This is an important part of the mission of The Renewal Center, the belief that everyone has a seat at the table, the very principles of the Kingdom of God. A place where people can come who don’t have set agendas. It’s not so much a meeting, but a coming together. People come as they are, when they want, and leave just as easily. A third place is always neutral ground—no one has any obligation to be there. There are usually employees or owners, but patrons are there because they want to be (and ideally, even the employees are socializing while they work).
Conversation is the main focus of a third place. People come together for small talk, or to discuss the issues of the day, talk about their community, vent about jobs, or just get to know one another. A third place is more important in today’s culture than ever because the modern American home has effectively become a place of social isolation. Even with phone, email, and social media at one’s fingertips, on a basic human level, there is still a disconnect from a broader community. Which leads to feeling isolated and has proven to decrease empathy for one’s fellow humans. A third place restores that connection and puts you in touch with people of different backgrounds, which is an important part of growth for every human being.
In this way, TRC is fulfilling a very important societal need that makes way for a healthy, functioning community. Paradoxically, at this point in history people seem to be more connected than ever due to the internet and social media, yet feel less connected and more isolated. We can no longer afford not to foster real life connection, empathy, and belonging. This is the vision of The Renewal Center.