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The Return of the Garden Cities



History seems to repeat itself in the sense that ideas go around in cycles. Throughout history the idea of a model community that lives, works and plays together sharing things in common and enjoying the fruits of their labour has returned as an idea that could actually be tried as an experiment that would then ignite others who might visit and witness that such a community is actually possible…

In our latest book ‘Kingdom Mission‘, Stuart Simpson and I trace some of this history (Volume 2)

The long history spans from the original Garden of Eden, through to the Land of Goshen and on to the New Community (Ekklesia) in Jerusalem that ‘shared everything in common so that there was no-one needy amongst them’

Through to the Early Monastic Communities (St Patrick, St Cuthbert, St Aidan, St Hilda et al) that took off in Ireland and spanned across the Celtic Isles then across Mainland Europe becoming the bedrock of what later became some of Europes most influential cities

The Early Moravians with Count Zinzendorf at the Helm took up the baton through Hernhutt, a place of refuge for radical disciples fleeing persecution, then formed into a model community/village that practiced round the clock prayer in hourly shifts for over 100 years and then sent out missionaries who had a trade and settled in distant lands including the Caribbean

Many poets and radicals seeking to change the social order began writing about Utopian communities…early Christian industrialists began taking to heart some of these writings and experimented with fair treatment of their workers, including pioneering pensions, shorter working days, minimum wage, sick pay, social activities, workplace training.

George Fox who pioneered a new movement derided as the ‘Quakers‘ (society of Friends), were so persecuted and maligned by mainstream British Society in the 17th Century that they were barred from the ‘middle class’ professions (teaching, law and so on), beaten and often thrown in prison. As they couldnt engage in ‘normal occupations’ many Quakers started businesses and traded with each other through their emerging interlocking national and international networks. George Fox wrote down the ‘Biblical Instructions’ for business people that were followed by those in the movement to such a high degree that people started wanting to do business with the Quakers because they knew they would be honest and plain in their dealings and that they would get the best quality products and services at reasonable prices and that their word was as good as their bond.

Quaker Business entrepreneurs were amongst those who changed the face of Britain in the 19th Century- household names such as Cadbury’s, Rowntrees, Barclays and so on.

Cadbury’s went on to create their model village for their workforce with houses with front and back gardens and running water (a big step up from the slums workers were previously housed in). Bournville Village was a triumph.

Other Christian Business Men did similar things…including William Hesketh Lever (Set up Port Sunlight Village for his workers), Titus Salt (started Saltaire Village for his workforce)

These men learnt from one another and were part of the Garden City Movement written about by Ebenezer Howard, out of which came Welwyn Garden City

William Booth (co-founder of Salvation Army) also took up some of themes in his best selling book ‘In Darkest England and the Way Out’ that laid out a whole social plan that would bring massive change across Britain…including setting up City Colonies, Farm Colonies and Overseas Colonies…some of his ideas were taken up by the ‘Welfare State’ in the next century


And now the time has come around again…God is stirring people across Britain, Europe and across the world to pioneer these Model Communities, these Kingdom Colonies, these Kingdom Farms, these Apostolic Gardens and Garden Cities…

In Britain we believe that God is initiating at least 12 ‘ground breaking Manors’ that will be like a ‘City on a Hill’ that cannot be hidden. There are 12 Regions in Britain…we believe that God will connect 12 of these ‘Kingdom Colonies’ across Britain through networks of innovation…and these 12 will resources many smaller versions (maybe 70) across the country…

Like in the time of the Celtic Communities...these will span across Europe and connect with others globally…

Examples of what these embryonic prototypes could be like would be places like Moggerhanger, Wick Court and TopBarn Farmand a city version could be what people like Lord Nat Wei and his connections are up to in Shoreditch

These ‘Colonies/Manors’ will vary in terms of their focus and strengths in accordance with their history and the land (region) in which they are placed. The land yielding it’s goods as the right people (the sons and daughters of the soil) reveal themselves on the land. And the land will again become Married.

There will be once again, a healthy connection between the City (City Colonies) and the Country (Farm Colonies) where people, resources and food will pass to and fro between them in networks of innovation. As the coming food crisis deepens there will need to be land where people work together to grow ‘organic’ food. And as persecution approaches in Britain and Europe…there will once again need to be ‘Cities of Refuge‘…and in the meantime where the main 7 Spheres/Pillars of Society are shaken (family, religion, education, media, economy, government, entertainment)…people will want to see an alternative…a different ‘way of life’ not ruled by GEF (Greed Ego Fear as Wolfgang Simson has coined)

Do You own a Farm? Own Land? Own Extra Houses? Got a Country Estate? Got the Vision?  Let’s come together in ‘Kingdom Roundtables’ and ‘Circles’ as the Lunar Society did, or the Clapham Circle did, or the Shaftesbury  connections did and Change the World (the Kingdom of Heaven is near)





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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. fred bishop

    yes we have land. we are setting up a mission oriented tent making school. it will have micro factories and marketing unit.
    we have already launched our nexus brand of potato crisps

    1. admin

      Hi Fred. Where are you based? Would love to connect and hear more!

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