It’s time at last to announce some mind-blowingly good news: the North Wind Manor fundraising is complete. Thanks to a lot of extremely generous people (this means you), we were able to meet our goal just a few weeks ago—in fact, we exceeded it by a few thousand dollars. Do you realize how amazing that is? I’ll answer that for you. Very, very amazing.
In case you’re new around here and you’re wondering, “What’s North Wind Manor and why all the excitement?” I’ll give it to you in a nutshell:
For years we’ve been operating out of an old farmhouse on a few acres in Nashville, and though we tried hard to make it work, the place was in desperate need of a deep renovation. It was adequate as a homey office space, and we hoped it would be a sort of retreat from the noise of the city, a place where we could host lectures and Bible studies and small concerts. We’ve had a handful of events out here, and people seemed to like them—even though the house, despite our best efforts, never quite felt right, like the clothes didn’t fit. And yet, the location is perfect—there are walking trails along the creek, a front porch tailor made for Tennessee sunsets, and there’s an undeniable feeling of peace and restfulness, all just minutes from Nashville.
So after looking around Nashville for a while to see if we could find a place that would give us office space, shipping and storage facilities, and room for hosting events, we realized the best place was right under our feet; the thing to do was to stay put and dig in, with a long view of the future of the Rabbit Room. We decided to renovate and the place in order to make it more hospitable, functional, and beautiful. But that’s not all. The plan had two phases that reflect two key aspects of the Rabbit Room’s work:
1) Build a storage facility/shipping office/publishing house for the operations required to do all the things we do. What things? Publishing books (we have more than thirty in print now), shipping CDs, books, and art that we support, organizing the Local Show, planning Hutchmoot—those sorts of things, for starters. We were also paying for a couple of storage units to house the books, and we wanted to bring that in-house to save money. Well, thanks to you we secured the funding to begin construction on the barn in January 2019 and completed the project about a month ago, to much celebration. With the help of an army of wonderful volunteers, we immediately moved all the shipping and operations out of the old farmhouse (and out of the storage units), and into the new barn—and morale immediately improved. Turns out, it’s nice being in a space without mouse nests in the cupboards or vines growing through the walls.
2) Phase two, of course, was to renovate the farm house, a.k.a. “North Wind Manor.” Once the barn was finished we started on the house. Well, as renovations often go, we found out pretty quickly that the problems with the house were deep, and went straight through the bones and into the foundation. The footprint and plans haven’t changed at all, but we had to start with a new foundation and take the place apart. This was awesome because we got to save a lot of the old, fat, century-old beams, fireplace mantels, and cool hardwoods so that we can reincorporate them into the new place. I just love that we’re carrying the old, beautiful stuff over into the new. We also saved a ton of good foundation stones that we’ll incorporate into the gardens and landscaping.
Here’s my favorite part: now that the operations have moved to the storage barn/publishing house, the manor will be used solely for ministry. There’s a big kitchen for hosting, a library (with a fireplace!) for reading and study, and a large room that will seat about 100 people for things like writing groups, lectures, symposiums, concerts, and feasting. Until now, the Rabbit Room has always had to put on its events elsewhere. This new space will allow us to dig into a place, to season these acres and these walls with good stories of the New Creation.
So after literally years of dreaming, followed by years of planning, we pulled the trigger on the fundraising campaign almost exactly a year ago. In just one year, you helped us raise more than $450,000 and the Rabbit Room is flourishing like never before. That’s why I say it’s very, very amazing. These are exciting times in the Rabbit Room. We thank God for you every time we walk into the new office space and hear the sound of construction on the farm house. Hopefully in another year the house will be finished and we’ll enter a new season in this ministry, one that will hopefully last till long after we’re dead and gone.
All that said, there will certainly be some overages in the project, and we’ll of course need to furnish it (we’ll need a piano, sound equipment, chairs, tables, etc.), so if you’ve been meaning to help financially we still need you. It’s kind of like in The Lord of the Rings, when Sauron has been defeated, but there are still like 100 pages left in the book for the scouring of the Shire and the voyage to the Grey Havens. My, wasn’t that a nerdy analogy? Here’s one for you sports people: We’ve crossed the finish line of the marathon, but we still need help with the cool-down. (Not as good as a LOTR analogy, but it’ll do.)
The point is, there’s a lot to be thankful for. There’s a real sense around here that this is Kingdom work, and after twelve years we’re just getting started. From the board, the staff, and the many people connected to this ministry, thank you so much.
Sincerely, gratefully, joyfully yours,