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!

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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.

 

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Showing 15 comments

CHARLES GODARD said:reply
On: 16th Jan, 2013 at 17:18

thank you for the information. please do not give up on that.

Dr Travis Stahl I said:reply
On: 19th Jan, 2013 at 22:06

Bulls-eye! Could not have said it better especially in so few words. Well done. Thanks

Atilla Ünal said:reply
On: 20th Jan, 2013 at 01:11

Hutterites yaşam tarzını Digiturk tv. de izledim, çok doğal ve etkileyiciydi… Sizlerle tanışmayı ve yaşam tarzınızı daha yakından öğrenmeyi çok isterdim… Hoşcakalın…

    Paul said:reply
    On: 21st Jan, 2013 at 04:48

    The above message is Turkish, translates – Hutterites Digiturk TV lifestyle. As I watched, very natural and impressive … I would love to meet you and learn lifestyle more closely … Goodbye …

Vivian said:reply
On: 20th Jan, 2013 at 13:47

What an educational experience this has been. It only makes me want to continue on the journey of understanding the brotherhood of the Hutterite and it’s rich history.

Denise Jorgenson said:reply
On: 24th Jan, 2013 at 20:38

Such a wonderful, informative article! Our company works with many in the Hutterite community and we appreciate the opportunity to work with them. I really enjoyed the article and the information it provided. It will help to better understand the culture and principles they abide by. Thank you.

María said:reply
On: 25th Jan, 2013 at 13:02

Soy madre de un niño de 15 y una niña de 7 y me gustaría educar a mis hijos así como ustedes. Vivir en unión y que no tengan que vivir en este mundo de corrupción. Muchas gracias y saludos.

    Paul said:reply
    On: 26th Jan, 2013 at 23:53

    The above message translated from Spanish to English – I am a mother of a 15 and a 7 and would like to raise my children with you. Living together and not have to live in this world of corruption. Thank you very much and greetings.

Robert Illman said:reply
On: 2nd Mar, 2013 at 20:54

I am fourty six and in ontario

I am alone and raised four children alone for 17 years
I am tired I am afraid I dont drink I dont do drugs
and i have no criminal record
I DONT FIT IN WITH THE WORLD
i want to have friends and i want to work
I dont care about MONEY its stupid
PLEASE someone HELP ME PLEASE

Robert robertillman13@gmail.com

Patricia Kerigan said:reply
On: 4th Mar, 2013 at 18:34

I was very saddened when I viewed the television show about the Hutterite colony. I knew that not only was it not an accurate portrayal of that particular community, it surely could not have been an accurate glimpse into Hutterite faith. I have been a missionary in Colombia,S.A. for over seventeen years. It has been my personal experience that what is contained in the media is more often than not a complete distortion made to tickle public interest. The television show only served to pique my interest in the true roots and beliefs of the Hutterite faith. I must say that after reading the information on this site, I find it to be absolutely beautiful in it’s richness of community life( just as Our Savior lived it with His apostles!). I am not a member of your faith, however I will be praying for God to continue to bless the Hutterites with an abundance of His Spirit to prosper and keep all of you.

Kirsten said:reply
On: 5th Mar, 2013 at 21:51

I was just wundering if anyone can become a hutterit or if you have to be born hutterit ? I like your way of living so much

Phil Spinks said:reply
On: 12th Mar, 2013 at 16:05

After watching the documentary I understood that the Hutterites believe in a “Christ apart from culture” model of evangelism; however, such separation is not the biblical norm.

I believe that believers need to be “in the world.” Being in the world implies more than just simply inhabiting it. We need to actually be involved in our societies.

Jesus told His disciples to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). They were not to set themselves up apart from the world and expect others to come to them to hear truth. They were told to “go.” Similarly, in John 17:15 Jesus prayed regarding His disciples, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” His disciples needed to stay in the world, not be removed to heaven. Acts 1:8 and Isaiah 43:10 tell us that we are to be witnesses to the world. Matthew 5:16 tells us that our light is to shine before others to point them to God. Allowing our light to shine requires us to be around people.

To be “not of the world” requires us to be free of worldly influence. This does not mean that we do not participate in government or typical social processes. It means that we do not act as the unsaved world does. We are not slaves to our sinful natures but act in accordance with righteousness (Romans 6:6, 11). We are told to put to death things that are of our sinful natures and to flee from immorality (Colossians 3:5-10; 1 Corinthians 6:18; Galatians 5:16-24; Ephesians 5:3-11).

We “train [ourselves] for godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7); we are “imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1); we have nothing to do with “unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). We submit to authorities and prepare ourselves for good works (Titus 3:1). In essence, we act according to the new nature we have been given rather than the sinful nature of the world (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21; Titus 3:3-8). “We are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20), spreading His fragrance (2 Corinthians 2:15-16) through the world.

First Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” We live in a world of darkness, but we are not part of that darkness. We are not of the world because we are in Christ; we have the light. And while we are still in the world, we are called to be set apart, to shine the light that others might know Him and be saved (Matthew 5:13-16).

Thank you

Kind regards,
Phil

Terrie said:reply
On: 18th Mar, 2013 at 20:41

My first knowledge of your culture and beliefs came from watching the show. I am sorry that they distorted the truths of your beliefs and life but if they had not made the show I would never had known of your existence. I am a strong believer and have walked this journey with my Lord for a long time. I commend you on your beliefs and your convictions!! I have often dreamed of such a place. If I came into a large amount of money, buying a ranch and coming along side of like minded believers become self sustaining. Letting go of the possessions that our society worships but actually enslaves us.

I do think most of us out here in the world striving to touch this sin sick world with the love of Christ, are on the front lines fighting a battle that is being fought in the spiritual world while we fight in the physical. Both of our callings are lots of hard work and constant battles. Those if us out here know and understand how the media distorts reality every day so please do not fret too much…those of us who are brothers and sisters in The Lord but are out here, see through their deceit and rally with all of you. Follow your convictions! Do not rip each other apart or the enemy wins ! He wants to cause this riff! He is the master of lies, deceit and death. Do not let him win by hurting each other. Stay strong!! My prayers are with you….

Gerald Prior said:reply
On: 16th Jun, 2016 at 04:05

Any plans for the development of Nekoma Farms? I visited the complex, but did not go inside due to my respect of your property. I did talk to Sam, but lost phone contact with him.
Thank you

JERRY E POWELL said:reply
On: 12th Dec, 2017 at 21:48

I met and had a conversation with a George Hofer at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport a few days ago; he was from a colony near Regina, Saskatchewan and I would love to be in contact with him; I believe he is the minister in the colony.