Three (Episcopal) cups of coffee?

Miguel Escobar was inspired by Fr. Tim Schenk’s idea of “3 Cups of Coffee” and reflects on the thought that the church could cultivate a practice of “Three cups of coffee”…a slightly different take on Mortensen’s “Three cups of tea”:

Three Cups of Coffee

By Miguel Escobar in Vital Practices for Leading Congregations ECFVP

This past July, Tim Schenk, Episcopal priest and blogger at Clergy Family Confidential, tweeted “Forget the tea. I should write a best-selling book called ‘Three Cups of Coffee.’ Subtitle: A Day in the Life of Fr. Tim.”

In our call, I suggested that Three Cups of Coffee should instead be about Episcopal congregations taking on global concerns, particularly as they appear at the local level. Stories, for instance, of parishes in Louisville, KY and Minneapolis, MN helping to resettle refugees, or that of the Diocese of Spokane, WA making the connection between local and international hunger. A book, in other words, that would be distinct from its more famous predecessor in that these stories would be 1) true and 2) about communities rather than lone heroes, where local congregations discover a passion for global concerns via the more mundane realities of discernment, committee meetings, vestry votes and yes, cup after cup of coffee.

Would this be an international bestseller? No. Of course not. But it would be chock-full of stories like the following:

Approximately three years ago, the Rev. Brian McVey, an ECF Fellow and rector of St. Alban’s in Davenport, IA, learned that a truck stop just 15 miles from his parish was considered to be one of the largest and most active trading posts for human trafficking in the United States. This fact set off a chain reaction which is continuing to transform the I-80 truck stop in Iowa: Brian began a ministry of listening and presence there which has in turn mobilized St. Alban’s. This, in turn, has mobilized local law enforcement as well as several larger churches in the area who were surprised to learn that such a small church was taking on such a daunting, potentially dangerous ministry. The Senior Warden of St. Alban’s recently wrote “We now have a waiting list of people wanting to serve in a chapel at this truck stop.”

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