Taking Church for Grant-Did.
When I started thinking about what I wanted to write about, or WHO I wanted to write about, Grant Henry and his beloved Church came to mind. I sat down with Grant a few days ago with absolutely no agenda or line of questioning, but rather to understand how a bar became a true experience – based on courage, community and selflessness.
Although we covered everything from Grant’s early beginnings and understanding the true – “HOW I GOT HERE” conversation, it wasn’t the intimate details that inspired this post, but rather a few key points that we can all attest is the true essence we call Church.
Actually, it’s called Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium.
Grant Henry just needed some walls to hang some art, an iconic “shingle”, and an idea that would yield a larger community of devout followers. Not following any organized religion, but rather the idea supported by the artwork of Sister Louisa and Grant’s vision echoed by texture, kitsch, consistency and the demands of it’s patrons and the ever-present want to provide a true experience at every touch point.
Sure his background is peppered by a degree in hospitality, education and language arts, as well as having followed his heart through the seminary teachings – but the one thing that stood out which was embedded in his sharing – was honesty and a breath-filled declaration: “as I age, and face death, you start to not care as much”.
What he is referring to is not his customers, he LOVES his patrons (and engages with them daily via Facebook) but rather the not caring of trying to make everybody happy.
In agreement, I shake my head in unison with Grant, as “you can’t please everybody.
So – what he does is creates a memorable experience, an affordable luxury for all of us to engage with one another in a comfortable, enjoyable atmosphere, and we walk away – ALL of us, talking about Church (whether it’s good, bad, indifferent, we’re talking about it – just because).
His intentions are pure. No TV, No Smoking (inside) and everyone is able to engage with one another and return to what is most important – true community with an after taste of “what the hell?” And of course – the ping pong, karaoke and the never escapable presence of Sister Louisa’s art.