When we bought the land in 1988, only the barn was here. We lived in it for nearly two years while we moved an early pioneer settler’s cabin to the property and rebuilt it as the First House.

That first winter was miserably cold and we only had a kerosene heater which absolutely failed to keep us warm. We ended up moving our 11-foot camper trailer into the barn and living in it during the coldest months. Needless to say there was no electricity, no running water, no plumbing and little of anything else. That was by necessity. But we kept it that way for years as we built the community by moving other buildings onto the property, either in pieces or intact, and redesigning them.  

Our goal was to recreate an eighteenth-century community of single brothers that was located north of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. We had moved to Bethlehem from Salt Lake City where we met in college. We came to Pennsylvania to buy a farm. But Bethlehem had originally been a religious community and we wanted to have our own spiritual  family of brothers. 

Our model was a community called Christiansbrunn, the Spring of Christian, named for the leader of the brotherhood. Ironically he never came to Pennsylvania, being born in Germany and dying in London at the age of 24. However his brothers believe Christian’s spirit lived again in the waters of what became a sacred spring. By drinking the water, they believed, one was entered by the spirit of Christian. That spring still exists.                                                                        


“The Peaceable Kingdom” by Quaker artist Edward Hicks. Public domain.

Where beauty and harmony dwell

The earth joins with the spirit

And humanity unites with all living things.


The way we were: 1994. Photograph by David Perry and used with permission.

The Mahantongo Heritage Center and the Hermitage are open by reservation from June through October.. Please contact us to schedule a visit.

There is no admission fee but donations are gratefully accepted.

Our annual open house will be Sunday, August 11, Noon to 4 p.m. Many buildings will be open for tours, including the one-room school house, the spinning and weaving studio, the print shop, the 1759 Gemeinehaus, and the Mahantongo Heritage Center. The sculpture garden and the kitchen garden will also be open. The Gong Project, the world’s largest stationary percussion instrument, will also be available for playing. Bro. Zephram will demonstrate flax spinning, while Bro. Johannes will be at the bake oven doing a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch bake day with free samples.


Postal mail: The Hermitage, 75 Grove Rd., Pitman, PA 17964 U.S.

Phone: 570-425-2548

Email: brojoh@yahoo.com

Check our videos at www.youtube.com and type in “atthehermitage” in the search line.


Christian's Spring

This set us on fire. It was the union of the physical and the spiritual which we had been seeking for years. The idea was by living the life of those early brothers, that the brotherhood would live again. Yet we found that we were not suited to communal life but to the isolated life of hermits, which each brother living in his own house.  

Now our master plan is completed with more than two dozen structures on the property, including craft houses, a community house and the Mahantongo Heritage Center.

Our own lives have changed as we have created a family not solely of humans but a broader ideal of living in harmony with the earth and the 63 acres of the Hermitage. William Penn’s vision of an earthly paradise garden where humans and animals live in peace continues to guide us. 

We have come to realize that all are one and one is all. However it is easier to say than to live.                      


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Christian and Johannes have been growing and processing flax to linen since the early 1980s. The website presents historical flax information, flax production and flax items for sale.


The Third Testament tells our spirituality in story by Johannes and in poetry by Christian