Mug ‘n’ Bean happens in the new Social Area at West Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney Road, Ballymena every Tuesday from 10am-12noon.
Quite simply, everyone is welcome to call in for a cup of tea or coffee. Whisper it quietly but anyone who comes along will also get the chance to enjoy a scrumptious scone, tasty tray bake or even a freshly baked bun!
The outreach started in October in response to changing patterns in Church life.
“West Church is in a great town centre location”
Rev Linda Keys, who is on the staff at West Church told The Church Page: “Years ago, people came to Church as a matter of course but that is changing. The onus is now very much on the churches to reach out to people and not to simply expect them to come through our doors.”
“We want to encourage people. West Church is in a great town centre location; you can drop in for your tea or coffee. We see an awful lot of people who live quite near the Church.”
Linda went on to say that Mug ‘n’ Bean is visited by people from all backgrounds, Church denominations and none.
She added: “We have a Jo Jingle group that meets on a Tuesday morning which brings in lots of mums and dads. We also see lots of elderly people who are lonely. The idea would be that this would be a place where people can come to and feel welcome; somewhere that is not any sort of threat at all. It really is just tea, coffee and nothing else. There is no ulterior motive other than providing a safe place where people can come and meet.”
Encouraging those in the town to come along any or every week, Linda went on to say:
“There is always a bit of craic going on and it is a warm place to come, particularly on cold winter mornings. Don’t worry about going on your own, there are always plenty of people to chat with. There is nothing like a cup of tea to break down barriers and here in Northern Ireland we drink plenty of tea and coffee. Everyone is welcome.”