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Grace Cafe a place for women to gather

| Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, 7:51 p.m.
Chatting in the Grace Cafe at Broadway Alliance Church in East McKeesport, from left are Maggie Balogh, Karen Kane, Mary Jane and Lori Frye. Carol Waterloo Frazier | Daily News

An idea several years ago became reality recently when Grace Cafe opened its doors.

“I had a coffee cafe for a missionary who visited the church,” Mary Jane Doyle said. “I thought it would be nice to do something like this but the timing wasn't right.”

She talked to Karen Kane who also had a vision for a coffee cafe for women and their plans began to take shape.

Grace Cafe made its debut at Broadway Alliance Church in East McKeesport in January, welcoming women Tuesdays from 9-11 a.m.

“We want to reach out to the community,” Doyle said, noting the cafe is for all ages. “We want to provide a place for women of all ages to go to get support.”

Women gather in a room featuring a couple tables with red table clothes and white chairs. There is coffee, tea and water, and homemade baked goods.

Doyle hopes single moms visit the cafe. “A lot of moms are alone and are trying to raise their children. We chose this time because the kids are in school and they have some time of their own. We'd also hope to see widows come to the cafe.”

Touching on women's need to talk, Kane said they want the cafe to be a “place of conversation and relaxation. Women need to talk and we hope this will be a place they feel comfortable coming to to do just that.”

The name reflects what Doyle hopes the cafe is able to do. “We chose the name because we want to share the grace God gave freely to all his children.”

Pastor Al Thompson likes the idea of the cafe. “It's an opportunity for women and single moms to come together and feel loved, supported and encouraged.”

Sharing his sentiments, Doyle said she hopes the cafe will evolve into “a group of women who have found friends that can help and support each other. This is a ministry outreach to women in need. Whether they are experiencing loneliness or need social support, we want to be here for them.”

Maggie Balogh attends each week, usually bringing the homemade goodies. “It's nice to know there is a place to go and get out with other women and not be judged. This is like therapy without the charge.”

While socializing may be a form of therapy, Doyle stresses the weekly gatherings are not intended as such. “We do not give out advice, but we do listen.”

Looking ahead, Doyle said they want to provide various programs like having a nurse offer blood pressure screenings and a scrapbook day or other event that would be of interest to the women.

“But we have to build the group first,” Doyle said. “If God wants this to happen, it will.”

Broadway Alliance Church is located at 1000 Broadway St. For more information, call 412-824-3198.

Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1916, or cfrazier@tribweb.com.

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