Limehouse in east London is a place of exhilarating, nearly overwhelming diversity. There is such a wonderful clash of cultures in this area, from Bengali to British, all set against the backdrop of the Docklands and old school Eastenders. Limehouse is also a place of extraordinary creativity. In recent years it has become home to many young adults working in the arts: actors, artists, web designers, writers, musicians. Being near Canary Wharf, it is also a playground for young city professionals.
My wife Lorelei and I came from the USA with a vision of engaging people with the gospel in ‘third spaces’ like neighborhood eateries and coffee shops. We had been helping lead a café on Brick Lane, so when the team leader position opened up at Departure in Limehouse it seemed like a perfect fit!
My vision for this space is to create a ‘culture of redemption.’ We began with giving it a rebranding: in August we changed the name from Departure to Husk Coffee & Creative Space – the art space, of course was already Husk Gallery.
We have streamlined the business side of things to give Husk staff even more time to build relationships with customers, go out into the community and share the gospel. As well as being a place where various classes such as English, pottery and painting are held, and where members of our team build relationships with locals, and a place with a vibe that people simply want to be in, Husk is a place from which our team members can go out into the community and connect with families and offer to pray for them and serve them in any way possible.
We are constantly looking for ways to get to know local people better and serve the community locally and globally. For example, we buy our cinnamon buns from Luminary Bakery, which employs local vulnerable women in east London, and we are looking to work with the Sophie Hayes Foundation, a local charity committed to combating sex trafficking.
We are eager to form more partnerships with like-minded/like-hearted local churches and organizations. Our hope is to see this vision replicated and more coffee-house ministries planted throughout London, with different personalities but maintaining the same core mission of going out with the gospel and making disciples. (Matthew 28:18-20).
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