Michael Miller knows where to find a listening ear: at the Green Bean Coffee House in Seattle’s Greenwood area.
Rev. Randy Rowland, pastor of Sanctuary Christian Reformed Church two doors down, sometimes serves the coffee. Sanctuary CRC manages the neighborhood advancement initiative under which the Green Bean operates.
When Miller, who is studying for his master’s degree, attends the “Notes from Job Search” group, Rowland greets him with, “How’s school? How’s the job hunt?” Miller says, “People here care. I can always . . . find someone to talk to.”
Other community people appreciate that listening ear too. A woman involved in drugs and prostitution walked in off the street one Tuesday and listened to the children’s story time. A man battling cancer found a sense of family at the Green Bean, which he visited until he passed away.
The Green Bean serves as Sanctuary’s front porch, and many people connect there first.
Manager Summer Mohrlang reports, “Twenty-six groups from the Greenwood community used our space from January to June 2009.”
Mohrlang invites people to the coffee house to hear from the “Artist or Non-profit of the Month.” The aim is to “encourage individuals and foster connections between all who enter here,” she says.
Sanctuary CRC is part of the Seattle Cluster (see “Taking Church to the People of Seattle”).