Ten months after burning to the ground as a result of arson, the Green Bean Coffee House in Seattle, Wash., reopened in a new location (see Banner, Dec. 2009).
The Green Bean is a ministry of Sanctuary Christian Reformed Church in Seattle’s culturally diverse Greenwood neighborhood.
After the fire, the Green Bean staff and Sanctuary CRC members prayed for a new location. God answered that prayer through an abandoned McDonald’s restaurant.
Summer Mohrlang, pastor of outreach at Sanctuary and manager of the Green Bean, had her sights set on this building. “It had been sitting vacant for two or three years, covered in graffiti, and was an eyesore in the neighborhood,” she said. “We felt strongly it was the Lord who was putting it front of us.”
Initially John Eidson, a contractor and member of Sanctuary CRC, was skeptical, but he donated time in constructing the new building and coordinating volunteer labor. Church members and neighbors pitched in to help with cleaning, painting, and weeding. Groups from churches from as far away as Texas came to lend a hand. Local businesses donated the majority of the furniture.
The Green Bean is more than a place to sip a cup of coffee (see Banner, Nov. 2009.) There is a story time for children, a book exchange, computer terminals, space for fellowship groups, and care for the people in the neighborhood.
Since reopening, business at the Green Bean has almost tripled. New people and fellowship groups continue to find community daily. Rev. Randy Rowland, lead pastor of Sanctuary CRC, said that the Green Bean staff continue to look for opportunities to practice hospitality within the neighborhood.
“It is risky and hard work engaging community, but it is worth it,” says Rowland.