We would like to introduce ourselves. Gareth and I are both from upstate New York, we met while in art school- he got a degree in film and currently works in the television and film industry in NYC and I got a degree in painting, which is coming in very handy while sitting in making art with our 3 children. We have often talked about owning a coffee shop; a place where people could come and feel like they are at home, have people that know them and see them and call out the best in them. I thought a shop near a school where we could have an afternoon or 2 a week where kids come and get warm cookies and steamed milk and help with their homework, a place where musicians can come and play during music nights or poets can read the thoughts that have swirled themselves onto paper-demanding a life of their own, a place where women learning to speak English, who spend day after day getting the short end of the stick will get handed a honey stick and a warm cup of tea and an invitation to practice speaking and raising their voices in courage and strength, a place where discussions about faith and life and hope and doubt are encouraged long into the night and people leave with hearts filled with the warmth of having reached towards the important questions of life. Over the last few years we have met ESL teachers, poets, musicians, pastors and professors, artists and dreamers, teachers and people that just really love kids and I didn't realize that the last piece of the puzzle that was being divinely put together was the coffee shop.
I was standing at a coffee hour one Sunday after church and Amanda and I started talking and she mentioned that they were starting to dream other dreams, dreams of family and writing and music. And as she was talking about the things she is looking forward to I realized that Roots is the thing that I have been looking forward to. I have spent the last 2 years praying about the house I felt like God was going to give us, I have prayed over the threshold-that as people walk into this house they would feel loved and seen, over the kitchen and the meals that would be prepared to nourish hearts and souls as well as bodies, over the dining room and the stories that would get told and the hearts that would become entwined around the table. I prayed for people that would come into this house as one and leave as soul mates-marriages, births, celebrations of life. I prayed over the yard and the potential of inviting children in to hear good stories and fall in love with books. And as I stood speaking with Amanda I felt this realization begin to wash over me-its a coffee house. I’ve been praying over a coffee house and I believe with all my heart that that coffee house is Roots.
Gareth and I love this space that Amanda and Christian have so faithfully poured themselves into. We love spending time at Roots and seeing all the people that Amanda greets by name. She and I have sat together on the chairs out front and person after person has walked by and been greeted, questions about tiny details of their lives have been asked and people who moments ago were rushing all of a sudden pause and want to stop and stand in the warmth of being known by her. We realize that she is a one-of-a-kind and that no one could replace her or Christian. But Gareth and I think that we will be able to take what they have built and bring to it fresh vision (while leaving the grits exactly the same) and see the heart behind what is this cafe, this office, this living room, this home, continue to grow and grow for years and years.