Thursday, 24 May 2012

A Liturgy for the Making of Church Coffee

¶                 The Gathering and Presentation

At the entry of the teacups and the saucers a hymn may be sung.

Hymn – ‘What a friend we have in coffee’

The Greeting

The barista greets the people

Blessed be powder, granules, and all things Fairly Traded.
Blessed be his kitchen, now and for ever. Amen.

There is one cup and one saucer.
There is one coffee-morning to which we were called; 

one sugar, some milk, one teaspoon,
one stirring of all.

Caffeine be with you
and also with you.

The barista introduces the coffee morning

God calls his people to drink coffee, and forms us into a right royal 
cohort of the caffeine addicted, a holy huddle, to declare the wonderful 
deeds of him who has called us out of drowsiness into his 
marvellous high.
The Church is the Temple of Coffee, the people of coffee and the 
dwelling-place of the Coffee-Machine. In baptism the whole Church 
is summoned to witness to God’s love and to work for the 
coming of better blends.

Prayers of Penitence

Invitation to confession

Jesus is the Good Barista:
in every generation he raises up trainee baristas,
to intoxicate the Church of God that he obtained with his
own blood. cf Acts 20.28 (ish)

We are grubby:
let us call to mind the times when we have failed to wash our mugs
and not rinsed the spoon.
All               Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have soiled you
and our neighbour
in spillage and ring and stain,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate failure to use coasters.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our rings.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
clean up us all that is brown
and grant that we may serve you in whiteness of life
to the glory of your name.

Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly clean up,
have mercy upon you,
pardon and deliver you from all your stains,
confirm and strengthen you in all cleanness,
and keep you in coffee eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All                Amen.

The Presentation

Each tea cup is filled with powder

Reverend Father in God, I present this heaped teaspoon of coffee 
to be made into a drink in the Church of God.

When the teacups have been filled, the barista asks these questions, 
to which the appropriate persons respond

Have those whose duty it is to know this coffee and examine its 
flavour found it to be of suitable strength and Arabica roast?
They have.

Do they believe them to be duly fit for consumption?
They do.

The barista turns to the teacups and says

Do you believe that God is calling you to this ministry?
Teacups     I do so believe.

Barista        I invite the person on the Coffee Rota to confirm that the teacups 
                    have taken the necessary cleaning and made the Declaration of 
                   Appropriate Rinse.

They have duly taken the soap of cleaning and the tea-towel 
of drying. They have affirmed and declared their sparkle in 
'the cupboard which is opened in the tiny kitchenette and set 
forth in the melamine worktop and to which the saucers of the 
other cupboard bear witness'.

¶                The Liturgy of the Word
Either one or two readings from Scripture precede the Gospel reading.


The Creed

All               We believe in one coffee,
the Father, the Barista,
maker of coffee and tea
of all that is,
strong and overly milky.
We believe in one powdered coffee, Fairly Traded,
the only choice for the church,
eternally begotten of the barista,
Coffee from Granules, Milk from Cows,
true coffee from true jars,
begotten, not made,
of one flavour with the mud;
through him all coffees were made.
For us and for our edification he came down from heaven,
was trained by Costa and the Traidcraft lady
and was made to wear a pinny.
For our sake coffee was percolated under Morphy Richards;
it suffered insufficient strength and was re-made.
On the third hour it was nearly ready
in accordance with the instructions;
it descended into chaos
and is stewing on the hotplate of the machine.
He will come again in glory to judge the coffee and the tea,
and of its flavour there will be no escape.
We believe in the sprinkly sugar,
the sweetness, the crystals in browned clumps,
who proceeds from the spoon and the sugar bowl,
who with the Coffee and the Tea is still now sweet and sticky,
who has been stirred through the teaspoon.
We believe in one brand of coffee an appalling instant.
We acknowledge one strength for the flavour of drinks.
We look for the caffeine withdrawals with the pain to the head
and the twitching of the life to come.

¶                 The Liturgy of The Making

The Declarations

The teacups stand before the barista, who addresses the kitchenette

Barista       Teacups are called to work with the coffee rota volunteer and the Traidcraft ladies with whom they serve as heralds of the coffee morning. They are to house the coffee in powder and water, as agents of God’s purposes for drinks. They are to serve the community in which they are chipped, bringing to the Church the cakes and raffles of all the people. 
                  They are to work with their fellow saucers in 
                   searching out the strong and weak, the milky and sweet and those who are who take it black, reaching    into the forgotten corners of the cupboards, that the dusty cups may be made visible.

Teacups sharein the coffee-making ministry of the Coffee Rota 
and in leading God’s people in refreshment. They hold the coffee 
and bring the needs of the thirsty before the coffee morning on the 
first Saturday of every month. They accompany those searching for 
caffeine and bring them to donations bowl. They assist in administering 
the tepid liquid; they distribute caffeine-highs and 
administer a shock to the system.

Teacups are to seek instant coffee from the Jar; they are to 
contain the heaped teaspoon before milk 
and water are added, that the whole Church may be equipped to drink 
in their brown nastiness. They are to be un-cracked, least chipped and 
decorated in the words of the last appeal for the roof, as God reveals
his kingdom among us in odd ways.

The barista addresses the teacups directly

We trust that you are fully determined, by the grace of God, to give 
yourself wholly to his coffee-morning, that you may draw his people
into that new life which only a sudden hit of caffeine can 

And now, in order that we may know your mind and purpose, you must 
make the declarations we put to you.
Do you accept the coffee as revealing all things necessary for eternal 
awakedness through lack of slumber in bedtime routines?
Teacups     I do so accept them.

Will you be diligent in water-tightness, and in all cleansing that 
will deepen your shine and fit you to bear coffee for the lovely folk at church?

Do you believe the doctrine of the Fair Trade as the Church of England 
has received it, and in your ministry will you expound and teach it?
Teacups     I believe it and will so do.

Will you strive to make the coffee of Christ known through strength 
and stain, and have a particular care for those who should sip from you?
Teacups     By the help of God, I will.

Will you be a faithful servant in the kitchenette of the church, after 
the example of Christ, who came not to be drink coffee but to make it?
Teacups     By the help of God, I will.

Will you endeavour to fashion your own life and that of your saucer 
according to the approved cupboard stacking arrangements, 
that you may have a pattern approved in the late 1970s?
Teacups     By the help of God, I will.

Will you work with your fellow saucers in the soapy suds for the 
sake of the cleanliness for the next coffee morning?
Teacups     By the help of God, I will.

Will you accept the discipline of this Coffee Rota and give due 

                   respect to those on duty?
Teacups     By the help of God, I will.

Will you then, in the excessive strength of the granulated coffee, 
continually stir up the sludge of sugar that is in you, to grow in 
sweetness and taste?
Teacups     By the help of God, I will.

The coffee-morning people stand and the teacups turn and face them.

Brothers and sisters, you have heard how great is the charge 
that these teacups are ready to undertake, and you have 
heard their declarations. Is it now your will that they should be filled?
All               It is.

Will you continually stir them?
All               We will.

Will you uphold and balance them on their saucers?
All               We will.

The teacups turn back to face the barista, who continues, addressing them

Pray earnestly for the gift of Nescafe Gold Blend.

The teacups rattle before silence is kept.

The Making Prayer

The teacups sit to kneel before the barista, who stands with a spoon.
                   We praise and glorify you, almighty coffee,
because in your infinite strength you have formed throughout 

                  the world a jittery people for your own possession,
an addicted people,
a universal headache.
We praise and glorify you
because you sent your only Son Jesus Christ
to take the form of a coffee-rota volunteer;
he humbled himself for our sake,
and in obedience accepted the fourth Sunday,
even during August.
We praise and glorify you
because in every age you send your boiled water
to fill those teacups whom you have overfilled with powder,
to equip your rota people for the work of coffee-mornings,
for the building up of the general fabric fund.
And now we give you thanks
that you have called these your teacups,
whom we fill in your name,
to share as vessels in the propagation of the Fairtrade muck,
who came not to be tasty but to morally robust,
and to give their capacity as a drink-holder for many.

Therefore, Father, through Christ our Lord we pray:

Here the barista places a heaped teaspoon of coffee in each teacup, saying

Send down the boiling water on your parish teacup
for the creation and sharing of strong coffee in your Church.

When the barista has laid hands on all of the teacups, the prayer continues

Through a dose of UHT, heavenly Father,
give these your teacups milky coffee far too strong.
Make them faithful to serve
and constant in advancing your caffeine in the world.
May they follow the example of Jesus Christ your Son,
who washed the cups of his parish,
and set the needs of coffee before others.
May their coffee be potent and flavour-devoid,
their slurps declare its temperature
and their winces reveal its nastiness,
that your people may walk away intoxicated and high
and be made jumpy for the coming of their day ahead;
to whom, with you and your Boiling Water,
belong granule and crystal, milk and a stir, now and for ages.
All                Amen.

The Tasting

The coffee-rota volunteer says to the newly made coffees

We taste not coffee but a vile concoction
and ourselves as your fools for not buying better.
All                We taste you as coffee in the hall:
may caffeine dwell in our bloodstream through sips,
that we may be rattled and jumpy for hours.

Prayer after Coffee

Silence is kept.

God, barista of the coffee,
whose servants Dow Egberts and Traidcraft revealed the coffee of 

Christ in their jars as purchases of your people:
by this coffee-morning in which we share
awaken within us the caffeine-high of poor coffee
and keep us awake for three days at a time;
through him who laid down his filter for us,
but is percolating and crewing with you, now and for ever.
All               Amen.

All may say this prayer

All               We thank you, gracious Vicar,
for welcoming our children to feast on the cakes;
by your raffle may we be victorious
and with your cheap prizes send us,
in the name of all that is just daft and silly. Amen.

                  The Sending Out

A hymn may be sung and probably badly, but it’s all good, eh?

The Giving of the Leaflet

Barista         Receive this leaflet,
as a sign of the next event to be run by Churches Together
or else the local choral society.
Build them up by your attendance
and drink their coffee too.

Deacon        Go in the granules and milk of church coffee. (Alleluia, alleluia.)
All                I’d rather not. (Alleluia, alleluia.)

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above):
Some material included in this service is invented: ©  1973,
Greeting ©  A Friendly Christian
Some material included in this service is mocked: ©  The Archbaristas' Council 2000
Some material included in this service is mis-used: ©  The Archbaristas' Council 2005
Some material included in this service is silly: ©  The Archbaristas' Council


  1. All of the above, funny though it is. Clever though it is, largely true though it is, is unfortunately based on an entirely false premise.
    Namely that any church (even when adhering strictly to the above rules), is capable of producing anything which tastes remotely like coffee.

  2. Ha ha ha!

    Thanks for the comment Ray, and apologies to all for the wonky formatting once again. I write these things on Word and paste them in - not good today!

  3. Brilliant David - but I looked in vain for the blessing of the water, but perhaps you don't need that if you're expecting the boiling water to be rained down from heaven.

  4. Excellent, but I am with Ray on this one. I had thought there was a rule that states only 'Mellow birds' (or worse) can be served. Now the Refectory....well that is a different story, very good coffee from there!

  5. I feel like an apostate. I cannot affirm the faith, being a mere tea drinker (though from a commendably Broad Pot).
    But I cannot be what I am not, and am therefore denied the Real Presence. Hmph.



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