The Lobby Serves Food and Drink for the Soul

Huntingtown, MD – Amid the rich, verdant pastures of rural Calvert County, citizens with devotional needs come to Chesapeake Church. The church’s campus—located off the northbound side of Route 2/4 just before it splits—appears to be continuously busy. Mortals do get hungry and the church that started the End Hunger in Calvert County revolution is putting its best plate forward. The Rev. Robert P. Hahn, Chesapeake Church’s longtime pastor, told the project known as The Lobby is the blend of “coffee, cause and community.” Hahn said the church invested space and equipment. According to fact sheet from the church’s web site, the cost of designing, constructing and equipping the aesthetically pleasing café-in-a-church “is covered 100 percent by outside grants.”
While the idea of running a coffee bar and a café on the grounds of a church might seem a bit out of kilter, Hahn proclaimed The Lobby as “an oasis of sanity.” The cash a customer pays for a cup of hot or iced coffee or one of the savory entrees goes into a separate bank account, helps pay the wages of The Lobby’s small group of employees plus other expenses related to operation, the End Hunger in Calvert County effort or to the church’s outreach effort in Honduras.
Hahn explained that church members make several trips in small groups (group photo, right from Chesapeake Church web site). “They work in people’s homes,” said Hahn, who added the work team installs water filters in the dwellings. “The water from the rivers is polluted,” said Hahn, adding that “water is life” and purifying the water helps sustain them. Hahn described the area the church aids as agriculture, with the two top products being coffee and sugar cane. “They [Hondurans] are industrious, they work,” said Hahn. “They get involved with the projects. We’re getting to know the families.” The mission to Honduras includes bringing medical supplies and the volunteer services of doctors and nurses who attend Chesapeake Church and are part of the teams.
A visit to The Lobby for began with a visit to the kitchen where the order—an apple walnut cranberry salad, bedded with arugula and spinach, topped with chicken and feta cheese; a turkey avocado BLT served within a spinach pesto wrap; a small serving of mac and cheese, and a vegan burger—made with beets—was prepared by the crew.
Hahn has been with Chesapeake Church for 30 years—25 years as pastor. Of the church’s steady expansion, Hahn declared, “we’ve been blessed.” During the previous decade the church withstood some serious challenges from Calvert County Government regarding alleged zoning violations on the church campus. The ensuing litigation resulted in court victories for the church. “We’ve been willing to fight for what we believe,” said Hahn. “We’ve been used by God to elevate the community. It’s probably our most lasting achievement and it’s good for everybody. We don’t put borders on anything. It’s above and beyond what we imagined.”
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