In our travels around the U.S., both digitally and physically, we at FaithX like to keep our eyes open for examples of people, programs, communities, or ministries doing creative, innovative, and experimental things in the area of faith. And when we do find one, we like to shine a light on them in a FaithXperimental spotlight blog post.
Today’s Spotlight article is about The Way Station, based out of Spencer, Iowa. We first learned of The Way Station at the 2019 Genesis Conference in Birmingham, Alabama (part of the Episcopal Church’s New Episcopal Communities initiative), where several dozen new or planned Episcopal Church faith communities and ministries discussed their approaches to engaging their communities. The following description comes from an interview with Rev. Beth Preston, Priest in Charge of The Way Station.
A busy day at The Way Station might find Rev. Preston chatting with a couple of women who have come in for coffee and conversation, dishing up homemade chili to hungry youth after school, supervising candle-making in the Restoration Artworks studio, and checking on the youth who are playing Statues in the Garden in Friar Tuck’s Book Nook. The Way Station is an outreach of the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa and is, in the words of Bishop Alan Scarfe, “The church of the 21st Century.” Rev. Beth believes God planted this vision through the inspiration of a class at Nashotah House Theological Seminary, Church and Contemporary Society. “We studied our current culture and what people like to gather around. We all talked about how we wanted to start a coffee shop,” Rev. Preston said. Another inspiration was Spirit Wind Center for Creativity and Healing in Stonington, CT, which Rev. Beth found out about through Sharing Magazine (OSL) and visited with her husband, Glenn.
The Way Station opened in September of 2018. It operates out of a storefront in downtown Spencer, Iowa. There is a café, where guests are served coffee, tea, hot chocolate or cold beverages and snacks. A chapel is in the heart of the building and hosts a 3:00 pm Holy Eucharist on Sundays. Then there is Rev. Beth’s office, the art room, and the book room. The ministry operates on donations, grants, and offerings, and asks only free will donations of their guests.[Read more…]