Frequently Asked Questions
Coffee Shop Concept and Partnership:
For an overview of the proposed partnership with 1951 Coffee Company (1951), see the "Statement of Potential Impacts" document.
Why is the timeline for Session approval been so short?
Much of the timeline has been a good faith response to 1951 Coffee Company’s hope to open in the Spring of 2016. This date reflects a desire to open several months before the anticipated summer slow down, acknowledges the financial reality of 1951’s start-up capital, and represents a realistic assessment of the permitting process in Berkeley. This proposal assumes a committed space by September 2015.
The potential partnership with 1951 Coffee Company initially arose in May and was quickly explored with operations and facilities staff; as well as with lay leaders of related or affected ministries. Session was introduced to the concept in June and began exploring the idea in earnest at their July and August meetings. Meanwhile a series of additional conversations were initiated with the JPOW Leadership Team, Deacon Exec, and other members of the congregation with relevant expertise and insight to better understand the various impacts and opportunities. Having done significant due diligence, in mid-August, Session affirmed the general direction and sought to introduce the proposed partnership to the congregation through announcements and a Town Hall meeting on September 6, 2015. The primary aim was to further gauge responses to the idea, surface additional questions for consideration, and promote greater awareness of the concept under discussion. In response, Session voted on September 15, 2015 to continue to move forward, though with increased opportunities for exploration and oversight by a smaller 1951 Coffee Company Work Group to clarify the particulars of a proposed lease and mission partner Memorandum of Understanding.
What has Session approved to date?
At their meeting on September 15, 2015, Session approved the following motion:
“Session reaffirms its support for the proposed strategic partnership with 1951 Coffee Company and establishes a 1951 Coffee Company Work Group to execute a Letter of Intent to enable 1951 Coffee Company to initiate the required permitting process. Furthermore, the Work Group will represent Session in negotiating the proposed terms of a Lease Agreement and a Mission Partner Memorandum of Understanding with 1951 Coffee Company, which will be brought back to Session for final approval. The 1951 Coffee Company Work Group will be comprised of the Director for Mission Outreach and Justice, the Facilities Manager, Missional Engagement Elders, representatives from the Stewardship Department and the JPOW Leadership team, and a lay leader with relevant business expertise.”
When would the Coffee Shop open?
The target date is Spring of 2016. As the permitting process in Berkeley can be quite lengthy and subject to delays, the timeline could shift.
Does the San Francisco Presbytery need to approve this partnership or the opening of a coffee shop in our building?
First Pres is not required to have Presbytery approval for this partnership and coffee shop.
Does this Coffee Shop negatively affect our University Ministries?
We believe not. Rather, the proposed partnership with 1951 Coffee Company is considered an important strategic commitment to University engagement. By inviting the University and Berkeley community into a space that is consistently open to them, we believe it can be a more relational space where important interactions can happen naturally. We hope to secure the space a few nights a month for discussions or forums that intentionally relate faith to relevant topics and concerns. Further, because the number one minor at UC Berkeley is “Global Poverty and Practice,” we hope a Coffee Shop run by refugees might create a bridge of common cause, encouraging conversations with those who might be unfamiliar with—or even suspicious of—the church. We are also exploring possible student internships, and ways to provide hospitality toward the wider campus Christian community or to students generally during specific seasons like finals and welcome week.
Does the Coffee Shop eliminate the weekly meeting place for FoCUS gatherings?
Over the past few years, the College Lounge has rarely been used for the weekly large group gatherings for FoCUS (Fellowship of College and University Students)—not for lack of vision, but because we have had better spaces to accommodate them on the First Pres campus. In addition, as part of the Lilly Endowment, Inc. Grant that we received in 2014, the 242 House has been repurposed for University Ministries as a casual, accessible place of Christian community for undergrad students. The addition of this space has lessened the need for the College Lounge.
What does this mean for memorial receptions and the Deacons that support these events?
The loss of the College Lounge Kitchen will impact the Deacon’s set-up for memorial receptions and other events in the Calvin Room. Currently, the College Lounge kitchen is used as both a kitchen prep and staging area for events requiring coffee and food in the Calvin Room. The Deacons have discussed how they can work around the loss of the College Lounge kitchen. First, if we approve installing a Kitchenette, this would provide a place to make coffee and do small prep and set-up (For more information, see the "Statement of Potential Impacts" document, as well as the “What Will This Cost The Church” section below). With or without the Kitchenette, the Deacons will still need to rely on other kitchens – primarily the main kitchen in Westminster Hall – for set-up and clean-up needs. It is still the case that Mears or the Gym, in Westminster, can be used when the Calvin Room is not available, or if not large enough to accommodate a memorial reception.
Will Coffee Shop patrons use the First Pres bathrooms?
Part of the lease agreement with 1951 Coffee will include a clause stating that they will install a bathroom in the College Lounge space (at their cost), allowing for the Coffee Shop to be completely self-contained. This will alleviate concerns expressed by congregants around the added traffic and use of the First Pres bathrooms on the first floor in Geneva Hall. Currently, options are being explored with William Hezmalhalch Architects about the most optimal place to add a bathroom to the College Lounge space.
How will this impact the security of our church campus?
While there is no way to fully understand how this might increase traffic to our campus and impact security, we aim to mitigate potential security concerns to the best of our abilities. Installing a bathroom in the College Lounge space so that the Coffee Shop can be completely self-contained is a step in that direction. This would likely mean that there would not be access to the Coffee Shop from inside the Geneva hallways – the only entrance and exit would be through the doors of the Coffee Shop on Channing Way.
What is the term of the lease agreement?
The specifics of the lease are still being discussed and reviewed by the 1951 Coffee Company Work Group, but the current thinking is that the lease will be for three years with an option to renew if the partnership is still desirable by both First Pres and 1951 Coffee Company.
What will this cost First Pres?
There will be no costs to the church related to the start-up of the Coffee Shop, the remodeling of the College Lounge, the addition of a bathroom, and the ongoing operations of the Coffee Shop. 1951 Coffee Company has all of the funding they need to launch and run this program. In addition, they are continuing to seek grants from community foundations and other groups to help with training program costs.
The church may decide to spend funds already in hand (not new funds) to install a Kitchenette in the Calvin Room to relieve some of the impact related to the loss of the College Lounge Kitchen. This option is still being explored and has not yet been decided. First Pres may also decide to spend designated funds already budgeted in the Missional Engagement Department for programs that support the refugees employed by the Coffee Shop. This could include counseling fees, bible study supplies, helping with childcare, and a host of options still being explored.
Finally, while our intent is to charge rent to 1951 Coffee Company at a discount from market rate, this rental income will likely be used in three ways:
Is this the same model as Berkeley Christian Counselors and Cornerstone Children’s Center?
No. Unlike Berkeley Christian Counselors (BCC) and Cornerstone Children’s Center (Cornerstone), First Pres will not be financially responsible for the Coffee Shop. First Pres’ relationship with 1951 will be two-fold. First, we would have a landlord and tenant relationship, though with the acknowledgement that the basis of that relationship comes from valuing the mission of 1951 Coffee Company. This will be covered under a lease agreement. The second relationship will be as a mission partner through the Missional Engagement Department. This will be covered under the standard Mission Partner Memorandum of Understanding (a standard agreement we have with all new mission partners).
Who has reviewed 1951 Coffee Company’s business plan and financials?
1951 Coffee Company’s business plan has been reviewed by Ayco and Co financial advisors, a business and banking professional with experience in commercial banking and financial investing, as well as by Alder and Covlin legal firm. With the help of the banking professional, the business plan has also been put through a series of models that “stress test” the business. In addition, members of the congregation including some of the members of the 1951 Coffee Company Work Group have reviewed their plans. In addition, Session has seen a summary of their financial plan. All of those who have reviewed agree it is a viable