel like I have to indulge in any sort of work thats like, trying to change anybody. I just want to make stuff thats meaningful to me, and to people who both identify as black and not, and naturally that work will speak to my experience

Blu: And our shared experience

Harris: I mean, look at Lemon over there. Motions to movie poster. I dont know if you know about that sister [Janicza Bravo], or her work. But its just a remarkable film, thats about, you know, that dude, that Jewish dude whos a bad guy thats not a film that if you looked at Janicza youd think, oh, shed make that movie. Looking at this wall over here. Motions to Wall of Fame, scans the photographs. Id want to make movies like Melvin [Van Peebles]. Thats a great picture of Melvin.

I once interviewed him and he was wearing white jeans and pink suspenders with no shirt smoking a cigar in his home. He has this paper mache hot dog in his living room, which is like massive, that Mario, his son, made when he was in high school. Hes got, like, the ass-end of a VW van and it opens and inside is a bed. It, like, juts into the wall.

Hes 80 years old, too, and hes got this massive apartment near Lincoln Center thats all paid for by Wall Street speculation money. People dont know this but he was one of the first black traders in the early 80s on the New York Stock Exchange while he was a film director he has this fascinating career, you know. He made movies in France because he couldnt make movies in the United states, no one would finance the movies in the United States, right.

So he made these shorts, and Amos Vogel, who [co-]founded the New York Film Festival, took Melvin to a festival in France, and then Melvin just stayed there. He just moved to France and stayed there for five years. These are, like, the prime years of the Civil Rights movement, mid-sixties, Melvin was in France. And he realized he could get financing from the state for movies if he just wrote French novels. So he wrote for like these French comedic magazines. He taught himself French, became a writer, published five novels in France, and if you published a certain amount of novels, you could get a card.

You had to get a card in the French system. The New Wave people were often working against that, they thought, like, the whole system of French filmmaking was too credentialist. And so Melvin got the card that also enabled him to get state financing for his movies by writing books. And then he made his first feature, The Story of a Three-Day Pass, which is the story of this black GI and his affairs with this white woman over a weekend, and how the U.S. military looks down on this, and what have you. Its a good movie, it might actually be his best movie.

By the time he got back to the states, there was this expectation that he should make black movies why should you feel obliged to make [blaxploitation precursor]Sweet Sweetbacks Baadasssss Songand not The Story of a Three-Day Pass?I would hope to have the freedom as a filmmaker and would hope filmmakers of my generation would feel the freedom to engage in any number of stories.

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Two Brews With Rodney Blu: Brandon Harris On Spike Lee And ‘Making Rent’ – D Magazine

Coping With Depression as Love Wins the Day – New York Times

The two men wasted no time inviting her to one of the frequent gatherings they held at their house, an intentional community made up of eight members of the Episcopal Service Corps, a national network of young adults committed to living simply and serving their communities.

If the participants at these parties were churchy, the goings-on were not. Beer drinking and dancing were the norm. But the night Ms. Risch arrived, with a date, Mr. Sutter turned his back on the norm in favor of a semiprivate conversation with her. Anna and I found ourselves standing in the corner talking about books, for many hours, he said.

We enjoyed talking about books with her so much, Alex and I invited her to come to a sleepover, Mr. Sutter added. Sleepovers at their house were also a regular event for those in the church community, but they were less about having a good time than about meaningful discussion.

They were a time to talk about finding yourself, about our commitment to friendship as a community and where you were professionally, Mr. Sutter said.

When Ms. Risch arrived, it was with a caveat.

She said she was really stressed out with school stuff, and she didnt know if she could stay the night, Mr. Sutter said. Alex and I pestered her to stay. We told her everything would be fine.

Insomnia was one of the side effects of Ms. Rischs stress. By the time the rest of the party conked out on couches and the floor in the wee hours, Mr. Sutter found Ms. Risch wide-awake and alone. A knight-in-shining-armor instinct kicked in: He ran upstairs to the attic bedroom he shared with a roommate and returned with a book, Martin Luther 1521-1532: Shaping and Defining the Reformation, the second of a three-part biography, by Martin Brecht.

Ms. Risch listened to Mr. Sutter read aloud. It was so boring, she was asleep within two seconds, Mr. Sutter said.

Ms. Risch thought it was a sweet gesture.

I noted how comfortable I felt, something I hadnt felt in a long time while trying to sleep, she said. Brecht really cemented it for us.

After that first sleepover, Mr. Sutter and Ms. Risch became confidants about each others yo-yo dating lives. Though they had been immediately attracted to each other There was definitely a flame right away, Mr. Sutter said their timing was off. When one was going through a breakup, the other was with someone new. And when both were finally free in February 2014, a cloud was drifting overhead.

Ms. Risch had just joined the Episcopal Service Corps and moved into the intentional community Mr. Sutter had recently moved out of each class of eight corps members live together in the house for one year when she began to feel depressed.

I had had depression before, and really when I look back there were so many signs it was coming, she said. I was living in Cleveland in a tiny, run-down house with eight other people and no privacy. And it was the winter when we had those polar vortexes.

She had also taken a vow, as all Service Corps members do, to live in poverty for the year.

Its both an illness in my brain and also really situational, Ms. Risch said. That situation is what put me over the brink. After a lot of self-harm, including using needles and glass to cut herself, she was hospitalized and was told she suffered from cyclothymia, a cousin to bipolar disorder.

In the months that followed, Mr. Sutter, who was still in Cleveland continuing his studies and his work on social issues including poverty, watched as she tried several different medications and suffered more than a few relapses. His bedside manner may not have suited everyone in the fog of depression, but for Ms. Risch it was transformative. And healing.

He didnt coddle me, she said. He wouldnt acquiesce to what I wanted. If I wanted to stay home all day, he said, No, get out of bed and go work out. He says no to me a lot.

He did not say no, though, in June, when she felt healthy enough to ask him on a friendly outing to a jazz festival.

We rode our bikes, Ms. Risch said. After it was over I said, Do you want to ride home with me and have a sleepover? It was a reference to Mr. Sutters community sleepovers, but she was thinking of a sleepover with more than strictly spiritual conversation. The next morning we came down for breakfast, and someone said we had hearts in our eyes.

Those hearts had been trying to surface since the February hospitalization, if not before.

I was already madly in love with Noah, Ms. Risch said.

They said they tried to take things slow, because their friendship was far too valuable to risk losing. But a few weeks after the bike ride, Mr. Sutter asked her to accompany him on a backpacking trip to Yosemite. They returned from the wilderness decidedly as a couple, and have been so ever since. Around the same time, they also each began the process of discerning ordination to priesthood in the Episcopal Church.

But the mounting days and weeks of Ms. Rischs depressive darkness were still very much with them.

I was giving her a lot of care, and I didnt know if she would ever get better, Mr. Sutter said. I had no way of knowing who she really was, what her normal was. He carried on because of something Ms. Risch was in the habit of repeating. She would say, Youre so generous to me. That was my love language, those words of affirmation. They gave me the energy to keep going.

Her depression was a strain on Mr. Sutter as well.

I had to go to friends and get nourished, he said. I had to talk to my spiritual director. I had to go to Jane to talk about the tools I would use to keep Anna feeling grounded and loved. Jane is Jane McKelvey, a therapist Mr. Sutter and Ms. Risch saw separately. They now see her together.

Ms. McKelvey is impressed by the devotion Mr. Sutter and Ms. Risch have to each other. Their willingness to communicate openly has been a huge benefit to them, she said.

Mr. Sutter proposed during a party in St. Louis in May 2016 to celebrate the graduation of Elisabeth Risch, who is Annas sister, from college.

The new graduate didnt mind sharing the spotlight that day; she was just glad her sister was headed toward a happy ending. Shes improved so much, and a lot of that is thanks to Noah and his attention to figuring out her needs, Elisabeth said.

The couple were married before about 230 guests on July 22, 2017, at the Church of the Ascension in Lakewood, Ohio. The Rev. Canon Vincent Black, the couples priest for the past three years, officiated with the Rev. David Bargetzi giving the sermon.

In keeping with the couples passion for social justice, the wedding liturgy the form and readings used in the ceremony was developed by the Episcopal General Convention to include same-sex couples. Ms. Risch and Mr. Sutter chose the liturgy because they wanted to affirm the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples in the marriage sacrament.

Just before her wedding, Ms. Risch said she hasnt had a relapse in a year and a half. She credits therapy, medication and Mr. Sutter.

We take care of one another, she said.

Mr. Sutter said: I fell in love with Anna because shes brilliant and strong. The way she fought depression showed her resiliency and how independent she could be.

Annas mental health, he added, has been a gift that has helped her empathize with so many people. Its helped us understand that mental illness is not an abnormality. We see it as something that needs to be accepted as part of being human.

Bob Sandrick contributed reporting from Lakewood, Ohio.

ON THIS DAY

When July 22, 2017

Where The Church of the Ascension in Lakewood, Ohio, followed by a reception at St. Johns Episcopal Church in Cleveland.

Fashion Sense Mr. Sutter, who wore a Calvin Klein suit, actually picked out Ms. Rischs dress, a floor-length ivory gown with a plunging neckline and slit skirt. Ms. Risch said she wears leggings, Birkenstocks and an L.L. Bean sweater most days, so she welcomed the fashion advice of Mr. Sutter, who is inclined toward crisp chinos and button-up shirts. The dress came from an online retailer called Reformation.

Rich in Love The couple enlisted friends and family to help make wedding decorations, including paper garlands and bunting, ceramic pots and signs. The names of guests were written on rocks pulled from Lake Michigan and used as place settings. Mr. Sutter and Ms. Risch also got into the D.I.Y. spirit themselves. Ms. Risch made mead, a honey wine, for after the ceremony; a group of Episcopal nuns had taught her how. She also sewed her four bridesmaids gray linen skirts. Mr. Sutter made 30 gallons of beer.

Continue following our fashion and lifestyle coverage on Facebook (Styles and Modern Love), Twitter (Styles, Fashion, and Vows) and Instagram.

A version of this article appears in print on August 20, 2017, on Page ST12 of the New York edition with the headline: Coping With Depression as Love Wins the Day.

Go here to read the rest:

Coping With Depression as Love Wins the Day – New York Times

Understanding Satmar and Lubavitch as Distinct Communities – Jewish Link of New Jersey

Reviewing: Satmar and Lubavitch, by Rabbi Chaim Dalfin, Hardcover: 336 pages, Jewish Enrichment Press ISBN-10: 0997909919, 2017.

Drawing on sociological studies such as Kranzler, Williamsburg: A Community in Transition, primary archival documents such as real-time interviews and a vast treasury of personal experience, this excellent book in part explores the similarities and differences and specific characteristics of the Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch and Satmar communities so that the readers come to admire the distinctiveness, uniqueness and ennobling aspects of each religious group; not just pointing to their fascinating demographics, political, social, economic and cultural aspects, Rabbi Dalfin also gives the reader the tam (taste) for what makes these groups tick, their mission, raison detre and special visions for the Jewish people and its unfolding on the stage of eschatological history.

That is to say, it is one important thing to know the laws of Shabbat; it is quite a different level to viscerally experience Shabbat and taste its delights. He offers the reader a wonderful taste of the two communities and offers insights about their importance. He not only puts the two communities in historical context, for example, drawing the influence of communism and fascism historically on their development, but as is characteristic of many of his important studies he looks at their leaders and the machers, plumbing the depths of what makes for charismatic inspiring leadership. Although the two communities both consist of extremely devout Jews, this does not mean that its members share the same mentality or specific set of values. As the introduction notes, the book deals with the Satmar-Lubavitch relationship from 1946 until the present day. It is not a formal, detached academic tome. Although Dalfin is capable of writing academically he has chosen to offer the reader the perspective of an insider. The book is the product of a passionate Lubavitcher, born into a Lubavitcher family, who has reached across the aisle and investigated, researched and analyzed many of the voices in the current-day Jewish community from an objective yet anecdotal, personal perspective.

Wearing the hats of a masterful Hasidic sociologist and historian, Rabbi Dalfin is foremost an insider, in observing these two communities from the inside rather than an outsider looking in. He successfully accomplishes in this book reaching out and beginning the process of healing rifts and bringing the reader closer to appreciating what the two communities share rather than what separates them. He understands that all Jews are vulnerable when the Jews are divided, and rather than engage in polemics, he seeks to find mutual respect and common ground uniting Jews.

This recalls and brings to mind Rav Menachem Mendel Gluskin, av beth din of Minsk, saying, Let us not engage in polemics and fight over our differences, but rather let us go and sing at the Shabbos table together in harmony. Foremost it is love and devotion for Torah that guides both religious communities and respect for Chasidut. Rabbi Dalfin does not remain at the level of superficial surfaces, stereotypes and unthoughtfulness; rather, he gets to the roots of the dynamics of the two vibrant communities. For example, Rabbi Dalfin shows that the simplistic, dualistic category of classifying Satmar as anti-Zionist and Chabad as pro-Zionist does injustice to the complexity of the two religious groups vision for the ultimate destiny of the Holy Land and its central place in messianic history and praxis.

As the book sums it up best, since 1946, the year the Satmar Rebbe arrived on American soil, one realizes that mistakes, misunderstandings and at times intentional accusations were at the center of the two groups. Today, Satmar and Lubavitch enjoy a healthier relationship. This book will dispel, clarify and organize what is what, who is who and when is when, and most importantly show that the Lubavitcher and Satmar Rebbes wanted their followers to be respectful of each other although they had some serious differences. Simultaneously, they had some strong similarities.

One thing is for sure: the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, were great, stellar leaders.

By David B. Levy

Read more from the original source:

Understanding Satmar and Lubavitch as Distinct Communities – Jewish Link of New Jersey

Plow Creek Fellowship to close – Bureau County Republican

TISKILWA Plow Creek Fellowship, an intentional Christian community established in 1971, a mile southeast of Tiskilwa, is announcing the close of its operations at the end of 2017. At its peak, the community had up to 100 participants in worship and common meals.

Plow Creek Fellowship has been widely known for its u-pick strawberries and its sales of garden-fresh produce at area farmers markets.

Plow Creek Fellowship members shared in a common treasury. It was closely affiliated with Plow Creek Mennonite Church, a member of the Mennonite Church USA. The fellowship was guided by a commitment to share life, needs and resources, according to the teachings of Jesus and the practice of the early church as told in Acts 2-4.

Peace-making and solidarity with refugees gained the community both respect and criticism. Over the years, many weary city-dwellers took retreats at Plow Creek, appreciating the natural beauty of its woodland trails, starry nights, campfires and good potluck food. Plow Creek Fellowship was the site of several summer camp meetings for Shalom Mission Communities of which Plow Creek Fellowship was a member. One camp meeting in 2008 hosted a music festival with inspiring teachings for more than 700 campers.

One of Plow Creek Fellowships most well-known members was writer and pastor, Rich Foss, who for a decade, wrote a weekly column in the Bureau Valley Chief until his death in January 2017. Richs passing, plus the deaths of David Gale and Jim Harnish in late 2016, left only a dozen members who concluded it was time to close up community operations and pass the property on to another non-profit ministry. This turned out to be Hungry World Farm, an offshoot of Willow Springs Mennonite Church.

Hungry World Farm is a new organization applying for not-for-profit status. It will receive the Plow Creek Farm and transition it into a new ministry utilizing the facilities and farmland.

The idea of Hungry World Farm began through local conversations and a review of other farm-based ministries that teach about growing and consuming healthy food. Dennis Zehr of Coneflower Farm, Tiskilwa, and Calvin Zehr, pastor of Willow Springs Mennonite Church, Tiskilwa, created a proposal which Plow Creek Fellowship accepted.

Hungry World Farm will focus on the following activities: Educating people about food production, distribution, and consumption; addressing spiritual hunger in peoples lives; training local and international interns in farming techniques; and providing retreats for holistic growth and health. The transition will officially take place at the end of 2017. If you would like to explore ways to partner in this new organization, or for more information, contact Cal Zehr, 815-646-4819, hungryworldfarm@gmail.com.

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Plow Creek Fellowship to close – Bureau County Republican

Welcome to FIC – Fellowship for Intentional Community

Community is essential to a Cooperative and Sustainable world

Intentional communities are groups of people living together with some shared resources on the basis of explicit common values.

Examples includeecovillages,cohousing, communes, student co-ops, spiritual communities,and more.

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) is a nonprofit organizationdedicated tosupporting and promoting the development of intentional communities, and the evolution of cooperative culture.

Find intentional communities in theDirectory, read inspiration and lessons inCommunities magazine, and explore books, videos, and teaching games in theCommunity Bookstore.

Climate Disruption hurts us all, and yet many of us dont know what to do.

We need some cultural reorientation, and we need it quickly. Thats why we published Together Resilient: Building Community in the Age of Climate Disruption.

Were also launchinga national speaking tour to help bring the important lessons intentional communities have learned about resilience and sustainability to a broader audience.

To sponsor a tour stop click here or contact [emailprotected].

Together Resilient is available in both print and digital download!

Continue reading here:

Welcome to FIC – Fellowship for Intentional Community

Intentional community – Wikipedia

An intentional community is a planned residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision and often follow an alternative lifestyle. They typically share responsibilities and resources. Intentional communities include collective households, cohousing communities, coliving, ecovillages, monasteries, communes, survivalist retreats, kibbutzim, ashrams, and housing cooperatives. New members of an intentional community are generally selected by the community’s existing membership, rather than by real-estate agents or land owners (if the land is not owned collectively by the community).

The purposes of intentional communities vary in different communities. They may include sharing resources, creating family-oriented neighborhoods, and living ecologically sustainable lifestyles, such as in ecovillages.

Some communities are secular; others have a spiritual basis. One common practice, particularly in spiritual communities, is communal meals. Typically, there is a focus on egalitarian values. Other themes are voluntary simplicity, interpersonal growth, and self-sufficiency.

Some communities provide services to disadvantaged populations, for example, war refugees, the homeless, or people with developmental disabilities. Some communities operate learning or health centers. Other communities, such as Castanea of Nashville, Tennessee, offer a safe neighborhood for those exiting rehab programs to live in. Some communities also act as a mixed-income neighborhood, so as to alleviate the damages of one demographic assigned to one area. Many intentional communities attempt to alleviate social injustices that are being practiced within the area of residence. Some intentional communities are also micronations, such as Freetown Christiania.[citation needed]

Many communities have different types or levels of membership. Typically, intentional communities have a selection process which starts with someone interested in the community coming for a visit. Often prospective community members are interviewed by a selection committee of the community or in some cases by everyone in the community. Many communities have a “provisional membership” period. After a visitor has been accepted, a new member is “provisional” until they have stayed for some period (often six months or a year) and then the community re-evaluates their membership. Generally, after the provisional member has been accepted, they become a full member. In many communities, the voting privileges or community benefits for provisional members are less than those for full members.

Christian intentional communities are usually composed of those wanting to emulate the practices of the earliest believers. Using the biblical book of Acts (and, often, the Sermon on the Mount) as a model, members of these communities strive for a practical working out of their individual faith in a corporate context. These Christian intentional communities try to live out the teachings of the New Testament and practice lives of compassion and hospitality.[1] Communities such as the Simple Way, the Bruderhof[2] and Rutba House would fall into this category.

A survey in the 1995 edition of the Communities Directory, published by Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), reported that 54 percent of the communities choosing to list themselves were rural, 28 percent were urban, 10 percent had both rural and urban sites, and 8 percent did not specify.

The most common form of governance in intentional communities is democratic (64 percent), with decisions made by some form of consensus decision-making or voting. A hierarchical or authoritarian structure governs 9 percent of communities, 11 percent are a combination of democratic and hierarchical structure, and 16 percent do not specify.[3] Many communities which were initially led by an individual or small group have changed in recent years to a more democratic form of governance.

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Intentional community – Wikipedia

Communities Directory – Find Intentional Communities

The Intentional Communities Directory is part of the Intentional Communities website, a project of the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC). Intentional Communities can update their listings online so you get the most up to date information possible. You can add your community now.

If you are looking for an intentional community, ecovillage, cohousing, commune, co-op, or other cooperative living arrangement, browse through our community lists geographic, or by type of community (ecovillages, communes, cohousing, co-ops, or christian), look at our maps, or search our database. You can filter your search on many key characteristics of each community such as location, size, etc.

You can also find communities looking for people, community homes and land for sale, and more, in the Community Classifieds.

To obtain more information about any listed community, contact that community directly using the contact information they have provided. Readers of this site are invited to comment on communities that they have direct experience with. Look towards the bottom of each community listing for a place to add your comment (you must be a registered user) or to see what other readers have to say.

This website is funded completely by donations plus volunteer/far below market rate labor. If you find this site useful we encourage you to donate to our Online Communities Directory Fund.

The FIC also sells theCommunities Directory book. The 7th Edition is now available!It features over 1,200 communities, plus includes charts comparing communities, maps, articles, and bonus resources to help you visit, join, or create a community.

Help us promote the online Communities Directory by linking to this site. Thank you!

See the article here:

Communities Directory – Find Intentional Communities

Pulaski County’s most fascinating people: Family of six renovates school bus into tiny home – Waynesville Daily Guide

The Daily Guide has been looking for fascinating people in our community to talk to, learn about, and tell their stories. The McGinnity family is about as fascinating as people get, especially with their latest project of creating a tiny home.

Raven McGinnity, a traveling herbalist and mother of four, contacted the Daily Guide with news about her and her familys recent renovation plans. Married duo Oaken and Raven McGinnity are turning a school bus into a tiny home according to Raven.

The soon-to-be tiny home is a work-in-progress. According to Raven, we started the project in March and it is almost complete (the wood stove won’t be added until September). We travel to speak on local plant medicine, plant medicine making, minimalism with children, and renovating a skoolie. The McGinnitys nicknamed the school bus Viggo.

We plan on traveling a lot for our business, Raven & Oak, because we teach workshops and speak at festivals, Raven said.

It started as the place we were going to live when we visited Dancing Rabbit, an ecovillage in northern Missouri, according to R. McGinnity. We are interested in Intentional Communities and this program gives us a chance to see and learn about one that has been around for 20 years. Then as we thought about it, what better way to teach our children than on the road where they can see the places we talk about, meet such a diverse population, and enjoy the years they are little while we can.

Raven said, on the couples website, I am an herbalist, medicine woman, and doula. I make and sell remedies and blog about herbal medicine, natural living, minimalism, and life as a hippie.

I am a tree hugger, Oaken said on their website. I believe people can take back their overall health through the healing properties of plants and fungi; and their vitality by learning and utilizing sustainable traditional skills inside and out. I teach classes on traditional folk skills.

It definitely would be considered a tiny home, Raven said, with the caveat of no shower (camp shower only but plan on using campgrounds). The skoolie is mobile already. We have a sink, kitchen cabinets, composting toilet, beds for 6 (4 twins and a queen) plus ample storage. We are upgrading a few things this month to have a fridge as well.

Raven said she feels the best way to teach her kids is driving a school bus across the country. She said, In November, we drive up to Florida for a tiny house festival to give tours on all the same things [workshops on plant medicine, tours through Viggo] all over again. We get to do this work promoting our business a little bit, but, also, because I only drive 3 hours at a time in a school bus, we now get to see all the little parts of the country that we never would have seen if we were in a car. When youre in a car, youre like, Lets just get there! I dont want to stay in this car any longer than I have to. But in a skoolie you get to go slower anyway, youre just like, Well take our time to get down there. What better way to learn U.S. history and geography than driving?

The rest is here:

Pulaski County’s most fascinating people: Family of six renovates school bus into tiny home – Waynesville Daily Guide

Commune – Wikipedia

Not to be confused with comune.

A commune (the French word appearing in the 12th century from Medieval Latin communia, meaning a large gathering of people sharing a common life; from Latin communis, things held in common)[1] is an intentional community of people living together, sharing common interests, often having common values and beliefs, as well as shared property, possessions, resources, and, in some communes, work, income or assets.

In addition to the communal economy, consensus decision-making, non-hierarchical structures and ecological living have become important core principles for many communes. There are many contemporary intentional communities all over the world, a list of which can be found at the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC).[2] For the usually larger-scale, political entities in communist political theory, see socialist communes, which are similar but distinct social organizations.

Benjamin Zablocki categorized communities this way:[3]

Many communal ventures encompass more than one of these categorizations. Some communes, such as the ashrams of the Vedanta Society or the Theosophical commune Lomaland, formed around spiritual leaders, while others formed around political ideologies. For others, the “glue” is simply the desire for a more shared, sociable lifestyle.

The central characteristics of communes, or core principles that define communes, have been expressed in various forms over the years. Before 1840 such communities were known as “communist and socialist settlements”; by 1860, they were also called “communitarian” and by around 1920 the term “intentional community”[citation needed] had been added to the vernacular of some theorists. The term “communitarian” was invented by the Suffolk-born radical John Goodwyn Barmby, subsequently a Unitarian minister.[4]

At the start of the 1970s, “The New Communes” author Ron E. Roberts classified communes as a subclass of a larger category of Utopias. He listed three main characteristics. Communes of this period tended to develop their own characteristics of theory though, so while many strived for variously expressed forms of egalitarianism Roberts’ list should never be read as typical. Roberts’ three listed items were: first, egalitarianism that communes specifically rejected hierarchy or graduations of social status as being necessary to social order. Second, human scale that members of some communes saw the scale of society as it was then organized as being too industrialized (or factory sized) and therefore unsympathetic to human dimensions. And third, that communes were consciously anti-bureaucratic.

Twenty five years later, Dr. Bill Metcalf, in his edited book “Shared Visions, Shared Lives” defined communes as having the following core principles: the importance of the group as opposed to the nuclear family unit, a “common purse”, a collective household, group decision making in general and intimate affairs. Sharing everyday life and facilities, a commune is an idealized form of family, being a new sort of “primary group” (generally with fewer than 20 people although again there are outstanding examples of much larger communes or communes that experienced episodes with much larger populations). Commune members have emotional bonds to the whole group rather than to any sub-group, and the commune is experienced with emotions which go beyond just social collectivity.

With the simple definition of a commune as an intentional community with 100% income sharing, the online directory of the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC)[2] lists 186 communes worldwide (17 August 2011).[7] Some of these are religious institutions such as abbeys and monasteries. Others are based in anthroposophic philosophy, including Camphill villages that provide support for the education, employment, and daily lives of adults and children with developmental disabilities, mental health problems or other special needs.[8] Many communes are part of the New Age movement.

Many cultures naturally practice communal or tribal living, and would not designate their way of life as a planned ‘commune’ per se, though their living situation may have many characteristics of a commune.

In Germany, a large number of the intentional communities define themselves as communes and there is a network of political communes called “Kommuja”[9] with about 30 member groups (May 2009). Germany has a long tradition of intentional communities going back to the groups inspired by the principles of Lebensreform in the 19th century. Later, about 100 intentional communities were started in the Weimar Republic after World War I, many had a communal economy. In the 1960s, there was a resurgence of communities calling themselves communes, starting with the Kommune 1 in Berlin, followed by Kommune 2 (also Berlin) and Kommune 3 in Wolfsburg.

In the German commune book, Das KommuneBuch, communes are defined by Elisabeth Vo as communities which:

Kibbutzim in Israel, (sing., kibbutz) are examples of officially organized communes, the first of which were based on agriculture. Today, there are dozens of urban communes growing in the cities of Israel, often called urban kibbutzim. The urban kibbutzim are smaller and more anarchist.[11] Most of the urban communes in Israel emphasize social change, education, and local involvement in the cities where they live. Some of the urban communes have members who are graduates of zionist-socialist youth movements, like HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed, HaMahanot HaOlim and Hashomer Hatsair.[12]

In 1831 John Vandeleur (a landlord) established a commune on his Ralahine Estate at Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare. Vandeleur asked Edward Thomas Craig, an English socialist, to formulate rules and regulations for the commune. It was set up with a population of 22 adult single men, 7 married men and their 7 wives, 5 single women, 4 orphan boys and 5 children under the age of 9 years. No money was employed, only credit notes which could be used in the commune shop. All occupants were committed to a life with no alcohol, tobacco, snuff or gambling. All were required to work for 12 hours a day during the summer and from dawn to dusk in winter. The social experiment prospered for a time and 29 new members joined. However, in 1833 the experiment collapsed due to the gambling debts of John Vandeleur. The members of the commune met for the last time on 23 November 1833 and placed on record a declaration of the contentment, peace and happiness they had experienced for two years under the arrangements introduced by Mr. Vandeleur and Mr. Craig and which through no fault of the Association was now at an end.[13]

In imperial Russia, the vast majority of Russian peasants held their land in communal ownership within a mir community, which acted as a village government and a cooperative.[14][15] The very widespread and influential pre-Soviet Russian tradition of Monastic communities of both sexes could also be considered a form of communal living. After the end of Communism in Russia monastic communities have again become more common, populous and, to a lesser degree, more influential in Russian society. Various patterns of Russian behaviortoloka (), pomochi (), artel’ ()are also based on Communal (“”) traditions.

A nineteenth century advocate and practitioner of communal living was the utopian socialist John Goodwyn Barmby, who founded a Communist Church before becoming a Unitarian minister.[16] The UK today has several communes or intentional communities, increasing since the New Towns Act 1946 to recuperate a lost sense of community at the centralization of population in Post-War New Towns such as Crawley or Corby.

The Simon Community in London is an example of social cooperation, made to ease homelessness within London. It provides food and religion and is staffed by homeless people and volunteers. Mildly nomadic, they run street “cafs” which distribute food to their known members and to the general public.

The Bruderhof has three locations in the UK[18] and follows the example of the earliest Christians in the Book of Acts by living in community and sharing all things in common.[19] In Glandwr, near Crymych, Pembrokeshire, a co-op called Lammas Ecovillage focuses on planning and sustainable development. Granted planning permission by the Welsh Government in 2009, it has since created 9 holdings and is a central communal hub for its community.[20] In Scotland, the Findhorn Foundation founded by Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean in 1962[21] is prominent for its educational centre and experimental architectural community project based at The Park, in Moray, Scotland, near the village of Findhorn.[22]

The Findhorn Ecovillage community at The Park, Findhorn, a village in Moray, Scotland, and at Cluny Hill in Forres, now houses more than 400 people.[23]

There is a long history of communes in America (see this short discussion of Utopian communities) which led to the rise in the communes of the hippie movementthe “back-to-the-land” ventures of the 1960s and 1970s .[24] One commune that played a large role in the hippie movement was Kaliflower, a utopian living cooperative that existed in San Francisco between 1967 and 1973 built on values of free love and anti-capitalism.

Andrew Jacobs of The New York Times wrote that “after decades of contraction, the American commune movement has been expanding since the mid-1990s, spurred by the growth of settlements that seek to marry the utopian-minded commune of the 1960s with the American predilection for privacy and capital appreciation.”[25] (See Intentional community). The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) is the best source for listings of and more information about communes in the United States.

As of 2010, the Venezuelan state has initiated the construction of almost 200 “socialist communes” which are billed as autonomous and independent from the government. The communes have their own “productive gardens that grow their own vegetables as a method of self-supply. The communes also make independent decisions in regards to administration and the use of funding.[26] The idea has been denounced as an attempt to undermine elected local governments, since the central government could shift its funding away from these in favor of communes, which are overseen by the federal Ministry of Communes and Social Protection.[27]

View original post here:

Commune – Wikipedia

Understanding Satmar and Lubavitch as Distinct Communities – Jewish Link of New Jersey

Reviewing: Satmar and Lubavitch, by Rabbi Chaim Dalfin, Hardcover: 336 pages, Jewish Enrichment Press ISBN-10: 0997909919, 2017.

Drawing on sociological studies such as Kranzler, Williamsburg: A Community in Transition, primary archival documents such as real-time interviews and a vast treasury of personal experience, this excellent book in part explores the similarities and differences and specific characteristics of the Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch and Satmar communities so that the readers come to admire the distinctiveness, uniqueness and ennobling aspects of each religious group; not just pointing to their fascinating demographics, political, social, economic and cultural aspects, Rabbi Dalfin also gives the reader the tam (taste) for what makes these groups tick, their mission, raison detre and special visions for the Jewish people and its unfolding on the stage of eschatological history.

That is to say, it is one important thing to know the laws of Shabbat; it is quite a different level to viscerally experience Shabbat and taste its delights. He offers the reader a wonderful taste of the two communities and offers insights about their importance. He not only puts the two communities in historical context, for example, drawing the influence of communism and fascism historically on their development, but as is characteristic of many of his important studies he looks at their leaders and the machers, plumbing the depths of what makes for charismatic inspiring leadership. Although the two communities both consist of extremely devout Jews, this does not mean that its members share the same mentality or specific set of values. As the introduction notes, the book deals with the Satmar-Lubavitch relationship from 1946 until the present day. It is not a formal, detached academic tome. Although Dalfin is capable of writing academically he has chosen to offer the reader the perspective of an insider. The book is the product of a passionate Lubavitcher, born into a Lubavitcher family, who has reached across the aisle and investigated, researched and analyzed many of the voices in the current-day Jewish community from an objective yet anecdotal, personal perspective.

Wearing the hats of a masterful Hasidic sociologist and historian, Rabbi Dalfin is foremost an insider, in observing these two communities from the inside rather than an outsider looking in. He successfully accomplishes in this book reaching out and beginning the process of healing rifts and bringing the reader closer to appreciating what the two communities share rather than what separates them. He understands that all Jews are vulnerable when the Jews are divided, and rather than engage in polemics, he seeks to find mutual respect and common ground uniting Jews.

This recalls and brings to mind Rav Menachem Mendel Gluskin, av beth din of Minsk, saying, Let us not engage in polemics and fight over our differences, but rather let us go and sing at the Shabbos table together in harmony. Foremost it is love and devotion for Torah that guides both religious communities and respect for Chasidut. Rabbi Dalfin does not remain at the level of superficial surfaces, stereotypes and unthoughtfulness; rather, he gets to the roots of the dynamics of the two vibrant communities. For example, Rabbi Dalfin shows that the simplistic, dualistic category of classifying Satmar as anti-Zionist and Chabad as pro-Zionist does injustice to the complexity of the two religious groups vision for the ultimate destiny of the Holy Land and its central place in messianic history and praxis.

As the book sums it up best, since 1946, the year the Satmar Rebbe arrived on American soil, one realizes that mistakes, misunderstandings and at times intentional accusations were at the center of the two groups. Today, Satmar and Lubavitch enjoy a healthier relationship. This book will dispel, clarify and organize what is what, who is who and when is when, and most importantly show that the Lubavitcher and Satmar Rebbes wanted their followers to be respectful of each other although they had some serious differences. Simultaneously, they had some strong similarities.

One thing is for sure: the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, were great, stellar leaders.

By David B. Levy

The rest is here:

Understanding Satmar and Lubavitch as Distinct Communities – Jewish Link of New Jersey

At-large: Michelle Kennedy – Greensboro News & Record

Profession: Executive director, Interactive Resource Center

Highest degree earned: Attended UNC-Greensboro

Leadership experience: I have led nonprofit organizations in both Greensboro and Los Angeles. I worked for the State Energy Office overseeing a state-wide energy conservation program. I am the 2016 News and Record Woman of the Year, having been recognized for my contributions to the city.

Civic involvement: I currently serve our community in the following roles: Human Relations commissioner, Police Community Review Board member, United Way Family Success Center Design Team member, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro Housing Access and Services Working Group member.

What experience qualifies you to serve on the City Council? I know how to work with diverse populations. I have an extensive track record of creating change and advocating for solutions to benefit communities over my career. I crafted the citys winter emergency shelter plan in 2015. I have worked for nearly a decade alongside City Council and city staff to address the needs in our community.

Name one area of responsibility that belongs to the Greensboro City Council and one that belongs to the county commissioners. Housing services that ensure the stability of and access to our housing stock including code enforcement, zoning and affordable housing are the responsibility of the City Council. Mental health services are a responsibility of county commissioners.

Four initiatives were passed in the 2016 bond referendum community & economic development, housing, parks & recreation and transportation. Which one do you think is most important and will you take the lead on it? What actions would you take?What became the bond referendum was originally designed to be a housing bond to address the lack of access to safe, decent, affordable housing in our community. While other areas are important, housing was, and for me, remains the most critical of the bonds. I serve on the housing access and services working group to help determine best use of those funds.

What do you believe is the greatest obstacle to Greensboros success and what is your solution? As a city, we must develop a strategic development plan to lead us into the future. Public infrastructure investments, land use and zoning changes must have community benefit considerations. Intentional, legitimate participation of impacted communities, beginning at the very earliest stages of planning and throughout implementation must be institutionalized. The fate of neighborhoods should be decided by the people who live there.

What specific plan do you have to bring living wage jobs to economically challenged areas of Greensboro? Incentives should not be considered in any part of Greensboro unless they are attached to living wage provisions for workers. Local hiring components within development projects must be championed to ensure that local workers have access to living wage jobs. I support living wages for all city workers, including temporary and part-time workers coupled with local provisions to encourage the same in the private sector.

What is the most pressing issue the council will face in 2018? Issues of economic equity will play a central role over the next year. Affordable housing, living wage employment and the need for community benefits as part of an equitable development plan will all be critical issues to be addressed. The need for accountability and transparency regarding those and other issues has never been greater than it is now.

What would you do to improve the relationship between Greensboro’s City Council and the North Carolina Legislature? City Council has a responsibility to be the voice of the citizenry and to ensure that their concerns are brought to the attention of those within the state legislative body. In instances where Greensboro is the direct target of divisive action at the state level, City Council has a responsibility to protect the rights of Greensboro and should act as tireless advocates in that regard.

What is the best way for the city to address the large and growing problem of food deserts and food insecurity in Greensboro? Improving healthy food access will require comprehensive solutions. Renaissance Community Co-op serves as one shining example that addresses both food insecurity and local hiring. Zoning regulations could be eased to provide access to abandoned lots for use as urban agriculture sites or community gardens. Bus stop farmers markets are another strategy to connect food to people who use our public transportation system.

How would you improve police-community relations in Greensboro? Accountability and transparency at all levels of city government are crucial. To the extent allowable by law, body camera footage should be made available to the public. I support the creation of a citizen review commission that includes monitoring and subpoena power. Further, to increase public trust, this body should issue regular independent reports related to police interactions in Greensboro.

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At-large: Michelle Kennedy – Greensboro News & Record

Plow Creek Fellowship to close – Bureau County Republican

TISKILWA Plow Creek Fellowship, an intentional Christian community established in 1971, a mile southeast of Tiskilwa, is announcing the close of its operations at the end of 2017. At its peak, the community had up to 100 participants in worship and common meals.

Plow Creek Fellowship has been widely known for its u-pick strawberries and its sales of garden-fresh produce at area farmers markets.

Plow Creek Fellowship members shared in a common treasury. It was closely affiliated with Plow Creek Mennonite Church, a member of the Mennonite Church USA. The fellowship was guided by a commitment to share life, needs and resources, according to the teachings of Jesus and the practice of the early church as told in Acts 2-4.

Peace-making and solidarity with refugees gained the community both respect and criticism. Over the years, many weary city-dwellers took retreats at Plow Creek, appreciating the natural beauty of its woodland trails, starry nights, campfires and good potluck food. Plow Creek Fellowship was the site of several summer camp meetings for Shalom Mission Communities of which Plow Creek Fellowship was a member. One camp meeting in 2008 hosted a music festival with inspiring teachings for more than 700 campers.

One of Plow Creek Fellowships most well-known members was writer and pastor, Rich Foss, who for a decade, wrote a weekly column in the Bureau Valley Chief until his death in January 2017. Richs passing, plus the deaths of David Gale and Jim Harnish in late 2016, left only a dozen members who concluded it was time to close up community operations and pass the property on to another non-profit ministry. This turned out to be Hungry World Farm, an offshoot of Willow Springs Mennonite Church.

Hungry World Farm is a new organization applying for not-for-profit status. It will receive the Plow Creek Farm and transition it into a new ministry utilizing the facilities and farmland.

The idea of Hungry World Farm began through local conversations and a review of other farm-based ministries that teach about growing and consuming healthy food. Dennis Zehr of Coneflower Farm, Tiskilwa, and Calvin Zehr, pastor of Willow Springs Mennonite Church, Tiskilwa, created a proposal which Plow Creek Fellowship accepted.

Hungry World Farm will focus on the following activities: Educating people about food production, distribution, and consumption; addressing spiritual hunger in peoples lives; training local and international interns in farming techniques; and providing retreats for holistic growth and health. The transition will officially take place at the end of 2017. If you would like to explore ways to partner in this new organization, or for more information, contact Cal Zehr, 815-646-4819, hungryworldfarm@gmail.com.

See the article here:

Plow Creek Fellowship to close – Bureau County Republican

Coping With Depression as Love Wins the Day – New York Times

The two men wasted no time inviting her to one of the frequent gatherings they held at their house, an intentional community made up of eight members of the Episcopal Service Corps, a national network of young adults committed to living simply and serving their communities.

If the participants at these parties were churchy, the goings-on were not. Beer drinking and dancing were the norm. But the night Ms. Risch arrived, with a date, Mr. Sutter turned his back on the norm in favor of a semiprivate conversation with her. Anna and I found ourselves standing in the corner talking about books, for many hours, he said.

We enjoyed talking about books with her so much, Alex and I invited her to come to a sleepover, Mr. Sutter added. Sleepovers at their house were also a regular event for those in the church community, but they were less about having a good time than about meaningful discussion.

They were a time to talk about finding yourself, about our commitment to friendship as a community and where you were professionally, Mr. Sutter said.

When Ms. Risch arrived, it was with a caveat.

She said she was really stressed out with school stuff, and she didnt know if she could stay the night, Mr. Sutter said. Alex and I pestered her to stay. We told her everything would be fine.

Insomnia was one of the side effects of Ms. Rischs stress. By the time the rest of the party conked out on couches and the floor in the wee hours, Mr. Sutter found Ms. Risch wide-awake and alone. A knight-in-shining-armor instinct kicked in: He ran upstairs to the attic bedroom he shared with a roommate and returned with a book, Martin Luther 1521-1532: Shaping and Defining the Reformation, the second of a three-part biography, by Martin Brecht.

Ms. Risch listened to Mr. Sutter read aloud. It was so boring, she was asleep within two seconds, Mr. Sutter said.

Ms. Risch thought it was a sweet gesture.

I noted how comfortable I felt, something I hadnt felt in a long time while trying to sleep, she said. Brecht really cemented it for us.

After that first sleepover, Mr. Sutter and Ms. Risch became confidants about each others yo-yo dating lives. Though they had been immediately attracted to each other There was definitely a flame right away, Mr. Sutter said their timing was off. When one was going through a breakup, the other was with someone new. And when both were finally free in February 2014, a cloud was drifting overhead.

Ms. Risch had just joined the Episcopal Service Corps and moved into the intentional community Mr. Sutter had recently moved out of each class of eight corps members live together in the house for one year when she began to feel depressed.

I had had depression before, and really when I look back there were so many signs it was coming, she said. I was living in Cleveland in a tiny, run-down house with eight other people and no privacy. And it was the winter when we had those polar vortexes.

She had also taken a vow, as all Service Corps members do, to live in poverty for the year.

Its both an illness in my brain and also really situational, Ms. Risch said. That situation is what put me over the brink. After a lot of self-harm, including using needles and glass to cut herself, she was hospitalized and was told she suffered from cyclothymia, a cousin to bipolar disorder.

In the months that followed, Mr. Sutter, who was still in Cleveland continuing his studies and his work on social issues including poverty, watched as she tried several different medications and suffered more than a few relapses. His bedside manner may not have suited everyone in the fog of depression, but for Ms. Risch it was transformative. And healing.

He didnt coddle me, she said. He wouldnt acquiesce to what I wanted. If I wanted to stay home all day, he said, No, get out of bed and go work out. He says no to me a lot.

He did not say no, though, in June, when she felt healthy enough to ask him on a friendly outing to a jazz festival.

We rode our bikes, Ms. Risch said. After it was over I said, Do you want to ride home with me and have a sleepover? It was a reference to Mr. Sutters community sleepovers, but she was thinking of a sleepover with more than strictly spiritual conversation. The next morning we came down for breakfast, and someone said we had hearts in our eyes.

Those hearts had been trying to surface since the February hospitalization, if not before.

I was already madly in love with Noah, Ms. Risch said.

They said they tried to take things slow, because their friendship was far too valuable to risk losing. But a few weeks after the bike ride, Mr. Sutter asked her to accompany him on a backpacking trip to Yosemite. They returned from the wilderness decidedly as a couple, and have been so ever since. Around the same time, they also each began the process of discerning ordination to priesthood in the Episcopal Church.

But the mounting days and weeks of Ms. Rischs depressive darkness were still very much with them.

I was giving her a lot of care, and I didnt know if she would ever get better, Mr. Sutter said. I had no way of knowing who she really was, what her normal was. He carried on because of something Ms. Risch was in the habit of repeating. She would say, Youre so generous to me. That was my love language, those words of affirmation. They gave me the energy to keep going.

Her depression was a strain on Mr. Sutter as well.

I had to go to friends and get nourished, he said. I had to talk to my spiritual director. I had to go to Jane to talk about the tools I would use to keep Anna feeling grounded and loved. Jane is Jane McKelvey, a therapist Mr. Sutter and Ms. Risch saw separately. They now see her together.

Ms. McKelvey is impressed by the devotion Mr. Sutter and Ms. Risch have to each other. Their willingness to communicate openly has been a huge benefit to them, she said.

Mr. Sutter proposed during a party in St. Louis in May 2016 to celebrate the graduation of Elisabeth Risch, who is Annas sister, from college.

The new graduate didnt mind sharing the spotlight that day; she was just glad her sister was headed toward a happy ending. Shes improved so much, and a lot of that is thanks to Noah and his attention to figuring out her needs, Elisabeth said.

The couple were married before about 230 guests on July 22, 2017, at the Church of the Ascension in Lakewood, Ohio. The Rev. Canon Vincent Black, the couples priest for the past three years, officiated with the Rev. David Bargetzi giving the sermon.

In keeping with the couples passion for social justice, the wedding liturgy the form and readings used in the ceremony was developed by the Episcopal General Convention to include same-sex couples. Ms. Risch and Mr. Sutter chose the liturgy because they wanted to affirm the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples in the marriage sacrament.

Just before her wedding, Ms. Risch said she hasnt had a relapse in a year and a half. She credits therapy, medication and Mr. Sutter.

We take care of one another, she said.

Mr. Sutter said: I fell in love with Anna because shes brilliant and strong. The way she fought depression showed her resiliency and how independent she could be.

Annas mental health, he added, has been a gift that has helped her empathize with so many people. Its helped us understand that mental illness is not an abnormality. We see it as something that needs to be accepted as part of being human.

Bob Sandrick contributed reporting from Lakewood, Ohio.

ON THIS DAY

When July 22, 2017

Where The Church of the Ascension in Lakewood, Ohio, followed by a reception at St. Johns Episcopal Church in Cleveland.

Fashion Sense Mr. Sutter, who wore a Calvin Klein suit, actually picked out Ms. Rischs dress, a floor-length ivory gown with a plunging neckline and slit skirt. Ms. Risch said she wears leggings, Birkenstocks and an L.L. Bean sweater most days, so she welcomed the fashion advice of Mr. Sutter, who is inclined toward crisp chinos and button-up shirts. The dress came from an online retailer called Reformation.

Rich in Love The couple enlisted friends and family to help make wedding decorations, including paper garlands and bunting, ceramic pots and signs. The names of guests were written on rocks pulled from Lake Michigan and used as place settings. Mr. Sutter and Ms. Risch also got into the D.I.Y. spirit themselves. Ms. Risch made mead, a honey wine, for after the ceremony; a group of Episcopal nuns had taught her how. She also sewed her four bridesmaids gray linen skirts. Mr. Sutter made 30 gallons of beer.

Continue following our fashion and lifestyle coverage on Facebook (Styles and Modern Love), Twitter (Styles, Fashion, and Vows) and Instagram.

A version of this article appears in print on August 20, 2017, on Page ST12 of the New York edition with the headline: Coping With Depression as Love Wins the Day.

Excerpt from:

Coping With Depression as Love Wins the Day – New York Times

New initiatives, programs at WKU all have advantages – Bowling Green Daily News

Fall is a time of renewal at a university, including the arrival of a new class of students full of promise and possibilities. At Western Kentucky University, a strong class of 2021 has begun its higher education journey, and we stand at the ready to ensure that journey is successful.

The quality of our incoming class remains strong. Fifty-two percent of our first-time, first-year students have already earned college credit. In fact, a record 170 students are entering as sophomores, 29 as juniors and one as a senior! This is important as we strive to ensure students graduate in four years.

The class has an average ACT score of 23, three points higher than the state average, and an average GPA of 3.3.

One incredible statistic is that 33 percent of all first-time students are the first in their immediate families to attend college. Access to education is important as members of each generation strive to make a good living for themselves. But access without success is access to nothing.

At WKU, our mission as a student-centered university is to help them succeed in the classroom, in the laboratory, in the workplace, in the world and in their lives. That means that once they arrive on the Hill, we must work to ensure that they persist and earn a degree in four years. To that end, we are implementing several new initiatives proven to increase student success:

In the future, we will shift our freshman year programming to the bottom of the Hill, to include a first-year village concept as we replace older residence halls with new living space. This is an intentional move to more fully embrace living learning communities in our residence halls and to construct facilities with student success and connectivity to campus life in mind. The time our students spend outside of the classroom is as important as the time spent in class.

We also want our students to graduate with as little debt as possible. There has been an intentional shift in financial aid strategy during the last couple of years to reach a broader group of students. That review will continue and we will be placing a priority on private fundraising to support our financial aid initiatives.

WKUs impact extends far beyond the Hill. In conjunction with the steps weve already taken what I call strategic doing we are engaging all of our stakeholders in the formation of a roadmap to guide WKU for the next 10 years strategic planning. All of this the doing and the planning is focused on our core mission as a student-centered, applied research university: to inspire innovation, elevate communities and transform lives.

Tim Caboni is president of Western Kentucky University.

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New initiatives, programs at WKU all have advantages – Bowling Green Daily News

Across Town from Fiesta, El Centro Celebrates Community – Santa Barbara Independent

This past Friday night, as thousands milled around downtown in their Old Spanish Days getups, smashing cascarones on each others heads and getting smashed on margaritas, a very different scene took place at El Centro, a volunteer-run community center nestled within the lower Westside, which describes itself as a radically inclusive space for the community, by thecommunity.

The event, which kicked off at 4 p.m. and lasted till 10, was many things at once: an art session, a barbecue, a birthday celebration, a send-off, and a powerful and packed open mic. It also coincided with the approximate one-year anniversary of El Centro, the end of Escuelita youth-oriented summer program, and the inauguration of an enormous mural. For five weeks the students of Escuelita had added fresh paint to the wall, manifesting the themes they had learned that week in workshops, ranging from Gentrification to Intersectionality to Chumash Ecological and SocialPractices.

El Centro is big on radical organizing and de-Colonial teachings, but instead of an anti-Fiesta demonstration, it was holding its own remembrance of history. Kids were painting large green and violet leaves onto a dark purple wall (soon recruiting passing reporters with paintbrushes), while other youngsters raced around a group of teenagers who sat laughing in a circle on the lawn. Outside, men grilled ribs and chorizo next to a spectacular array of torta fixings, salads, fruit, and cookies. One womans exploratory toddler was passed between at least five different sets of arms throughout the night, bathed in coos andkisses.

Delineations between friend, family, neighbor, and collaborator were indiscernible. Nearly everyone held some role: board member, youth mentor, organizer, resident poet. Boardmember Simone Baker explained that this is very intentional: Each community member has something to give to the space. Citing a principle central to the Black Lives Matter movement, for which she is also a local cofacilitator, Baker explained, We are dedicated to having a low-ego and a high-impact. Its intentionally not about just one person or one identity but rather community andyouth.

Vivid murals border El Centro: a beautifully detailed dark-skinned woman with brown wavy locks and bright red lips lined with yellow roses and a blue hummingbird, next to her a yellow sunset behind green and blue trees, and an adjacent purple wall detailed with white, green, and lavenderleaves.

Fem God, responded youth art and mural instructor and El Centro boardmember Gabriel Cardenas when asked who the woman was on the wall. He circles back to earlier Mexican muralism where women arent portrayed in a dominant role following traditional patriarchal standards. We try to use the space to get in touch with our cultural roots, Cardenas said. Growing up with his mom and sister, Cardenas was motivated to give thanks to the women in his life by creating this mural also representing her as Mother Earth and showcasing what she gives to the world. Along with local rapper and activist ALAS, Cardenas was one of the Noche de Poetrys featuredpoets.

About a year ago, Boardmember Chelsea Langhorne, a program advisor at Santa Barbara City College, and other local organizers began the process of reclaiming the vacant building, which had previously been managed by the county, to create a community center that would respond to the needs of the lower Westside, a mostly Latino neighborhood that Baker described as underserved and overworked. Initially, SBCC students utilized the space for youth to access often-overlooked artistic resources. Organizers then formed writing circles for formerly incarcerated folks, which expanded to encompass people of allidentities.

Noche de Poetry y Open Mic Night grew about half a year later an event that welcomes individuals of all backgrounds and languages. Poetry is an important aspect of El Centro since it is seen as a connecting force within the Santa Barbara community. Jonathan Gomez, research assistant at the UCSB Center for Black Studies Research and boardmember of El Centro, describes the night as a space where people can speak out loud about the things that people demand and need. El Centro is now the regular home for danza azteca classes, a pop-up bookstore and caf, and local justice group meetings. Community is not found, its forged, its created, Gomezsaid.

Most recently El Centro hosted Escuelita, an educational and cultural program designed to fill the gap in locally relevant ethnic studies programs in Santa Barbara schools. Organizers went door to door in the surrounding neighborhoods to get the word out to parents and kids. They modeled the five week summer program after a volunteer-run, independent Saturday School in Los Angeles called Escuelita Aztln and the Freedom Schools of the civil rightsmovement.

Youth mentors and partner organizations (Future Leaders of America, Ethnic Studies Now, Black Lives Matter, CAUSE [Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy], Just Communities, and the Museum of Contemporary Art) led educational workshops on Tuesdays and Thursdays, cultural food and danza classes on Wednesdays, and arts sessions on Fridays all free of charge and accompanied by ameal.

While more than a few open mic performers called attention to the brutal colonial history that Fiesta celebrations happily brush over or even reinforce it also became clear that the event was not about being in opposition to anything, but rather a celebration of the community that El Centro hasbecome.

We at El Centro are more than what we are against. We are for each other, which means we also spend time investing in our own communities, Baker affirmed. This is resistance aswell.

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Across Town from Fiesta, El Centro Celebrates Community – Santa Barbara Independent


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