How to start a Cafe group

Are you looking to add another group to your already active Women of the ELCA unit in your congregation? Café groups are one way that young adult women have created community within their congregation. Women (and men) in Café groups meet to discuss the topics in every monthly issue of Café, ( and/or hold a Bible Study or discussion with questions. These groups may meet at cafés, at someone’s home or other locations outside a congregation. Café groups also meet socially and engage in advocacy.

Become part of something bigger
Café groups can be an entry point for Lutheran women in their 20s and 30s+ to engage more fully in relationship with more active Women of the ELCA units that exist in over 7,000 congregations of the ELCA. Women’s groups who participate as active “units” support the organization financially. These units send offerings, or donations, that support resources and programs. Learn more about Women of the ELCA.

The Café magazine ( and the podcast are possible because of the financial offerings that are sent by active Women of the ELCA units. Since Café pays for original content, over $5,000 a year goes directly to writers who are mostly young adult women in ministry.

Café groups are not meant to replace Women of the ELCA units, but rather an opportunity for younger women, and women not affiliated with Women of the ELCA or “WELCA” to begin to learn more about the organization.

Its easy to start a group

Arrange a kick-off
Invite women from your congregation or in the community to meet for an initial kick-off gathering. Your group can discuss ways that your group can meet.

Get to know the other women in your congregation
Before or after your meeting, get to know the active Women of the ELCA in your congregation if there is a group. You might have to inquire with the pastor to make sure you include new members and to put you in touch with a Women of the ELCA contact in your congregation. Contact Elizabeth McBride to see if there is an active Women of the ELCA group at your church. You can also seek out the synod office closest to you to locate a synodical women’s organization.

Meet for wine, dinner, etc.
You can meet to talk about Café issues, go out to dinner, etc.

You can make a difference
You can keep this resource for young adult women free and accessible by making a donation.

Keep in touch
Please let us know how your Café group is going! We constantly share what other Café groups are up to, and would love to feature your group!


Carlyn Nankervis says:
Aug 05, 2013

Is there a covenant that can be used for starting up a café group? Thank you. CN

Mandy Bernick says:
Oct 29, 2014

My friend Kathy and I are planning to organize a once a month Cafe group January-May 2015. We were thinking women/ladies aged 16-60 to gather for discussion, fellowship, snacks, and yoga. We have spoke with a few people that think our age bracket needs to be open to all women in the church. I am 38 and my friend is 49, but we feel a group needs to form. Thoughts?
Mandy Bernick

Chris says:
Nov 03, 2014

I’m ready to give up completely as we don’t have anymorew showing up. if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m an ofc. on a higher level I would disband.

Karen Sebolt says:
Apr 13, 2015

I started a Café Group at our church 3 years ago. We meet once a month Sept – May at different “café” locations around the area – coffee shops, restaurants, the library small group room (sneaking in coffee and snacks!), etc. We mostly have book discussions but we have also done some studies from W/ECLA materials and Gather Magazine. For instance we did the Journaling program from W/ELCA programs that I found on-line and read about women in the bible using parts of “In Good Company” from Gather magazine.

Mostly we have read & discussed books though. Below are some of the books we have discussed. I say discussed because I encourage anyone to come to our meetings, whether they have had time to red the book or not. Our meetings are a wonderful time of fellowship and talk.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gail Lemmon
Left to Tell by Immaculle Ilibagiza
Snake Oil by Becca Stevens
Paul & Jesus by James Tabor
The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado
And many more!

In the summer we call ourselves the Patio Group and we do more of a Bible study using the Gather summer study but I change it up A LOT and make it more fun. We meet only 3 times in the summer. In June and July we meet on someone’s patio. Our August meeting is an outreach project that is tied into the summer’s study. Last year for “Of Many Generations” we spent a morning doing crafts (and donated the craft materials) with the young mothers and pregnant girls at a Lutheran Children’s home just north of us.

Greta says:
Nov 12, 2015

Is there a way to find out if there is already a cafe group in my area?

* Get an image next to your comment by visiting and uploading a profile photo that links to your email address.

Post a Comment

All fields are required, unless noted.