Former web developer moves to new Bruderhof location in Austria, where Anabaptists once faced persecution

Andrew Zimmerman

Andrew Zimmerman 1977 –

For years Andrew was the web editor for and lived at Woodcrest in New York. In June 2019 he and his wife, Priscilla, and their three children moved to Austria to help found a new Bruderhof north of Vienna. 

It’s ironic. Austria (or rather its predecessor, the Holy Roman Empire) was one of the most violent Catholic persecutors of the first Anabaptists in the early sixteenth century. And now we find ourselves warmly welcomed into Austria by the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, and by other friends in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as by the free churches, especially the Mennonite Brethren.

God’s covenant is an everlasting covenant, existing from the beginning and continuing into eternity. It shows that it is his will to be our God and Father, and that we should be his people and beloved children, and that he desires through Christ to fill us at all times with every divine blessing and all that is good.
Peter Riedemann, Anabaptist leader 1506–1556

It all started when a group of Christians from various denominations started seeking some way to address and overcome the legacy of persecution against non-Catholic believers as part of the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation. This so-called Round Table reached out to the Bruderhof asking if we could found a modern Anabaptist community in Austria as a step towards reconciliation. The reconciliation that we have found here is not just spiritual: it has hands and feet in the practical help we have received in setting up our little Bruderhof in Lower Austria. We are delighted to have found a home on the farmstead of the former Dominican monastery in Retz, where we can witness through our common life to the spirit of Jesus, which has inspired generations of Catholics and which actually kindles in every human heart a longing for discipleship and community.

These developments inspire me, and I hope they inspire you. If it is possible to overcome the kind of polarization that led to people being burned at the stake as heretics, then surely we can also overcome the polarization of our modern society.

Shopping for fruit at a London market

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