An organic coffee bar and an all-ages music venue are not things you’d expect to find housed in a church, but for the members of Earth House Collective, their presence in the Lockerbie Central United Methodist Church represents the ability of the sacred and secular to coexist.
“It’s really a beautiful thing,” Kate Lamont says, operations manager of Earth House.
The coffee bar had its beginnings when a few members of the church were struggling with a dwindling congregation and thought a coffee shop in the community room would help build a collective atmosphere. “They basically threw a hail Mary pass and then other people saw the potential,” Lamont says.
Now more than a coffee bar, the Earth House Collective has shared the historic building with the church for nearly three years. Located at the intersection of New York and East streets, the collective is a group with a venue for those who are dedicated to peace, wellness, community and culture.
“It’s a broad mission,” Lamont admits, “but we wanted to have a physical space where the energy is right for creating social consciousness.”
There isn’t much the collective won’t host: drumming circles, film nights, yoga classes, art and music shows all have their place here. “What we offer people is radical hospitality,” Lamont says. “We’re one of those places where you can try anything out,” she says.
Currently the collective has 17 organizational members and 50 individuals who all pay a nominal membership fee to help keep the space running. But staying open isn’t easy. “Our biggest accomplishment so far has been staying open and starting up a non-profit,” Lamont says.
In the coming months, Earth House will be introducing food service in their café and working on getting some big-name acts into their music venue—recently 2007 Grammy winners Ok Go played a show there.
“When people come in here, they fall in love with it,” Lamont says, “it really is what you make of it.”