Inside the Bruderhof

At a time when British society faces ever-increasing challenges, there is a hidden community in the English countryside who seem to have found the answer to a harmonious life. There is no crime, debt, or homelessness, none of the children have mobile phones, use social media, or watch television. They are the Bruderhof, a radical Christian movement whose members have traveled across the world to live in their own village called Darvell, in Sussex.

Now this private community has decided to let the cameras into experience their way of life and as one of the residents contemplates her future, this BBC special holds a mirror up to the modern way of life in Britain today, with its consumerist concerns, high rates of crime and deprivation whilst attempting to discover what price members here have to pay in order to live in their modern-day utopia, were for almost 50 years now this extraordinary radical Christian community has lived outside of mainstream society.

We start off by meeting Bernard Hibbs, who came to Darvel almost 30 years ago, he met his wife Rachel here and they have three children. Bernard explains that the purpose of the community was to follow Jesus’s teachings in the Sermon on the Mount as closely as possible. The Bruderhof has nearly 3,000 members in 23 settlements worldwide, members tend to move between these settlements and it can be a transient life. Bernard reveals that as families grow or shrink people tend to move around and in the time that he has lived in Darvel he has lived in around 30 different houses.

Like Bernards, each of the 55 families here live communally and nobody owns anything. They share everything from living space, food, and clothes. It is a century-old movement and has a strict dress code, with some of the ladies and children wear being made on-site by the sisters.

Directed by: Emma Pentecost

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  1. I just watched the Bruderhof documentary which I very much enjoyed. I do however have a comment on what I saw. I am a 73 year old woman and massage therapist in Boulder, Co. and have had many experiences living with a wide variety of different people in a number of spiritual communities and outside them. I was raised a Christian, lived in a Buddhist Monastery in my 20’s for 3 years, joined a Gurdjieffian Group for 5 and then 27 years with a teacher of oneness. She honored all great teachers and spiritual paths and also channeled a group of beings called Oceana and the Twenty Four. There is much out there besides London (or any big city) and a Christian Community. In watching it I felt the young ones leaving for a year were given such a dramatically different exposure to life than necessary. There are many small towns around the world that are not filled with high-rises and stiletto heels. That is not a fair view of what is out here. I love my life and I serve the Divine (what I call the source of everything)as much as I possibly can all through my day and that gives me beautiful peace and I continue to grow in awareness of the oneness of us all. As I watched it I wasn’t called to either experience- I am happy with my own. There are as many choices as there are people- I think they could be given more opportunities with a wider range of experiences. Thank-you for this insight into another way of life. It is a very kind one.

  2. “there is no crime, debt, homelessness” my ass, read up more