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Lutheran Church of the Resurrection offers Lifetree Cafe
by DJ Kauffman Correspondent · September 28th, 2017

"Lifetree Cafe is a place where rich conversation is served up every week. At Lifetree Cafe, you're encouraged to share your own stories and listen to others. But if you don't feel like talking, that's okay, too. You're welcome just as you are." []

Not everyone is comfortable in a traditional church service setting for various reasons, said Lutheran Church of the Resurrection Senior Pastor Dennis Johnson. This is why he has decided to implement the popular, weekly, nationwide Lifetree Cafe program on Friday, October 6, at noon in the Marion church's cozy cafe area located at 3500 29th Avenue. The first week's topic will be "Making Life's Toughest Decisions. What happens when you face decisions when there are no good options?"

Visitors are cordially invited to attend and will first be welcomed by staff and given a name tag to fill out. Then they will be seated and served free coffee and refreshments during the hour-long event. A warm smile and friendly greeting instantly creates an environment of hospitality, said Pastor In Training Alyssa Weaver of Tomah, Wisconsin. Weaver, who is helping Johnson implement the program, will receive her master;s degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota after completing a year-long Pastoral Internship that began on August 1 in Marion.

Weaver said during the Lifetree Cafe weekly gatherings, a facilitator will first show a short video, about 20 minutes long, focusing on overcoming life's hurdles, and then hand out questions to groups of four who will then enter into personal discussions. Sharing in groups helps people converse on topics rarely addressed during a sermon, Johnson said. And this friendship-style setting also gives people a unique opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings on relevant topics in a comfortable and safe coffee-house environment.

According to Johnson, he learned of the program a year ago while attending a conference in Loveland, Colorado. He then brought back the supplies needed to begin the new in-house program in Marion. Lifetree Cafe is a nationwide, non-denomination program designed for church, community center, hotel, and coffee shop groups, and is produced by the Christian publishing company, Group Publishing of Colorado. Its inspiration came from the book "Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore" by Thom and Joani Schultz, and its mission statement is "God is here, ready to connect with you in a fresh way." The professional program videos portray real people and not actors, Johnson said.

In addition to Lifetree Cafe, the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection offers one traditional and two contemporary services each Sunday. On Wednesdays, it hosts a blend of traditional and contemporary for all age groups. For more information, phone 319.377.4689 or email

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