Church: Federated UMC & UCC
District: North Star
Submitted by: Rev. Jennifer Amy-Dressler
Two years ago, interim pastor Jennifer Amy-Dressler brainstormed with Federated Church youth about how they could reach out to meet a need for teens in the local community.
That Sunday morning, the idea of the 2-Hour Delay Cafe was born. Nearly each month during the school year, a staff event means that schools in the small, west-central Minnesota community of Morris begin late in the morning. Many students stay home and sleep in, but not everyone has that option. Now students in grades seven through twelve can drop in at the cafe between 8 and 10 a.m.; it's located in the church building directly across the street from the schools.
A hot breakfast with juice, hot chocolate, and doughnuts is offered free of charge. Adults are available to assist with homework as needed. Mostly, though, youth come to play Rock Band, table tennis, air hockey, or euchre, often with the adult hosts.
"Two things stand out to me with this effort," says Amy-Dressler. "One is the adult volunteers. Most commit to coming every month, and they get to know the kids by name. Some good conversations happen—and some rowdy euchre and ping pong tournaments, too! The other thing is the diversity of students who participate. Few are part of the 'in' cliques in school—but when they are here, they all interact with each other with respect and enjoyment. This welcoming space offers a new, healthier way for them to relate to one another."
The 2-Hour Delay Cafe is a tangible way the church reaches out to its immediate neighborhood and nurtures children in its community, some of whom have had very limited exposure to church. Doors re-opened on Sept. 11 for the cafe's third year.
The Federated Church of Morris is a congregation that unites and relates to both the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ. Since 1928, it has welcomed people from many denominations and experiences. Learn more about the Federated Church (Morris).
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church