By KAITLYNN LITTLE, reporter
Monday, Nov. 12, 2018
College students and local families hurried out of the cold and into the Sterling United Methodist Church on Broadway St., Monday evening, to order warm drinks and snacks. The second floor of the church, called Connection Café, is set apart for balancing socializing and working on homework.
The café is meant to be a space for all who enter to experience the love and grace of Jesus. It is meant to be an inviting atmosphere where friendships can be strengthened and burdens can be shared.
The Connection Café was founded in memory of Jacob Oden. This café was his vision, though God called him home before he was able to see it become a reality. Jacob had named the café and came up with some of the new drink ideas. Memorial money was given in his honor to furnish the space for it. His heart for service is remembered through the existence and purpose of the café.
The café space was dedicated to the glory of God on October 19, 2016. Since then, many students have made it their space away from college.
“I come about roughly every week. I actually also work here and am one of the people who attended and helped out-right from the start. I really enjoy the community here and the mission to reach people during study time has always appealed to me. The Connection Café is a fun place away from campus, with cheap coffee, good company, and a place to work,” senior Brianna Chastain said.
Brianna and her friends sat behind their laptops circled around a coffee table, all focused on their screens yet taking moments to reach for their coffee mug and take a sip every now and then.
“I usually come every other week. The atmosphere is just extremely relaxing. I can come to the Connection Café for multiple reasons, whether it be completing a big assignment or catching up with friends,” junior Kaylyn Oberle said.
“One of my favorite memories during one of those friend nights, was when I decided to hide a few of their bookbags and laptops around the church. They found them within 30 minutes or so and then proceeded to steal my keys while I wasn’t looking, go move my car, and then wait for me to notice it when it was time to leave. All of that extended from a fun night of fellowship at the Connection Café. I really appreciate the awesome environment. Coffee is a great bonus as well!” Oberle said.
Students come to enjoy the space and the beverages, but students are also behind the counter working as baristas.
“Working here has been a very growing, new, and relaxing experience for me. I’ve worked in the coffee business for two years now and I love the environment that a coffee shop provides for customers. I love working here at Connection because I think it’s so special that this church is using coffee as a way to reach out to the community and provide inexpensive yet savory coffee for the community,” freshman Emma Kwasiborski said.
Besides food and doing homework, students also enjoy playing board games and table tennis there too. Their menu includes: lattes, hot chocolate, steamers, affogatos, pop, Gatorade, water, Capri Sun drink; and cookies, chips, candy, granola bars, popcorn, and pop tarts.
The Connection Café is located on 137 N. Broadway. They are open from 7-10 p.m. each Monday night. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Jeff Darnauer at 620-474-1102 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.