Becoming Family: Medford and Frogtown Cafés Graduate to Full Membership

Theologian Sallie McFague writes that she believes that humans are fundamentally more needy than greedy. While our society celebrates greed and accumulation, McFague points to one of the essentials at the core of the Recovery Café Model: that we need each other; that we need communities where we belong in order to heal from the traumas of our lives.

Emerging to Full Members

All Cafés in the Recovery Café Network start out as Emerging Members. They receive extensive training, opportunities to connect with and learn from other Cafés, and one-on-one support from the Network team. Following an evaluation process, Cafés graduate to Full Member status.

This month we are celebrating Recovery Café Medford and Recovery Café Frogtown as both have recently been evaluated into Full Membership! These Full Member Cafés are faithfully expressing the love, and the recognition of our need for one another, at the core of the Recovery Café Model.

What really shines through, when talking with those leading the Cafés, is the joy they have experienced as community is built in their Cafés. The word “family” comes up again and again.

Recovery Café Frogtown

Angela, from Frogtown (St. Paul, Minnesota) specifically commented, “A lot of Members do not have family. But they become family for each other here at the Café. They take each other to the hospital, to buy groceries, to appointments.” Reflecting on the fact that Members are required to attend a weekly Recovery Circle, Angela’s colleague Rick notices how Members at first seem to agree to come to their Circle so they can be at the Café (maybe for a meal, or to get off the street). But they end up wanting, even more, to come to their Circle because that’s where they feel known and loved. Tasha, Frogtown’s director, observes that people begin to realize, “If you’re not here, someone will miss you.”

Brandon Orr and Stephanie Mendenhall
of Recovery Café Medford

Stephanie, director of Recovery Café Medford (OR), and her colleague Brandon, spoke not only of the sense of family being built in their Café, but of the larger sense of connection and support they experience through being part of the Recovery Café Network. Brandon, getting teary, said, “There’s a lot of love up there,” when reflecting on the founders of the first Recovery Café in Seattle. The team in Medford has felt that those at the Network have their best interest in mind. It has been a “true partnership,” they say.

Becoming a Recovery Café

There are a number of ways to describe what Recovery Cafés become. Two of our favorites here at the Network are:

  • Cafés are communities of healing and belonging.
  • “Cafés embody what it looks like when we live like we belong to each other—which of course we do,” (quoting our cofounder, Killian Noe).

The hard work and commitment involved in creating these kinds of healing communities was apparent in these brief conversations with some of the leaders of these two Cafés—as was the joy and beauty they feel as they embody this model of healing and belonging.

We couldn’t be more grateful for the partnership with Cafés like those in Frogtown and Medford. Celebrating with you and expressing gratitude for the extended families you have brought to your communities!

Thank you to Tasha, Angela, Rick, Stephanie, and Brandon! Learn more about Recovery Café Medford and Recovery Café Frogtown.