Churchmouse After Hours launches tonight in a bid to bring neighbours together in its cozy, under-used space.
It’s a bit of a natural progression of the successful Churchmouse Bookshop where they sell the second-hand books by donation to raise funds for community causes as well as bring neighbours together. Tonight’s inaugural After Hours coffeehouse targets a similar connection.
“Ever since we created the space, the bookshop has been doing a good job of its goal,” Rev. Craig Hiebert, The Church of St. Mary the Virgin Oak Bay. “It would be great if our community could use the space … and we as a neighbourhood could gather in this space.”
Anita Lahey, a fairly recent transplant to Oak Bay, was perusing the book shop shelves when she met the spiritual leader at the church.
The pair conjured up an evening of coffee, music, poetry and readings set behind row upon row of pews and next to row upon row of books.
“We’re doing a very homestyle coffeehouse,” Lahey said. “We’ll have different theme each month, this one is Winter.”
Her first roster of guest readers and musicians include Moira Dann, Patricia Young, Kyeren Regehr, Stephanie Khoury and the Banquo Folk Ensemble. Banquo will perform Danse de l’Ours or Dance of the Bear, honouring an old tradition where the bear coming out of hibernation heralded spiring (or not).
The authentic appearance includes costumes as well as performance on small pipes and the hurdy-gurdy.
“We’re hoping it will grow organically,” Hiebert said. “It would be nice for this entire neighbourhood to be engaged. Then be able to do what good old-fashioned neighbours do … help everyone through the everyday celebrations and challenges of life.”
Admission is by donation, similar to the Churchmouse Bookshop, which funds several local charities, topmost being the food bank at St. John The Divine. The first event is tonight, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. at 1701 Elgin Rd.
“I’m excited about it and the people I’ve talked to are excited about it,” Hiebert said. “Ultimately it’s about being neighbours and being in our neighbourhood. We have a space, why don’t we use it?”
Future Churchmouse After Hours coffeehouses are slated for the second Wednesday of each month, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Visit www.stmarysoakbay.ca/events/churchmouse-after-hours-coffeehouse or call 250-598-2212.