Two weeks ago we asked for your questions for Linda Maendel, member of a Manitoba Hutterite community and author of the upcoming Hutterite Diaries.

Hutterite Women SmallLinda has answered many of them and we’re sharing the first of those today. Wendy asked:

Hutterites live “communally”. Explain how this differs from Amish. Do they share all meals together? Do males and females live separately or do they live with their families?

Do Hutterites live off the grid like the Old Order Amish (i.e. no electricity, computers, phones, etc.)?

Linda’s response is below.

Home & Family

Each family has their own modern home, not too different from that of mainstream society. Most meals are taken at the communal kitchen, however there are times when we eat at home with our families. All snacks, provided by the colony are eaten at home as well.

For the most part, whatever is in a family’s home is considered private property. But it’s very common for people to share of that with others when the need arises.

Technology

Our problems are similar to those of non-Hutterites; these days it seems technology is heavy on many minds. It’s here to stay, however we have to be mindful of how much time is spent with things like video games, movies, cell phones…especially where children are concerned. We try to instill from a young age not to abuse these things.

Hutterites are known to be very sociable people, enjoying interactions with other people, Hutterites and non-Hutterites alike. So it’s very disturbing when we see children and your people spending too much time staring at a screen for long periods of time, which tends to block others out, which is never a good thing.

Children & School

Our children have the best play area one could wish for; huge playgrounds, wooded areas to explore nature and run around in, and all their friends are always nearby. Children love to be around animals, and there’s ample opportunity for that, since each colony is a big farm with chickens, cows, turkeys, duck, geese or horses. Many times children work alongside their dad or another adult and learn about taking care of the animals.

Each colony has its own school. And they’re within walking distance for each child. In many colonies we also have our own Hutterite people who are the teachers. In most colonies, though there are non-Hutterite people, hired by the school divisions, who come to the colony to teach.

Meals

Meals are prepared for everybody three times daily. For example, I work in our school and do not have to worry about what to cook or prepare a lunch to take along with me. I simply go to the communal kitchen at the set time and enjoy delicious homemade meals and pastries!

Admittedly, as this is such a normal part of our everyday life, we tend to take it for granted. Until, we stop and think about it, for example as I’m writing this post. That so much is done for us daily, truly is a blessing.

Church

One of the things that is key to our life of faith is worshiping together with our fellow brothers and sisters. We have evening church services a few times during the week and a morning and evening service on Sundays. Children and young people attend Sunday school.

The joys of this way of life are endless. Our people are taken care of by their family from the cradle to the grave; no one has to worry who will take care of them when they get sick or old. Someone is always there to help, most often it is immediate family.

I’m happy to say, many of the questions that came up on the post where I introduced Hutterite Diaries will be answered in that book. It’s exciting to see how many are interested in our way of life.