We are excited to share this summary of actions and decisions that Christ the Healer has taken SO FAR, in the design and development of our new outward- facing mission known as the ‘Climate Café’.
Christ the Healer, UCC is proposing to partner with Hillsdale Community Church, UCC in establishing space – and related activity – that welcomes both the local and the wider community into an exploration and an experience of a nutritious and delicious, low carbon footprint meal preparation and consumption. We’ll be serving locally-source, sustainably-grown raw foods, using a pay-as-you-can model.
This educational, nutritional mission entails a shared learning process about the environmental impact of our food choices. It also encourages collaboration that engages many others in a broader consciousness about what it means to “sit down at the table together” in an earth-friendly manner.
Where will the Climate Café be located?
We’re excited to be having conversations with Hillsdale Community Church, UCC in SW Portland about partnering with them on this project. HCC has a wonderful, historic church building on Capitol Hwy between Multnomah Village and Hillsdale. If we move forward in partnership with them, they will offer the use of their kitchen facilities. They also bring a congregation with a treasure trove of knowledge, skills and experience. A partnership with them raises wonderful communal possibilities.
The vision for Climate Café is that it will bring physical as well as spiritual benefits to all parties concerned. For CtH, it provides an opportunity to serve in a way that we are uniquely equipped. Our members share a love of conscious eating, conscious living and a deep concern for the environment. We have found ways to eat locally, sustainably and healthfully, and this is an opportunity to share our vision for a more holistic way of living, grounded in spiritual authenticity.
For HCC, it offers the opportunity for genuine renewal. Their church has a rich history in SW Portland and the greater metro area stretching back well over a century. Like many churches, they have found that the old way of “doing church” no longer serves them. The members of HCC church carry a shared vision of a more just, sustainable world, and a vibrant local community. They have recently decided to “repurpose” their building and grounds, opening the doors to mission partnerships that align with their vision.
They bring a wealth of shared knowledge and energy to this project. As a congregation consciously choosing to heed the call to bring Christ’s love to the world, they are in the unique position to help catalyze positive change in the community through this project. They stand to benefit tremendously from the new visitors, community members and connections coming through their doors.
Who else will be involved?
We’ve enrolled the services of Lakita and Moralie Butler, founders of Rawsoul in Harlem and Longevity Foods in Washington. Lakita and Moralie are phenomenal chefs who also possess expertise in the business of running restaurants. The Butlers have already done a walk through of the potential kitchen. They have approved its possibilities and have committed to provide their management expertise, a workable business plan, and oversight of food production. Their participation guarantees an unforgettable culinary experience for those dining at the Climate Café!
The intention is for the Climate Café to be primarily run by volunteers. Volunteers stand to gain wonderful benefits from this project! They will have the reward of providing a needed service by literally feeding the hungry. They will also have the opportunity to learn about low-carbon, locally-based eating. They will be connected to networks and communities of others doing the same.
The Climate Café will be set up with a pay-as-you-can model. It will provide an immersive experience in the concept. For many diners it will be their first chance to experience the blessings of a “gift economy”. So many people are looking around and finding that our dominant capital-driven, transactional culture is not meeting their needs. Not only is it not meeting their needs, but it is an instrument of active destruction to the natural environment and human welfare.
Here is an opportunity for those who are curious about better ways to live to try some of them out for themselves. We don’t claim to have all of the solutions, but we can share what we know, with the assurance that when it comes to positive change, everyone has a part to play! We hope to educate and inspire those who are looking to build a better world.
What will Christ the Healer contribute?
Christ the Healer will be offering our energy and effort – including already developed contacts and partnerships in the “greening world” – toward manifesting the financial means and meals that make this happen.
Finally, through the office of our own Thomas Chavez, here is a summary of the resources we’ve identified to help make this project a success.
Staffing and Volunteers
As shared earlier in this article: We’ve enrolled the services of Lakita and Moralie Butler, founders of Rawsoul in Harlem and Longevity Foods in Washington. Lakita and Moralie are phenomenal chefs who also possess expertise in the business of running restaurants. The Butlers have already done a walk through of the potential kitchen. They have approved its possibilities and have committed to provide their management expertise, a workable business plan, and oversight of food production. Their participation guarantees an unforgettable culinary experience for those dining at the Climate Café!
- We have 19 non-firm commitments, pending the onset of café operations, for direct, on-site, volunteer support with food prep, food service, as well as the teaching of related subjects.
- We have a commitment from Acres of Grace Farm in Canby, Oregon to help supply locally-grown food – food grown using regenerative agriculture techniques. The founders of Acres of Grace, Jim and Alice Wallace, are members of CtH and possess a wealth of knowledge about regenerative agriculture. As well as contributing clean, delicious, healthful ingredients, they will help provide additional learning about growing food in a way that gives back to the earth.
- We have an agreement with a grower of American Wild Rice in Mount Angel, Oregon for a discounted price in exchange for featuring their exceptionally delicious organic grain.
- We’ve also identified a family from East Africa whose produce fits our parameters. They are growing vegetables currently unavailable in local markets, using seeds imported from home.
- We’re in contact with a Native American couple in Yamhill County who grow native foods cooperatively with the land. They generate their produce from a climate-sensitive, Christian-centered philosophy, and they could become a source of prep ingredients for the café’.
- We’ve also been in touch with a number of other small, organic growers who are already in commercial or semi- commercial operation (for example, selling at farmer’s markets around the area). We’re still determining who will be the best fit for this project, but are thrilled to live in a region with so many food producers committed to sustainability!
Funding and Marketing
Moving forward, we’ll need to secure more funding and put the word out about this work. Here are some resources we’ve gathered so far.
- CtH has secured a website for ClimateCafe.com and another for EarthFriendlyFoods.com
- We have a firm commitment from a volunteer who will create a Climate Café website, starting with a dedicated page on our CtHUCC.org website, as well as a crowdfunding website.
- Yet another volunteer, with marketing expertise, has offered to make sure that both websites, when up and running, are optimized for SEO. Stay tuned for more information about this in upcoming emails! We’ll be asking for your help in putting the world out about the work we’re done.
- We also have a volunteer investigating the possibility of incorporating one of our associated undertakings as an Oregon Benefits incorporated entity—with an eye toward attracting socially-responsible investments as well as donations. In line with this, another volunteer has agreed to join a local, Portland-centered Oregon B Corp investment club, where our opportunity can be pitched.
- We have a firm commitment from a professional stain glass artist in Southern California for the donation for a “Love all Creation as yourself” lighted sign for the café. Yet another volunteer has committed to make the light box. Both volunteers are in contact with one another to coordinate the work.
- We’ve already obtained a $1000 grant from the UCC Central Pacific Conference to reimburse Lakita and Moralie Butler for their production of a business plan for the Climate Café. In addition to the grant, we’ve set aside $150 as seed money for the café project and gotten a few pledges of monetary donation. With faith like a mustard seed, this can grow exponentially.
We greatly appreciate any donations and financial support for this effort, as these seed monies will help to move this mission forward. Please send checks to: CtH UCC, 772 Division, Oregon City, Oregon.