His Place in Monessen is not your traditional cafe. It’s not just a cup of coffee and a friendly hello.
“We are here to bring light and hope. People need it,” said Lisa Lyons, who runs the cafe which opened in September. She is also the Director of Outreach Ministries for Christian Center Church in Rostraver, owner of His Place. It is a natural extension of their services to have the cafe in Monessen; the church has partnered with the community in the past.
Lyons admits she never really liked the taste of coffee, but when Pastor Tim Burgan of the Chrisitan Center church dreamed of opening the cafe, she knew God was calling her to get involved.
Lyon and church volunteers aim to bring multiple outreach services to the cafe for the community at little or no cost, including a ‘pay it forward’ coffee tray where patrons can donate a cup of coffee to those who cannot afford it. buy one.
Inside the old red-brick municipal building, the shop has a hip, contemporary feel, with high ceilings and garage-style arched patio doors that can open onto the sidewalk. A bonus back room is ideal for programming with a multi-window garage door that can separate it from the main dining room for story time or other programming.
“People walk into the cafe and say, ‘What’s it doing here? It should be in Lawrenceville, or South Side or Shadyside,’ and that’s what I wanted when we designed it. J felt the people of Monessen deserved this, to have something as nice as any other part of town,” Burgan said.
Monessen may not be Lawrenceville or the South Side, but there are those who are invested in seeing the area thrive.
According to Lyons, several area churches are working hand in hand with them. There are also thriving partnerships with Monessen Library, Community that Cares, Family Center, Westmoreland Diapers, Beverley’s Birthday, Washington City Mission, local school district, and Chamber of Commerce.
Designed to be a gathering place for the community, the café is a place to meet and learn, a place to feel accepted and encouraged. On the wall hang advertisements for the enrichment that takes place there, most of them free: story time on the second Thursday of the month where parents can also take the opportunity to build relationships, tutoring on Monday evenings from 6 p.m. church and community volunteers, the Knit Whits knitting group on Monday mornings, Wholly Fit’s Mommy and Me class which meets on Tuesdays and offers exercise and nutrition classes (there is a small supplement for this course to cover equipment). Lyons said he plans to partner with the Monessen Institute of Physical Therapy, Brainworx and Mon Valley EMS for additional programming this year.
Podcast listeners can hear The Valley Sports Guys program (MVI Live) and Live, Love, Laugh, Pray and Inspire with Jamie Protin, who uses the coffee for their home live.
Every day you can see students from the nearby Douglas Education Center, regulars like Monessen resident Orest Cieply, whose son Wally volunteers at his home, mothers with young children stopping in for a cafe and people using a table as a desk away from the office. .
“During our time in Monessen, we made many connections and learned to love the people, to pray with them, and to be part of their journey,” Lyons said in his first annual report to the church.
“To me, the people of Mon Valley are some of the kindest, most loving and hardworking people in the world. They just need someone to believe in them again,” Burgan said.
He should know. He comes from the Mon Valley. “I have a lot of roots here. My grandfather worked at the Donora factory, as did my uncles,” he said. Like his father, he worked at the Clairton factory while earning money in college. He has traveled to over 110 countries around the world, working in developing countries. “In the process, I thought, ‘If I can do it, I can come back to Mon Valley and do the same thing.’ I can help those who are hurting, those who are desperate, those who just need to know that they can have a better and brighter future,” he said.
His Place has its roots in a locally produced television show of the same name hosted by Burgan on Cornerstone Television for 15 years. Set in a restaurant, the show featured a wide range of topics discussed by the cast each week as the camera and audience “listened in”. Both the show and now the cafe are named after the Almighty. Burgan has carried this vision since the early days of the TV show when he said people would call to ask where the restaurant was. “We would tell them it’s not real. It’s a television studio. People were really disgusted. They wanted to go to a real place,” he said.
Three years ago, the Christian Center Church bought the old municipal building and the transformation into a café began.
“I love the Mon Valley. My vision is to bring hope to broken communities. We are not all part of the answer, but we are part of the answer to the problem. And I believe that if everyone who thinks they can be part of the answer decides to be part of the answer, we can transform the Mon Valley again,” Pastor Tim said.
His place is located at Third and Donner in Monessen. Visit hisplacecoffee.com for more information on selections and programs.