Soul chats brew at coffee shop
Staci Lieuallen is a barista and a church pastor. She calls herself a 'pastorista.'
It's a title the Sherwood mother coined after she opened her coffee shop, Jubilatte, on Southwest Walnut Place five months ago.
'My mission is to shatter people's images of what church is like and what Christianity is like,' Lieuallen added. 'That's why I wanted a place like Jubilatte. I want it to be a place where people can come and share their faith or lack of faith and have it be OK and know that they are OK.'
Jubilatte is meant to be a place where people can come and feel comfortable having conversations about their beliefs, Lieuallen said.
'There are a lot of people who don't like church, and I am one of those, actually,' Lieuallen said.
'There are so many people that have been hurt by the church. They have a bad experience and it taints them forever and they think that all Christians are like that.'
Lieuallen has always been interested in nontraditional ministries and came up with the idea of a church/coffeeshop some time ago.
'I'm a dreamer,' she said. 'I never would have done anything with it.'
But after running the idea by Linda Dove, director of Christian education and spiritual formation at Tigard United Methodist Church, the two were soon on their way to making the coffee shop a reality.
Over the summer, Dove and Lieuallen raised $32,000 and won a $25,000 grant at the Oregon-Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church to start the coffee shop.
'Real hunger out there to get together'
The Rev. Lee Hunefeld, pastor at United Methodist, said he saw Jubilatte as a place where people of all faiths could come together and discuss issues.
'Coffee shops are the secular churches of our culture,' Hunefeld said. 'Friends and relatives get together there and talk about their lives. It was a perfect match for us.'
Church officials estimated it would take a few years for the coffee shop to be self-sustaining, but Jubilatte has already met that goal after five months of business, Hunefeld said.
'That says to me that there is a real hunger out there to get together and talk about spiritual issues, maybe not religion, but spiritual issues in nonjudgmental ways.'
Friends and church volunteers installed new carpeting, lights, plumbing and electrical upgrades in the church's basement, completely transforming the former Sunday school room into a place to spend an afternoon.
The coffee shop has become popular with church members and parents of a nearby Tigard Indoor Play Park, and has quickly established a set of regulars.
Dave Nelson, 69, makes sure to stop in nearly every day.
'It's a comfortable place,' said Nelson as he read a newspaper and sipped a cup of coffee. 'It's a cool place just to come and sit and talk to people and drink a little coffee.'
The shop runs completely on suggested donations. Nothing costs more than $3.
'If you need a cup of coffee and only have $1, we aren't going to turn you away,' Lieuallen said.
The shop's pride and joy is a $6,000 espresso machine that brews Portland Roasting Coffee. Pastries come from The Palm Bakery in Tualatin.
Interfaith group to meet next month
Several groups meet at Jubilatte during the week, including parent support groups, Bible studies, get-togethers with Hunefeld and a group of local knitters.
Lieuallen has plans to start an interfaith group on April 9.
There are no special guest speakers, Lieuallen said, just everyday people from different faiths who come together and talk about their beliefs.
'Conversation enriches your own faith and the relationships you have with people.'
Lieuallen said she hopes to make the group a regular gathering at the coffee shop.
'Everyone is welcome. The only requirement is that you are open and nonjudgmental, because we are not about conversion,' Lieuallen said. 'We honor everyone's faith and religion.'