At the June Monthly Meeting for Business, Durham Friends approved a $2,000 donation to the Make Shift Coffee House, founded and run by Durham Friends member Craig Freshley. Craig began the Make Shift Coffee House gatherings about six years ago, during a time of great disagreement and friction in regard to Muslim immigrants. The coffee house format was developed to encourage civil discourse and discussion about issues that were highly emotional, bringing together people of different perspectives and persuasions.
The purpose of Make Shift Coffee House is to promote understanding of different political views while relaxing with light music in a coffee house atmosphere. It’s a face-to-face place for respectful conversation. It’s not a debate, and there’s no persuasion. It’s about listening to people with different beliefs to understand why someone believes what they believe. Make Shift Coffee House conversations help reduce conflict and gridlock so people can work together to build our communities, in spite of our political differences. It is exactly what Quakers have tried to do on the local, national, and international levels for years. Durham Meeting is proud of the work Craig has done to develop Make Shift Coffee House, and we decided to make a donation to the organization at this time to take advantage of a matching grant that will help the organization and Craig’s work with it grow around the state.