10/23/09

SISTER CHURCH HIT HARD IN GREENWOOD

I was awakened around 4AM this morning by multiple sirens near our home in Greenwood. The smell of smoke was so pungent, Alicia and I thought something might be burning in our house. We soon realized it was smoke from outside. Turning on the TV, we were shocked to see live footage of flames engulfing the Green Bean Coffee House and three other businesses. Within a few hours, three family owned restaurants and a valued community gathering spot, the entire Eleanor Roosevelt Building on N. 85th Street, had burned to the ground.



A big fire always presents dramatic loss; thankfully, no fatalities or serious injuries were involved in this one. For many of us, though, the sadness brought on by this fire is close and personal. The Green Bean Coffee House has been a familiar ministry meeting place for many, including several Emmaus Road people. David Anema and Eric Likkel met there the day before, planning community development steps and discussing ministry issues. The Green Bean had become a thriving non-profit outreach, launched and nurtured by our sister Christian Reformed congregation in Greenwood, Sanctuary Church. People we know and love have poured their lives into this neighborhood through the hospitality and generosity shared there.

The Taproot Theater building, where the congregation worships next door to the Greenbean, was also severely damaged, causing Sanctuary to become temporarily "homeless." But according to Dr. Randy Rowland, CEO of the Green Bean Coffee House and pastor of Sanctuary, “A church and a community development organization are about people, not about buildings. The people are unharmed and we remain resolute in our vision and mission in Greenwood. We are here to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. None of that will change. We will carry on beginning today.”

Pray for all involved, including the families who lost their businesses and livelihoods along with the Green Bean.

Websites will be updated regularly with relevant information.
www.sanctuarycrc.org
www.greenbeancoffee.org

1 comment:

Mike Elenbaas said...

Eric - we're praying for those hit hard by this fire. My family are friends with the owners of Pho Tic Tac, a Vietnamese restaurant that was one of the three to be burned. Pray for Luann and Tan, the owners, as they determine what to do next. About a year ago they started a second store over on Aurora (approximately 125th and Aurora I believe, although I haven't been to it yet). Pray for them too.

The Emmaus Road Story

In the winter of 1997, we began as a small team of about 10 people, committed to gathering and growing a church that would connect with others like ourselves; people interested in connecting with God, in the person and work of Jesus Christ, but disconnected from the activity of many mainstream congregations. With the financial support of a larger church organization, our pastor was able to work full time with the team in planning, leadership development, and meeting people in the community.

Our first meetings were open discussion forums. We talked about prayer, scripture, spiritual discipline and the issues with which we all struggle. As friends talked to friends, the first group expanded and we multiplied into two.

Inspired by the journey process as a metaphor for spiritual growth, we searched for a name which would reflect that idea. In the resurrection narrative of Luke 24, we found our name "on the road to Emmaus."

After our first worship event on Good Friday of 1997, both groups began to gather together for worship once a month. In various coffee shops and rental spaces, we gradually increased our worship times to twice a month, and in September of 1998 we decided to gather every Sunday. Since the beginning, numerical growth has been gradual but steady, most often through the personal contact of friends talking to friends.

Today, several small groups continue to meet for open discussions on prayer, scripture, and the process of encountering God in daily life; we all gather for worship each week.