Abstract

This essay explores the nature and extent of the debt that the worldwide Camphill Movement owes to the Moravian Church by focusing on the lives of its two principal architects, Karl and Mathilde (Tilla) Koenig. Particular attention is drawn to the time that Karl Koenig spent in Gnadenfrei, a Moravian settlement in Silesia, which was the birthplace of his wife. Karl Koenig later acknowledged that his stay in Gnadenfrei constituted a pivotal moment in his destiny. When he was forced to flee Nazi-controlled Austria after the Anschluss because of his Jewish family background, he went to Scotland, where he was committed to the idea of building a Christian community based on a model similar to that created by Count Zinzendorf. The day-to-day running of this first Camphill community rested largely with Tilla Koenig. Contemporary commentators agree that she wove a strong, discernible, and enduring element of Moravian practice into the fabric of Camphill life and work. Perhaps the greatest debt owed by the Camphill Movement to the Moravian Church is an appreciation of the real meaning of community living, the importance of religious experience in community life, and the spiritual value which is inherent in each community member.

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