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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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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