Calico Rock church welcomes teens on Friday nights

Like most towns its size, Calico Rock, Ark., does not have a mall. The closest movie theater and fast-food restaurants are over 30 miles away. This lack of gathering space adds up to a lack of safe places for teens to socialize—especially when the local high school’s ballgame is over, or when there wasn’t a ballgame that weekend at all.

The people of Calico Rock United Methodist Church have come together to help remedy this problem. The Pirate’s Cove Coffee House, named for the local school mascot and hosted in the Calico Rock UMC fellowship hall, gives teens somewhere to go and something to do on the last Friday of each month.

Teens from the Calico Rock community sing a duet during the open mic at Pirate’s Cove Coffeehouse. COURTESY PHOTO

Teens from the Calico Rock community sing a duet during the open mic at Pirate’s Cove Coffeehouse.
COURTESY PHOTO

Here teens have a place to call their own. Young people are invited to hang out on the couches. They can play video games, pool, foosball or table tennis. Teens with musical talent can sign up for open mic. Some simply share coffee and conversation.

Everything at the coffee house is free of charge to those attending. A local business provides the coffee, and church members provide dips and chips and homemade cookies and brownies. For the kids who would like something a little more filling, the people of Calico Rock UMC serve up fresh hamburgers.

“Adolescence is a difficult time, and it is only compounded when young people feel forgotten or trapped,” said the Rev. Bill Sardin, the church’s pastor. “Too many teens in our town feel that way—they feel as though their social needs are forgotten, they feel trapped by the distance they have to travel to experience many of the things that most American teens take for granted. I am proud of our congregation for taking a positive step and sharing a Jesus that cares about the needs of teenagers.”

As interest in the Coffee House continues to grow, the church plans to open its fellowship hall on additional Fridays. For Calico Rock UMC, this is an opportunity to minister to, and earn the trust of, one of the least served populations in their community.