Third Places

30 May


So, what do you think of Third Places (aka Third Way)?  This concept really interests and excites Jonathan and I.  We are due to move to Canada (probably East Coast) at some point over the next 12 months or so.  The time is down to a) When our visa comes through, immigration take quite a while to go through the permenant residency visa process (been waiting almost two years already!) b) we could go earlier but we need the financial support, which isn’t easy to get.  Anyway, back to the present!  When we arrive we really want to open a Third Place area (coffee house, bookstore etc) and build a community around that.

Brother Maynard has a really interesting post today about The Terra Bite Lounge which is based in Kirkland, WA.  It’s a voluntary payment cafe, which is an interesting concept.  I get really excited when I read on Jamie’s blog about The Dusty Cover, the third place bookstore which Ywam Winnipeg are launching later this year.  In the UK I’ve recently become aware of a childrens clothes store called B@titude, which is in Leatherhead, just south of London.  This clothing shop has a real community around it.  People from all around donate their unwanted childrens clothes, toys etc and they are sold there, nothing is more than £2.50 ($4.50) and families come and browse and buy what they need.  The difference with this small shop though, is that there is a childrens play area and a coffee area for parents.  This coffee area is the hub of this shop.  Everyone is welcome, some stay ten minutes, others most of the afternoon, chatting, supporting one another etc.  There are special cards on the counter where people can write down any items they desperately need such as a car seat, high chair etc, and the shop will source it for them.  The community within this clothes shop have brought a goat for a village in Kenya, they have funded a well in Uganda, are currently campaigning so that gypsies in the local area can have a permenant home.  What a difference this small clothes shop, which has a community hub around it is making – bearing in mind that most of the people who shop there are on lower incomes themsleves.

This is the kind of stuff I long to be involved in.   Do you know of any third places?  Are you involved in one?  Do you think they have a point, and can bring Jesus into a society which doesn’t connect with church? Are they places whose workers can be viewed as missionaries?


7 Responses to “Third Places”

  1. Heidi May 31, 2007 at 04:42 #

    Hi Lyn. I’ve often daydreamed about working in a coffee shop, but somehow I didn’t imagine it to be a ‘normal’ coffee shop. I imagine workers volunteering their time. I imagine it being very community based as in extremely relational. A place to make friends, not just serve strangers. I definitely think a place like that could have a spiritual impact. Keep pondering the idea!!

  2. calana May 31, 2007 at 20:40 #

    our church is looking at some property in our downtown “artist” district. nothing is final but it would be nice if we could use a space in this area and open it up to artists and musicians. a gallery and coffee shop would be a great place to share life with people and meet needs we wouldn’t otherwise be tuned into in our community.

  3. lynhallewell June 1, 2007 at 08:17 #

    Heidi – maybe one day we can work in that coffee shop together!

    Calana – that’s really exciting that your church are looking into property in your artist district – it would be great if it goes ahead.

  4. Paul June 1, 2007 at 14:43 #

    i think they are a great idea as a way of connecting space… I like the ethos of the shop sounds great too!

  5. lynhallewell June 1, 2007 at 16:03 #

    Mmmm, yeah, they are Paul. I’d love to go and visit the shop in Leatherhead. My friend Gaz has been to it, and wrote and article on it for a magazine he publishes. From what I’ve heard about it, it’s a great little community.

  6. Brianmpei June 1, 2007 at 17:43 #

    Hey, you’ve pretty much described my dream of what church should be. Still a part of the original dream of our church here on PEI that has yet to materialize, but it will.

    The big trick in the downtown here is creating space where everyone feels welcome and safe but doesn’t become a flop zone for my friends who stagger from one place to another.

    I hope what you’re dreaming of you’ll soon be walking in.

  7. lynhallewell June 1, 2007 at 22:05 #

    Thank you Brian, I too, hope that you’ll soon have your place in downtown Charlotte. These are exciting, yet daunting, times.

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