Thursday, April 9
Presbytery of Lake Erie
On December 3, 2012, the door opened and the first guests arrived at the Open Door Cafe in Oil City.
Believing that God was already present in the lives of each person in the community, a small group from Second Presbyterian Church began having conversations around creating a place outside church walls where God’s mission in the neighborhoods could be discovered.
The group decided it would open a cafe where all might feel welcome, regardless of means; payment for food and beverages would be optional, in the form of a donation. The cafe would be a place where people could gather over soup or coffee and have conversations possibly leading to relationships. It would be a place where one could become a “detective of divinity” alert to opportunities to join God in mission. To sharpen these detecting skills, they developed a training program based on Luke 10:1–12 called EARS (engage, accept, respond, serve), which is designed to cultivate beliefs, attitudes, habits, and skills for listening in order to discover what God is up to.
Today, over 20 volunteers serve at the Open Door Cafe, and people from all over the city provide soup, ingredients, and supplies. Church members and folks from the neighborhood are working side by side to renovate an adjacent house for a soon-to-be expansion. In its first year, the cafe fed more than 3,000 and was a catalyst in forming numerous caring relationships. More than just a cafe, Open Door is a space dedicated to God that invites conversations and welcomes God to be a part of them.
Second Presbyterian Church is one of 59 congregations in the Presbytery of Lake Erie.
—Josh Botts and Kathleen Massie: members of Second Presbyterian Church, Oil City; board members of the Open Door Initiative
Let us join in prayer for
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Father, thank you for your love that enables us to love others. Help us to reflect the free gift of your grace to all who cross our path. Amen.