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Thursday, October 3, 2013

"God has used Storyville Coffee to bless Mars Hill Downtown"

Posted by on Thu, Oct 3, 2013 at 2:18 PM

  • Kelly O

Storyville Coffee is the new cafe in Pike Place Market owned by people with serious ties to neo-evangelical, homophobic, misogynist Mars Hill Church—here's the story on that. Asked about the connection, a Storyville marketing manager assured me, "As a company, we are not affiliated with any religious organization of any kind." I answered that while there may not be an official connection, given the involvement in Mars Hill of the company's principals, it seems logical that profits from Storyville will end up benefiting Mars Hill. Would they be willing to comment on that? They still have not responded.

Now an internet sleuth in comments on that story has discovered a cached page from the Mars Hill website that indicates that as recently as 2009, the Storyville Coffee Company (which at that point was a roastery without any cafes) was donating directly to Mars Hill Church:

God has used Storyville Coffee to bless Mars Hill Downtown. Since the Downtown campus has been planted Storyville has donated tens of thousands of dollars worth of coffee, supplies, and equipment. God is continuing to use Storyville to bless people and advance the gospel message.

The blog post has apparently since been taken down.

I think it is naive to believe that Storyville profits will not end up in Mars Hill pockets. Various commenters have other theories about the Storyville/Mars Hill link.

So, do you want to spend your money at Storyville cafe? Some people in comments are saying it doesn't matter. Spy D disagrees:

Just because you don't care whether your consumer spending supports hateful politics, that doesn't mean others don't. We vote with our dollars more than with our votes in this country. You send money their way, you promote their ideals and agenda by making these people more powerful. Failing to see that doesn't make it less true (just like denying climate change doesn't fix the fucked up weather).

And commenter soggydan points out:

most importantly, $32 a pound coffee is an insult to both God and man!


Comments (31) RSS

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Do you think these Mars Hill folks realized they were naming their coffee chain after New Orleans' historic red light district?
Posted by Luckier on October 3, 2013 at 2:29 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 2
What I don't understand is the allegations that it's a front to launder money through Mars Hill. Why does a church need a front? Are churches being audited or in any way subject to financial scrutiny?
Posted by MacCrocodile on October 3, 2013 at 2:57 PM · Report this
pfffter 3
Ew. Thanks for posting. I was going to try that place, but I'll stick to Seattle Coffeeworks.
Posted by pfffter on October 3, 2013 at 3:00 PM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 4
Love it! I also hate to see the Pike Place Market's precious space being used by multimillionaires like Jon Phelps for vanity projects like this. There are plenty of fine retail spaces he can rent if he wants to run a hobby coffee place to make charitable donations and greenwash the mountains of cash he makes off private student loan debt.

And he does plan to expand, I've read. Doesn't the Market have regulations against being used for vanity projects of the 1%?
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on October 3, 2013 at 3:08 PM · Report this
@1 Damn! You beat me to it.
Posted by Clayton on October 3, 2013 at 3:28 PM · Report this
stirwise 6
@2 - I wouldn't be surprised if they want to use the coffee roaster to spend money a tax-exempt church might not normally be able to spend and remain tax-exempt. Political spending, for example.
Posted by stirwise on October 3, 2013 at 3:35 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 7
I think somebody loves money instead of the Lord.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on October 3, 2013 at 3:38 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 8
Isaiah 20:4
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on October 3, 2013 at 3:45 PM · Report this
"homophobic, misogynist" ...

Automatic DQ, Bethany. Hearsay, hatemongering and namecalling. You can do better.
Posted by Flipper "Christ" Niemaczyk on October 3, 2013 at 3:57 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 10
I see nothing wrong with this. Churches have schools and hospitals too. A coffee shop is nothing. You might not like the ideology of the churches life style, but they are allowed to run a business and the employees are allowed to be church members and the business is allowed to donate money to any church. Where is the evil? Not your dislike, the real evil, where?
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on October 3, 2013 at 4:40 PM · Report this
@9 "Automatic DQ". Back at ya, Flipper. Cult apologists automatically DQ'd from DQing.
Posted by Brad in Seattle on October 3, 2013 at 5:04 PM · Report this
stirwise 12
@10: I don't think the concern is about a coffee shop affiliated with a church, it's that they're hiding any affiliation they might (and probably do) have. It's one thing to go to the church-owned thrift shop, because you know that your money is going to the church. If this coffee shop is closely tied -- monetarily and/or philosophically -- to a church, they should be up front about it.
Posted by stirwise on October 3, 2013 at 5:20 PM · Report this
Last of the Time Lords 13
Do they have wi-fi? If so I'm going there to watch some gay porn on my laptop, in plain view and without my headphones plugged in!
Posted by Last of the Time Lords on October 3, 2013 at 5:33 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 14
@6 - You say that as if the IRS is interested in actually holding churches accountable to the law.
Posted by MacCrocodile on October 3, 2013 at 5:59 PM · Report this
raku 16
An old coworker who went to a Seattle megachurch (I'm not sure if it was Mars Hill but are there any others?) kept trying to get me to buy coffee that he got from someone at his church, he apparently had dozens of pounds of it that he was trying to unload for $30/pound or something.

This has got to be a pyramid scheme. The overpriced crappy products, over-the-top flaunting of wealth, and pushy/desperate sales pitch sure seems like it.

What's with churches resorting to pyramid schemes? Isn't coercing all your members to tithe 10% of their money enough? (Rhetorical question- nothing is never enough for these sociopaths.)
Posted by raku on October 3, 2013 at 6:23 PM · Report this
@16 was it Christian Faith Center with His-shit and Her-shit Treat or whatever the fuck their names are? They're the only local church that's been running ads on local TV for years that I can think of.
Posted by The CHZA on October 3, 2013 at 6:41 PM · Report this
stirwise 18
@14: Touché.
Posted by stirwise on October 3, 2013 at 6:49 PM · Report this
Cornichon 19
FWIW, it's not just about the money. Storyville gives Mars Hill a place to send their interns / trainees / young apostles.

It's kinda creepy, all these ultra-polite young men & women, cleaning counters and delivering pastries. You feel like you're in some kind of science fiction movie. Phelps himself never mentions his developmentally challenged kid, whose quote appears on the wall near the entrance; it's kind of a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Sure churches have often underwritten training programs for the disadvantaged, and even turned those programs into retail businesses. But Storyville, I don't know: creepy.
Posted by Cornichon on October 3, 2013 at 8:58 PM · Report this
Ohhhhh this makes so much sense. Several weeks ago, about 10 people in my office (food-related, in Pike Place) received press release things about this place and everyone was kind of blown away because they were these multipage book things, that must have been ridiculously expensive to produce. We didn't understand how a coffee shop, and especially a new coffee shop, could/would pay for them. I get it now.
Posted by royalpigeon on October 4, 2013 at 7:42 AM · Report this
This is the place that sent out fucking magazines full of nothing but pictures of coffee and people enjoying coffee as their "we're new in town" flier. What a huge waste of money for them.
Posted by treehugger on October 4, 2013 at 8:04 AM · Report this
@21 I got one of those. Heavy ass paper, no info, artsy-fartsy photo-journal style pictures. Not my cup of tea, but I'm sure the shorts + t-shirt + cankles tourist crowd will love it.
Posted by erly on October 4, 2013 at 10:30 AM · Report this
That settles it for me: Storyville can go piss up a rope. Mars Hill is a hateful institution spreading lies and hostility in the name of 'the Lord.' Sure - they can profess what they like. It's a free country. And people can spend their money in businesses that treat all people like human beings.
Posted by ELBSeattle on October 4, 2013 at 1:08 PM · Report this
A few years ago, The Stranger did "reviews" of churches by going to them just like restaurants are visited, in secret and writing about their experience. Maybe it is time for a serious expose of Mars Hill. Just saying.
Posted by Ann-Marie Stillion on October 4, 2013 at 3:45 PM · Report this
I wonder if you peeps investigate where ALL of your money is going? Like... what if the local bookstore owner was Islamic, Hindu or Jew and donates their money to expand their religious beliefs? Would you be up in arms about that or do you only choose to hate Christianity?
Posted by NKLBCKSUX on January 5, 2014 at 10:58 PM · Report this
I knew nothing of the religious affiliation when I visited a couple of days ago. But, now, the young man with the thick Bible sitting next to makes sense. With all the coffee options in Seattle, I think I'll survive without Storyville. Yes, they can donate as much money to Mars Hill as they wish. It just doesn't have to be my money.
Posted by rusty98116 on January 7, 2014 at 7:42 AM · Report this
Wow, this reporter didn't do enough digging into Storyville Coffee. Storyville was not only started as a way to have excellent coffee but also as a way to fund the huge fight against child sex slaves. If you'd done your homework you would know that is an issue near and dear to the owners heart. While I'm no fan of Mars Church, and I'm a lesbian, I know enough to know you can't judge people by an affiliation, nor with a small sliver of information. What a weak story that was written only to inflame. Shame on you author.
The last point I want to make is about the decore, opening, and service... why in the world wouldn't you want a company that serves the public to strive for the best? Is this reporter going to only give positive nods to mediocre establishments? And by the way with the sell-out of Stumptown, it's the best coffee in the Northwest.
Posted by Divonne on January 22, 2014 at 2:17 PM · Report this
There's more to Storyville than this. Here's a recent piece about them, titled "The Real Story Behind Storyville."…
Posted by dublechocs on February 6, 2014 at 4:48 PM · Report this
HandlebarWallace 30
Thanks for the info. I want to sit outside with a big sign- people should know about this!
Posted by HandlebarWallace on June 7, 2014 at 12:42 AM · Report this
So I couldn't give two shits about the Mars Hill Church, or the idiots that choose to live that way. What strikes me about this story is the inherent racism of it. You do realize, if you actually knew any of the "traditional" families running a lot of stalls and crafts in the Market are very religious and very socially conservative, right? And will be donating money to their churches, right? Are you going to investigate that, or is it you just need to make sure no white people do that?
Posted by Bristen Bronfen on June 8, 2014 at 4:38 PM · Report this
I have been in and around the Market area since the 1970s. There has been umpteen churches, missions, revival, all kinds of presences down there. And this is the one you go after, because your fellow hipster dipshits are partaking in the usual Christian lies and you just cant stand to see your fellow bearded douchebags being outwardly being the same sexist dumbasses they were raised by. Go to any of the revivals when they are set up, go to the local Catholic and other programs, ask them for their opinions on the same issue. Do it. Go track down a guy with Bible verses written on signs preaching on a corner and castigate him. No, you won't. Because he's Black and you'll be seen for the bullshit artists you are if you do. That's the problem with you whitey's, everything is gray to you.
Posted by Bristen Bronfen on June 8, 2014 at 4:44 PM · Report this
I completely agree with Divonne's posting - it was very well stated.

The author here is way out of line and frankly, the anger and hatred for the church and it's teachings in this article was palatable. Where is your tolerance of other religions and others beliefs? What example are you showing to them by degrading their beliefs and practices...isn't that what you are accusing them of, after all? I do not attend this church, as it does not fit my beliefs, so I go to another church...period. The attempt to condemn these businesses (that provide jobs and funding for social outreach programs) because you believe they are funding the Mars Hill churches is hypocritical at best.
Posted by clwirish on June 9, 2014 at 2:10 PM · Report this

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