Sadly, one indicator of Effingham’s family-oriented growth has succumbed to economic pressure, and I for one will miss it. As some in the county may already know, Baibry’s Coffee and Café in Rincon has closed its doors for good.
Now, why would a pastor care about the closing of a café? It’s simple: Baibry’s was one of the few places in Effingham where a sense of “community” could be felt.
At the risk of waxing too nostalgic, Baibry’s was more than simply a place to grab a coffee or sandwich. It was a place to meet, a place to relax, a place to celebrate, a place to catch up with friends, a place to figure out solutions to problems, a place to hang out, a place to just be. That people can come together to meet, talk and bond in a way that enhances or even repairs their relationship is often an interest of pastors.
At Baibry’s, no one stood by waiting to clear your table for the next party. There was no dress code. It felt as comfortable as the couch in your home.
If you had to find a place to meet in Effingham to chat about anything – business, relationships, school – Baibry’s always seemed to be the obvious choice, the first and best place that would come to mind. And that was precisely because it felt like a big living room with friendly people, good coffee and consistently tasty food. And therein lies something about Baibry’s every community needs.
My family has hosted three foreign high school exchange students over the past eight years. They all loved Baibry’s because it reminded them of home. Indeed, in many European and South American countries, coffee shops (often called a coffee “bar”) are the local meeting place.
If Effingham is to grow not only in size but also in quality as a family-centered community, and if it is to maintain its close-knit, hometown experience, we will need a few things for certain. One of them is more places like Baibry’s.
The Rev. Dr. Bob LeFavi, installed member of the Society of Ordained Scientists, is pastor at Bethel Lutheran Church, Springfield.