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The Early Christian Church lived communally. The New Testament, particularly the Acts of the Apostles, tells us what the Early Church was like. "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." -- Acts 2:42-47.

Throughout the history of the Church, there have been factions who have chosen to live in community, as did the Early Church. During the Middle Ages, Europeans organized monastic groups like the Franciscans, which continue today. In the early 19th century, American Christians formed utopian groups like the Oneida and Amana communities.

Formed in Europe during the 16th century, the Hutterites were nearly extinct when they came to North America in the late 19th century, and still exist in the United States and Canada. The Bruderhof Communities broke away from the Hutterites in the 1990s and currently are legally named Church Communities International, although they are still commonly known as the Bruderhof, which has communities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and Paraguay.

Along with a wave of secular communes in the 1960s, several Christian communities were organized and, while many of them did not survive, some remain. The concept of the intentional community is again catching on among groups of Christians. Generally speaking, people who are living in community live with or near one another, and own everything in common, although some allow for limited personal property.

 

 

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