Ebenezers Coffee House

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 If you didn’t read my post from this past Sunday about our interest in the National Community Church and the Ebenezers Coffee House they own and operate, you might want to go back and do that now.

That’s a fine-looking building in the first two pictures above. You’d never know it was an abandoned crack house at the time Pastor Mark Batterson saw it on his prayer walk around Capitol Hill and felt drawn to it. His church didn’t own any property and–despite years of praying over it–it was a while before God opened the right doors for purchasing and renovating it. For the complete story, I highly recommend one of Mark’s books. I’m currently finishing reading Draw the Circle — The 40 Day Prayer Challenge.

My wife and I had only two time-specific agendas for our long weekend vacation in Washington, D.C. The first was to visit one of the theater-locations of Mark’s church (the church is made up of seven theater locations) on Sunday morning. The other was to visit Ebenezers Coffee House on Saturday night.

We had learned from their website that a local folk singer, Michelle Lockey, would be performing from 7:00 to 8:00 that evening. We took the Metro from our hotel and wasted some time trying to follow the directions from Union Station to Ebenezer; it turned out that the coffee house was much easier to find than the directions indicated. Nonetheless, we arrived in plenty of time to grab a table–as well as a cookie each, plus the Mark Batterson book I mentioned earlier.

We hadn’t been there long when Michelle arrived, toting Taylor guitar and Luna ukelele in gig bags, along with two stands and a box of CDs.

The folks working the coffee house made a brave attempt to set up the sound equipment, which had never failed them before. Unfortunately, it failed this time, so Michelle would have to perform without amplification. I can tell you from my own experience that doing that when you’re not used to singing and playing without a PA is tough, but she was very gracious about it.

She was all set well before 7:00, so I took advantage of the opportunity to introduce myself and tell her jokingly that we had come all the way from Richmond, Virginia, just to hear her. And to explain that was actually partially true. I enjoyed talking with her, but finally returned to our table.

Time for Michelle to start, but there were only a few customers hanging around. Somebody had moved a couple of comfy chairs to maybe five or ten feet directly in front of Michelle, so Kathleen and I took them. Great spot for pictures.

I can’t say enough good about Michelle’s performance. Her songs were terrific, and so was her singing. Although guitar was her primary instrument, she did several songs with her ukelele. I have to admit that gave me a whole new appreciation for ukeleles, which I had never cared much for before.

By the way, that one weird-looking picture–I love it!–was her whistling during part of one song.

After her performance, she was gracious enough to let me share one of my songs with her.

And I learned that Michelle is far more than just a folk singer. She’s also a good song writer and has written music for movies and TV. And she’s won some important awards. Quite a list of accomplishments.

I won’t say anymore except to add that we came home with her four CDs–and they’ve kept playing on our stereo ever since. Check out her website for more information. And to say that Ebenezers Coffee House was everything we expected and more.

What about you? Do you have a favorite place to go and hang out–with or without entertainment? How about sharing a comment?

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website. Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Family Christian Stores. Go HERE for links to those places.

Best regards,
Roger

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What Would You Plan Your Trip to D.C. Around?

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If you were planning a long weekend getaway to Washington, D.C., what would top your list of have-to-sees? The Capitol? The White House? The Zoo? The Lincoln Memorial? The Washington Monument? So many choices.

Too many choices. There was no way we could see everything worth seeing from Friday afternoon to mid-day Monday.

So what was at the top of our list?

Before I answer that–or in the words of JFK (at least I THINK he’s the one who said this), “Let me say this about that”–I have to tell you about the Wednesday night Bible studies at my church. Yes, this is relevant.

We normally watch one session from a video series and then discuss it. Although Atlanta’s Andy Stanley is probably our group’s favorite video speaker, we’re currently watching a prayer-related series by Washington’s Mark Batterson.

Mark felt led to walk a circle around Capitol Hill. And pray for our government leaders and how to reach them and other unchurched Washingtonians with the Gospel of Jesus. If you want to know more about Mark and the development of his project, which was bathed in constant prayer and had the most remarkable results, I recommend his book Draw the Circle — The 40 Day Prayer Challenge or one of his other books.

But the bottom line is that–to date–Mark’s National Community Church has no actual traditional building, but meets in seven theaters around the Washington area. Each branch has its own leader, but Mark occasionally preaches by video to the whole group. What a concept!

But Mark’s other prayer-driven accomplishment was the purchase and renovation of a long-abandoned crack house within easy walking distance of Union Station and the rest of Capitol Hill. That’s another story you need to read about. I can’t do it justice.

So what would my wife and I center our Washington vacation trip around? Not those other places–the famous ones–although we got to see many of them.

No, we decided that we’d attend church at one of the National Community Church’s locations, Lincoln Theater. And we would visit the Ebenezers Coffee House on Saturday night. More about that on Wednesday.

We found people to be just as friendly as they are at our own church back home. But instead of greeting one another in an often-too-unworshipful way inside the theater auditorium, people buzzed in the lobby, where refreshments, books, and other resources were readily available. Then they came inside the auditorium for the worship service.

We opted to sit in the balcony, largely so I’d be in the best picture-taking position. We sat in one of several small areas along the side. With curtains or walls of some kind, they probably would have been considered box seats. Great view!

Although the music was led by a band–guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and a female singer–they had opted this Sunday to use only traditional hymns. Wow! What Believer wouldn’t have worshiped through that music?

Interestingly, the leader of that branch of the Church spent some time doing a baby dedication. Very much like the ones in our church except for the MANY hundreds of people in the congregation and the large number of family members who participated in the dedication.

It turned out that Mark Batterson was going to be taking three months off, starting after that morning’s service. So this was one time he preached by video to all the branches of his church. It was great being preached to by the same fellow we had been watching the video series by on Wednesday nights.

I know I haven’t done this church visit justice. But suffice it to say we found it a worshipful experience. All the more so because we didn’t have to sit in the choir loft, where we normally sit in our own church.

Are you familiar with Mark Batterson or any of his books or videos? Does this sound like the type of church you’d be interested in visiting? Please leave a comment.

On Wednesday I’ll blog about our visit to the coffee house the night before.

<>

I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website. Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Family Christian Stores. Go HERE for links to those places.

 Tentative-Front-Cover

Best regards,
Roger