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A Statement of Ethos of Camphill

The foundation of life and work in Camphill communities is the conviction that every person is more than their physical and psychological make-up; their essential spiritual being is unimpaired and whole. In this respect all of us are equal, no matter what our limitations or gifts appear to be. Therefore, the principles on which Camphill is based apply equally to all those who wish to be part of it in any way.

Our belief, borne out by experience, is that people are most helped to achieve their potential when they are able to make a positive contribution in a varied and developing social setting. The attempt to work together as a community is our primary healing resource, the foundation for all educational, social and therapeutic endeavours.

Camphill communities strive to establish an atmosphere of confidence, enthusiasm and trust amongst people, and a sense of fulfilment in living and working together. Our relationships with each other create the social environment in which we live, work and develop. Relationships are honest, positive and encouraging only when we are willing to tackle the conflicts, confusions and indifference that are a part of everyday life. Each person has the task of recognising others in their wholeness, with all their gifts, qualities and shortcomings, and to maintain confidence in their inherent human integrity. This involves acknowledging that one’s own feelings and thoughts about others are vital factors in their experience of themselves, and that individuals can only truly affect change through a willingness to change themselves.

Our attempts to relate to the best in the other person, even when we do not have a positive experience of them.

When each person turns their interest, warmth and goodwill towards others, the life of the community is sustained; a heart is formed within the community out of which individuals can find enthusiasm, motivation and energy for their life.

It is the intention within Camphill communities to enable people to work out of their love for a task, irrespective of financial arrangements. Work is seen as an activity in which people engage out of a natural desire to give to other human beings and to the earth. Money is seen as one means to make this possible. It is used to provide for the changing and individual needs of people and situations, rather than as a means of reward or differentiation. Security is derived from human relationships, of which the flexible use of money is one expression.

Each individual can help to create an environment which reflects an attitude of care and devotion to people and things. This includes:

The land, the houses, the surroundings, buildings and machinery and everything which the community administers.

Responsibility for money and finance.

The work undertaken by the community. For example, in a school: the forms and running of school life; and the relationships between teacher/pupil, teacher/parents, teacher/colleagues.

Formal and informal relationships with other agencies and individuals.

The ideals cultivated in Camphill are based on anthroposophy — a path of study and understanding of the human being and the world which recognises their spiritual basis. These ideals can enable a community to develop its sense of identity, its inner aims and vision for the future. This ongoing process of reflection lays the spiritual foundation for the community.

Individuals are encouraged to take up a path of personal development, which will strengthen their independence of thought and judgement. Developing their inner creativity benefits those around them as well as themselves, while taking responsibility for their own life and destiny enriches their commitment to other people.

The celebration of the festivals of the Christian year and the ordered pattern of daily, weekly and seasonal events, provide a structure within which our daily life takes place. This ordering of events expresses our underlying belief that life is meaningful and that each human being has a place in the spiritual, social and natural order of the world.