Good News Café
What do you do?
We run a ‘Good News’ church café. We piloted 6 sessions over 3 months and this has
evolved into regular bi-monthly cafés on the first and third Tuesday each month from 10.30-12.00. Because we were already building some relationships with one or two visitors, there was no question but to carry on.
The vision is simply to be a vibrant, active presence in our local community building
relationships both with our local community and also with each other within our church by doing something together as a team.
This may enable us to talk about who and what we are (the "Good News" message) having grown a relationship with whoever happens to come through our doors. It was always very clear from the start that our prime focus is meeting people's needs. Our actions are our preaching by simply showing love to others.
All refreshments, homemade cakes and filtered coffee and tea, are free of charge, there are little money boxes on the tables with our 4 nominated charities (two Christadelphian, one national charity and one local charity) listed on the side if people wish to contribute. We change these 4 charities annually. Last year we raised about £200 which we divvied up in equal amounts.
How much work is
How did you
Initially it took a lot of planning and organisation. I realised that the commitment of regular
helpers is a big ask.
It needs at least 4 people with set up and clear up. It was important to be quite detailed about how it was going to run in order to get people on-board this had to be balanced with us all "owning" the project enabling others to suggest ideas and changes as we went along.
There is a now a regular team of helpers, all retired except me and one other, some of whom have been rather on the fringes of church so it has been great to see them getting involved.
It couldn't continue to run without their commitment. We also have some great cake makers who all willingly provide on a rota basis for each café.
It is quite an effort to set up each time as we have to use the main hall, happily folk seem to slip into their preferred roles be it chair moving, fixing the external banners, getting the coffee machines on or doing the little flower vases for the tables...
We launch advertised through local billing, our website (search for West Birmingham Christadelphians), Facebook (search for "Good news café") and word of mouth.
What's the cost
The main cost is your time.
There were some initial costs in purchasing some table cloths (from Dunelm- good choice of
wipeable patterns- about £30) and money boxes( about £6) Design and production of publicity materials including the sail banners for outside and a square banner which we put up the Sunday before the café (see photos).
Also flyers and leaflets are designed and produced on an on-going basis. These costs roughly amount to £200. Fortunately we have a brother in the printing trade which helps to keep the costs down.
The on-going cost to the meeting is the heating and electricity used each time we run and provision of tea and coffee and serviettes. We tend to take it in turns to provide the milk and flowers at our own cost (£3-4), as well as all the cakes made.
A sister kindly provided the little
vases for the tables- Ikea ones so very cheap to purchase if needed.
All the donations to the money boxes is towards the charities nominated and not used to
fund the running of the café.
Have you had a good response?
We have had regular visitors since the start, both young (with children and babies) and not so young. The nursery nurses across the road regularly bring a contingent of pre-schoolers who are happy to sit and colour and chat.
There is music playing in the background and also we are just trying to fix up the CALS short soundless videos now we have wi-fi, a jigsaw on the go, some knitters and toys out for any tiddlies. We have a few regular grown up visitors, one of whom has attended some of our Sunday services and midweek bible class.
Over all I would estimate that we have met 30+ local folk through the door which is 100% more than we did before the café was set up!
Any training needed?
Absolutely not. Just enthusiasm, be prepared to have conversations about anything with people from the local area and your church members, and the ability to eat cake and drink tea and coffee! ( which Christadelphians are notoriously good at.)