• Filmmaker Kirsten Dirksen spent time exploring the Homestead Heritage
  • The Christian community of more than 1,000 residents is set on 510 acres
  • 'Anyone can join our community, provided they fully understand our beliefs'

A fascinating documentary takes viewers inside a Texan community who live similarly to the Amish, with traditional practices favored over technology. 

Documentary maker Kirsten Dirksen spent time exploring the Homestead Heritage, which is set over 510 acres in Waco, Texas.

The Christian community of more than 1,000 residents states on its website that it 'stresses simplicity, sustainability, self-sufficiency, cooperation, service and quality craftsmanship.

'It also strives to live in peaceful coexistence with the land, other people and other faiths.'

In a YouTube video, Kirsten speaks with various community members to get a taste of what life on the Homestead Heritage is like, and by the end she sums it up as 'idyllic.'

Greg Godsey, who co-owns the Heritage Coffee Shop and Heritage Architecture firm, reveals that he moved to the Homestead Heritage with his wife from Austin, after becoming disillusioned with life in the city. 

He explains: 'I really loved my job and I loved what I was doing and yet my wife and I felt like we needed to get out of the suburbs and we needed to reconnect with the land.

'We knew about this community and we wanted to make ground coming this way.'

Greg says at first the lifestyle was a 'major shift' and he went from being a business owner to selling metal panels. 

But, with time, he found opportunities to establish himself in the community and he was able to finish his architecture license to open his own practice and help run a coffee business. 

In the film Benjamin Neikirk, who is a co-owner of the coffee business, explains that he ended up in Homestead Heritage after having a similar realization to Greg in terms of where his life was going and a poor work-life balance. 

He tells the camera team: 'Before we came to the community we were living in Houston and I was a business executive.

'I was never home home, I never took vacation, I was constantly working. [Moving here] was a way that I could sell my business there and then stay here. [Now] my wife and I get up, we come work together... this is a beautiful thing.'

While there are many new residents at Homestead Heritage, Greg explains that there are some third generation members of the community, since it originally started in 1973 as a Christian organization in New York, with founders Blair and Regina Adams paving the way. The church in Texas started in 1980, after a stint in Colorado. 

In one scene, he introduces woodworker Mark Borman, who moved to Homestead Heritage when he was just nine years old. 

Instead of going to school, most children in the community learn trades or complete apprenticeships and Mark ended up forging a successful career in wood work. 

In the documentary, he explains how he uses wood harvested from the estate to make a range of furnishings and he is so well practiced, he can measure things by sight.

Detailing his way of life, he says: 'I live on the farm here... it's about a five-minute bicycle ride to work every morning. 

'I've been working here in the shop for 28 years building lots of custom furniture.

'I was about 15 [when] I knew I wanted to be a woodworker and I don't really look at it as work so much, I thoroughly enjoy it.'

Along with woodwork, the Homestead Heritage community make their own textiles using looms, and leather goods, while farming is their main occupation.

Greg explains that most residents keep animals and farm crops but it isn't a requirement to living there. 

He says: 'We can share milk chores or we can share animals and trade pastures.

'Different people find their way in different places. You know, for some people farming is fulltime and a real passion and other people they're just gardening. 

'Or some people are really into having a couple of animals and other people aren't really having animals but they're really into doing field crops... So everybody kind of finds their way.'

For those considering joining the Homestead Heritage, the website states that 'anyone can join our community, provided they fully understand our beliefs and our way of life and are fully committed to living them out.' 

It continues: 'We encourage anyone who's interested to come spend time with us, ask questions and get to know us. 

'We also have an abundance of literature available for those who want to learn about us in greater depth.'

The website also highlights in the frequently asked questions section that there is no specific dress code or uniform 'but our members do seek to share a common outward identity that expresses the inward values intrinsic to our shared Christian faith. 

'These values include simplicity, modesty and a desire to be free from the pulls of fashion and competition prevailing in consumerist cultures.' 

In the documentary, Greg ends by commenting on the future of the community and its desire to become fully sustainable.

He concludes: 'We know the whole combination of steps that we need to take to really get sustainable.

'It's not going to happen in one generation. We want to be clear in the direction we're going and we don't want to be impatient.

'We know it's not a single generational kind of vision... it's going to be multigenerational.'

Many viewers have given the video a thumbs up, deeming the community's way of life 'beautiful' and 'inspiring.' 

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2024-06-11T18:19:36Z dg43tfdfdgfd