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Church turns coffeehouse into place for fun, outreach


A CHRISTIAN coffeehouse has given new life to an old tavern in Brooklyn Park - the Flamingo Lounge off Church Street.

At 8 p.m. Fridays, a variety of performers entertain at what is now the Brooklyn Bridge Christian Coffeehouse, part of the outreach ministries of the Church on the Rock.

According to spokesman Russ Tenhoff, the coffeehouse is building a loyal following.

"We've had a good summer, with between 50 to 75 people each week," he said.

"During the winter months we've had between 100 to 210. Our largest was 270. The people have been great; we have our regulars, but there are always some new faces."

A typical session opens with a performance by a rock, country, rhythm and blues, jazz or gospel group. Friday's show will feature the Good News Blues Band. At 9:30 p.m., the program changes to an open-mike format.

"The open mike features everything - poetry readings, karaoke, songs, dance or even art exhibits. We have a keyboard and drums in house for any group who needs them," said Tenhoff, a Brooklyn native.

"We call it the Brooklyn Bridge to bridge the differences between the city and the county, and to make the neighborhood a little better.

It's not just a nice coffeehouse. We want to create an institution in the area and change the persona of the neighborhood. There is something good here and worth coming to."

All faiths are welcome. "This isn't a recruitment effort by the Church on the Rock," he said.

The coffeehouse doesn't charge admission. "We do take a free-will offering, but cash isn't the only type of donation. If anyone would like to bring a bag of chips or a bottle of soda, that would be welcome, too. Supervised children are also welcome. We have people from age 3 to 93."

The coffeehouse is the first of a number of community programs envisioned by the Church on the Rock, including a gym for local youth and a "Free-Zone Sports Bar" in the former tavern that will feature nonalcoholic beverages.

"The bar will be open every day and will have a sports theme. Christian athletes have donated jerseys for this," Tenhoff said. "It's very exciting to be a part of this, and it's an amazing turnaround for the area."

The Brooklyn Bridge is located behind the church at 900 Church St. Information: 410-789-6218 or 410-355-5922 or send an e-mail message to sushom@yahoo.com.

Crab cakes for dinner

St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church has scheduled its annual crab cake dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 26.

Tickets - available only by advance purchase - are $15 for adults and $7.50 for children ages 5 to 12.

Those younger will be admitted free. The dinner will take place in the hall of the church at 4708 Prudence St., Curtis Bay.

Tickets: Eleanor Znamirowski at 410-360-2833 or Lois Bilenki at 410-789-3013.

Visit Ark Avenue

2000 Ark Avenue is the theme of the free Vacation Bible School of Brooklyn's St. John Lutheran Church, which will meet from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. today through Friday.

Featured will be stories, skits, music and crafts. Children ages 3 to 12 are welcome, and the school will also offer informational sessions for adults.

St. John is at 226 Washburn Ave. Registration or information: 410-355-7295.

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