Well, in fact, the café has been opening each week since early February but on Saturday 18th April we had our official opening ceremony.
Over 50 people including church members, local councillors, Steve Eling and Ann Jaron and members of the community squeezed into the café to see Joan Newby (at 92, the Chapel’s oldest member cut the ribbon).
Project Manager, Eugene Johnson opened proceedings by thanking the many people who had helped with the project including individuals and charities that had contributed financially, many of the church’s young people who had helped work on the site and of course the building contractors. However, Eugene said that the most important person we needed to say thank you to was God. The project is for his glory not ours. Those gathered sang the hymn “To God be the Glory” and then a number of people prayed for the church, café and community.
Dave Williams then spoke for 5 minutes starting with the question “Why have so many people from diverse backgrounds committed to work together on a project like this often sacrificing time as well as money? He said that the answer could be summed up in two phrases. First of all “We love Bearwood. The church cares about the local community. Bearwood is a fantastic place with so much potential. It is a creative and caring community. We want to value these good things but we also recognise so much need with people struggling with debt, homelessness, drug and alcohol problems etc.” The café is not just a place to go and buy a cup of tea or coffee, it aims to be a friendly, welcoming place where people can drop in to meet others and get practical help and advice.
Secondly, Dave said “We believe that God loves Bearwood. Often the mess and problems are down to our own failings as humans. We choose to try and do things our own way instead of God’s way. However, God has acted to save us, to sort out the mess and deal with the problem of sin. He did this by sending Jesus to die in our place and rise again.” The café aims to be a place that shows something of God’s love and where people can find out why the Bible’s message is good news.
The Community Café is now open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:00am-3pm and then on Saturday mornings from 9:00am-1:00pm. On Wednesday’s a Community Lunch is offered where visitors can have soup and a roll plus a hot drink for free or for a voluntary donation.