Month: March 2015

New Church, New Coffee House: A Real Oasis After Wandering in the Desert

New Church, New Coffee House: A Real Oasis After Wandering in the Desert

Looking for a great time on Saturday night?  Come to 150 PROSPECT, AN OPEN MIC EXPERIENCE and COFFEE HOUSE, at 150 Prospect Street in Wethersfield, Connecticut! 150 Prospect invites musicians, singers, poets, dancers and comedians ages 14 and up to perform in our venue for up to ten minute sets. There are no restrictions on respectful content. 150 PROSPECT is substance-free, open to all and is held monthly. Free homemade soups, chili, desserts, coffee and soft drinks will be available!  Doors open at 6:30, the mics will be open from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

That’s the infomercial. Now here’s the back story! I am really excited and in awe how this all has come about! As some of you may know, last April my husband Sean and I changed churches (after 26 years there, together, and 46 years total for me). We had facilitated a coffee house at the former place for two years and it was doing rather well. Not because of us, but because we had prayed that God would bless it—and He did. There always seemed to be enough performers, audience, food, and grace. After two years, it had grown to nearly 60 participants (audience and performers). We were grateful and thrilled.

Suddenly, God had other plans for us. Turns out, His were better. Right after our two year anniversary coffee house night, April 5, 2014, a most traumatic thing happened the next day that left me shell-shocked and broken-hearted. And wandering through the desert for a long time.  I have done a lot of processing and praying since then, and have since come to accept that in order for me/us to get (spiritually) well, we had to “pick up our mats” and move along.

I marvel now as I think back to that fateful April 6th. On that particular Sunday the Scripture lesson back at my old church was most fitting, if not customized for us to hear. “When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”  “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”  Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” John 5:6-8

I see now how “unwell” I had been staying at my old church all those years. God was saying, “You want to be well, Tanja? Get up!  Pick up your mat and walk!” So we began visiting new churches. By Mother’s Day, we found ourselves at Wethersfield United Methodist Church (WUMC)—and have been going there ever since.

I reached out to the Pastor there who is also an incredible counselor. He and many of the people welcomed us with genuine love.  I told a new friend that one of the things that hurt the most leaving my old church was leaving the coffee house behind. She said, “Our church has been talking about opening our own coffee house for the past two years!” I started crying.

Fast forward a few more months. We learned that the fabulous Praise Band at WUMC’s early Morning Glory Service had envisioned establishing a coffee house since they began in 2009. WUMC’s Outreach Committee decided this summer that a ‘coffee house’ would be a good way of reaching out to the community. Before Christmas, Sean, my niece Debbie and I met with members of these groups. We were ready to share our experience facilitating a coffee house. With God’s perfect timing, the willingness of musicians and parishioners, and tons of prayer, 150 Prospect, a new open mic and coffee house will open its doors on March 28th, and will run once a month!

Yes,150 Prospect open mic and coffee house will be in a funked-out space in a church hall, but it is purposely a non-religious event. Yet, it’s got all the the right notes for plenty of spirit! If you’re in the neighborhood, come by!

Life Is Beautiful, The Afters