The Goodenough Community
The Goodenough Community is a long-term experiment in community formation and
development sponsored by the American Association for the Furtherance of Community.

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About Us

Mission Statement

Our mission is to show it is possible to create a sustainable community with the many layers of culture and organization required for the development of mature, healthy human beings over a whole life, and that it is possible to enjoy doing this by using learning games.

Our History

e Goodenough Community traces its beginnings beyond 30 years ago. It began in a collaboration among leaders of the human potential movement in the Northwest. For many years its primary expression was an annual human relations laboratory that gathered people together to grow, learn, and play. For a week each summer, people attending the annual labs experienced a way of life based on freedom, respect, and the value of personal growth, and over time they sought a way to continue that experience throughout the year. They discovered that a network of like-minded friends and colleagues was essential for sustaining an authentically improving life style.

After a decade, the community identified itself as intentional and was incorporated as the American Association for the Furtherance of Community in 1981. In 1985, the community became a covenantal organization. Throughout this period and in the years following, the community and all of its programs were designed and supported by about 100 friends who desired to help develop one another and share a good quality of life. Starting in the mid 80s, discussions began on the implications of formal membership, and in 1994 the community instituted an experimental three-tiered membership system, honoring the fact that individuals have different levels of interest and investment. In 1999, the community adopted a formal system of membership and participation, with members declaring their intention to provide governance and financial support.

Our covenant expresses our sincere longing to live, learn, and relate well together. However, our first learning from the covenant was about our inability to live up to our promises. This period of our history revealed to all of us our inconsistencies, and we became disillusioned at the human condition. We also began to learn the importance of accepting and loving each other in all of our imperfections. Although at first we were embarrassed and lived in denial about our inadequacies, soon we began to design our programs in order to learn ways to keep our agreements and fulfill the specific elements of our covenant. We use this covenant to remind us of our primary values and it is recited at many of our meetings.

The Community has always intended to be both a caring, healing environment and a learning/training laboratory. An essential strategy of the Goodenough Community is to develop its members well, and then guide and support them in serving society. A core of leaders, most of them friends and colleagues for more than 15 years, has developed an approach to community which involves learning-by-doing. This multi-residential and multi-generational community is expressed through a school (Village School for Human Development), a church (Convocation: A Church and Ministry), and an emerging ecovillage (Sahale EcoVillage).

The Goodenough Community System, after a lengthy period of renewal, is now seeking like-minded people to join us in our work in the Seattle area and in our Sahale Ecovillage near the Hood Canal. We are looking both for people with leadership skills as well as individuals, couples and families who are looking for a community context for growth and fellowship. We join in compassion for our society’s current struggles and we offer relationship to people who realize how important relationship is in our immediate future.


The Goodenough Community System
The Goodenough Community

The Goodenough Mission

Who is John Hoff?

A Church and Ministry


In Summary


The cold winds blow,
And shrill on leafless bough
The robin with its burning breast
Alone sings now.
The rayless sun,
Day's journey done, Sheds its last ebbing light
On fields in leagues of beauty spread
Unearthly white.
Thick draws the dark, And spark by spark,
The frost-fires kindle, and soon
Over that sea of frozen foam
 Floats the white moon.

~Walter de la Mare



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Copyright © 1998 The Goodenough Community
Last modified: December 25, 2010