Just on a year ago, St James, King Street installed a coffee shop at the front on the square which leads from the Railway Station to the main legal section of the city. It is only open on weekdays so I have only once tried its coffee but I am glad to read that it is going well. In our monthly online magazine the Associate Rector, Fr John Stewart writes:
"From 6.00am Monday to Friday, the friendly and welcoming faces of Marius and Luis swing wide open the old wrought iron gates at the East end of the Church, start the heating-up process of the espresso machine, and prepare for the steady stream of workers, who over the next few hours, will emerge from the subway that links St James’ station to Queen’s Square. Many of them will divert from their well trodden path to the office, in order to pick-up their favourite shot – sometimes called a ‘god shot’ by coffee connoisseurs, or those who simply know what they like! Since Coffee @ St James’ Church began operating almost twelve months ago, not only has the legal precinct gained a new coffee cart and unique café experience, so too have the ministry opportunities for the parish grown in an exciting way. Our church now looks alive throughout the day as the eastern end of the grounds host patrons at the tables overlooking the Square, and even in the bays of the crypt. For many, they have never before set foot on our grounds – and here we are now, welcoming them in!".....
"for the clergy at St James’ as each visit to the coffee cart results in encountering and conversing with the customers either in the queue or seated at tables in the courtyard. In fact, only the other week, a man from south-west Sydney had made what he called ‘a rare journey into the city,’ discovered our coffee cart, and found there the welcoming embrace of St James’ as a result. Furthermore, he also encountered a priest to whom he could talk – and he needed to! What a unique opportunity God has given us, as we minister here in the heart of the city – just imagine what we could do if we could offer a continuous priestly presence in and around the coffee cart each day? Food for thought."
And I note the customers can tell Fr John is a priest which would not be true for many of the evangelical priests in our city.
Another part of the magazine refers to the Christian Meditation Group.
One was started just 20 years ago and there are now 3 weekday groups plus one on Sunday afternoon.
"The lunchtime groups are very popular and attract a lot of city workers and others. In fact they are so popular and St James’ is so connected with the tradition of contemplative prayer that we are seeking leaders for groups to meet at lunchtime on the other two days of the week, so that Christian meditation is offered at our church every day of the week."
It is good to read about these developments in a parish which would be often criticised by others in the diocese as not being evangelistic. I do regret that living 80km from my church restricts my participation even in drinking coffee there.
The Hoosier State Experiment.
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