How to

become a new member...

If you liked what you saw on this website and are curious to find out how to join us, we invite you to take a look at this page. It describes our new membership structure that we created in October of 2020, and the process of becoming a equity- or an associate member.

 

New Membership Structure

 

Equity Members

Associate Members

Friends/Supporters

Understanding the Circle Structure

 

We are currently seeking equity members who are interested in joining the Berkshire Intentional Community (BIC). We are also looking for associate members who are interested in eventually becoming residents or renters, and already feel drawn to be part of the community and willing to help build it.


 

Equity Members are those who wish to fulfill the vision of community as stated in the vision and mission statement of BIC. They are committed to participate financially in developing a property and moving into the community. They participate in at least one working circle and are ready to formally accept the requirements and responsibilities of full membership. 

 

Equity Members have received a welcome letter and signed a written agreement.

 

Qualities:

We believe it is helpful to find people who resonate with our vision and who get excited about being in community the way we have. So we are looking for people who are:

  • Psychologically mature - willing to take responsibility for their experiences
     

  • Willing to self-reflect, -question and -adjust
     

  • Willing and able to express how they feel and why
     

  • Trustworthy - intend to keep their word
     

  • Willing to prioritize being part of a greater whole over defending personal preferences
     

  • Good listeners, interested in understanding and learning
     

  • Curious rather than righteous
     

  • Able to practice patience
     

  • Willing to put people before things
     

  • Happy to roll up their sleeves and get to work
     

  • And people who love to share and give of themselves.

     

How to become an Equity Member:

We have some additional requirements for equity members. To see if equity membership is a fit for you, you can answer the following questions.

  • Do you resonate with and agree to uphold the community vision, mission and values?
     

  • Are you willing to learn about sociocracy?                                                      (You can start by watching the videos on our website. We also have a training document you can request from us. We are happy to make individual recommendations)
     

  • Would you make time to learn more about Intentional Communities?         (Read Diana Leave Christian’s book Creating a Life Together or equivalent)
     

  • Are you willing to pay nonrefundable monthly membership dues?              (We offer a sliding scale of: $20-50)
     

  • Are you willing to pay an entry fee of $1,000?                                                 (This money pays for preliminary costs, like legal fees, consultants, etc., toward acquiring property)*
     

  • Can you affirm your ability to invest at least $25K toward costs occurring in the process of acquiring community property at some point in the future?

If you feel in alignment with all of this, we would be excited to meet you. The outline below describes the path to full membership.
 

  1. Please contact Wren to start the process. The first step will be an entry interview with 2 to 3 of our members in a small contact circle, probably on Zoom, to get to know you.

  2.   After that you enter into a 4 month exploratory period:

  • During that time we’d like you to participate fully in at least one working circle. Your participation will be at the associate member level for 2 months,  but without paying dues. (Which means you can fully participate and have consent rights in all circles other than those working on property related issues.)

  • You are of course also welcome to any and all social events that take place.

  • After 2 months you get together for a feedback check-in with the membership circle members. During that check in everybody assesses what’s going well, and what could perhaps improve - on both sides.
     

  • After the feedback check-in you participate another 2 months in a working circle, but this time with paying dues at the associate member level.
     

  • After 4 months, all of the current full members will gather for a sociocratic approval process for your full membership. The approval is celebrated with an official welcome letter and a signed written agreement.

 

*If you decide to leave within one year, the entry fee is refundable minus your portion of any money spent. After one year, the fee is not refundable.



 

Associate members have expressed their intention to help build the community as a whole, but are not ready to commit to or not interested in being a full member. (They might see themselves as future renters, for example.) They are welcome to participate in full circle meetings and in working circles, but do not have the power of objection about any property related issues. They can participate in as many BIC salons, pot lucks, and other social events of the community as they like. 


 

How to become an Associate Member:

 

Our wish list for associate members:

 

  • Are you willing to pursue some basic education in sociocracy? (We would make recommendations)

 

  • Would you like to contribute to creating the social culture that is outlined in the vision statement?

 

  • Are you willing to pay monthly membership dues? We suggest $20, but if money is an issue, please speak with us. We don’t want to turn anybody away because of financial hardship.

 

  • Would you help with building and maintaining the associate membership?


 

If you feel you would be a good match, then please get in touch with us!

 

  1. The first step will be an entry interview with 2 to 3 of our members in a small contact circle, probably on Zoom, to get to know you. Please contact Wren to set this up.

  2.   After this first meeting you enter into a 2-month exploratory period:
        During this time you can volunteer in any working circle (you will not               have objection rights on property decisions.) You can participate in full             circle meetings and all social events, BIC salons, or potlucks. We also               invite you to help create them.

 

  3.   At the end of 2 months you get together for a check-in with the                         membership circle members to assure that everything is going well and         to confirm your membership if everyone agrees. You receive a welcome         letter that confirms the above agreements.

 

Friends/Supporters are those who are generally interested in our community. They want to find out more about who we are and how we work, or would like to support us by contributing their skills and expertise to specific projects or work circles, or would simply like to stay connected. They can apply to participate in working circles, and are welcome in all full circle meetings. They receive all our mailings with invitations to social and community events and can participate in as many BIC salons, pot lucks, and other social events of the community as they like. They agree to:

 

  • Learn about the sociocratic process if they want to participate in a working circle.
     

  • Contribute to creating the social culture as outlined in the vision statement. 

 

Anybody can become a friend or supporter. Just let us know by contacting Wren!

 

Understanding the Circle Structure

 

In sociocracy the work of the members is structured by circles that have specific aims (or purpose), domains (responsibilities/authority), and tasks.

 

There are four types of meetings that move the work in the community forward. Below you can see the different circles, who is eligible for participation, and the circle aims:

 

All-Community Meetings

For all members, associate members, and friends/supporters

  • Building community
     

  • Updating all members on planning developments and progress made during the building phase
     

  • Giving feedback on issues and proposals that affect the community widely
     

  • Educating Members about governance, communication skills, and other topics of interest
     

 

General Circle Meetings

For the leaders and delegates of the core work circles only 

  • Resolve issues involving multiple circles
     

  • Holding oversight of the coordination of aims and domains for the various circles.
     

  • Meeting community needs by coordinating community services in ways that are effective, efficient, and transparent

 

Work Circle Meetings

For the members and associate members who are in that particular circle. Friends/Supporters are welcome, though some privacy restrictions apply in working circles related to property.

  • Each circle has its own well defined aim and domain.
     

  • Each circle determines if they are open to new participants.
     

 

Member Confirmation Meetings

For full members only

  • Gets together for the sociocratic approval process to confirm a new full member.

  • Any distribution of funds in the community bank account is also determined by the full members.