Woodside church ushers in 'Village Hub'


Pastries from the Woodside Bakery & Cafe are gone. A farewell party on March 15 observed the closing of the business with a buffet dinner for the public. But it's looking like the same pastries may be available in Woodside after the bakery restarts, as a wholesale business, at its new location at 104 Constitution Drive in Menlo Park.

A tentative plan, by Pastor Ama Zenya of the Woodside Village Church, would offer Woodside bakery muffins and croissants, along with gourmet coffee and snacks, at neighborly get-togethers on weekday and Saturday mornings in a corner of the church's courtyard to be known as The Village Hub.

"The closing of the bakery, that's what sparked it," Ms. Zenya said in an interview when asked about the genesis of the idea. That and talking with bakery co-owners Mark and Jan Sweyer about their plans to reopen in Menlo Park, she said.

That the church would host a community event like this is not new, she said. Children from the elementary school across the street have, in the past, come to the church for lunch on "hot dog" and "taco" days, she said.

The plan, which is still being worked out, would start a "coffee-house ministry," something not uncommon among churches, Ms. Zenya said. The get-togethers would be open to everyone and structured only to the extent of abiding by the church's core values of love, respect, community and caring, she said.

"We're not going to host anything that would violate those values," she said. "It's about extending the church's mission of building community. We want to be a community building force in the town. ... The best way for any organization to build itself is to live its values, and that's what we're seeking to do."

The community response has been overwhelmingly positive, she said, adding that she's also gotten positive feedback from members of the Town Council, board members of the elementary school district, and business owners.

Becoming a barrista

Ms. Zenya appears to be very serious about the quality of the coffee. "The espresso machine is top of the line and it's going to be exquisite coffee," she said.

The machine will be donated, as will barista training, she said. Volunteers are already asking about learning how to make a latte, she said.

If these community conversations last the entire morning, as anticipated, the volunteers would work in shifts, she said.

To keep the books balanced, donations will be expected, she said. Someone requesting a latte, for example, would be expected to contribute $4, she said.

For more information, call Ms. Zenya at 650-851-1587 or write to her at

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Like this comment
Posted by Local Dude
a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2016 at 3:15 pm

What a creative idea! I hope it works out. That's assuming the Roberts family don't purchase the church of course. (tongue firmly inserted in cheek here.)

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