Trinity House Cafe in Leesburg mixes refreshments with spiritual inspiration

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When you are in Leesburg and want breakfast, listen to Siri.

 

“Siri, what is the best place for breakfast in Leesburg?”

 

“It is Trinity House Café.”

 

When Ever Johnson opened the café on the corner of Church and Market Streets in 2014, there was no model for her type of business.

 

Johnson, a mother of five, is the founder and co-director of the John Paul II Fellowship with her husband, Soren, associate director of the diocesan St. Thomas More Institute. The John Paul II Fellowship was founded in 2006 to create an integrated Christian lifestyle that combines spiritual, intellectual and social activities.

 

Johnson said the work brings her a lot of joy. People ask her to teach them her business model, but Johnson admits it’s hard to get this type of business off the ground.

 

“My goal is to have a binder for those who are interested,” she said. “It shouldn’t be this hard.” 

 

For Johnson, the focus has changed.

 

“The greater ministry goal now that we know how to run the business is to focus on having that spiritual encounter, leading with beauty and ministry of hospitality,” said Johnson.

 

Customers of all faiths can be found chatting and enjoying the environment.

 

“People are talking as brothers and sisters in Christ, sharing their interest and faith in the public square, without realizing they had so much in common with the different faiths,” she said.  

 

A large calendar on the wall gives a glimpse of several activities available ranging from art openings, live music, even iconography lessons.

 

Johnson has been surprised by the amount of undiscovered artistic talent in the area. There is a constant stream of artists asking to be displayed and musicians offering to test their musical vocations.

 

“People are made to co-create with God and want to get their talent out there,” Johnson said. “They don’t realize they have a charism because people gravitate toward the mass-produced art and there doesn’t appear to be a need for their charism.”

 

With a playroom, weekly story time and mom’s happy hour on Thursday mornings, families are welcome. The family-friendly environment led to a recent award — hulafrog’s Most Loved Kid Friendly Restaurant. Trinity also was named as a top five coffee shop in Leesburg by Inside Leesburg.

 

Visitors to the café can snack on the Guadalupe — a hot black bean dip topped with cheddar cheese; or Jerusalem — roasted garlic hummus with pita wedges and vegetables. They can drink Little Flower tea, a chamomile tea brewed with lavender and rose; or the Don Bosco, a smoky black tea mixed with half and half, molasses and topped with foam. In addition to food and drinks, the café also sells art, books and religious items.

 

The café cares about prayer requests as much as suggestions for their business with jars requesting both on the fireplace mantel near the kitchen. 

 

It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to make the business run. “We haven’t had time to do ministry events ourselves, because it takes all of our time to keep the place running well,” she said. The café is open to various groups in the evenings.

 

Kara Macdonald, vice president of Pruitt Title and Escrow Company in Vienna, loves the charm and story of the café. “What draws me to return to a business is that it is connected to the community,” she said.

 

Johnson said the heart of the ministry is the culture of encounter and primarily the encounter of the Holy Spirit. “We wanted to show people how rich the Christian lifestyle is, but it became more about serving people and encountering the people where they are, giving them the warm welcome, and letting them know the Holy Spirit wants to encounter them.”

 

If you serve them in humility and charity, the Holy Spirit will encounter them through you, according to Johnson. “It is so easy to care for people and serve people and let the Holy Spirit tell them what they need.” 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018

@eelliottACH