Agape Community

Ware, Massachusetts, United States

  • Last updated: January 3, 2019 (3 seconds ago)
  • Listing created on: December 31, 1999

Mission Statement

Sustainability and Nonviolence with daily practice of prayer, contemplation and interfaith sharing. We stress community living with an accent on the arts and music, as well as travel to and involvement in other communities nationally and locally. We are supportive of Indigenous people and have had three yearly events focusing on listening: to Muslim Voices; to Native American Voices; to Voices of those suffering from Systemic Racism.

Community Description

Founded in 1982, Agape is a lay Catholic nonviolent community dedicated to prayer, poverty, nonviolent education and ministry, and witnessing in the world. We are ecumenical and interfaith in orientation and practice, stressing multicultural, multiracial and interfaith practice, including honoring indigenous peoples and contact with local Native American tribal leadership and inclusion of them in our practice as a community.
We accept volunteers for any length of time to work in our garden and assist with homesteading, including maintenance of our two buildings, St. Francis House and St. Brigid House (a straw bale house with solar energy and a composting toilet).
We welcome interns for stays of three months to a year. Currently, we are interested in a full commitment of nine months. We live on 32 acres of land in the Quabbin Reservoir in central Massachusetts.
We support ourselves through a nonviolent education ministry, donations and grants–which includes outreach to inner-city youths and adults–retreats, and other programs at the community. We host a variety of educational groups who are interested in sustainability.
We pray together, study Scripture of all faith traditions and witness out of this base against all forms of violence.
We welcome people who have a yearning for a community life based on prayer, simplicity, and nonviolence. No TV or commercial radio but lots of music and a definite love of art in all its forms.We have access to internet.
Those drawn to Agape will interact with hundreds of people throughout the year, including college students who attend Agape’s twice-yearly retreats. Office work, computer assistance, gardening, homesteading of all kinds, and public witness and outreach are a part of our lives, as is contact with children.

We publish a community journal, Servant Song, and we are interested in the links between sustainability, the arts and spirituality, as well as in resistance to war through simple lifestyle.

Our work includes attending vigils for peace and joining in protests, as well as organizing around issues of resistance to violence. We do all of our resistance in the spirit of nonviolence. Contemplation and action are underpinnings of our lives.

We are also beginning a search for a long-term intern who would be able to commit to more than a year of time. We are looking for someone who has community experience, as well as an interest and a background in sustainability and nonviolence. Please contact us for more information if interested.

  • Status: Re-forming
  • Started Planning: 1982
  • Start Living Together: 1982
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Please read the details in Membership below before contacting this community. Send Message
  • Website address:
  • Contact Name: Suzanne and Brayton Shanley
  • Phone: 413-967-9369
  • Community Address:
    2062 Greenwich Rd
    Ware, Massachusetts, 01082-9309
    United States
  • Location

  • This Community is Re-forming

    We are looking for young people in their 30’s to 40’s who are interested in building their own home on Agape’s 34 acres to come for apprenticeship and eventually take over the reins of the community through a group discernment process with our board and Mission Council.


  • Type(s): Commune (organized around sharing almost everything), Ecovillage (organized around ecology and sustainability), Spiritual or Religious Community
  • Programs & Activities: School, Educational Institute or Experience, Volunteer, Internship, or Apprenticeship, WWOOF’ing, Guest Farming, Festivals, Conferences, Events
  • Location: Rural


  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 34 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Single-family homes, Room(s) in a house or building, Tiny house, Yurt, tee-pee, dome, treehouse, or tent, Lots to build on
  • Current Number of Residences: 2
  • Planned Residence Types: Single-family homes, Room(s) in a house or building, Tiny house, Lots to build on
  • Housing Provided: Work-exchange, Included in Membership
  • Land owned by: Individual community member(s)
  • Additional Comments:

    Our land is a charitable, educational, religious non-profit.


  • Adult Members: 4
  • Child Members: 0
  • Non-member Residents: 3
  • Percent Women: 1-10%
  • Percent Men: 1-10%
  • Percent Transgender: 0%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    People wishing to visit may call, email or write. Contact information is on our website: We will arrange a mutually compatible time for a visit. The website also contains our community journal, Servant Song as well as You Tube videos of our recent annual events on the first Saturday of October yearly.

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process:

    We welcome all who check our website and/or call or contact by email. A;pplication may be downloaded from our website

  • Additional Comments:

    Christianity, but we are open to all paths. We are ecumenical and interfaith in outreach and incorporate all world religions in our prayer, which is primarily Christian. We are in contact with Native American sisters and brothers in the area and integrate Native spirituality in our daily lives.


  • Decision Making: Consensus (everyone agrees)
  • Identified Leader: Yes, multiple identified leaders
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    Two co-founders are the residents of one house, Brigid House. 12 people are in our Mission Council which is a vision sharing and decision making group for the community


  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: No
  • Shared Income: Partial share of income
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 5
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    Residents can expect a small stipend for living expenses.

    We cannot pay off college loans

    We are open to people living near the community in the town of Ware or Hardwick and relating to the community on a daily basis.

    No fee, but donations are always accepted as they are how we survive.

    No regular donations expected.

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We use both systems.
  • Current renewable energy generation: 100%
  • Energy sources: Solar
  • Planned renewable energy generation: 100%
  • Current food produced: From 50-75%
  • Planned food produced: From 50-75%
  • Food produced locally: From 50-75%


  • Common Facilities: Common House, Garden(s), Greenhouse(s), Vehicle Share, Library, Outbuilding(s), Large Scale Kitchen, Internet
  • Internet Available: Yes, community provides it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, it’s fine.
  • Cell Phone Service: Not good for most people.
  • Shared meals: Approximately all dinners
  • Dietary Practice: Vegetarian Only (no animal meat; dairy and eggs okay) – Please check this only if you are 100% Vegetarian, Mostly Vegan
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: Somewhat – there are some dietary restrictions or customs.
  • Special Diets OK: Yes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used seldomly, or ceremoniously.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    We are vegans and vegetarians, though special diets can be accommodated.

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Ecumenical (accepts all religions or spiritual practices), Eclectic (integrates multiple religious or spiritual beliefs), Roman Catholic
  • Spiritual Practice Expected?: No
  • Education Style(s): Public Schooling
  • Healthcare Options: Up to each family or individual

Additional Comments

We live on 34 acres of land in the Quabbin watershed in Central, MA. Suzanne and Brayton, co-founders, received the annual Paulist Center Isaac Hecker award (Boston) for their devotion to a life of nonviolent community. We are looking for a young couple or individuals to commit to a long-term internship, including discernment with community members and our Mission Council, to integrate such new members in the maintenance and daily running of the community..

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Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), Catholic Worker, Pax Christi USA; Traprock Peace and Justice;Nehemiah Community; Catholic Workers nationally and locally; Just Faith

Community Affiliations

nonviolence, peace, public witness, sustainability, organic gardening, eco-theology


Open to all; spiritual in practice and orientation. Nonviolence is the key to all interactions.