In the world, but not of it.
2009 - Present
The Hutterites, pacifist Anabaptists whose roots trace back to the 16th Century Reformation, live communally on colonies throughout western Canada and the north-western United States. Their culture continues to be preserved through deliberate separation from mainstream society and economic self-sufficiency. Their belief in the sharing of goods separates them from other Anabaptist movements as well as the majority of mainstream society.
Despite a history of persecution the Hutterites are currently in the midst of one of their most successful periods. Facing no overt threats from the outside world they have prospered and grown to over 45,000 members spread out amongst approximately 500 colonies. They are one of the most successful models for communal living in modern history.
Members are provided for throughout their entire lives and on the whole experience less of the loneliness and isolation prevalent in the modern world. The importance given to engagement in family life, social life and spirituality, and the defined purpose for their lives means Hutterite communities meet many of the requirements to be considered Blue Zones; area’s where health, happiness and life expectancy rates are higher than average.
Hutterite culture is often either romanticized or denigrated as simple or backwards. The reality is that their society is very complex and no two colonies are the same. Each colony must decide how rigidly they cling to their traditions verses how much they adapt to the increasingly connected outside world. Conformity to the larger group is unofficially policed by the group as a whole. The Minister is burdened with ensuring the colony stays on a path to godliness rather than worldliness. As Hutterite author Paul S. Gross wrote “We cannot please the world and God at the same time … Either we take this world with all it offers, including trouble, mental stress, sorrow, and death at the end; or else we take a better way.”