Fr. Ed Anderson, pastor of St. Joseph’s in Rice Lake, blesses a new gathering space adjacent to the church hall Nov. 8. “The Community Cup” room provides an informal setting with couches and chairs as well as tables and media tools. (Submitted photo)

In the fall of 2018, the Four Parishes/One Faith Catholic Cluster began structuring a discipleship ministry that brings people together to share their faith.

The cluster includes parishes in Rice Lake, Dobie, Haugen and Birchwood. “The Community Cup” gathering space, located at St. Joseph’s Church, was one resulting initiative.

The idea for a community space developed from statistics showing the exodus of young people from the Church because they don’t know Jesus Christ or have a relationship with him, pointing to a need to have a space to mentor and disciple one another.

In addition, research has shown a divide between generations and lack of connection to each other as well as recognizing that churches were once community centers, and people now perceive them as separate.

While areas used for socializing in the past are being used less and less, there is a need for multi-purpose spaces in the church setting.

All of those factors led to the idea of having a space where all generations can come together to relax, have a beverage, and be in a comfortable environment with the emphasis put on the Catholic faith.

Cluster director of religious education Lynn Pottinger said, “We wanted the community space to have a casual appeal with a focus on the beauty of art that glorifies God and the reverence of the Catholic Church.”

She added adaptations have been made to the space to allow it to be used for the spillover from larger funeral dinners, receptions, and other events held in the St. Joseph’s Church hall, located in the basement of the Rice Lake church.

Remodeling began in the spring, and the room officially opened Nov. 8. Pastor Fr. Ed Anderson blessed the room as part of an open house to celebrate the start of this ministry space.

A logo was created that includes two coffee cups on one side and a chalice on the other with the name “The Community Cup” depicting, Pottinger noted, “Our journey together walking in the faith toward unity with Our Savior.”

General hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and some weekends.

In addition to being a place to spend time with friends daily for coffee or tea, the space is available to be reserved for meetings, Bible studies, classes and more and includes evening hours. Contact the office for more information at 715-234-2032 or .