The Fraternal Christian Community
This is a concept by which we can create intentional communities which have space for Christians of a like-conviction in terms of a shared lifestyle and governance discipline, space for Christians in general, space to help Christians in crisis (refugees), and even space for broader communities of people and the general public.
The concept is partly inspired by the way monasteries proved to be so useful in protecting people during a time of barbaric invasions while preserving Christian culture and a Christian witness. But unlike these monkish communities, a fraternal Christian community is meant to be more inclusive, to focus on the whole family, and to be both a safe-haven for Christians in crisis and a missionary hub to its surrounding community.
Members of a fraternal Christian community would include both residents, who standing and status depend on the charter under which they are governed by freewill covenant association, and non-residential members who utilize resources and facilities there in the same way fraternal society members utilize a lodge.
The legal framework for a fraternal community may vary from country to country, and in some places it may have to be more distributed and stealth due to persecution and a lack of freedom. In the US, a fraternal community would require multiple entities, all of which are wholly or partially owned by a fraternal Christian society.
These entities include a fraternal society, a land trust, a missionary and refugee ministry, one or more mutual benefit corporations, and a real estate investment trust.
The fraternal society would be a Christian society with membership based on a shared way of life defined through some sort of mutual covenant which defined its standards and practices as well as its aim.
In our case, it would be based on the upadarian lifestyle and governance discipline, on the formal and intentional adoption of the Upadarian nationality, and on the shared mission to live missionally as witnesses and influence and to help Christian refugees. The Society would own the land trust and it would have common space set aside for both residential and non-residential members,
The Society would also own the offices for the Society and housing set aside for officials and staff, which it may also position within the mutual benefit corporation housing as a member of that entity.
The missionary and refugee ministry would be owned by the Society and would have own facilities to house ministry resources and activity centers, housing for refugees, offices, and housing for staff.
The land trust would own all the land and would be owned by the fraternal society. It would set aside land for conservation, it would dictate that buildings and facilities seek to be at least 50% self-sustaining or more, and it would dictate that such land be parceled in such a way as to preserve space for fraternal housing for Society members, housing for staff and volunteers, housing for Christian refugees, common areas usable by all residents, areas for other hosted fraternal communities, and public space with property leased to the general public.
The mutual benefit corporation or corporations would own the buildings on the land, leasing the land from the Society, and would open membership to buy shares only to members of a fraternal society,
While other hosted fraternal communities would have their own lodge type facilities for non-residential members and residential members to use, the mutual benefit corporation for the main community would not be responsible for the society’s common facilities.
The real estate investment trust would be owned in part by the Society and in part by investors and would lease land from the land trust but own the buildings it develops for leasing residential and commercial property to the general public under current commercial real estate and fair housing laws.
While these areas, distributed throughout the whole community, would be open to the general public and while some areas, such as the mutual benefit housing areas, would be open on a more restricted basis, many of the market spaces and common spaces, like parks, would encourage all residents to mingle and interact and not be isolated from each other.
A fraternal Christian community has fraternity with fellow members of a Christian “ethne” (nation as a people, or a sociocultural group or Society), with fellow Christians of other groups or who have no affiliation with such groups of people, with fellow freedom builders regardless of their religion, and with the public at large.
A fraternal community such as I envision is a model for how we believe society in general should be organized, though our aim is to create what we envision, not to try to reform or change the existing society through the use of laws and the such.