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«Acknowledgments The honors thesis process has not been an easy road for me. (Is it ever easy for anyone?) So many people have partnered with me to ...»

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Malone University as an Intentional Community: An 1892 Friends Bible Institute


Katy Knight

Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for Graduation from the

Malone University Honors Program

Advisor: Lauren Seifert, Ph.D.

April 23, 2015

Knight 2


The honors thesis process has not been an easy road for me. (Is it ever easy

for anyone?) So many people have partnered with me to make what is contained in

the following pages possible, and I would be amiss not to sincerely thank those directly involved with the project, as well as those who have provided moral support along the way.

First of all, I would like to thank Diane Chambers for making the thesis process a reality for honors students. You are a fantastic director, and you are always willing to provide honors students with what we need to be the best we can be. Thank you, as well, for working with me and advising Lauren Seifert and me. Dr.

Seifert, thank you for being a wonderful advisor. I don’t think I could have asked for a better one, and God has used you to give me encouragement, wisdom, and strength during the times I needed it most—not only for my thesis but for when “life happened” along the way. Thank you for sharing your resources, your life, and your guidance with me during the past year. Your kindness has had a deep impact on my life.

I would like to thank my committee—Jacci Welling, Jay Case, and Malcolm Gold—for their fantastic advice and diverse points of view. You are all so knowledgeable, and your diligence in your individual areas of study is a blessing to me, as well as to your other students. I am humbled by the way you pursue history and the study of people from a point of view that reflects Christ to all who learn from you. Thank you for your collaboration.

Knight 3 Thank you, Lauren Seifert and Matt Phelps, as well as Pastor Randy Heckert, for teaching and fellowshipping with the group of participants during spring break.

The topics you spoke on encouraged the group in a profound way, and the project’s quality was enhanced greatly by your participation. Thank you for sharing life with and leading us as J. Walter and Emma would have. I would furthermore like to thank the eight core participants in this research study—I could not have asked for a better group of people to live in an intentional community with for four and a half days. I have learned so much from and alongside each of you, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to have gotten to know you all a bit more through this experience.

I would like to thankMelody Scott, Kelly Meyers, Ryan Palmer, and Campus Security for working with me on housing details for spring break. Thank you for your willingness to partner with me. Without you, this project would not have been possible. Thank you, Mary-Ann Frischkorn, for help finding our elusive journal articles. My housemates—Lauren, Rachel, Kaylee, Naomi, and Ashley—thank you for accommodating my scatterbrained self this year. You have been nothing but kind to me, and I am blessed by each of you.

Marcia Everett and Stephen Nzishura, you both have taught me so much during my time at Malone, particularly regarding faith and how to facilitate community. I can attribute much of my leadership skills to having been discipled by you both, and I am so grateful for your influence in my life.

It is also fitting that I thank Malone University as an institution, since an

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Walter and Emma Malone for following God’s call to start this school if they were alive today. This school has been an immense blessing in my life. It has been a place where I have been tested, have grown as a person and in my relationship with God, and have found a group of genuine people who care about me and about pursuing God’s heart. Though I did not always find my time here to be pleasant, looking back, I see how each trial has formed me as a person, and I would like to thank every student, faculty member, and staff member who has touched my life during the past four years here. I have been changed for the better by attending Malone.

Regarding moral support, several individuals have helped me keep my sanity throughout the thesis process. Nate, Deborah, Katie, Mahogany, and Dan—all of you have a way of encouraging me that lifts my spirit and helps me keep going. Thank you for believing in me and loving me well. Betsy Coy, thank you for being a listening ear and asking all the right questions. I would also like to thank my family for their comfort, love, and understanding. Dad, Mom, Allison, Mema and Papa—you all have been there for me just by being yourselves and doing life with me. Thank you for pardoning my absence and listening to my rants when I was present during the last eight months. I could not have asked for a better family. You love me with constancy during the good times and bad, and I am eternally grateful for your support.

Last but not least, I need to give God the credit for this project. I know this is probably a cliché thing to do, but he deserves to have his name in this section. Not only for this project but also for every area of life, he has given me what I need just

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moments, because he has always been enough to handle everything. He works through people to encourage me; however, he works because the Holy Spirit lives in me. Thank you, Lord, for the indwelling Spirit and for encouraging my heart at all times. Even though it goes without saying, I will say it anyway—completing this thesis would not have been possible without him. It was his strength that carried me through. If Christ can conquer sin and death to save us, what is a mere thesis to him?

(I write this as a reminder to myself.) To him be the glory.

In undertaking the thesis process, I have been stretched in ways I did not think I was capable of being stretched. I have struggled and stumbled and grown, and I don’t regret any part of it—even the times I wanted to give up. However, it has taken the encouragement, affirmation, and support of the above individuals to carry

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Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………………………...7 Methods…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….15 Results……………………………………………………………………………………………………………....19 Conclusions………………………………………………………………………………………………………..34 Summary…………………………………………………………………………………………………………...42 Appendices…………………………………………………………………………………………….................43 Notes…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………52

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Introduction What is an Intentional Community? With the emergence of new technologies, social media, and communication preferences, our sense of “togetherness” is evolving. Are individuals in society becoming more fundamentally disconnected from one another? Or are our means of communicating and staying connected with one another just changing? Perhaps both questions can be answered in the affirmative.

In some circumstances throughout history, groups of individuals have felt the need to step back from the routine of wider society—which often included refraining from the use of evolving technologies or popularized cultural trends—for one reason or another in order to form close-knit gatherings which I will refer to as “intentional communities,” or ICs. Better communication and an increased sense of togetherness can usually be fostered in such gatherings, as I have found in my research. I am interested in the reasons behind IC formation and the impacts ICs have on both individual members and the wider society. Before I explore these items in my research, I must discuss the full definition of an intentional community.

An IC is a group of people who agree upon core values around which to orient their lifestyles in close interaction with one another. This broad definition describes most of the intentional communities I have researched thus far, but I recognize that “every community is shaped by its particular members” (Kunze 44).

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community is, depending upon the beliefs and characteristics of individual members. Although ICs around the world are so varied, for the purposes of my

study, I have identified the following constituent components of an IC:

1. Members voluntarily live in very close proximity—not necessarily in the same building (although that is a possibility), but at least in a cluster of buildings near each other, within reasonable walking distance.

2. Members voluntarily share resources—some examples of “resources” are food, material items, and parenting—with all other members who need them.

3. Members agree upon core values and practices that propel them towards a

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4. Members often agree to limit participation in the wider society if societal involvement hinders the larger goal being pursued.

5. An IC can last for any duration of time greater than a 24-hour period.

A characteristic of most intentional communities is “a feeling of belonging and mutual support that is increasingly hard to find in mainstream Western society” (qtd. in Kunze 46). Some communities may choose to isolate themselves completely, while others seek a balance between isolation and integration into the wider society (meaning, the people living in the immediate area who conform to social and cultural “norms”). Lockyer has found in his research that the ICs “[insisting] on strict adherence to the original commune structures” see their ideals and togetherness slowly fade (3). If what Lockyer says is true, then the ICs desiring to survive more than one generation must be able to adapt their core values to changes that happen

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Examples of Intentional Communities From the Past and Present. Throughout history, many types of ICs have sprung up in different regions of the world. Some intentional communities have lasted and adapted to the present age, while some have broken up and members have moved on to other interests. According to the constituent components of an IC mentioned above, some current examples of intentional communities are as follows: the Amish community, the American military, monasteries, boarding schools, and colleges (for the students who live on campus).

Some examples of groups of people that I do not consider to be ICs (or groups that are in question) are as follows: a nuclear family unit, churches, nursing homes for the elderly, extracurricular clubs or organizations, the workplace (unless one happens to work within an IC), and the common “neighborhood” (such as a suburb or block in a city).

A nuclear family unit may be an intentional community if the culture of communication is open and frequent, and if members engage in pursuing a certain set of ideals—such as some form of religion. Some nuclear families do not have these qualifications, however. A church may be an intentional community if members live in very close proximity to one another, but most churches in Western society gather members from surrounding cities—not just surrounding houses. I do not consider nursing homes to be intentional communities because members usually live there out of necessity—not voluntarily. Extracurricular clubs, organizations, and workplaces are not ICs, because members usually travel a

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on living within the wider society rather than separating out of it. I do not consider a common neighborhood to be an IC, because members are usually in proximity simply to live there—not to pursue a larger goal together. Communities that collectively choose to pursue a common goal could be considered an IC if all other criteria are met, however.

The above lists are only a few examples of intentional communities. For this project, I chose to examine literature on three specific ICs for further study: the L’arche community; the Plymouth, Massachusetts, colony; and the Zoarite community in Ohio. I will later discuss my study of Malone University as an IC and how the aforementioned three ICs are similar to Malone.

The L’arche community was founded by Jean Vanier in France in 1964 and designed to be a place where life is shared between people with and without intellectual disabilities, operating on the premise that intellectually disabled citizens have unique skills and friendship to offer the community (Doat 126). L’arche is designed to empower these citizens who are on the margin of society (L’arche USA).

Many of the L’arche communities own a house or cluster of houses where members live with and serve each other. They share house duties, meals, prayer, and encouragement with one another (Case).

The founding of the colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620 was a direct result of the Separatist movement in England (Rankin 972). Separatists believed in the separation of church and state and did not agree with the Church of England’s manipulative hierarchical structure (Smith 295). Thus, they decided to escape

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American wilderness, the colonists were led to establish a distinct way of living together. Rules and regulations were a necessity, which led to the formation of the Mayflower Compact (Whittemore 5). This document contained a set structure of living for their communal village in Plymouth.

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