A Meaningful, Multiplied Matryoshka Haus Thanksgiving! Part 2: Recollections from the Celebration

I mentioned in Part 1: Backstory that I expected to follow up on that big picture of Matryoshka Haus’ origins and overall direction with a post more specifically about the Thanksgiving celebration. Part 2 is that post. (And, when more details about the three sibling non-profits are available, I’ll add Part 3 with that news and some thoughts on what it could mean for MHaus’ future.)

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How best to convey the ambience and significance of the Matryoshka Haus Thanksgiving? I thought about this off and on for a few weeks, and decided to share the flow of the overall framework, punctuated by photos, some scans of the program brochure, and a few personal recollections. Continue reading

A Meaningful, Multiplied Matryoshka Haus Thanksgiving! Part 1: Backstory

SUMMARY. I returned Tuesday from a trip to London to celebrate a milestone Thanksgiving with the good people of Matryoshka Haus – which has been both a community and a non-profit, founded 16 years ago by Shannon Hopkins. I’ve been associated with them since early on, and served as an archivist, editor, and interactor.

I’m blogging a short series about this unique organization, which was awarded a “Traditioned Innovation” designation from Duke University in 2018, in recognition of their significant contributions to making a difference through social transformation entrepreneurship.

MHaus leaders invested 2019 in discerning their way forward as an organization, adopting some crucial choices that opt for an agile institution that can last beyond two generations, instead of orbiting around past forms leading to fragile institutionalization. Part 1 shares their backstory, Part 2 about the milestone process, and Part 3 about choosing multiplication, not division; and specialization, not separation.

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In my work as a futurist, I sometimes share a definition of an institution as being “an organization that lasts beyond two generations.” That means the organization’s legacy outlives its founders. What does it require, for that to be a positive?

The current members must provide enough flexibility and freedom for their “spiritual grandchildren” to discern their own cultural times and how to adapt the purpose, mission, and vision for impact in their own generation.

The alternative to growing into this kind of institution is to become institutionalized – inflexible, circling around the past instead of moving into the future. Unfortunately, too many organizations remain on that pathway instead of choosing a forward trajectory. It results in their losing agility and instead developing fragility.

Thankfully, the Matryoshka Haus non-profit team paused in 2019, investing much of its energy into considering the organization’s past and present, so they could find the optimal way forward. Their process gives me confidence they’ll continue their dynamic impact through relating, advocating, consulting, producing social entrepreneur tools, and more. Meanwhile, the London community that birthed this non-profit continues to evolve and is finding its way forward as well.

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  • Part 1: Backstory to a Forward-Looking Community, and Evolving from One to Three
  • Part 2: Recollections from the Celebration
  • Part 3: MHaus and To Be Announced …

Wishing all y’all a meaningful Thanksgiving Thursday! I already had a T-day, actually, this past Sunday in London. I was a guest at the 16th annual Matryoshka Haus “Britican/Ameritish Thanksgiving” celebration. It was wonderful to be there with the MHaus community to mark a year of transitions for them, and to look forward to new things that were evolving.

Change involves both losses and gains, and this year represented an extraordinary level of change for both the Matryoshka Haus community and the non-profit ministry organization. More about that in a bit … but thought I’d share some first-hand history on the origins of this extraordinary gathering of people.

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Becky Garrison on “Fashion for Change” and “Ancient Future Disciples”

Today is the traditional day set aside in Western liturgies to celebrate the visit of the wise men to the baby Jesus. Over the years, it has become my second most favorite holiday, right after Easter weekend. Anyway, I set aside part of this day for reflection, prayer, and writing. One of the things I decided to do was to share a bit about Becky Garrison, a friend of mine who brings gifts of advocacy, insight, and challenge to disciples, ministries, churches, and movements. And lo and behold, she does so with both seriousness and satire!

Becky and I connected through that missional mogul, TallSkinnyKiwi (also known as Andrew Jones, who happens to be one of the instigators of my entry into blogging nearly 10 years ago). We’ve been in touch for a few years now, with lots of emails and a few in-person visits to round out the virtual relating. Continue reading

Sweet Notions Already Shows What Future Mission and Ministry Will Look Like

Summary: This post profiles Sweet Notions, the most recent social enterprise start-up element in the Matryoshka Haus international network. I see this decentralized network as a forerunner in missional ministries and Kingdom enterprises. With nearly a decade track record to its credit, Matryoshka Haus continues to develop organically with components of contextual discipleship, creative collaboration, micro-businesses, and social transformation movements.

Sweet Notions “rethinks * restores * and reclaims” through sales of donated fashion accessories. It also sponsors Design Camps – a safe environment for empowering women by training them in marketable skills to “upcycle” accessories. Sweet Notions is definitely an ongoing case study to watch, if you want to see more than glimpses now of what holistic mission and ministry will look like later.

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