About Make Shift Coffee House

Good food.    Live music.    Real conversation.

A Make Shift Coffee House is a meet up event where people with differing political views can have a civil conversation and learn from each other.

All voices and views are heard and respected.

The Make Shift Coffee House is a face-to-face experience, in real time, with good old fashioned civic dialogue.

It’s not about persuading each other. We ask questions and hear what’s important to the “other side.” It’s okay if we don’t agree. All are welcome. All that’s required is a desire to understand and the willingness to listen.

“Calling people together expressly to bring up differing points of view for respectful discussion is important.. These days we are apt to make assumptions about people who may have other traditions, other expectations.”

We’ve always had people in our lives that disagree with us. But now it’s so easy to choose sources of information that reinforce what we already believe and surround ourselves with people who share our views. When opinions are built in isolation–with each of us interacting with only our computer screen—it’s easy to demonize difference.

“I thought it was worthwhile and challenging to speak and listen rather than demonize. The surface was scratched, but I have a lot more listening to do.”

Lots of people want to talk politics!

Understanding each other helps us get along with each other.

It can be hard to understand how others hold the political views they do. But our upbringing and environment shapes us and our beliefs. Learning a little about someones life goes a long way to understanding and accepting our differences. This understanding helps us all make better decisions about our shared future. A better understanding of our community reminds us:

It’s not us vs. them. It’s just us.

Come to understand each other’s political views, and hang out.

“Great event y’all! thanks. I am so impressed with our community, and with human capacity to resolve issues when we respect and listen to each other.”

What Makes the Make Shift Coffee House Unique?

1. It’s about understanding. Just understanding. Not persuading or agreeing.

2. We are all experts. Everyone has something important to say. There is no one talking from the front of the room who is more expert than anyone else.

3. We are respectful of each other. There is no blaming or shaming. All points of view are listened to with respect.

4. There’s live music to help lighten the mood. There is art in the air to ground us.

5. There’s food to share. And of course there’s coffee.

“Sharing music and food helps us see each other as people.”

Make Shift Coffee House Guidelines

Explained at the start of every session:

– Speak from your experience.

– Listen to understand.

– Everyone gets a turn.

– No one criticizes.

– Neutral facilitation.

– Share with others.

Come on in!

Make Shift Coffee Houses are facilitated by Craig Freshley of Good Group Decisions. A professional meeting moderator, Craig facilitates a civil exchange of ideas as a neutral third party. Craig moderates Make Shift Coffee Houses as a volunteer because he believes in the importance of understanding each other despite our differences.

“I found Craig’s calm yet insightful moderating strategy refreshing in this turbulent political climate.”

“I’m grateful to Craig for his skill and patience in mediating tough dialogue.”

Here’s a short video of Craig getting ready for a Make Shift Coffee House. Step inside and check out the food and the band and all that’s planned.

It’s not about judging right or wrong or good or bad, it’s about understanding each other’s perspectives.

Get Involved?

⊕ All Make Shift Coffee Houses are hosted by volunteers ⊕

Want to be notified of future Make Shift Coffee Houses?

→Sign up here and we’ll keep you posted

Want to volunteer?

→Please click here if you would like to help.

(Stuff like this doesn’t happen without people like you!)


Want a Make Shift Coffee House in YOUR community?

→Click here to see what we are looking for.

Every Make Shift Coffee House is brought to you by a host of local volunteers! They donate their time, skills, musical talent, supply food and coffee because they believe in bringing people together.

And this website is maintained and updated by volunteers. We are doing our best but please understand that we don’t always come across as professional and stylish as we would like to!