Redemption Endeavors are businesses, projects, non-profits, and events created to breathe new life into our local community. And while they might start as the brain-children of Redemption Church, they tend to grow up, leave the nest, and live a full life of their own under the leadership of others. For example…
First Fridays in Bristol Borough
For a few years, we tried our hardest all by ourselves to get a monthly arts festival started in Bristol Borough to help revive the seemly dead town. For a few years, it failed. And then we partnered with town organizations, the business association, and just anyone who would help, and First Fridays were finally born. Now, once a month from May to September the streets of Bristol Borough are teeming with vendors, artisans, hula hoopers, musicians, browsers, and patrons by the thousands.
Calm Waters Coffee Roasters
For 3 or 4 years we talked about needing a coffee shop here in town, and we even started the business plan. But after finally realizing that Bristol needed a successful business not a nice mission, Marjorie Mott reached out to her friends Andrew and Jodi Dittman who lived in Oregon. While the rest of us were mission people who liked coffee, the Dittmans were coffee people who liked mission, and they just so happened to be looking for a place to set up their roastery. So after a cross-country move and a total remodel of the building (thanks completely to the owners), Calm Waters became a reality. It’s a place where love and generosity fills the air, but you can also get a top notch cup of coffee.
The Way Home: Homeless Housing
When Redemption first started, we quickly made friends inside the local homeless camp. We were all in our 20s and early 30s with very little money and no great plan for buying an apartment complex or anything, but it turned out that we had exactly what no other organization was dolling out: our own neediness. Our new friends Butch and Leo and Kathy (and so many others) quickly adopted us into the homeless ranks and we spent every Tuesday afternoon around their campfire talking, warming our hands, eating their surplus of expired bread that was going to mold, and just letting them love us. Oddly enough, it was having someone else to take care of that made them feel like they were part of society again. And it was hearing this story that sparked a vision for a few Redemptionites to begin The Way Home.
The Mill: Open Sanctuary
In 2017, Redemption and 11 other area churches were chosen to be a part of a new young adults initiative through Princeton Theological Seminary. Part research part catalyst, this initiative is a 3-year process involving a $20,000 grant to begin a new ministry for young adults. And thus, The Mill: Open Sanctuary was born. The Mill serves the community of Bristol Borough by providing a contemplative space for prayer and spiritual development. It hosts daily prayer sessions as well as contemplative prayer classes and a great spiritual library. Check it out here.
Spark Storytelling Night
Everybody has a true story to tell. Some are funny, some are challenging, some make us cry, but they’re all worth hearing. Stories connect us and heal us and bind us together, and that’s why it’s important to share. So we started a monthly storytelling night at the coffee shop. Led by Susan Alloway, a founding member of Redemption and our resident storyteller, this event has collected a heartwarming following of all ages, races, and faiths, but has become a safe platform for vulnerability, doubt, and connecting the dots about Jesus. Have a story? Come on out to the next Spark Storytelling Night!
Our friend Joe grew up around Bristol and has a mixed and intense faith background. But one thing that’s great about Joe is that he’s fun to talk to and willing to talk about anything. So when we found out that he was opening a tea shop (Noble Earth) on our main street we immediately asked about hosting a discussion group at his shop. “PhilosoTea” we called it, and he loved the idea. Now the group runs every Thursday from 7:30pm to 9pm, often migrating to other establishments for a drink or a late-night snack to further the discussion. We’ve covered topics like death, contentment, media, communication, Jesus, and Bob Dylan songs. And we’ve made friends, lots of strange, beautiful friends who need Jesus, just like we do: every day.
Interested in building a Redemption Endeavor?
Contact Gary Alloway: firstname.lastname@example.org