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  • Rick Bonetti

Intentional Community

Updated: Apr 22

An "Intentional community" may be defined as "a group of people who have chosen to live together or share resources based on common values," or "a group of people dedicated with intent, purpose, and commitment to a mutual concern." They are often "models of a more cooperative, sustainable, and just way of life," but conflicts still do arise. Read more about terms and definitions for intentional community in this article by the Foundation for Intentional Community (FIC).

Perhaps your initial thought about intentional communities in Oregon runs to 1960s hippie communes or cults such as Rajneeshpuram, the religious community located in Wasco County, Oregon during the 1980's. Several Oregon communities have reputations as being former hippie havens including Ashland, Fairview, Milwaukie, Happy Valley (Pendarvis Farm). Sunny Valley, Little Applegate (Full Bloom), and Deadwood (Alpha Farms).

However, the notion of "intentional community" in recent years has gained greater respectability encompassing: communes, ecovillages, cohousing, coliving, or student coops. The Foundation for Intentional Community (FIC) curates a directory of over 1,000 such communities worldwide, including over 50 in the state of Oregon!

Another form of community, not included in their list is a Life Plan Community, such as Rogue Valley Manor (RVM). Started In 1955 by an ecumenical community group of Methodists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians, the non-profit RVM is now home to nearly 1,000 seniors in Medford, OR. Although hardly part of the "eco-village" movement, RVM is commemorating "sustainability" this Earth Day April 22, 2024. Perhaps some residents might be interested in FIC's learning opportunities about how to intentionally live together harmoniously as a community:

April 23, 2024, from 12:30- 2 p.m. PDT - FIC is presenting a webinar: Managing the Moment When Conflict. When conflict arises in a community, it’s often unclear how to best tackle it or where it even began. In this one-hour webinar, Laird will examine what’s happening at the moment when people become aware that someone – either themselves or others – goes into nontrivial reactivity. Learn more and register here.

April 25, 2024, at 10 a.m. PDT -  FIC is presenting a webinar: 6 Surprising Truths About Building Effective Relationships. Join intentional community consultant and relationship coach Karen Gimnig "to get a taste of best practices for communication and connection whether you’re on the journey to starting a community or are currently residing in one." Karen will cover this topic and more in greater depth in FIC's upcoming 6-week course, Communication & Relationship Building in Community Learn more and register here.

May 9, 2024 - FIC is starting a 6-week online course: Communication and Relationship Building in Community. "Learn how to speak your mind, discern your thoughts, and be a better listener." Learn more and register here.

In a broader sense, a household is one form of an"intentional community" of individuals focused on its common good.

Neighborhoods are generally less intentional, (often the only common identifying feature is the socio-economic similarity of residents) unless there are conscious, intentional efforts to strengthen bonds.

Tribal groups (institutions such as churches, clubs, and political parties) are chosen by their members because of some shared values, and their members enjoy solidarity within their tribe, but they can be isolating too unless there are intentional efforts to be inclusive and extend themselves beyond their defining boundaries.

Currently, some political forces are shifting back toward tribalism and isolationism. But, at the same time, many people have an emerging awareness of our shared global concerns such as species survival, limiting the common threat of global warming, correcting imbalances and gross inequality, regulating technology, etc.

Being intentional about our communities matters! How big are your intentional communities?


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