The Block Island Times
http://block-island.villagesoup.com/p/945967

'Soup & Song' now the Common Ground Coffeehouse

By Martha Ball | Jan 17, 2013

Some of you may have seen Socha Cohen’s notice on the BI Bulletin Board calling for board games and wondered what was up.

Last week the Harbor Church’s ad hoc coffeehouse steering committee decided to turn the wheel and head in a new direction for a new year. We are shaking up our Friday night event, known as Soup and Song, aiming for a less structured, more diversified experience. In our view, what the island really needs is not a music venue or a coffee bar, but a place for conversation. We are launching Common Ground Coffeehouse as a place for residents of all ages to gather to talk and enjoy one another’s company.

The name is important — we are trying to impart a message: in this world, this nation, this community, we seem to be experiencing more and more strife. While it’s initially more satisfying to complain, in the long term, we have a responsibility to sow the seeds of peace and harmony.

The newly formatted coffeehouse will place less emphasis on performance and more on relaxed interaction. When there are musicians, they will be in the background. There will be board games and cards to play. Of course, coffee, baked goods and home-cooked food will still be available. Some nights there might be karaoke or movies or open mic, but there will always be space for just hanging out and talking. We welcome all suggestions.

Common Ground Coffeehouse will still be alcohol-free and kid friendly. It’s just some open time and space — and a desire to find common ground with another human being.

We asked some of our friends, not all members or attendees of Harbor Church, to share their own experiences and we offer two of those to you:

“Common Ground Coffee House is a fun gathering of friends and neighbors who want to spend time together for an evening,” says Judy Mitchell. “Not only do you get to listen to some great music but now you can bring a friend or family member to play a game, do a puzzle, or just play some cards… I have enjoyed the company of other fellows on Friday nights so, please come and enjoy an evening with me, I’ll play a game of cribbage with anyone.”

“Soup and Song has been a wonderful way for me to spend a Friday night. I have enjoyed talking with friends, listening to a variety of musicians, speakers, and poets while eating the best of home-cooked food,” says Socha Cohen. “There is nothing like ending the week on a casual and friendly note, while hanging out with my extended family. I look forward to some of the changes proposed by the group and hope more families, young and old, will come and check us out.”

Clearly, we cannot do this by ourselves and we invite our neighbor and friends, all our fellow travelers, to join us for a few hours on these cold and dark Friday nights of winter.

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