As a church without a building (we rent the community centre each Sunday morning) the coffee house was set up to provide a tangible church presence in the community of Highwoods where there had previously been no daytime social meeting space, apart from the Tesco café. It has certainly proved the need, being busy to full for quite a bit of the day with just the occasional quiet moment, for which the staff are usually grateful. As intended, other times have attracted wider church or community use. The teens occupy the place on Sunday mornings, we run the Alpha course there, it’s hosted a local CAP Money course, the police have held meetings there and a few other community groups have made use of the coffee house some evenings.
So, after a successful year it was time for a sort of party, with reduced prices during the day and slices of birthday cake for all, against a backdrop of much banter and a bit of live music.
[Blueberry Cheesecake Muffin with Managers Matt and Suzie]
I asked Jamie, one of the original visionaries of the Oak Tree Coffee House, if the last year had matched the image he’d had in his mind when it was just an idea. “I’m not quite sure how I imagined it,” he said. Then, after a pause, added, “I think it’s been even better.”