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Rules & Ethics

Community Rules

Community by-laws are another essential component of the governance environment. Once again Acorn Community has come up with a set of by-laws which could be very helpful as a starting place for Lyonesse.


Child Membership

A person who is born into the community or who joins prior to being considered an adult is a child member. The decision on when a child member becomes an adult is at the discretion of the child and the full members of the community. To the extent possible, child members are encouraged to take an active part in community affairs, and adult members are expected to treat seriously the opinions of child members. However, children are not guaranteed equal say in community decisions.

Acorn Community by-laws

Bylaws of Acorn Community, Inc.


Article I. Definitions

Paragraph 1.

The term "co" will be used in place of "he" or "she" or "him" or "her"; the term "cos" will be used in place of "hers" or "his".

Paragraph 2.

The terms "community" and "group" will be used interchangeable to mean the whole membership of Acorn Community.

Paragraph 3.

The term “member” or “members” will be used to indicate all classes of membership.


Article II. Membership

Paragraph 1. Classes of Membership

There are currently four classes of membership: associate, provisional, full, and child.

A. Associate membership

An adult who wishes to support and participate in the life of the community but because of life circumstances is unable to live with the community year-round, will be considered an associate member. An associate member lives at Acorn at least 60 days of every calendar year. Associate members have similar rights and responsibilities as provisional members, except as noted in these bylaws.

B. Provisional membership

When an adult first joins ACORN COMMUNITY, co becomes a provisional member. A provisional member has rights and responsibilities equal to those of a full member, except as noted in these bylaws.

C. Full membership

A full member is any provisional member who is granted that status by the consensual agreement of the community's full members. Provisional members will generally be expected to have been with the community for at least one year before considering becoming full members.


A person interested in becoming a member of Acorn must first complete a standard-length visit. By living, working, and meeting with the visitor, each Acorn member determines whether it seems that the visitor could be an appropriate member. If every current member agrees, the visitor is invited to join Acorn. A new member can join as a provisional member or as an associate member. A provisional member remains provisional for at least one year. At the end of the one year provisional period, a meeting is held to determine whether there is consensus that the provisional member can become a full member. Legal minors (as defined by the state of Virginia) will not be admitted for membership unless accompanied by their parent(s) or legal guardian(s), or with their express approval.


Paragraph 3. Expulsion
(This will be discussed in more depth in the chapter dealing with conflict resolution)

A full member cannot be expelled from the community unless the following conditions are met:

A. The remaining full members have reached consensus agreement to expel the individual in question.

B. There is a meeting at which the individual is notified of the behavior(s) upon which the expulsion decision is based.

C. The individual has been given a reasonable length of time after the aforementioned meeting in which to change cos objectionable behavior(s).

D. After the aforementioned reasonable length of time has passed, the remaining full members are still in consensus agreement that the individual should be expelled.

Provisional and associate members can be expelled at anytime in which there is no longer a consensus among the full members that the individual should be allowed to stay.

Article III. Economics

Paragraph 1. Work

All members are expected to contribute an agreed upon amount of work. This will be measured in terms of effort and not in terms of output. Individuals having specific needs relative to their work agreements are expected to come to the group to discuss those needs and consensually reach new agreements.

Paragraph 2. Economic Basis

The community is supported by internally operated businesses in which all members have an individual interest. Each member has a definite, though undivided interest in the businesses conducted for the common benefit of the members.

Paragraph 3. Income and Expenses

All money earned by the community is held as group income and goes into a common treasury. In return the community assumes responsibility for meeting all individual’s needs for food, clothing, and shelter. Each member has a definite, though undivided, interest in the common treasury.
Paragraph 4. Property

Each member has a definite, though undivided, interest in the community property. When an individual becomes a provisional member, co is not required or expected to relinquish ownership of any preexisting property or assets to the group. However, the group does reserve the right to limit the use of private property. It is expected that members will generally make possessions such as tools, vehicles, cooking utensils, and literature available for group use, but it is not required that they do so. In the case of vehicles, members must either choose to make them available to the group or to not operate them at all. If the group does make use of private property, it is under no obligation to maintain or replace such property relative to the wear resulting from its use, unless agreement to do so has been made ahead of time.

Article IV. Government

All major decision-making will be done by consensus of the membership. Provisional, associate, and child members may not block (single handedly prevent) a consensus decision where the full members have reached consensus. The group may delegate decision-making on minor matters at its discretion.

Article V. Amendments

Any amendment(s) to these bylaws must be made by consensus of the full members

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