“That’s basically where it all started - with a refurbished Keurig,” said Hannah Roth, a junior animal and nutritional science student and president of the First Baptist Church Ministry.
The “it” she’s referencing is the free weekly Coffee House event with live music that FBC kicks off tomorrow night on the third floor of the church. This week’s featured artist will be Steve Smith, a recently signed artist to West Virginia University’s independent record label, Mon Hill Records.
Roth said one night she was in that lounge, sipping coffee from that refurbished Keurig machine with her fellow group members and they thought it would be a neat idea to do this for the community.
Every Thursday from 6:34- 8:34 p.m., the community is invited for free coffee, refreshments and live music on the third floor of FBC.
“I thought that it would’ve been a cool thing, to go chill out and have a cup of coffee or two...rather than go back to my dorm room,” Roth said. “This is a neat opportunity for students to just chill out.”
“Whether they just sit and listen, play checkers, do homework or chat with friends, we want it to be a place to relax and unwind,” said Kimberly Aurelio, the Youth Adult coordinator for FBC.
The set-up of the newly refurbished lounge caters to lounging and intimate group settings, with a plethora of couches, a ping pong table, a kitchen and a small stage.
“If it brings students to church, that’s great, but that’s not the goal,” Roth said. “It’s not to bring people to the church or the group. It’s there to help students.”
It’s right there, too. The FBC is located off High Street and can literally see WVU from its office.
“It’s also an opportunity for the community to get to know the people at First Baptist Church,” Aurelio said.
And that community is the one FBC loves.
“The whole reason we’re doing this is because we’re a church in the city with a heart for the city,” Roth said. “We want to be that heart with the students and be there in any capacity they need, and we felt the best way to do that is through a coffee house.”
One guy that also has a heart for WVU and its community is Steve Smith, the featured musician for the night.
According to Aurelio, Steve Smith Band played a benefit concert to raise money for a Sigma Nu brother, Jordan DeMaske. Aurelio met Steve and his wife and they love the WVU community.
“It seemed only fitting to invite Steve back to open the first (Upper Room Ministries) RM Coffee House,” Aurelio said.
As for the future lineup of musicians, David Wells, a Grammy-nominated artist, plays next week. After that, the invitation is open to all musicians.
“We are looking for all types of talent - whether groups or solo artists, jazz, country, classical, fusion, instrumental or vocal, etc.,” Aurelio said.
Aurelio offered the music slot to up-and-comers as well. Or, the time can be split up.
“It’s an opportunity to relax, have fun and play and have a good time,” Aurelio said.
Musicians can email Aurelio at email@example.com.
Coffee House goes from 6:34-8:34 p.m. tomorrow at First Baptist Church, 432 High Street.