We Are Hutterites
Written by: Paul Wipf on Monday, January 14th, 2013
Reprinted and posted with permission.Written by Madelin Hofer.
We are Hutterites
We live in colonies. We are scattered across the prairies of Canada and the United States. We are Anabaptist. We are farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers.
Our faith is so entwined in what we do and who we are, it is impossible to separate the two.
We are an interesting mixture of Austrian, German, descent and culture, with a few unidentifiable strains. We are trilingual, Hutterisch an Austrian dialect, German and English.
We have church services almost every day, hearing sermons in High German written a few hundred years ago. But since human nature hasn’t changed since Adam and Eve, you sometimes think the minister sat down and wrote it yesterday, it’s so fitting.
We regularly read The Bible, Peter Riedemann’s Confession of Faith, and The Western Producer.
We never have to ask who our neighbors are since we eat, work and worship with him everyday – for better or worse. So we might as well make it for better.
We were ‘green’ before the term was even coined: we cook our soap, butcher our meat, cane our fruit and veggies; and never throw away a plastic bag or container.
A new baby is an exciting event! The Mom gets gritz (buckwheat) soup and resha zwiebach,(special bread) an obvoter (homecare), and a general break for 4 weeks. Then it’s back to reality with sleepless nights and lots of work. But our children are our joy!
We get withdrawal symptoms when we don’t have our roast duck on for Sunday dinner.
Our dress code includes polka-dotted head coverings and long dresses for women; shirt, pants and suspenders for men. We don’t conform to the current fashions, our dress is simple and serviceable, and it keeps us equal and humble, our sewing machines busy, and Mook and Marshal Fabrics in business.
We enjoy hearing the latest news about our relatives, friends, next door neighbors, even people in distant colonies we have only heard about. We’re curious, because we care.
When we hear of a birth, death, marriage or new couples we reach for the Family Tree that goes back to the 1700’s.
At times we take our women to doctor’s appointments in 4X4 pickup trucks…and they like it!
We clean our houses thoroughly every Saturday, do laundry Monday and Thursday. We spring clean and fall clean, we looove to be clean.
We have ‘Please Remove Your Shoes on Rug’ signs in our entrance.
We never knock when we enter each other’s houses, we just remove our shoes.
We can travel through 4 provinces and 6 states, stop in at any colony along the way; be welcomed, have a good meal, an evening’s fellowship and a bed for the night. Even though we’ve never been there before.
Grandpa and Grandma live next door, a little older and grayer with each passing year, but still willing to help out where they can, and to welcome their growing number of grandchildren. Even one unruly youngster who Grandpa half-seriously told on his last visit: “The next time I want to see you is when you have a beard.”
We work 6 days a week, and rest on the 7th.
We travel in groups, it’s always better when we’re together.
Our amazing memory comes from all those years of memorizing verses night after night, and reciting them the next morning under the watchful eye of our teacher.
When there’s a funeral or ‘unglick’ (accident) in a nearby colony, we bake buns and bread and van-loads of people go to help.
We have a free trade agreement that includes recipes, combines, people, grain, or anything we might need, and it’s actually free!
We send packages in cardboard boxes, taped up, and marked with jiffy marker, and we take advantage of every ‘gelegenheit ‘(opportunity). “Could you please take this box along and give it to my sister? Thank-you!” And we’re happy to return the favor whenever we can.
Our men can comfortably wear Stetsons in 40 below.
We never have to face anything alone. There’s always someone willing to comfort and help out. We Are Hutterites!
The above was not intended as a statement of faith, but rather as a discussion on the culture that is a by-product of our faith and heritage. If even one person gets to thinking why this culture developed, and why we live the way we do, then it’s worth it.
The reason for our lifestyle is not from yesterday, it goes back over 2000 years. To a quiet village in Judea, where a baby boy was born to a peasant couple from Nazareth. This boy grew into a man, was baptized and taught His disciples for 3 years. He was betrayed and crucified, as an innocent lamb, in fulfillment of ancient prophecies. He rose again, and ascended to heaven, from where He sent His Spirit to His disciples, who were waiting in Jerusalem. They were filled with the Spirit; and ‘all who believed were together and had all things in common.’
This vision of believer’s community has waxed and waned throughout the long centuries since, but has never been totally extinguished. God has awakened believers in many generations. The disciples, the early Church held the flame; it was revived by men like Jakob Hutter, Andreas Ehrenpreiss and Peter Riedemann. It was handed down to our forefathers who left the Tyrol region of Austria because of religious persecution and then emigrated from Russia to the New World. And, in these last days, it has been handed to us, the Hutterites that live in communities scattered across the prairies of North America.
Fellow Hutterites, are we worthy of this Godly heritage that we have been born into? Are we still a light to the world? Are we holding high the flame of the Spirit of brotherly love? The culture celebrated in this post is part of our stand against the ever-shifting values of the culture outside the Church. It fosters a sense of community within us. But without the Spirit our religion is dead, our culture is dead, and we are dead.
Let us all think about the real reason why we are here on Earth, whoever we may be. Let us think on the Saviour of the World lying in a manger, and what His birth, death and resurrection truly mean to us. He has called us to live a holy life, in loving service to God and our neighbor.
What the Hutterites try to convey to the rest of the world is the concept of brotherly love. The idea is that the permeating presence of brotherly love can only exist, or at the very minimum, best exists in the context of communal living. Apparently, the Hutterites belief that throughout all of known history, including the historical times of the Old Testament, as well as during the time of Jesus, Gods calling to humanity has always been to live communally, sharing all earthly possessions. Gods people are not conform to the greater society of personal ownership of property, as that is the way of the world. Hutterite belief that if they follow the ways of the world of owning personal property, they would by necessity, deny the possibility of God to rule over them in their hearts and minds, who alone wants to dictate their daily life experiences of brotherly love within the context of communal living. That is to say, had Adam and Eve never sinned, and then the concept of personal possessions would have never existed.
Personal possessions are sinful, and should be given up in the name of brotherly and sisterly love. Hutterite dress uniformly, I think, to solidly their identity and belief in communal living and it is an outward sign of inward convictions. Then of course, there are many other reasons for dressing uniformly, but that is a start.