The old, white country church no longer smells of musty hymnals and dust-covered pews, but the smell of freshly ground coffee wafts through the halls of the newly renovated building.
The old Episcopal Church was on the path to demolition, when two local women who grew up in Jonesville were in a position to buy the old building. After seeing another Jonesville church demolished, the two women wanted to preserve the old, historic building, and converted it into a coffee shop outreach.
After much painting and renovating, the new owners, Michelle Masta and Renee Sawdey hosted various events at the building, but were interested in getting some sort of outreach ministry started in their building in coordination with the First Presbyterian Church which they both attend.
“They came to us several times about an outreach, but the time wasn’t right,” said First Presbyterian pastor Rev. Cathy Johnson.
One of the elders saw the opportunity to connect with the community and helped write up a business plan, Johnson explained. After examining the practical aspects of the plan, the church decided to take action. They were going to start a coffee shop outreach.
Several kitchen-sized tables with floral tablecloths sit in the Grounded in Grace coffee shop, with a couple hutches filled with Kurig coffee filters and assorted creamers. Homey paintings line the walls and wrapped, baked goods sit in a basket, next to a jar that says “donations”.
“We have a Kurig and wrapped baked goods, so we don’t have to be inspected as a kitchen,” said Ann Johnson, one of the coffee shop volunteers.
The prices sign has recommended donations for visitors to place in the jar.
“There’s a suggested donation, but it’s really what you can afford. If you can’t afford it one time, than we don’t expect anything,” Cathy said.
Although Grounded in Grace has received one grant from the city and another from the Presbyterian church, it runs mainly on donations which have been few due to a small attendance, she said. However, part of the money gained from donations will go to charity.
“We had been open from 3:30 – 5:30, but no one would come. Now they’re thinking about expanding their hours again,” said Ann.
The hours were from 8a.m.-12p.m., but it is now open starting at 7a.m.
“We changed the hours to see what works. We’re opening at 7a.m. to draw in teachers and students,” Cathy said. “We really want to connect with people in the community and in the college, listen to their ideas, and see what works for them.”
Jonesville First Presbyterian Church will be hosting events and having a reception at Grounded in Grace, the first of which will be this Sunday, Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. Sandy Collins, a member of the Presbyterian Church, will be singing to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.
Grounded in Grace and First Presbyterian Church will be holding special events like this throughout the Fall, and invite college students and community members to attend.
“The focus really isn’t about serving coffee,” Cathy said, “It’s like we’ll be there, and see what God does.”