Bryn Gweled Homesteads
Southampton, Pennsylvania, United States
- Last updated: February 15, 2016 (1 year ago)
- Listing created on: December 31, 1999
Our intention is to curb housing speculation, reserve the environment and live and work cooperatively with our neighbors to provide a vibrant lifestyle within Bryn Gweled and in the larger community.
BG is a not-for-profit corporation owned by its members, each of whom is expected to contribute in some way toward the maintenance of the community. Each member is encouraged to serve on at least two volunteer committees, the names of which show the many ways we work together. They include Grounds and Planting, Health and Welfare, Children’s Activities, Community Activities, Property and Utilities, Roads, Community Center Maintenance, Swimming Pool, Environmental Stewardship and others.
The elected officials of the community include a Board of Directors and three committees. The President and Vice-President are elected from the Board. The Secretary is appointed by the President. Treasurer is a long term position, usually filled by a committed volunteer when it goes vacant (the present Treasurer is the fifth in 75 years).
One of our elected committees, Membership, meets with prospective members and introduces them to the opportunities and responsibilities of living here. The committee oversees the arrangement of small gatherings in members’ homes for the applicants to meet and learn more about the community and their prospective neighbors, and for both the applicant and community members to decide on goodness of fit. The applicant must finally be approved for membership by a 4/5 majority of the members.
Our other two elected committees are Housing and Nominating. Housing oversees home ownership transfers and works with Membership on mutual concerns. Membership and Housing are key to the functioning of the community because only leaseholders are members, and vice-versa, and while homes are individually owned, the owner of the home must also be the leaseholder of the lot on which it sits.
We consider all members our neighbors, even if they live at opposite ends of our roads. We are fortunate in being an ideal size for such a community; large enough to have a rich social and cultural fabric, and small enough for everyone to know each other.
Although large projects such as road repaving are done by contractors, the community does not employ anyone except summer lifeguards, so all of the work of managing our multi-million dollar corporation is done by volunteers. Getting these jobs done properly is occasionally something of a burden, and hiring a manager, either full or part time, is being considered.
The first Saturday of each month is the best time to visit and see Bryn Gweled in action. Visitors and available members are welcome to join in a work party from 9:00 until noon. Typical work party projects include maintenance of the buildings and roads, clearing invasive plants on common land, planting trees and shrubs and managing our deer population. In the evening we gather for a covered dish supper, sometimes called a potluck, and after that a business meeting. These meetings democratically cover the operation of the community, and include a wide range of topics including fun things such as celebrations and other activities to strictly business such as budget priorities. There is often heated debate, but issues are usually resolved by compromising in good community spirit. Sometimes there is a short “closed” portion at the beginning of the meeting to discuss membership issues, but otherwise visitors are welcome.
Since Bryn Gweled began we have committed ourselves to being an open and diverse community. The nature and extent of diversity shifts with time, but our goal remains constant. While our age diversity is strong, racial, cultural and ethnic diversity remains a challenge. We welcome people of all races and backgrounds, and have recently accepted new members of same-sex orientation as well as people of Hispanic and middle eastern origins. At one time we were more than 10% African American, but with more housing opportunities for people of color in recent decades, that number has dwindled. Our political and social views are predominantly progressive, but there is a conservative element of our membership as well.
- Status: Established (At least 4+ adults, 2+ years)
- Started Planning: 1935
- Start Living Together: 1940
- Visitors accepted: Yes
- Open to new Members: Yes
- Please read the details in Membership below before contacting this community. Send Message
- Website address: http://www.BrynGweled.org
- Contact Name: Bryn Gweled Homesteads
- Phone: 215-953-8884
- Community Address:
1805 Meadow Rd.
Southampton, Pennsylvania, 18966-4560
- Type(s): Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property)
- Programs & Activities: Neighborhood, Community Housing, or Homeowner’s Association
- Location: Suburban
- Decision Making: Voting (majority or super-majority rule)
- Identified Leader: Yes, multiple identified leaders
- Leadership Core Group: No
- Additional Comments:
Each year we elect a President from the Board of Directors for a one-year term. The President conducts Board meetings and our general business meetings but otherwise does not have a position of great influence. Each year we elect 1/3 of the Board members for a three-year term. The Board meets monthly to consider community meeting issues and agendas and make recommendations to the membership, which also meets monthly.
We usually use Majority rule, sometimes we opt for a super-majority (2/3 or 4/5 to pass a motion) and we try to maintain sensitivity to minority viewpoints
- Join Fee: $4000
- Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
- Regular Fee per Month: $100
- Shared Income: None
- Required Labor Contribution: Encouraged or suggested
- Open to members with existing debt: Yes (some debt)
- Additional Comments:
Members are expected to participate in at least two committees and in monthly work parties.
- Energy Infrastructure: We are connected to the grid.
- Current renewable energy generation: Up to 25%
- Energy sources: Solar, Biomass, Geothermal, Clean Energy from the Grid
- Planned renewable energy generation: 26-49%
- Current food produced: Up to 25%
- Planned food produced: Up to 25%
- Food produced locally: Up to 25%
- Common Facilities: Garden(s), Outbuilding(s), Swimming pond or pool, Tractor & Farm Equipment, Stage or Auditorium, Fire pit, Swingsets & play areas, Gym or sports area
- Internet Available: Yes, individuals provide it
- Internet Fast?: No, it is slow.
- Cell Phone Service: Good for most people.
- Shared meals: 1-3 times per month
- Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals)
- Dietary Choice or Restrictions: No – people may eat however they wish.
- Special Diets OK: Yes
- Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
- Tobacco Use: Yes, used occasionally.
- Common Spiritual Practice(s): Ecumenical (accepts all religions or spiritual practices), Not a particularly spiritual or religious community, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Protestant, Lutheran, Catholic, Quaker, Unitarian Universalist, Mixed Eastern Philosophy or Practice, Atheist, Agnostic, Humanist
- Education Style(s): Home Schooling, Private School off the property, Public Schooling, Up to each family or individual
- Healthcare Options: Up to each family or individual
Community Network or Organization Affiliations
The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC)
Cooperative, Democratic, Diverse, Homesteading, Intentional, Open