SILVER SPRING, Md. — With decisions about future policy looming, there’s one thing General Conference officials can agree about: building The Fellowship Hall, a unique Adventist “sports bar” style restaurant opposite the GC Headquarters in Silver Springs, Maryland.
The Fellowship Hall is the brainchild of NAD Treasurer Dan Brown, who conceived of the innovative restaurant and corporate watering hole as a place where area Adventists could spend time together regardless of what they think of women’s ordination or how they feel about engagement rings vs. watches.
The Fellowship Hall will follow a proud history of Christian culture and feature a multitude of approved counterparts to elements of a normal, worldly sports bar. The kitchen will serve up twists on traditional favorites like Special K Sliders and Haystacks-in-a-Tortilla, as well as a full array of Morningstar and Cedar Lake burgers, hot dogs, and chicken products. “When it comes to pseudo-meat,” says Brown, “people shouldn’t have to pick sides.” They’re also hoping to cater to large group and parties with group deals like The Tower of Babel – a heaping tray of delectable vegetarian meat substitutes from every continent designed to reflect the church’s diversity – and The Potluck – a sampler tray of more than twenty miniature casseroles, salads, and pastries.
Visitors who drink with their meals can also purchase creative non-alcoholic cocktails like The Master Guide, Early Sunset, and the Vespers Date, as well as a selection of different vintages of Martinelli’s Sparkling Juice. Though it be kept off menu and be undetectable for those not looking for it, insider sources hint that visitors might also be able to order a “Time of Trouble,” which will be a mix of all of the official drinks. Baristas will also brew a variety of herbal tea steamers and Postum lattes and Roma cappuccinos sure to please any West-Coast visitor guiltily craving Starbucks.
Tom Brent, Director of NAD Communications and co-director of The Fellowship Hall project, hopes to create a space that will be inviting but not tempting, tasteful but not overly adorned. “We’re hoping that even stopping by for a quick bite will contribute to Adventist Education,” he says, whether that means glimpsing a Conference President in a corner booth or admiring the large framed posters of Adventist pioneers like J. N. Andrews and Joseph Bates.
Samuel Joven, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, expects that The Fellowship Hall will be a powerful draw on Millennial Young Adults both for the atmosphere and the opportunity to meet other members their age. “Oshkosh only comes once every five years,” says Joven, “and SDA University tuition is getting more and more expensive. The Fellowship Hall is a much better place to meet your future spouse than a movie theater or a bowling saloon.” After all, he points out, with Rook and Dutch Blitz Tables and 70-inch TVs playing The Hope Channel, 3ABN, and old Acrofest Performances, there will be plenty to do.
With construction beginning only days after the GC Session wraps up in San Antonio and an expected opening date of mid-October, GC officials and SDA foodies alike are hoping that The Fellowship Hall won’t be a great disappointment.
Special thanks to Virginia Stephen for the guest post