King-sized cup of (St.) Joe may runneth over at King Center


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Posted Online: July 05, 2013, 11:00 pm
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Leon Lagerstam, llagerstam@qconline.com
ROCK ISLAND -- Expect a "King" sized cup of (St.) Joe served daily at the Martin Luther King Center starting Aug. 1.

The center, 630 Martin Luther King Drive, Rock Island, in partnership with St. Pius X Catholic Church, will open a King Cafe from 8 to 10:30 a.m. daily.

The Rev. Dwight Ford, the center director, will describe the new cafe, explain how it will work, and ask for more volunteers during a 7 p.m. July 10 meeting in Farrell Hall at St. Pius, 2502 29th Ave., Rock Island.

The effort is part of St. Pius' plans to better serve the west-end community once ministered to by St. Joseph's Catholic Church, which closed at 1316 2nd Ave., in 2005 and was demolished two years later.

Peoria Diocesan Bishop Daniel Jenky merged St. Joe's service opportunities and programming with St. Pius last September, "and for the last 10 months, a group of six of us have met together to see how we could be in community with the old St. Joe's parish," St. Pius pastoral associate Barb Roedel said.

Bishop Jenky and St. Pius priest, the Rev. Michael Schaab, asked the parish's Faith and Action committee to explore collaborative partnerships with local organizations to address peoples' needs and integrate social-justice programs throughout parish and community life, she said.

"When we met with Rev. Ford, the King's Cafe initiative came out of that," Ms. Roedel said. "Our target audience is residents of the west end of Rock Island, and the newest immigrant and refugee populations."

It's not just for Catholics, Rev. Ford said. "It's open to people of any denomination."

The King center was chosen as the cafe site because of its geographic accessibility to people within St. Joe's former borders, Rev. Ford said. Otherwise, the closest gathering spots for people in the area would be downtown, the Rock Island Hy-Vee in the 2900 block of 18th Avenue, or the McDonald's on 31st Street, he said.

"We just wanted to give adults, youth and college kids who may be home visiting, somewhere closer they could go to, and find a great cup of coffee, wi-fi, a quiet place to study away from home, or a place where they could just stop by and read a newspaper or watch the news on TV," Rev. Ford said.

Subscribing to local newspapers and some magazines is something left to do before launching the program, he said. "We also need to get some tables that are better accustomed to a coffee-house decor," not to mention coffee supplies, he said.

Thoughts are to buy Fair Trade or similar international coffee supplies as another way to tie social-justice aspects into the King Cafe mission, Rev. Ford said.

Mugs won't be a big problem, Ms. Roedel said. As soon as she mentioned the King Cafe project to a women's group named REACH at St. Pius, a member of the group returned the next day with 45 new ceramic cups, Ms. Roedel said.

Some of Rev. Ford's favorite coffee flavors are Guatemalan or Ethiopian blends, and it's rare to see him without a coffee mug in his hand, he said. "I am a coffee aficionado. I love a great cappuccino, or an Irish creme, and espresso.

"We joke a lot about how we're able to solve the world's problems over a good cup of coffee," he said. "While the coffee is great, what happens around the coffee may be even greater."

Coffee once played a pivotal role in the life of the center and cafe's namesake, Martin Luther King., Jr., Rev. Ford said.

While at Dexter Avenue Church in Montgomery, Ala., and facing many death threats and opposition, Dr. King was at a breaking point, Rev. Ford said.

"He tried to take a moment to relax and refresh himself with a cup of coffee -- a moment that became known as the kitchen-table conversion," he said. "He heard the Lord talk to him, telling him to stand up for justice and stand up for what he knows is right. He was emboldened by Christ at that very moment, and became spiritually inspired. The Lord also told him 'I will be with you.' "

Rev. Ford hopes the King Cafe provides similar inspiration to visitors."We want people to come in for a refreshing cup of coffee, and be emboldened for any step they have to take."

Learn more at the July 10 presentation.

"Come be part of a conversation about this exciting new ministry," Ms. Roedel said, "and, of course, coffee and cookies will be served."


















 



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