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.