It’s wonderful and most encouraging to see so much interest since launching this website and the Facebook page just last night – Thank you!
I wrote a few thoughts on Facebook at an earlier stage in the planning process; I’m re-publishing that article here, since it still includes relevant information:
Since spending time as volunteers in Taizé in 1997-98, my wife and I have had a dream of being able to live in a community as a family. We are now in the process of buying a big house in the lovely village of Halton, on the river Lune, near Lancaster (in the North-West of England, near the Lake District) which is ideally suited for use by a reasonable-sized community. The house has at least 12 large bedrooms, most with en-suite WC & shower, together with all the common areas we would need – dining room, big kitchen, living room, chapel, garden, etc., and already has the required fire alarms, etc., to meet the regulations for this kind of shared use. Our proposal is to form a community of eventually around 12-16 people – singles, couples & families – who would live here as a common household, with daily prayers and shared meals. It would be up to the community to discern what projects we could contribute to in local community.
Halton is already an interesting village from the point of view of alternative living, being home to the Lancaster Cohousing project – so we’ll be in good company, close by others who are actively trying different models of living together. http://www.lancastercohousing.org.uk/ There is a good cycleway connecting Halton to Lancaster centre (about 15 minutes).
Our community would need to meet its own financial needs, so each person would probably need to find some sort of paid work (preferably part-time or working from home, in order to be present in community from day to day). We would offer the use of the house on a non-profit basis, sharing the costs while keeping them as low as possible. It would also be possible to study or work at either of the two universities in Lancaster – Lancaster University or the University of Cumbria.
Although we hope that this experiment will include young adults (singles or couples), this proposal isn’t the sort of ready-made volunteer programme which some organisations offer. Rather it’s a possibility to come together and figure out together what it means to live as a community, without having a fixed scope in terms of duration or activities.
I very much hope that we could find a good international mix of people from different denominational backgrounds. Given the lack of ready-made structure, I think it’s important that people already have some relevant background. Having spent a longer time in Taizé or many visits over a period of years would be ideal, as would similar experiences (e.g. Grandchamp, Iona?)
Showing that it is possible to live together harmoniously and have a positive engagement locally would, in itself, be a powerful sign of hope in this time when political rhetoric is leading to increased fear and mistrust of the other.
We will commit to living in this community as a family from the start, and very much hope to be joined by more people from late summer / early autumn. It’s an exciting stage to be involved in setting up this new community from the start. At this stage we’d also be happy to include anyone who just wants to come for a few months initially while we are setting things up.
Do please drop us a line if you’d be interested in looking into this possibility, and feel free to pass on the invitation to others who may be interested.
Please contact us if you are interested!