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Coffeehouse-style ministry kicks off

October 16, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- The night was cold and drizzly and the rural landscape around Tri-State Fellowship was dark, but at the back of the Cearfoss Pike church building Friday night, soft light and rock music poured from the windows of an upstairs room.

That room was what church members call "the Attic," and inside, in a space filled with mismatched couches, game tables and a large plywood cross, a new coffeehouse-style ministry was celebrating its opening night.

The event, called "Third Fridays at the Attic," was organized by members of Oasis, a young adult Bible study group at Tri-State Fellowship, co-organizer Luke Greffen said. It features live music by Christian bands, art displays, a coffee bar, free food and games, starting at 7 p.m. on the third Friday of every month.

"What we're hoping to do ... is to make a place for people that are in their 20s to come together, to meet, to (have) fellowship and basically to have a good time listening to new music and finding some new art to see as well," Greffen said.

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Admission is free, and organizers ask that anyone under 18 be accompanied by an adult, McLaughlin said.

Friday's event attracted about two-dozen young adults, who lounged on couches, played ping-pong and chatted as they listened to the music.

It featured The Recession, a Christian rock cover band from Westminster, Md., and Proof of Love, a heavier Christian rock band from Salisbury, Md.

Both groups were recruited by Greffen, who hosts a Sunday night program on Thurmont, Md., Christian radio station WTHU 1450 AM.

The event is open to all genres of Christian music, "even the loud ones," co-organizer Matt McLaughlin said.

Unlike praise and worship music, the performance-oriented Christian music played at the coffeehouse might not seem like religious music "unless you really look through the lyrics and really reflect on them," Greffen said.

For example, Proof of Love's song, "I Can Feel Your Love," is about God delivering someone out of a rough time, while "Take Me As I Am" is about not needing to be perfect to receive God's love, vocalist and guitarist Jon Pheasant said.

"A lot of the songs have to do with our walks with Christ, individually and as a group," he said.

Among those who turned out for Friday's opening night were Maya Nkouka and Melody Peckman, both 23, who came from Waynesboro, Pa., after hearing about the event through a young adult group at Otterbein Church in Waynesboro.

"I'm just excited because it seems like they're trying to bring different people together," Nkouka said.

The coffee at the event came from Abednego Coffee Roasters, a Chambersburg, Pa., company that contributes 25 percent of its sales to support mission work around the world, Greffen said.

Friday's event featured photography and drawings by Renee Palmer, 19, of Hagerstown, and organizers are looking for other artists to display work at future events, organizers said. The art doesn't have to be Christian-themed, but it should be appropriate for display in a church, Palmer said.

Anyone interested in displaying art or performing at Third Fridays may contact Greffen at 301-471-1040.

Organizers have bands lined up through February, Greffen said.

"So we're definitely in it for the long haul," he said.

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