Earth House Coffee Shop at Lockerbie UMC

Earth House Coffee Shop at Lockerbie UMC

This past Sunday, Nicole and I preached at Lockerbie United Methodist Church in the Lockerbie neighborhood of Indianapolis. Lockerbie UMC is an historic church with a large, beautiful building in a neighborhood that has changed a lot over the years.

As the neighborhood changed, the number of church members has declined. Today, the congregation is a group of about 30 folks that meet each Sunday for worship and engage in a wide range of social justice ministries.

Instead of abandoning their neighorhood or simply giving up and closing their doors–as many city churches have done over the years–Lockerbie decided to stay, re-invent itself, and re-engage the neighborhood. Instead of investing its money in remodeling its worship space–again, a decision many churches make–the church decided to turn a large space into Earth House Coffee Shop and Bookstore. This space has become a vital community center, art gallery, and performance space. On Sunday, the church reported that 4000 people have been through its doors so far.

A year ago, when the church decided it could no longer afford to pay a full-time pastor, instead of throwing in the towel, they decided they would move forward without one. Today it is a lay-led congregation operating with a shared leadership model. Lockerbie is also a part of the Emergent Church conversation.

Often, but not always, Lockerbie invites guest preachers. This past Sunday, Nicole and I preached as a part of a sermon series the church has been doing called “Everything Must Change.” The topic they asked us to preach on was “Smashing Patriarchy.” We had a fun time with it. I led the church in a praise song, and Fiona sang a beautiful benediction. We were grateful for the opportunity to share the good news with our brothers and sisters in Christ.