Quietly tucked away inside a quiet part of East Sussex is a radical Christian sect called Darvell Bruderhof Community, that has shunned modern life and even rejected TV, computers and mobile phones.
According to the leaders of the private community, there is no debt, no crime and no homelessness, and everyone has a job but none of them earn a salary.
Members of the 300-strong Darvell Bruderhof community must ask permission to begin ‘courting’ a person of the opposite sex, same sex mariages and divorces are banned, their jobs are chosen for them, they have no possessions and there are strict rules and restrictions around what members wear.
Women avoid fashions of any sort, wearing modest clothing including headscarves, long plaid dresses and loose shirts. The uniform looks like traditional present peasant dress.
The Bruderhof Christian movement is based around common ownership and was founded in Germany in 1920 by protestant theologian Eberhard Arnold but was forced to flee in 1937 after refusing to join the Nazi Party, and many members moved to England.
Living as disciples of Jesus, members give up all possessions, money and status when they take their vow of commitment while everything is provided for them – from groceries to clothing – and members run a farm, orchard, schools and a multi-million-pound business which makes children’s toys and furniture.
Members are frequently moved between the other 23 Bruderhof settlements in the world as there are just 3,000 members worldwide, and the other communities in the UK are in Nonington, Kent, and Peckham, south London with the Christian sect living a simple life, based on early biblical text, which is similar to the lifestyles of the Amish.
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