Thursday, January 30, 2014

a moveable feast

 
Christian Brothers Association group photo (late 70's).
There's a bunch of people who are absent and wish were represented here
(David A, David B, and David C to name a few).

Our old coffeehouse ministry had various locations as well as various names.  What started out as a prayer meeting of high school and college kids ended up a small coffee house starting as FREE House which was located at 212 South 5th Street downtown Gadsden.

Around the time of Emory Bogg's death, we had moved to a small house on 253 College Street across from the Gadsden Public Library.  The little house is no longer there.  The place was simply too cramped from which to have room to fellowship, let alone sell books and records.  I was a junior in high school at the time and a member of Central United Methodist church on 11th Street.  Many of FREE house members were also members of Central too.  I started inviting friends to the Youth House at 1123 Christopher Street which was owned by Central UMC, located right behind the church.  I have a lot of good memories of our meetings of having FREE house.

There was a point where the ministry started growing.  It was about that time that Christian Brothers Association was formed.  We moved our activities to a larger location at 235 South 6th Street.  The back 2/3rds of the building was used by a daycare.   The entire front of the building was perfect for our book and record store and coffeehouse meetings.  Many people still referred to our meetings at FREE house, but most were calling it Christian Brother's Coffeehouse.  Christian Brother's Association had a lot going on by that time.  Our primary function was the coffeehouse fellowship.  There was a big demand for Jesus Music and we were the place to plug into the music with Christian Brothers' Books & Records.  By 1977 we had our first 'No Jive Jesus Is Alive Falls Festival' at Noccalula Falls Park & Campgrounds.  We amassed a rather large sound system for the festival and ended up going on the road with it with Christian Brother's Rent-A-Sound.  CBA rented out systems for both small and large events.  Even though we grew into doing many things, the coffeehouse, that little fellowship remained the core ministry.

In the early 1980's Christian Brothers Association moved to it's final location at 421 Broad Street where Gadsden Vineyard Church resides today.  The building had a nice old skylight and we appreciated the spiritual implication and named the coffeehouse SKYLIGHT. Christian Brothers continued ministry until 1998.  Upon dissolving the non-profit organization, we gave the building to the church that had been renting from us for their Sunday services - giving the church a permanent home.  You can still find see a small number of old Christian Brother Association members (and their descendents) amid that congregation today.

People came and went down through the years.  We moved multiple times and went by various names.  We had a twenty five years run and it was a great experience.
  Though the coffeehouse is gone, the friendships I made there down through the years are forever.  No matter where we are now, we share a common past and good memories. We will always love each other, remember each other as Christian brothers and sisters.

God bless each of you in your ministry today.
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