I had been reluctant to contact Reba Place Fellowship about visiting them because I was convinced that they would probably be too overwhelmed by inquiries to get back to me in a timely manner, if ever. I thought I needed a really impressive blog and email to get some attention. But when I was trying to decide whether or not to take a tour of Christian intentional communities, I just decided to send a quick email to David who is the contact person for people wanting to visit. He wrote me back almost immediately with a welcoming response which lead to me communicating with the director of Reba Place Fellowship, Sally Schreiner Youngquist, who asked me a number of insightful questions, including:
“Are you part of a group in your home community that is looking at starting something together?”
First I want to explain our situation. Living Springs is what I would call an intentional neighborhood. Bob and Joan Rutz bought about 600 acres of land in the late 1990’s near Kingston, Arkansas. They believed that God was calling them to start a community. The land was divided into many different lots most of which were 5 acres. A handful of families came during the Y2K threat and purchased land. Other families came in the years following. It is really just a neighborhood. Some people cooperate more than others. Everyone is completely autonomous. Many attend the weekly Sunday gathering. Many do not.
We have yet to meet anyone who has bought land at Living Springs who are interested in creating an community where people other than family or extended family live together and share income. However, I do have one friend who is intrigued by my ideas about intentional community and is glad that I am actually visiting ones that have been successful. She shares my idealism, but is afraid that the ideas can’t be lived up to.
My family which is comprised of two former husbands and our two children, are not in complete unity about how we want to use our 27 acres of land. Because of our past failures of living in or starting community, my children are a bit discouraged about the possibilities. But they are open.
I am in good relationship with both of my former husbands, who co-own the land with me, and I believe that we could successfully divide the land so that if folks who were interested in living community wanted to start a pioneering effort, this could be done.
In 2002 a community building was funded by one of the members of the house church. Since it was equipped with showers, laundry and other facilities, this made it easier for people to live very simply on their land–including our family.
We started attending the house church in 2001, and bought land in 2002, and moved on the land in 2004. We feel very grateful for the safe environment this has provided for our children especially.