By Nancy Sowell
The Brushfire coffee shop and bookstore came into existence at 124 E. New York Avenue in October, 2002.
In 2001, a Gunnison Valley couple envisioned a Christian complex at the former Bethany Baptist buildings at 120 and 124 E. New York Ave. The couple desired to purchase the empty buildings to house the local crisis pregnancy center, a Christian counseling center, and a Christian bookstore and coffee shop. Another local Christian put them in touch with Community Christian Ministries (CCM) of Moscow, Idaho, who establishes non-profit evangelism-based Christian bookstores in small college towns, has extensive experience in Bible-based counseling and, also, had served as an umbrella organization for a crisis pregnancy center.
CCM believes that each of their ministries must have strong local support, receive local direction, and emanate a flavor conducive to its cultural setting in order to be fully successful through prayer and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Therefore, it required that a local committee representing various churches be formed to ensure the viability of such a ministry in Gunnison and to oversee it, if it came into being. The committee was established, and when the organizing was complete, CCM determined that Gunnison was, indeed, a good fit for their mission.
Seeking to remain anonymous, the visionary couple donated the necessary funds to CCM, who then purchased the buildings and provided the first staff person to manage the bookstore/coffee shop ministry. Although the local pregnancy center was offered space in the small home adjacent to the main building, they declined, and the home instead became living quarters for staff. Shortly thereafter, the pregnancy center closed. A few years later, a non-profit Christian counseling service opened through the efforts of Community Church of Gunnison. Therefore, the Brushfire committee did not seek to duplicate its services.
From its inception until December 2013, through the wonderful timing of the Holy Spirit, the Brushfire had opportunity to share its space with New Song Christian Fellowship on Sunday mornings and for weekday Bible studies. Other ministries, through the years, have utilized the Brushfire during and after hours as well. As the ministry continues to grow in effectiveness through the various gifting’s of its successive managers, it also continues to make its premises available to bless the Gunnison Valley as it has been blessed.