What is Camphill?
As an introduction we can recommend two brief texts by the Camphill Association of North America on
Camphill Village Trust (CVT)
The following is the text from the legal document, the Memorandum and Articles, underlying the Camphill Village Trust (CVT). It describes how community life should be enabled and supported by the board of trustees. It is a key aspect of the current crisis affecting CVT communities like Botton, Delrow, the Grange and Oaklands Park, that the restructuring of these communities signifies a substantial departure from these legally binding principles, as recently confirmed and explained by a leading UK charity lawyer.
Objects: “in accordance with the principles of Dr Rudolf Steiner (as summarised in the appendix) … particularly (without limitation) by the establishment and maintenance of communities … or other types of social and/or educational community, in which beneficiaries live and/or work and/or to which they otherwise resort, in community with persons providing support.”
Powers: “recruit and appoint community members to act as Co-workers for the benefit of beneficiaries and provide such Co-workers and their dependants with accommodation, food and support to meet their other personal and family needs, as the Trustees shall from time to time determine, in accordance with the principles of Dr Rudolf Steiner (as summarised in the Appendix to this Memorandum)”
Summary of the principles of Dr. Rudolf Steiner relating to the establishment and operation of Camphill charities.
Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), an Austrian philosopher, scientist and social reformer ... offered insights that have inspired new approaches to medicine, education, the arts, architecture, agriculture, social reform and economics. The name given to this new branch of science is ‘anthroposophy’, a Greek word meaning ‘wisdom of Man’.
Anthroposophical principles as to curative treatment, education, medicine, architecture, agriculture, horticulture, art, science and religion form the basis of the life and activities of communities, provided that every member of such communities shall be at liberty to follow the religion of his/her choice. Rigidity in the matter of control should be avoided and the closest liaison should be maintained between all those responsible for the administration of the Charity and its community or communities in their everyday life. Specific practices following the developed social and philosophical ideas and theories of Rudolf Steiner should be integrated into the work of the Charity as far as appropriate, including:
1. Community Life.
Camphill establishes and maintains intentional communities. Their sustainability rests on an ethical foundation that recognises the uniqueness of the individual and seeks to respect, value and enhance the strengths and potential of each one. Social life in Camphill communities is based upon a threefold arrangement reflecting the recognition of the human being as comprising body, soul and spirit. This arrangement is expressed in the exercise of freedom in the spiritual/cultural domain; the safeguarding of equality in the realm of rights and responsibilities; and the practice of brotherliness in the economic realm. By application of these principles community members are bound together by will and personal commitment, not by legal constructs, meaning, for beneficiaries, any form of compulsion and for Co-workers the rights and obligations of contract.
2. Steiner Waldorf Education.
Based on the work and teachings of Rudolf Steiner, this is founded on an understanding of the human being related to specific concepts of body, soul and spirit and their development through childhood. It integrates educational content and method in ways that are supportive of this. The curriculum aims to meet the developmental needs of the growing child and adolescent, nurturing faculties rather than merely delivering prescribed information.
3. Anthroposophical Medicine.
This an extension of natural scientific medicine which constitutes an international school of thought and practice based on the work and teachings of Rudolf Steiner and as further elaborated by the Medical Section of the School for Spiritual Science based at the Goetheanum, Switzerland and by its members working throughout the world. Anthroposophical medicine includes the prescribing of anthroposophically developed medicines, therapies, social therapies, and pastoral medicine.
4. Biodynamic Agriculture and Horticulture.
This unique form of organic husbandry is inspired by the research of Rudolf Steiner and is founded on a holistic and spiritual understanding of nature and the human being. It embraces respect for the environment, production of healthy food, and an understanding of the valuable connections between the individual, the community and the spiritual forces at work in nature.
The original subscribers to this Memorandum on the 5th day of October 1954 were:
- Karl König, Camphill, Milltimber, Aberdeenshire. Superintendent.
- Ernest Newcombe Hogg, 38 Overdale Avenue, New Malden, Surrey. Assurance Official
- Aubrey Edwin Guest, 567 Selvage Lane, Mill Hill, N.W.7. Glass China Merchant
- Richard Hember Lascelles, 36 Purley Bury Avenue, Purley, Surrey. Solicitor
- Ursula Gleed, 122 Harley Street, W.1. Secretary
- Charles Henry Ockendon, 281, St. Johns Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Company Director
- Thomas J. Weihs, Newton Dee House, Bieldside, Aberdeenshire. Deputy Superintendent.
Association of Camphill Communities (AoCC)
(a) To form an Association of Camphill communities which are active in the fields of curative education and social therapy. Such activities might include training, living and working with people who have a learning disability, mental health problems or other needs, including agricultural and horticultural work or any other work based on the principles of Rudolf Steiner.
(b) To promote community living as a shared way of life, in which the social and therapeutic impulses of the founding group led by Dr Karl Koenig are of special importance.
Principles of membership (extract)
(a) To develop social forms based upon the threefold social principles outlined by Rudolf Steiner. To endeavor to order their internal financial dealings according to the “Fundamental Social Law” as formulated by Rudolf Steiner.
(b) To uphold the image of the human being as described in Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy.
(c) To be based on a Christian way of life and to celebrate Christian festivals.