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Baby Café started at St George Maple Ridge in May 2016 with an aim to create a welcoming space for new parents and parents-to-be to come to with their babies. Every Wednesday morning a feast of cakes and squares and several litres of Columbian Fair Trade coffee are prepared by church members and offered as a gift to those who come. In common with churches across the diocese St George’s is blessed with some amazing bakers and a rota ensures there is a sufficient supply of cakes.

Having a newborn baby is a great joy but can also lead to parents feeling stuck at home with no adult conversation. Moms on leave from full-time employment can find their social networks changing quite quickly and life with a baby can be lonely. Bridget Edgerton, who leads the group, was inspired by a similar baby group at her last parish in England. “I feel that there is a need, when you have children, to be supported by people who are going through the same things. A lot of people don’t have family around and having a baby is challenging and its important to be surrounded by people who support, care and encourage you. I wanted Baby Café to be a place where people could feel relaxed, meet others and build friendships. God calls us to love our neighbour and this is a way that we can do that practically. I have worked as a midwife and have three children myself so I have seen the need for this sort of group on many levels.”

Catherine has just returned to work, and she said “I loved coming to Baby Café with my son when I was on maternity leave.  I enjoyed meeting other moms, exchanging stories and encouraging one another.  All the volunteers are amazing as were the homemade treats.  As a first time mom the ‘job’ can be overwhelming and isolating and getting out and meeting others was important for my mental health.  I tell any mom that I meet about Baby Café.  I can’t say enough great things!”

I have started to see people coming to our Spring and Fall Fairs and other events having first come into the church building because of Baby Café. St George’s vision is to live and share the good news of Jesus Christ, and as part of that we are aiming to provide a church environment that is family friendly. Baby Café helps to make people feel at home at church, and to know that St George’s is genuinely a place where children are welcome.

Baby Café is on hiatus for Christmas and will return January 4, 2017

Photo: Baby Café Christmas party 2016

(This web story is an edit of the full article which is published in the January 2017 issue of Topic, the publication of the Diocese of New Westminster received 10 times a year as a section of the national Anglican publication, The Anglican Journal)