Eugene Cho

Q is alive and kicking

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In a city where there seems to be a cafe [mostly with those dang mermaids on the logo] on every other street corner, the path to viability and visibility has not been the easiest thing for our non-profit Q Cafe.  We are still alive and kicking but barely.  It’s been very tough and the church and cafe leadership have taken some time to really examine the mission of the cafe.  Through these conversations, we’re collectively reminded how significant the cafe is to the ecclesiology of our church.  Q, a non-profit and non-religious community cafe, is essential to our commitment to be an incarnational presence to our neighborhood and larger city.

Personally, I’m excited to grow back in love with the vision of Q:  Cafe, Culture, and Community.  And as I grow back in love, I’m not questioning WHY I love the cafe. The vision – to me – is still as beautiful and fragrant as the first day we opened our doors.  But if I and our community love this community cafe, we certainly need to regularly revisit “the process” or the strategies by which we seek to embody the vision.  And just in case you thought those silly rumors of the downfall of Q Cafe was true, consider what goes on in the space beyond the regular cafe hours. Here’s the schedule for the upcoming couple days:

  • ThursdayLUMO Film Screening benefitting the work of Heal Africa in Goma, Congo.  Suggested donation: $5. 7-9pm.
  • FridayLive Music at Q Cafe featuring Brett Hite, Elijah Grindstaff, and Rosie Okumura.  8pm.
  • SaturdaySimple Measures chamber music 3pm featuring the one and only Joshua Roman – the principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony!  I enjoyed very much watching him in a duet with Yo Yo Ma last month. 

And a new art exhibit by a local artist just went up today.  This is a glimpse of the potential of what we do and can do through this amazing 25oo square feet cafe.   While we’ve enjoyed some good stuff through the QCafe in the past five years, it’s also been at times – inconsistent and uninspired.  But, things will turn…I can sense it.  I sincerely believe that our better days are ahead of us.  How can you help?  Volunteer [more info will be coming soon], enjoy the special events and live music shows, and make Q Cafe your cafe.  Give us your patronage!

Recently, Relevant Magazine [Sept/Oct 2007] recently wrote an article about the work we do through Q Cafe:

The sounds of espresso machines and friendly chatter blend together at Q Café (qcafe.org) in Seattle.  To many visitors, Q Café is a regular neighborhood coffeehouse – not a church.                

Launched in 2002, Q Café is a non-profit, non-religious coffee shop that operates within Quest Church’s worship building.  The congregation wants to be relevant to the people of Seattle, says Eugene Cho, lead pastor of 500-member Quest Church (seattlequest.org).               

“Q Café ties organically to what we want to do as a church,” says Cho.  “The ethos is not to manipulate people; rather, it’s to be a good neighbor by loving and serving them.”               

To that end, Q Café steeps the venue for all it’s worth, giving 10% of the profits to organizations such as Invisible Children (invisiblechildren.com), displaying local artists’ work, hosting open mic nights, holding computer classes for senior citizens and providing housing and jobs for the homeless.               

Nothing is more rewarding, however, than seeing the lives of café patrons transformed, says DeAnza Spaulding, the café’s director.               

“Ken was homeless and had alcohol and drug issues when he first came to Q Café.  Eventually, he joined our church and felt really accepted,” Spaulding says.  Now, a year later, Ken is sober, applying for jobs and preparing to be baptized.               

Says Spaulding, “Ken’s story is a moving testimony to the power of reciprocated love.”     

Other relevant reads and entries about Q CafeWhy We Started Q Cafe; Named one of Top Independent Cafes by Worthwhile Magazine; Seattle Times article on Q; Q Cafe Music Venue; on MySpace; on FaceBook

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Photo credits:  Top [Accapella Photography]; Bottom Pics [Leo Chen Photography]

Filed under: emerging church, ministry, religion, seattle, , , ,

5 Responses

  1. Laurie says:

    Your church and cafe has been a source of inspiration to us from afar. What I appreciate the most is your willingness to share your struggles along the way. Honestly, I think that is what’s most real and refreshing to me.

  2. Jeff S. says:

    What!?!

    How’d you manage to get Joshua Roman over at the Q? Very rad.

  3. very inspiring… thanks so much for looking for a simple pathway of living the gospel!

  4. Blake says:

    The café really is an awesome place. I was unemployed for the months of August & September and during that time I practically lived at the cafe., getting to watch it’s daily functions and the way the awesome baristas take care of everyone who comes through those doors. They always show tremendous respect for their patrons and give dignity to everyone, even those whom are denied such things by the rest of society.

    I love it. The café is my “third place” as it were in Starbuck’s lingo. 🙂

  5. 3mily says:

    Every time I walk in the cafe, I think “what an amazing place for ministry”. I feel like it would be amazing to see an increasing number of Quest community groups and ministries using the front space (while not intruding on other visitors)- which appears to be happening judging from our Sunday bulletins that list a couple of prayer groups meeting in there weekly. It seems like the perfect place, for example, for people who might want to lead a Seattle-based C-Group but feel they can’t host it at home (and don’t have hosts!) I appreciate the Q sign because it was what brought my husband and I over to check out Quest originally. It’s awesome to have a distinct non-profit physically attached to the church.

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