DAVENPORT -- Mall walking is one way to stay physically fit. Mall praying is just as good for someone's spiritual fitness.|
The newly opened Quad-Cities Prayer Center at NorthPark Mall, 320 W. Kimberly Road, No. 510, combines the two, and provides good cups of coffee and specialty drinks, too.
"Caffeine is proof that God loves us and wants us to pay attention," reads a sign near the counter of the Connect Coffeehouse, found as you walk into the center next to the Sears store. Enter the center through the mall or from an outside door.
Other prayer center attractions also have drawn attention, leader Scott Schaefer said."And we feel we're just getting started. We haven't really marketed it yet, but crowds have been steady."
Mr. Schaefer, prayer center president, hopes a Thursday, May 16, fundraiser will draw more attention and contributions. The center also will host a grand opening and open house on June 1, with a day-long schedule of music, food, drinks, giveaways and a ribbon cutting.
Prayer center leaders signed a five-year lease in September for the mall site, and have been renovating the area since.
"Phase I is now complete," Mr. Schaefer said.
In addition to the coffeehouse, there are two private prayer rooms, a conference/group prayer room, administrative offices and two training rooms, one of which is serving temporarily as the Invictus recording studio.
A full-fledged permanent studio will be part of a second phase, Mr. Schaefer said. The studio will provide audio recording, graphics and video production work to other churches and local organizations. A sizable client list already has been formed, he said.
A large "sanctuary" area is called "The Family Room," Mr. Schaefer said. Some additional work is needed, but it's open for use. Seek and Soak praise and prayer services have been held there the second Saturdays of every month. Another program recently launched there is a praise gathering of young adults called "The Rising," he said.
Other programs in the new center space include a "Praying is Believing" prayer training program, a Ministry Leaders Prayer Network, and a CrossTrainers Ministry program for men, Mr. Schaefer said.
When a group of 30-plus men showed up for a recent CrossTrainers program, Mr. Schaefer joked that it was "probably the first time so many have shown up in the mall at one time."
The prayer center has been a vision of Mr. Schaefer's for 14 years, "but I never thought it would be in a mall," he said. "I always had thought it would be in a separate, free-standing building, but this is where the people are, so it makes great sense to be here."
The coffeehouse has offered a "Mall Walker Special" 16-ounce cup of brewed coffee for $1. A "drink of the week" special listed on a sign board near the center's mall entrance advertised a 20-ounce "frozen hot chocolate" drink for $4.
"We have gotten raves about the coffee and drinks served there, and will soon add sandwiches and other food," Mr. Schaefer said.
Connect Coffeehouse managers Ben and Paige Wilbur named it per a theme of "connecting our community, one cup at a time," Mr. Schaefer said.
The coffeehouse also has an acoustic stage setup, complete with a sound system and audio-visual capabilities, he said. "We've already had people perform there, and expect many more people will as they grow more aware of it."
He also hopes more people will come to learn how the prayer center's mission ''to mobilize prayer, praise and training'' is meant to build up and benefit other local churches, in order to see "social and spiritual transformation," he said.
"It is good to have a place we can call home," Mr. Schaefer said. "This is an amazing opportunity for our organization,"
IF YOU GO
What: Quad-Cities Prayer Center spring dessert and coffee bar fundraiser, featuring ComedySportz.
When: 7 p.m.Thursday, May 16
Tickets: This adults-only show has limited seating. Make reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 563-323-3090. Free tickets and information are available at qcpc.publishpath.com. Donations will be accepted to benefit the center's continued operation.
Regular coffeehouse hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1 to 9 p.m. Sundays.
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