Building a Virtual Table

Have you ever pulled up to a drive through only to discover that the stranger in the car in front of you paid for your order as a random act of kindness? Years ago, when my husband worked at a Starbucks there were frequent occurrences where a person would pay for the order of those in line behind them. Often, as a result, the person who had been gifted this treat would be so grateful that they would then offer to pay for the person behind them. The Starbucks employees would always guess at how many cars would continue the trend. On a good day, dozens of cars might be inspired to pay for the person behind them after receiving this unexpected treat.

Paying anonymously for someone’s coffee is just a small, simple gesture, but let’s face it, a lot of great things happen over coffee. When I began my job in the Chaplain’s Office six years ago I brought with me an essential ministry tool: a coffee maker. Making fresh coffee everyday proved to be more than just enabling my own caffeine addiction, it became a way to channel hospitality to others. Now we grind fresh, ethical coffee bought locally and served with love to whoever comes by our office. We get to see every day how a simple mug of coffee (or tea or whatever you fancy), enables great conversations and new friendships. 

It’s the start of a new semester and everyone here at Berry is still finding their footing. There is classwork to do and jobs to go to, but that’s not all going on in our heads and hearts. We have questions about God, relationships, politics, money, and the future. College is a unique time where students not only get an education, but are also in the process of becoming the kind of people who will enter a brave new world. So who will you be? How will you handle justice, grace, conflict, greed, hope, and complexity in your environments? Your dreams and hopes are being shaped now but how can you be sure that you leave here with more than just a good (decent. passable.) GPA?

This blog is being launched by the Chaplain’s Office in hopes that it will be a forum for you to engage in the kinds of conversations that will shape you and challenge you. We will have guest writers who will tell their stories, review books, and raise questions about topics that effect your world. We hope to gather diverse perspectives from across campus that will stir people of faith in their spiritual journey through college. 

“We want to build bridges and bolster a spiritual community that can use this platform to further their own faith and maturity”

But we want this forum to be a virtual table where the coffee and conversation are inviting and dripping with hospitality. We want to build bridges and bolster a spiritual community that can use this platform to further their own faith and maturity. So we will bring the coffee, you bring the words, and together we will see what God does when we learn how to communicate through the love and grace of Christ. 

Blog writer Erin Moniz serves as the Assistant Chaplain for Berry College and loves getting to serve the campus community as a minister and conflict counselor. She is a Berry alumna where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Anthropology in 2003. She has her Master of Divinity in Professional Ministry from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. She has been married to her Berry sweetheart, Michael Moniz (Berry ’02) since 2005 and they greatly enjoy life back at Berry after moving from Nashville, TN in 2013.  

One thought on “Building a Virtual Table

  1. Best resource for honest conversations, growth, and always coffee! Looking forward to what this brings as the “Table” was one of Jesus’ most powerful tools! Please stop by their office!


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