On Placement

It really hasn’t been a quiet summer for the Matryoshka Haus community! Over the next few days we hope to fill you in on some of the highlights, before we head into a full-on autumn schedule. First up, a glorious fortnight with Merry Evans…

Merry is an Church of England ordinand (like Liz C she’s training to become a vicar) who studies at a theological college in Durham. As part of her course she had to spend some of her summer on placement at churches and communities that would diversify her experience. So, for two weeks in July and August she shadowed Shannon to find out what makes Matryoshka Haus tick.

From the point of view of the community, it was great to welcome someone new, particular someone who wanted to hear our stories and ask interesting and challenging questions about why we do what we do. Over the fortnight, she was involved in preparing for the first of our Good Brunches; joined in with community meals and birthday celebrations; and helped Rachel J host Mark Pybus – who also came to do a short placement with us.

Sarah & Merry

Merry & Sarah at the first of the Good Brunches.

In Merry’s own words, this is how she found the experience:

“I cannot thank you enough for letting me come and experience life with you! It was such a blessing to me. I feel that I have learnt a lot more than I can actively articulate, it is difficult to explain exactly why I think that Matryoshka Haus is such an excellent example of incarnational mission and the deep love of Christ but I know it is! That I, a stranger, felt so involved, valued, useful and welcome and embraced by all those I met; is a real tribute to a community of openness and freedom inspired by the way life is lived by yourself and those you bring together.”

We’re hoping to develop an ongoing partnership with Cranmer College in Durham in hosting ordinands, so Merry may the first of a long-line of trainee vicars to work with us!

Good Brunches

GOOD-BRUNCH-INVITE-02Matryoshka Haus is a community built around our projects: around designing creative solutions for social change. The community in London has grown through involvement in Sweet Notions, The Truth Isn’t Sexy and the Transformational Index, and we are now ready to journey towards our next project.

To do that we have started something we’re calling Good Brunches: food and discussions social deprivation, finance, politics, hope, hopelessness and a whole lot more!

Over the next few months we will be gathering together periodically to talk, muse & reflect in the hope that a common compassion will coalesce around a particular issue – and then the next Matryoshka Haus project will be born!

To follow the adventure you can view the Good Brunches tumbler page, or the hashtag #goodbrunches

The Table Divine

It has been exactly three and a half weeks since I departed from the ever-ominous London Heathrow airport, and thus away from the city I had come to love, and in it many cherished friends. A few even came to see me off, which was very much appreciated (you’re golden – you know who you are ;))!

The evening before I took that bittersweet hop across the pond was spent with many of you in Shannon and Rachel’s flat, making bunting (thanks for the sewing lesson, Jo!), eating lots of veg (thanks for the culinary artistry, Shannon and Andy!) and toasting to many memories. I cannot articulate how loved you all made me feel, whether through your incredibly generous and unique gifts (I mean really, I have a whole new London themed room now!), your hilarious and sweet toasts and cards, or simply your warm smiles and goodbye hugs. It was a night for the books that I think of often. Oh, and of course, like a true Matryoshka Haus send-off, the final goodbye at the Captain Kidd was good fun as well!

I think that my last night in London was incredibly telling of what I learned through interning with Matryoshka Haus. For me, everything can come back to the idea of communion, friends around a table, sharing in something greater than themselves. For my last evening, that meant memories made together and funny stories. For the Learning Lab, it meant cross cultural relationships founded on love and mission. Sometimes it meant prayer, and true communion with Christ. Often it was curry or coffee and simply sharing stories and hopes with another.

One of the pieces of Rob Pepper’s Doxology series (which we had the pleasure of viewing and hearing about during the Learning lab) was Jesus and His disciples sharing in the last supper. He used gold-leaf to highlight the table and the chandelier, making those the focal point rather than any of the people in the drawing. I think there’s so much truth to that. Rob’s lovely interpretation of the last supper combined with my own last supper (for now, that is ;)) got me thinking. We each bring things to the table, but the table is the only sound thing, the only glorified thing– The gathering transcends what we bring.

I am endlessly grateful for Matryoshka Haus, it’s projects, and its people. Thank you Londoners, and know you are always welcome at my table in the States. May The Lord bless you and keep you, make his face to shine upon you, and give you peace.