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Java & Jesus

Meeting and ministering together at Solomon’s Porch

Asbury alumni Tim

and Erin Gibson,

took ownership

of Solomon’s Porch almost

14 years ago and set out

to offer the community a

place where all walks of

life were encouraged and

welcomed at their table.

Based on Acts 5:12, “The apostles performed

many signs and wonders among the people, and

all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s

Porch,” the shop is located at 111 E. Main

St. in Wilmore, and open from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with

extended hours on Tuesday and Thursday from 7

a.m. to 7 p.m. They are closed on Sunday.

Although the couple is not originally from the

Bluegrass, Erin said they felt a calling on their life

to minister here.

“Tim is from Northfield, New Jersey and I am

from Sewickley, Pennsylvania,” Erin said. “We

both came to Kentucky to attend Asbury College.

After graduation, we searched for jobs and were

able to move right back to the area after our wedding

in 2002. Tim has a degree in Christian Ministries

with a Youth Ministry emphasis and I have a

degree in Sociology.”

The couple met at Ichthus, a Christian music

festival in Wilmore in 1999, while they

were both students at Asbury University. They

served together on a mission trip to northern

Ireland with New Hope Ministries in 2001

and took ownership of Solomon’s Porch in

2004 from Dr. Ben Witherington, an ATS

professor and a world-renowned author.

“We dated throughout college and used to

daydream about opening a coffee shop together,”

Erin said. “Solomon’s Porch was an

existing business in Wilmore when we took

over in 2004. The original owner started it

in 1996. The building was used as Fletcher’s

butcher shop for many years prior to becoming

a restaurant. We have delicious food,

friendly service and we as owners unabashedly

love and serve God and His people with our

entire lives.”

Originally believing their ministry through

the local coffee shop would be tailored to the

university, seminary and local community,

Erin said they soon realized their ministry

stretched beyond and into the people they

were soon employing. Employees were soon

at their door who desperately needed employment.

From single mothers, ex-cons, recovering

addicts and troubled young youths, Solomon’s

Porch took part in the community by

becoming a supportive environment for those

in need.

“We have over the years been able to provide

kitchen, cooking, baking and customer

service training and experience jobs to dozens

of people in need,” Erin said. “We also sell arts

and crafts from local vendors who in many

cases use their proceeds to support local mission

groups.”

The couple serves as leaders to a group of

middle school kids at Oasis Community

Church in Nicholasville. Together they have

a 10-year-old son, Braden, and an 18-yearold

daughter, Felicity. Outside of their work

at Solomon’s Porch, the couple has set out to

restore a 65-acre farm where they wish to continue

their ministry.

“Since college, Tim has felt a calling to minister

to troubled youth and adults in an agricultural

setting,” Erin said. “Using ‘broken

horses, for broken people,’ this once abandoned

farm and our four rescued horses and

other farm animals will be used to mentor and

train youth and adults how to live godly lives.”

Together, the owners are passionate about

good stewardship locally, environmentally

and financially. Striving to have very little

food and container waste, the shop recycles

everything from cardboard boxes to the smallest

order sheets and is 90 percent effective in

its efforts. Veggie scraps from the food prep area are also used to feed animals

on the couple’s farm or eventually end up in their compost.

“We make smaller product orders more frequently so our food is always

fresh and waste is minimal. We order as much local produce as possible

throughout the year,” Erin said. “We (also) would eventually love to be able

to purchase our building and expand it to suit our current and future needs.”

For the owners, their hope is that Solomon’s Porch will continue to provide

a comfortable space for people to continue to come and enjoy good

food and fellowship. Their wish is that Solomon’s Porch will continue to

minister to not only the community and future employees, but allow them

the opportunity to partner with local farms and mission organizations

where they will be able to glorify God in their service.

“We also hope that our kids, Braden and Felicity, will want to be an active

part of Solomon’s Porch’s future and maybe eventually take over the business

here and at the farm,” Erin said. “We are very excited about the new sign

on the front of our building. We have an incredible staff right now, some of

which have been with us for four to six years. We could not run this business

without their hard work and dedication. We are truly blessed.”