Bread Coffeehouse at Emory was started in 1998 by Chip Jurskis with Bible studies on campus. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, coupled with a suicide in the dorms that semester, Chip felt led to have a place, a refuge on campus for students of all faiths and backgrounds. This led to the start of a free coffeehouse where he cooked and brewed coffee all week, for free.
Over the years many students, leaders, interns and support staff, such as Beth Jarvis and Erin Hinek, have been a part of making Bread the amazing place that it is today. Angie Stryker heard that Chip would be moving on to Florida to be a Family and Discipleship Pastor, and she jumped at the opportunity to lead a coffeehouse + college ministry. It was just too dreamy to pass up! So in the fall of 2012, Angie moved her family to Atlanta to get started with Bread.
Since then, Angie has been joined by fabulous staff who has a passion for college students. One of the first things they did (outside of offering coffee and Bible studies and events and food) was to partner with people working in Clarkston. Clarkston is the town next door and full of resettled refugees from all over the world. Bread staff wanted to teach and lead students to seek ways to put Love in Action each and every week by tutoring, teaching English, playing with children, creating the first Thanksgiving meal for some. It is still one of their main events each week.
With a full team operating Globalscope style (campus ministry startups around the world), they soon found themselves needing a permanent, bigger place to host students. She and her staff began praying around the campus, dreaming and asking God to show them where they should go next. In 2014, the Baptist campus house was rumored to be for sale - but only to another campus ministry. After seeing this beautiful old house built in the 1920’s, with an extension on the back that holds 75-100 people, they knew that 1227 Clifton was the place for Bread’s new home. They had to act quick. God confirmed the dream by raising up $100,000 in 100 days for money to put towards the house mortgage.
Now 7-9 residents can live upstairs with their own kitchen and bath in a peaceful, loving community. Students can gather for coffee and treats in the front room, check out other Globalscope locations on the mural in the green room (or grab a quiet study space there amongst the books), they can gather in small groups to study the Bible in the grey room, they can get together to bake all sorts of things or volunteer to be a barista for our espresso hours and dream up drinks from the espresso machine. Staff can meet and talk and think in the basement when needed. And the great big room on the back is available for just about everything - dance parties to crafts to piano practice to big events.
As soon as they moved in, Bread staff and students started dreaming about how to make this new Bread house a launchpad for dreams. In 2015 they dreamed about multiplying Bread. They always heard from students’ friends, “I wish we had a Bread on our campus...” So they turned the staff program into a three year training program. In the third year, staff members become apprentices in everything there is to know about running Bread (from the back-end of finances, boards of directors, and the non-profit to the front-end of recruiting, leading and vision) with the hopes and dreams of being Team Leads in college ministries around the globe.
Lindsay Hicks became the first apprentice to be launched into the world. That of course begged the question, where would she go? Feeling led to stay inside the U.S., the staff and board joined Lindsay in praying and asking for an invitation to a campus. By December she had that invitation to Somerville, just outside of Boston, where Tufts University as well as other local colleges are present.
At the same time, Brooke Vore had come on staff with the dream to bridge the gap between the students at Emory’s Oxford College and the Emory Atlanta campus students. Often the Oxford students, when they transfer their Junior year, end up starting over with friends and community. She desperately wanted to work on building that relationship sooner, rather than later. In praying for Brooke and her future team, she received an invitation to be a campus minister at Oxford College, starting in the Fall of 2016.
With all of the excitement of launching new Breads, Angie, the staff and the board realized quickly that they needed help managing the teams and the finances. After much prayer, God once again provided. Kim Tucker is joining the staff to be the Director of Business Services as Bread multiplies. She and Angie will guide and direct these Team Leads in Boston and Oxford, while raising up another Team Lead at Emory Atlanta.
In 2015 and into 2016, they began praying around the campus for the needs of the students at Emory Atlanta. Through stories and relationships we began to understand three great needs: 1. Students at Emory are at times hungry due to high tuition costs and unable to make ends meet to buy groceries. 2. Students at Emory are often times without a place to live, due to again, the high cost of tuition. And 3. Students at Emory have great and ongoing mental health needs. They believed that Bread could be the answer to these prayers. They started offering housing to students who couldn’t afford to pay all of the rent. They started an Open Pantry for students to enjoy free fresh produce, fresh bread and non-perishable items as well. And they started praying for a counselor to join us in the house Fridays to see students for therapy. Rob Thomas will be joining us in the Fall of 2016 as the Christian Counselor at Bread.
The Story of Bread continues… truly God loves Bread and He loves college ministry and He loves to answer prayers and dream big dreams for Bread, Bread staff and Bread students.