A community connected by a good book and tea

A community connected by a good book and tea
Kaylah Joelle Baker

In discussing with the parish what more could be done to connect with the community, East Melbourne’s Holy Trinity Parish Centre decided to create a monthly event around two of life’s simple pleasures – “a cup of tea, and a good book”.

Allocating the fourth Thursday of every month, between two and four in the afternoon, the gatherings soon adopted the name of the Fourth Thursday Book Cafe.

“It’s not like a book club, it’s more a social afternoon where you can talk about books or borrow a book if you want,” spokesperson for the cafe and warden at the church, Lynne Mitchell said.

“At least a couple of times a year we have an author as a guest speaker and we always serve up a lovely afternoon tea as a free service to the community.”

Opened in 2013, the church cafe manages to attract anywhere between 10 and 20 people to its doors on the fourth Thursday of every month.

And while the past two years did prove difficult with only three gatherings “between lockdowns” last year, Ms Mitchell said the regular attendees were “looking forward to being back” this year.

The Fourth Thursday Book Cafe resumed gatherings on February 24 and continues to remain open to anybody who wants to come and share in a love of books or socialising.

“The cafe is about reaching out a little bit more to our East Melbourne community, rather than just concentrating on the church,” Ms Mitchell said.


It is very important and a good outreach.


Attracting church members through advertising in the “pew sheets” each month, word of mouth has been the greatest tool for the cafe with many attendees being non church-goers.

And the success of connecting people through books has been so positive that Holy Trinity Parish Centre is frantically in the midst of organising its book fair that runs every second year, encouraging the community to “leave books on the porch of the vicarage” in preparation for the fair.

“We have a fabulous array and it is amazing how many books are already there to sort through and for people to buy,” Ms Mitchell said.

The book fair will run over the weekend of April 30 and May 1, where many of the books will be marked at $3 each or two for $5.

Holy Trinity Parish Centre, where the cafe and fair reside, is located at 193 Hotham St, East Melbourne •


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