Update Nov 1st 2021 – Success! Community of Peace raise the initial $150K needed to secure the land.
Secular intentional communities have a 90% values overlap with people in spiritual focused communities, but we get stuck on the 10% where we disagree and thus are often unable to collaborate effectively. As was recently pointed out on the Commune Life Blog, there are now ten intentional communities in Louisa county (population 36K). It is worth acknowledging that this is more income sharing and/or serious resource sharing communities than in the entire NYC metro area (population 8 plus million). A big part of why this is, is that the ecosystem of existing stable communities helps foster new communities’ survival.
Until recently there were no spiritually focused communities in Louisa County. [Little Flower Catholic Worker community in Louisa often describes itself as “neither Catholic nor Worker”]. I say “until recently” because this summer the new Community of Peace, inspired by the Taize singing order in France, opened in Louisa County. I sat down with Br. Stefan Andre Waligur, a monk who has been working on this project for over 20 years, and who moved to the land to begin the project earlier this year..
I spoke with Brother Stefan at my recent visit to Community of Peace, the former site of Sophia House and where the 2019 QuinkFair event took place. Stefan shared both his inspiration and what the requirements are for membership at this forming community. His inspiration was big.
While in France many years ago Stefan visited the Taize community which had at the time of his visit 6,000 visitors (not residents) living in peace with a simple daily program of singing, meals, celebration and working the land. The songs were all quite short, drawn from many languages and designed to be easy to learn and sing. A fantastic format which connected a singing field that was transformative to many of the participants.
When i asked Stefan to explain the project he focused on the 4 pillars that hold up this effort, supporting these pillars is also what the community seeks from it’s members
Radical Welcome (what i call Radical Hospitality). Even those who can not afford to pay are welcome to live, eat, and work in the community.
Service and Solidarity – Community of Peace is what i would call an inclusive Christian community with an ecumenical focus, which takes literally the Bible’s calls and actions in the Gospels for collective liberation, recovery, and healing.
Prayer: There are really two types of prayer at Community of Peace – silent and sung. For me the short prayers in multiple languages which are sung is a strong community building focus, while the silent are can be carried into most aspects of community life.
Dialog: This is the last principle, and when i spoke with Stefan about it, it really feels like the Christian version of the Transparency Games i spend a lot of time promoting. Through “courageous exploration and deep listening to similarities and differences” they are knitting together a highly intentional community.
Community of Peace has raised all but $20K to secure the land. If you have any capacity to support this worthy project I encourage you to 1) familiarize yourself with their website and 2) Donate to their cause before the Nov 1st deadline (so donate right now). If you are not able to contribute financially, you can also support the community by sharing this post to others in your network. This is a hard deadline, because the bank will repossess the property if they don’t make it. They have come so close, please help if you can.
If you are interested in visiting or joining the community, contact Br Stephan via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.