Frequently Asked Questions

‘Why do Camphill communities stress the importance of a Christian ethos? Do they allow their members freedom of choice in religious matters?’

The first Camphill communities were founded out of a wish to practice a Christian ethos in a very hands-on way – by serving those in need. Eighty years later, those of us living in 21st century Camphill still feel that ethos is at the core of what we try to do. This is sometimes misunderstood. It is not the case that to be part a Camphill community one has to sign up to a set of beliefs. In the Esk Valley Camphill community we have members who have religious beliefs and affiliations and those who have none. All are equal members of the community. We have members who attend Anglican, Methodist, Roman Catholic and Christian community services and celebrations. These include both the carers and customers working within the Avalon Shared Lives scheme, and everyone has both the freedom and opportunity to practice their own faith. At the same time, the community does celebrate the Christian Festival year and creates its own social and cultural events based on it. No-one is compelled to attend these events though everyone is encouraged to participate and contribute. The situation can be likened to that of families whose children attend a Church of England or other denominational school: there is no pre-requisite that they have a personal affiliation with that denomination, but there will be an expectation that they respect that particular ethos as integral to the school. Hopefully, it will also have been a reason for choosing it.