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of The American Association for the Furtherance of Community


of The American Association for the Furtherance of Community

Initiative 1


The first initiative of the American Association for the Furtherance of Community was to create a demonstration of its ideals--The Goodenough Community.


This would-be community established a council and selected leadership. Their name came to them from studying literature on mental health, there finding the importance of each person choosing to learn and to heal—to be helped. The community they desired would be created by a kindly and generous response to the needs of their own lives. In a first step they ran across the statement by D.W. Winnicott, a pediatrician and a military psychiatrist during World War II, who observed that some orphaned children pined away and died unreached by anyone’s efforts while other orphans allowed some nurse or physician to comfort and assist them. 

Dr. Winnicott stated that it was clear that for a child to survive that child must allow someone to be a good enough mother, father, caretaker. The declaration of  themselves a Goodenough Community came partly as a pledge to allow themselves to receive individually what they—together as community—offered as service. Another nuance of the name Goodenough is that these founding members wanted to research and experiment with models for organizing themselves and in so doing they were not aiming for perfection as much as exploring without judgment processes that worked “good enough”. 

The Goodenough Community was the first project developed by the American Association for the Furtherance of Community and it continues because developing human potential is central to their mission. This community remains an educational organization that has researched, experimented, and documented its life for 27 years.


If you find your self interested in any aspect of our work, and want to become more involved, please email to continue a dialogue with us. If the telephone is more to your liking, call (206) 755-8404.

Initiative 2

of The American Association for the Furtherance of Community



The second initiative of the American Association for the Furtherance of Community began when the Association sponsored an initiative in spiritual living and asked Dr. John L. Hoff, one of the founders, to do a series of workshops about the perennial wisdom, that core of insights into humanity and spiritual living which is at the heart of the major faith traditions.

Inspired by the work of Joseph Campbell among many others, these workshops–such as Education for Enlightenment–led to the formation in 1987 of Convocation: A Church and Ministry. Convocation  is a separate 501(c3) church that focuses on the Perennial Wisdom tradition. Also, it offers support for those individuals who have a sense of their own life’s work and desire encouragement and guidance. Convocation celebrates its 36th year in the summer of 2023 and is one of several interfaith ministries in the greater Seattle area.


Convocation convenes a Pathwork circle on Sunday evenings and a variety of workshops that encourage individuals to claim their own faith including the content of belief and their own spiritual practices.

Pathwork is lead by Goodenough Community Lay Leadership.

Convocation Supports Watchcare


  • Provides watchcare to the members and friends of Convocation and of the larger Goodenough Community System. Watchcare means what it says—the staff and board through being mindful of an individual’s intentions and agreements, and paying attention to their life-situation, supports individuals and families and shapes the services needed 

Initiative 3


The third initiative of the American Association for the Furtherance of Community involved encouraging the Goodenough Community to develop a housing cooperative.


The first attempt began in the year 2000 with the creation of The Goodenough Village Cooperative. This story makes heroes of many members who gave financially and energetically only to find that after the successes of land purchase, permitting, and approval for a construction loan, a long-term mortgage was denied us during the difficult two years following 9/11/01. Members of the project “bought out” all of the indebtedness remaining, and many of them are behind the emerging project, Sahale Ecovillage. This “village” on 67 acres near the Hood Canal has been in development for six years and is now seeking people to participate by living and working there. Some persons have already begun to live there and workshops are now offered through Sahale Learning Center.


If you find your self interested in any aspect of our work, and want to become more involved, please email to continue a dialogue with us. If the telephone is more to your liking, call (206) 755-8404.


of The American Association for the Furtherance of Community



In the orientation to the Goodenough Community System, please note that the first incorporation (1981) created the American Association for the Furtherance of Community which was a group of strong, motivated, and capable activists who have further initiated:


Development of a culturally oriented community of friends 

whose primary purpose is to develop themselves and improve their relationships under the guidance of the Goodenough Community System.


A spiritual initiative 

that has deepened their lives and motivated them to support a church with its ongoing programs of spiritual guidance and general Watchcare—Convocation: A Church and Ministry.


An initiative that values people living collaboratively

developing among themselves a quality of life that lifts their sights as to what is humanly possible. The creation and dissolution of the Goodenough Village Cooperative in Seattle both challenged and prepared our members for forming additional close living groups. Thus, Sahale Ecovillage will continue to be composed of ecologically informed persons who are interested in sharing life and work together in sustainable ways. We intend to be ecologically wise, preparing ourselves for social challenges and adjustments, while being spiritually open to being changed ourselves. We do this because we want to demonstrate a community in service to the greater good and to the larger society.


If you find your self interested in any aspect of our work, and want to become more involved, please email  to continue a dialogue with us. If the telephone is more to your liking, call (206) 755-8404.

"The healthy social life is found

When in the mirror of each human soul

The whole community finds its reflection,

And when in the community

The virtue of each one is living."

– Rudolf Steiner

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. 


The Goodenough Community in its present form has three elements to its mission:


  • To encourage and support people living in shared housing. There are several clusters at the present time. They utilize concepts familiar to cooperatives.

  • To educate and train people in developing lifeways and The Living Arts that prevent some difficulties and facilitate social learning. The council utilizes its covenant to outline necessary social processes, such as making and keeping agreements with care and staying steady when in conflict to a resolution. 

  • To encourage life-long learning by providing cultural programs for the following groups: women, men, committed couples, families, young adults, and third age. In addition, annual events co-sponsored by the GEC include the Human Relations Laboratory, the True Holidays Celebration and the Winter Solstice Celebration.


If you find your self interested in any aspect of our work, and want to become more involved, please email to continue a dialogue with us. If the telephone is more to your liking, call (206) 3755-8404.


The 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.

initiative 1
initiative 2
initiative 3
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