A house for Matryoshka Haus

Exciting plans are afoot at Matryoshka Haus! As of the beginning of October, we have the tenancy to a property in London in which we can make a home for both our community and much of the work that we are involved with.

Finding a home has been a dream for several years – since 2011 in fact! On several occasions our hopes have been dashed, but at last we’ve found something that we think will work.

St Dunstans

St Dunstan’s Wharf is a property located on Narrow Street, right by the Thames, in the Limehouse neighbourhood of East London. The skyscrapers of Canary Wharf are just a 10 minute walk away, and the flat in Wapping that’s home for Shannon & Rachel is just over 20 minutes walk along the river. It’s a building with a lot of character (just like us!) and a huge amount of potential…

What’s it going to be used for exactly? Well, there are some concrete ideas and some less concrete. What we do know is:

  • That it will be a hub for all Matryoshka Haus activities – including community meals, meetings, training and resource planning.
  • It will be a space in which we can hold large gatherings (e.g. our regular Learning Labs and groups of visitors).
  • It will provide a workspace for those within the community who are already working on projects together, but will enable them to physically work alongside one another for the first time.
  • It will provide overnight accommodation for guests in a bedroom suite.

That’s just the start – the building has lots of possibilities! In the few weeks since we acquired it, it’s already hosted a baby shower, several overnight guests and a number of large meetings – including several with local social enterprises that we’re helping to resource. Plans are also being made for our first Thanksgiving in our own home in just a few weeks time.

It’s a fantastic space – and don’t just take my word for it – Gav, our very first overnight guest conducted a photographic tour of the building (once Shannon had rescued him from being locked in the garage!).

Gav in da hausGav’s unique take on St Dunstan’s…

We’ve still got a way to go in making the space right for us – there are tables, desks, chairs and numerous other bits and pieces that are needed to mould it to our purposes – but at least we finally have a house for Matryoshka Haus, and that is something to really celebrate!

**UPDATE**

We have now launched a crowd funder to help resource the fitting out of the building. We’d love it if you felt able to pledge your support!

Prayers for a proposal

Since Christmas, the working group has been meeting in a cafe in the heart of the City of London, discussing and devising a proposal to the Church of England for the building that could be Matroyshka Haus’ home.

Hours have been spent writing drafts, concocting spreadsheets and sending emails – this weekend will see the final proof-reading of the document, ready to be sent to the Diocese of London on Monday morning. Please pray for energy, wisdom and agreement amongst the volunteers working on this! We would really like the document to be the best reflection of who we are, why we feel this building could be our home and why the Church of England should support us.

Please also pray for what happens next:

  • For wisdom and understanding on the part of those who will receive the proposal and pass it on to others.
  • For a favourable response to its contents.
  • For a speedy response and an opportunity to meet with the key individuals in the very near future.
  • For the funds we need to make this project possible.
It’s at times like this when our community ties are most evident. Even though we’re not all in the same country, we’re still working hard on this together – today there have been phone calls from Alaska and emails from Boston, as well as communication between those in London. It feels as though this journey towards a home is bringing the community closer together…

Matryoshka Haus…on the move

Firstly we would like to say a huge THANK YOU to Caroline for all her hard work and great writing for Matryoshka Haus.  She has now returned to the US but we hope to continue the blog to update everyone on our progress with various projects. Thanks for your inspiration Caroline!

We hope to bring you news but also perhaps clearer understanding of our work…and we welcome you to join us. So let’s start with a recent meeting we had to discuss what will hopefully be the new home of Matryoshka Haus.  We were posed a question, what one word reflects your current thoughts about MH…..

The idea of MH offering a ‘home’ rather than just a communal space came through very strongly during our discussions.

Next we considered what really excited us about MH – and so out came the coloured pens…


From this emerged…

…a sense of permanence and legacy in the local area and community

…building a community and meeting new people

….creative space

…supporting new projects and ideas

Ofcourse any good reflection includes what wasn’t so great about where we were (in Shannon’s flat)…

…lack of space and privacy

…noise

but then there were many positives…

…a place that nurtured many individuals and new inspiration

…central location


Looking back I personally have met so many people at Shannon’s old flat but now is the time for us to grow.  For some time the majority of the MH work and drive has come from three very dedicated people: Shannon, Cathers and Andy.  If this is to expand then we recognise that more people are needed to make it happen.

Around the table at the weekend were not so much the visionaries….but the ‘do-ers’.  Our hope is take the ideas of MH and make some of it happen.  And given the number of ideas I think we’ll be happy if even just a fraction get to fly.  We’re setting up a building working group for starters.  We’re thinking plans, structure, budgeting……spreadsheets. Oh yes, spreadsheets.  For those who know Shannon you’ll giggle at the thought of her pouring over a spreadsheet – so we’ve come to take that burden away from her (and Cathers and Andy if they want!) so that she (they) can do what they do best – inspiring us to do what we do.

So exciting times are ahead and we hope to communicate each stage of this fascinating process with you good people.  We will also need your help.

The Gathering

Once again, today is yet another busy Friday!! We are happy to welcome Greg Richards to London for the weekend and are most grateful for the help he will provide Matryoshka Haus with the preparation and execution of a presentation we will be giving tomorrow afternoon at 3 pm – prayers for that are much appreciated!! The presentation will be for a group of family foundations entitled ‘The Gathering’. The goal is to educate these people on how God is working in the context of Matryoshka Haus in a simple and passionate way while glorifying Him in the process. We are aiming to make the presentation interactive and experiential by using portions of the Transformational Index tool while at the same time demonstrating the kind of humble hospitality that characterizes MH. It will take place at an extremely cutting edge and lovely ‘live-work space’ – a space that has been very generously provided for the afternoon by a dear friend of Matryoshka Haus.

Now, because of the fortunate role I play that enables me to be simultaneously on the ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of MH, I’m going to brag on MH a little bit. ‘The Gathering’ only chooses 6 groups out of thousands of which they consider learning more about is worth their time. Matryoshka Haus, because of the amazing strides it has already taken through its various projects has been chosen as one of those groups – a group that they believe could have the potential to continue to do more, and a group that they believe could be a viable investment. The fact that MH has been given the opportunity to present to ‘The Gathering’ is evidence, I believe, that whatever MH is doing has been significant enough to catch the attention of a group of people from another country who – given the fact that they chose to come learn more – seemingly consider it to be different from the thousands upon thousands of other groups trying to accomplish similar goals. What an encouragement that should be to Matryoshka Haus to continue to push onward with the tenacity that characterizes it as an organization as well as a group of people, in its efforts to bring ‘the Kingdom of God to Earth, as it is in Heaven.’ Regardless of the outcome of the presentation to ‘The Gathering’ we know that it is something within which God is at work and it is one more blessed opportunity for Matryoshka Haus to share with others how, ‘God is working in its context.’

On a quick side note to wrap things up; as we welcome Greg to the UK this morning, I’m reminded of our guest that we sent back to the states just 48 hours ago. Many thanks to MATT MLLER – the man who made this blog possible – and was here in London living life with Matryoshka Haus and its community for about three weeks, in addition to helping out tremendously in a variety of different ways! Gracias, Matt.