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By Sandy Johnson, Boulder City UMF

Members of Boulder City UMF got outside the walls of their church by holding Ash Wednesday services at Starbucks.

Members of Boulder City UMF got outside the walls of their church by holding Ash Wednesday services at Starbucks.

At 7 a.m. on Ash Wednesday morning I arrived at Starbucks in our town and set up “shop” at one of the large meeting tables. One of our leaders, Pat Benke met me and we were greeted at 7:15 a.m. with our first congregant, seeking repentance and reconciliation with the imposition of ashes on her forehead. This woman hadn’t been in church since Christmas and had told us that she was stepping back from church for personal reasons. But here she was the first in line!  Over the course of the next three hours twenty-one of our members and friends stopped by to pray and participate in our Ash Wednesday ritual. Many stayed and had coffee, some had to rush off to their jobs, and overall it was a great time of ministry and fellowship.

We had gotten the idea from http://Ministrymatters.com and an article by Emily Case who had “dared” to step out of the box last year and impose ashes at her local Starbucks. Armed with this fresh and innovative idea I approached our local Starbucks and got their permission to do the same. Our congregation was thrilled to step out of the box and follow our current theme of “Re-think church.”  This outreach allowed us to fulfill our current mission to image “what if church was not a place we go but something we do.”  Although we did not get the engagement from the other patrons at Starbucks in the same manner as Emily Case had, we made a statement and for our small church to have twenty-one come out was a huge accomplishment for us.

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