Not Your Ordinary Coffeehouse


Before he was President John Stumbo, leader of the C&MA, he was Pastor John Stumbo, at one time a leader of Salem Alliance Church in Salem, Oregon. And before he sought God’s vision for the national church, he sought it for the local one.

Salem Alliance Church was a neighborhood church — bordered on three sides by residential areas, with easy access to downtown — which found itself at a crossroads in the 80s: should they remain near the city or relocate to the suburbs? When God made it clear they should stay put, they focused their efforts on outreach and becoming an anchor in their community. They partnered with Grant Elementary in after-school projects, mentoring relationships, financial assistance, and reading programs. They reached out to the community by providing firewood to families during winter months, crocheting baby blankets for single moms, serving lunch to homeless camps, and assembling home furnishings for needy families. As they proved faithful in these things, it seemed that God was calling them to more.

In the late 80s, a nearby property on Broadway Avenue caught their attention. After several failed attempts to purchase it, the city finally agreed to sell to them but with the stipulation that they build a minimum of two stories with 10,000 square feet and maintain retail space for the first five years. God was calling Salem Alliance to even greater impact on their community, but it would not be cheap.

Under the leadership of John Stumbo, senior pastor beginning 2002, the church raised more than half of the funds through a capital campaign. Then, in 2009, Salem Alliance partnered with ADF and a local lender to build a four-story, 47,000-square-foot, class-A office building, exceeding the city’s requirement by more than double. Named Broadway Commons, it was both beautiful and functional. It would be, as Pastor Stumbo envisioned, “a place where church, community, and commerce come together for the common good.” And being in the Pacific Northwest, the most natural way to fulfill the retail requirement was with a coffee shop. But not just a coffee shop, the two-story Broadway Coffeehouse would be the biggest and best in the city. They knew they were accomplishing their goal when a local newspaper called it “Salem’s Living Room.” God was using them to bless their community.

But there was more. Two of the floors, finished as professional meeting rooms, would be leased to other businesses and made available to nonprofits, other churches and denominations, and government organizations. They also built a 3,000-square-foot medical clinic where hundreds of healthcare professionals would donate their time to treat thousands of uninsured and under-insured patients each year. This led to their most important work—the ministry of the gospel. As they offered to pray with their patients, the doctors and volunteers witnessed 153 conversions in 2013.

To cap it off, the fourth floor, largely leased out to professional offices, contains one special area that outshines the entire building. It is the only designated religious space in Broadway Commons—The Upper Room — an open prayer center that looks out over their beautiful city. It’s a fitting picture of the vision God gave Salem Alliance for their community.

Orchard Alliance