The community of the café is made up of groups of familiar faces who regularly meet for coffee and to chat and affirm friendships: mothers and babies, Cambridge Blue/Green Badge Guides, tutorials and supervisions, counsellors and sewing groups to name a few.
The more formally established groups are organised with structure, format and regular meeting times:
The Michaelhouse Chorale is a choir for people with mental health conditions, their families, friends and carers. They meet and rehearse every Friday 2.30 – 3.20pm in the Michaelhouse Chancel. There are no auditions and no formal subscriptions but a suggested donation of £1 – £2 a week from each participant. They perform as a choir for concerts a couple of times a year, and at an occasional evensong service. In October 2015 they were invited to sing at a Michaelhouse wedding. Their enjoyment from singing with a small band of singers, then meeting for refreshment and a natter in the café is proof of the therapeutic power of song and people. The choir is co-ordinated by Arts and Minds, and receives financial support from the monthly Lindsay Stemp concerts.
Michaelhouse Book Group
Now a well-established group open to all who are interested in joining lively debates about the deeper things in life, over a cup of tea or lunch in the Michaehouse Café. Most recent titles up for discussion have been H is for Hawk (Helen Macdonald) and Forgiven (Terri Roberts). Monthly forthcoming titles are announced in the Michaelhouse Newsletter. They meet on the last Friday of every month in the cafe at 1.00pm. Look for the table with the book club poster displayed.
Lindsay Stemp concerts
The Lindsay Stemp concerts take place on the third Saturday of every month from 1.00 – 2.00pm. These concerts provides an opportunity for amateur musicians to perform in public — sometimes for the first time. The quality of performance in these concerts is often outstanding. Performing groups include young adults and teenagers as well as more established bands. There is often a full house and the amounts from the retiring collection, donated for the running costs of the Michaelhouse Chorale, are excellent.
The Stephen Perse Foundation concerts
These concerts give young musicians from the Stephen Perse Foundation opportunity to perform in public. They are extremely accomplished and well worth a visit. Usually on the second and last Friday of the month in the Michaelhouse chancel from 12.30pm. Entry is free with a retiring collection, donated for the running costs of the centre.
Great St Mary’s congregation
The parishes of St. Michael’s and Great St Mary’s were brought together in 1908 and in the 1960’s, and St Michael’s became their church hall. Michaelhouse was renovated in 2002, with £1.3 million raised by Great St Mary’s. Since the redevelopment, Great St Mary’s continues to use St Michael’s for their many social events and celebrations including fund-raising ceilidhs, quiz evenings, and coffee after the 9.30am service on Sundays.
Held every Tuesday (term-time only) 10.30 – 11.30am, The Ark is a relaxed service of Holy Communion for everyone and, in particular, for parents and carers, and their pre-school children. It take’s place in the Chancel, with the children sitting on mats playing with interactive toys, materials and books chosen to help them engage with what’s going on. The aim is to allow adults to worship without worrying about keeping their children still and quiet, and to help children feel at home and included in the service. The service is followed by tea, coffee and biscuits and, more often than not, cake, as we like to celebrate birthdays! The children play while the grown ups chat, and the conversations frequently continue over lunch in the café.
Communion and Community
This weekly service brings together Eucharist and Bible study. We sit around a table and include a time for Bible study and discussion as part of a service of Holy Communion. A café lunch often follows the service. Thursdays at 1.00pm.
Bible readings, psalms, prayers. Tuesdays at 9.15am.