By JOHN FORTMEYER
SALEM — After informal “soft openings” last month, the Salem House of Prayer’s new Cafe Shine holds its formal grand opening Feb. 1, and the people behind it have great expectations for what God can accomplish through it.
“This is a huge, huge moment,” said Jim Moore, who with his wife, Linda, founded Salem House of Prayer 11 years ago and directs the ministry.
“It’s a culmination of at least thousands of prayers that Salem House of Prayer would truly impact downtown Salem, and beyond that, business in Salem and the people of Salem for God,” said George Guntermann, a board member for the ministry.
The new business, designed specifically to help support the House of Prayer, is located in a former nightclub at 248 Liberty St. N.E. downtown. Open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, it seats between 60 and 75 people and initially offers coffee, loose-leaf tea, soup and bread. Special “after-hours” evening events also will be scheduled from 7 to 10 p.m, with “family friendly” entertainment.
As funds become available, a now-dormant kitchen will be remodeled to allow expansion of activity at the cafe. The cafe is the result of six months of work by dozens of volunteers and about $40,000 in donations, said Bruce Thede, the cafe’s business advisor. It occupies about half of the House of Prayer’s 10,000 square feet of space; the remainder is devoted to the prayer ministry itself.
Modeled after the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo., Salem House of Prayer in 2008-11 conducted 24-hour prayer for the city. In 2011, a shortage of committed volunteers forced a reduction in the schedule to 12 hours daily — 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. But ministry leaders believe the cafe can raise awareness of the outreach and draw enough new volunteers so as to return to non-stop prayer.
But the cafe is also meant to draw beyond the Christian community and serve the city at large, said Thede.
“It’s not an exclusive Christian place,” he said. “I’m sure a lot of Christians will come in, but we’re looking for all kinds of people.”
For more information on the ministry, phone 503-589-9176 or go to salemhouseofprayer.org.