EARLIER this month, the village of Swanmore, in
Portsmouth diocese, acquired its own modern coffee
shop - in the church hall - and some properly trained baristas,
including the Vicar of St Barnabas's, the Revd Claire Towns
(below). The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher
Foster, came to open it officially, to sample the coffee, and to
congratulate the volunteers.
It has been a £20,000 project to open Barnaby's Coffee Shop, and
to provide a relaxed space for coffee, cake, and chat. The scheme
was supported with a grant of £5000 from the diocese's Mission
Opportunities Fund, £5000 from the church itself, and £6500 from
Members of the congregation worked hard to transform what had
been a Victorian schoolroom into a modern coffee-shop with coffee
machines, atmospheric lighting, comfortable seating, and Wi-Fi. The
coffee is Colombian, and the volunteer baristas are able to serve
everything from Americanos to macchiatos.
"It's part of our vision to use our buildings better," the
churchwarden, Janet Chant, says, "and also to make sure that there
is somewhere in the village where people can have a decent cup of
coffee and a chat. Everyone enjoys a good cup of coffee, and we're
right at the heart of the village, with the school across the road
and the nursery in the church hall. . .
"We are working with Kingdom Coffee to make sure that our coffee
is Fairtrade and ethical. We've also been inviting our congregation
to test different types of coffee after Sunday services to decide
which tastes best."
The first regular customers are expected to be the mothers who
drop off their children at St Barnabas C of E Primary School, just
across the road, or those from the Greenery Nursery School.