This is a brief look back at 2022 and a look forward to the months to come. We offer a few highlights of what the Lord has done here this past year, share what we prayerfully anticipate in the New Year, and invite your continuing partnership with us as we endeavor to create an unusual and impactful beacon for gospel-centered community for people near and far.
Key highlights from Magnalia Homestead Foundation in 2022:
- Together with help from many of you, we hosted more than 1,700(!) guests for events, community meals and overnight stays this year. Usually we have the opportunity to share the basis of our gospel hope with those visiting — and we always have the opportunity to love people in the name of Christ.
- In addition to interns and long-term lodgers in The Loft, visitors were welcomed to Walden Cabin and The Green Room from as near as our little country road to as far away as Germany, France, England, Singapore, China, Canada and states north, south and west. They represented every religious, ethnic and political stripe imaginable, and were hosted for activities on the farm, meals and conversations.
- We continued our regular Adler Roundtables with youth and Pigfest Society gatherings for learners of all ages.
- In addition to the blessing of many meals with friends, we hosted our annual Babette’s Feast, introduced new annual community meals including The Feast of St. Valentine and the USMC Birthday Party in Semper Fi Hall, and hosted two movie nights under the stars. Semper Fi Hall was the site of recurring Concealed Carry Classes. We added an annual HarvestFest event to our yearly events calendar, along with our Independence Day celebration.
- We continued our partnership with Mount Jubilee Ministries to help promote engagement of various kinds (including meaningful work!) for the local special needs community, and initiated a new ministry partnership with Forging New Lives — Matt Bray’s blacksmithing apprenticeship program with veterans struggling to work through PTSD.
- We cleared out a 2-acre hayfield near the creek on Magnalia’s property, cleared hiking/riding trails and roads, dug footers, milled wood, and created about 4 acres of pasture land with fencing and paddocks — and then brought in two turkeys, two miniature horses, four babydoll sheep, three Nigerian dwarf goats, a black angus cow (pregnant with calf!), and a donkey named Davie. They have made life more interesting! We have delighted in the way guests here have been blessed by the sight, sounds and company of these amazing creatures!
- With help from many hands, we built the 22-box OnePull Community Garden, The Crown & Pepper Garden Shoppe (a replica of the famed little community garden shoppe in London, circa 1850), the Garden Deck (which seats 18), and The Village Blacksmith Shoppe. We also poured the footings for the Milling Barn, established a Monarch Sanctuary, dug out the community fish pond alongside the community garden, added a lean-to on our livestock barn, and expanded our firewood shanties.
- Magnalia Press published the first Adler Reader, and we’re currently editing a new book now for release this year called A Homesteader’s Anthology.
In sum, it’s been a busy year at The Homestead! A legion of volunteers, workers and visionaries have made it possible.
New Developments Planned (Deo Volenti) for 2023:
- We’re opening up The Village Blacksmith Shoppe for overnight lodgers in January, and will also use it for a new regular gathering called “Anvil Conversations” (an invited group of 12 diverse guests who will “hammer out” one topic of debate).
- We’re opening up The Crown & Pepper Garden Shoppe for priceless private meals for two, and expect the Garden Deck to be a frequent site of morning and afternoon teas and evening cocktail and dinner parties featuring produce from the OnePull Community Garden as we move into the planting and harvesting seasons. The livestock will provide increasing agritherapy opportunities – and we hope to add horseback riding lessons and trail-riding to our events calendar beginning this Spring.
- Permits have been pulled for Narnia Cottage, a three-room guesthouse built to provide longer term accomodations for people who need a restorative “Halfway House” on their way into their life’s next chapter. Magnalia Foundation will operate this old-style English country cottage with the help of a resident innkeeper. (And yes, there will be a gas-lit, Narnia-style lantern in the forest behind it!)
- In 2023, we’re also hoping to advance work on (1) a brick oven for cooking and pottery, (2) an expanded apiary; (3) the Milling Barn (with room for milling wood and curing it, and temporary stalls for two horses), (4) a family-friendly disc golf course designed by the VE boys; and (5) the Hobbit-hole, which we envision as a legendary little inn on Shire Lane, the new road we’ve cut into the Foundation’s hillside forest acreage.
- We’ve added The Feast of St. Patrick to our schedule of Annual Winter Feasts this year, and a new Spring “Day on the Farm” to our yearly events schedule. We plan to continue our current roundtables, gatherings and training events — and hope to add workshops on blacksmithing, woodworking, gardening, and a “Constitution Bootcamp” (a 6-hour event in Semper Fi Hall organized in partnership with the Ohio-based non-profit, Building Blocks for Liberty).
- We’ll continue our current ministry partnerships and work to establish new ones, since part of our vision is to be an enabling partner to other non-profit organizations advancing a culture of life, faith, love and liberty.
- In addition to publishing A Homestead Anthology, we hope to publish the second Adler Reader, and a new book called The Catechisms of Life.
All this said, as noted above, if you feel we are advancing our mission in earnest, and Magnalia’s work and mission is aligned with your mission in the world, please consider helping us to create a “home away from home” and a beacon of gospel life and love here at Magnalia Homestead. Now more than ever in America, we need more inter- generational, life-on-life ministry happening in the context of Christian community.
Or you can EXPLORE OTHER WAYS TO PARTICIPATE HERE.
Donors will receive a complimentary 8″ x 10″ (hand-signed and numbered) print of Walter Stone’s ink sketch of The Village Blacksmith Shoppe. Walter’s work is a remarkable rendition of the unique community you are helping to create here as part of the Foundation’s ministry.
Lastly, please let us know how we can serve you and yours in the New Year! Can we pray alongside you? Can we host someone from your family, or a friend, or your place of work, who might be blessed by some soul-care hospitality? Can we provide a community garden box for someone who would be blessed by that? Can we offer space for you to host a gathering? Can we invite you out for a hike or an afternoon of cabin reading?
Our family and ministry team would be honored to serve you in these ways (or in other ways you share with us).
With love and affection,
Jim & Rachel
and our extended family
and the incredible Magnalia team
P.S. If you want to see more about life here, PLEASE VISIT OUR JOURNAL for a quick browse.
P.S.S. Some of you have asked about the status of The Jubilee Barn project. Well, we dug the foundation, gathered up timbers and tens of thousands of dollars of building supplies, met with contractors and secured approval from the county, and planned, and budgeted. Then we re-budgeted (as pricing more than doubled!). And then we re-budgeted again — until we at last opted to pause on “the big barn” until we could manage the construction at more favorable rates for supplies and labor and with more financial support and better financing terms. So, more on that as we go. Suffice it to say, as the Lord’s timing becomes clear, we look forward to a grand barn-raising experience!
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