The Hutterian Brethren, or Hutterites, are a faith group stemming from the Radical Reformation of the 16th century. Hutterites, Mennonites, and the Amish share common roots. All of these groups are Anabaptist and trace their beginnings to the same era and to the same movement. Unlike the Amish and the Mennonites, however, Hutterites live communally, following the teachings in Acts chapter 2.
Hutterites live in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, Canada and in the United States in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Hutterites are mostly farmers, but many are also in manufacturing industries like ventilation systems, farming equipment, furniture, windows and doors. Many colonies, including my own, have their own school teachers. I work as an educational assistant and teach German and English to students in K-8. Our students are encouraged to stay in school until they graduate from grade 12. Some Hutterites have gone on to acquire college degrees in education and nursing; others may obtain their journeyman degree in carpentry, electrical or mechanics.
A Hutterite colony is like a giant farm, where everybody who lives there also works, worships, and share meals together. The children attend school right on the colony. There’s a communal kitchen where meals are prepared for everybody, by some of the women. There are barns, shops and huge gardens and fields where a variety of crops are raised. After school, young children can be found playing with friends on the lush lawns or working alongside their parents or other adults. Adult leisure activities include sports, crafts, reading, travel, biking and visiting with family and friends.
In my spare time I love to write and since April I’ve been working on a book: Hutterite Diaries: Wisdom from My Prairie Community, which is now available in bookstores and online. This book is a collection of stories I’ve written over a number of years and are on a variety of topics pertaining to Hutterite life: work, celebrations, history, leisure activities and outreach – all woven together by faith, family and communal values. From stories of working together, to bringing in the fall potato harvest, to laugh-out-loud tales of sisterly love laced with revenge, I want to invite readers into Bruderhof, my colony, which is nestled on the prairie of western Canada.
There are very few books available written by Hutterites. For whatever reason, as a people, we just don’t see the value in writing down our own stories. I’m sincerely hoping my book will change that and inspire other Hutterites to share their stories with the world.
Linda Maendel feels blessed to have lived in a Hutterite Colony her entire life. The Hutterites live communally, as outlined in Acts chapter 2: “And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common…”
In addition to Hutterite Diaries she has also written a German children’s book, Lindas gluecklicher Tag and has translated a set of five Bible story books into the Hutterisch language, with the help of a Wycliffe Bible Translator/Linguist, Dick Mueller.