Porch Party at The Portico Campus This Sunday, May 21

Porch Party at The Portico Campus This Sunday, May 21

Join us at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 21 for our monthly Porch Party potluck. This event is a relaxed gathering of community friends, guests and neighbors.

Please bring a dish, side or dessert.

Let’s celebrate our various cultures with a festive international foods theme. Prepare an international dish that you love and share in this Love Feast.

Our Porch Parties are community potlucks. A starter selection of beverages and a main dish will be provided to get things going. Bring your own dish, homemade or store-bought.

Bring a friend, bring a dish, bring an appetite for good food and conversation.

Volunteer opportunities available. Call 813.254.5139 for more info.

All are welcome. All are loved.

Ribbon Cutting for The Portico Cafe

Ribbon Cutting for The Portico Cafe

The ribbon cutting at The Portico Cafe was a success! Friday, May 5, a room full of supporters and reporters celebrated the ribbon cutting of The Portico Cafe. We are thankful for the prayers and support that unleashed this cafe with a mission!

Read local and regional articles about the cafe’s grand opening:

The cafe is now open 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. Fridays and 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturdays. Learn more about The Portico Cafe.

View photos from the opening:


Tables of Eight

Tables of Eight

Tables of Eight: building community through conversation, connection and cuisine!

Tables of Eight is a chance to get better acquainted with others from The Portico campus by sharing dinner bi-monthly in someone’s home.

Interested in attending or hosting? Contact Rick Cabigas (407.398.9590).


Civil Conversations Project

Civil Conversations Project

What began as a six-week experiment at The Portico has become an ongoing opportunity for growth and connection through conversation. The Civil Conversations Project at The Portico offers a weekly opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation with others—sometimes with markedly different perspectives and life experiences—on topics and issues that impact our lives.

It’s a conversation open to anyone who wishes to participate, walk-ins welcome, 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesdays at The Portico. The project is inspired by the Civil Conversations Project (www.civilconversationsproject.org) launched by the NPR radio program and podcast On Being. Each week’s discussion focuses on one podcast interview from the project.

Explained Michelle Schumacher, group organizer, “When the Rev. Dr. Gary Mason spoke to us at the ‘Uncomfortable Conversations’ event in February, he said, “There are three ways to resolve conflict: genocide, containment, and conversations.’ We choose conversations.”

Listening to and discussing podcasts on the issue of race in America, participants have experienced the wisdom of:

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson on why changing hearts is just as important as changing laws.
  • Civil Rights icon Ruby Sales on the importance and value of redemptive anger, and also in asking each other, “Where does it hurt?” with the intention of listening fully and with empathy.
  • On Being host Krista Tippett’s experience that “To ask someone to tell even a little bit of their story is to give them a gift.”
  • Veterans of Hope Chairperson and Civil Rights Movement leader Vincent Harding’s observation that “Love trumps doctrine always.”
  • Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors and The California Endowment’s CEO Robert Ross’s experience on the importance of imagining something different for our collective future.

Members have helped others hear diverse experiences and points of view through the sharing of their own stories including:

  • A white man’s growing up hearing racist jokes and terms as accepted vernacular.
  • A black woman’s being followed in stores by staff because of the color of her skin.
  • A black woman’s not being helped by employees who offered assistance only to the white customers around her.
  • A white man not understanding, as a child, why his white mother didn’t want his black friend to come over after school.
  • A white woman’s childhood confusion and embarrassment at her first encounter with a “colored” water fountain.

Conversation has also inspired action. Two in the group chose to worship at Easter with Tyer Temple United Methodist Church, an African-American congregation in Tampa, and have invited members of that congregation to participate in worship and a potluck dinner at The Portico on Sunday, May 21.

This journey of opening our hearts and minds to listen to, and learn from, one another continues. All are welcome, on any or every Wednesday in May. Click on links each week to listen or read the interview in advance; excerpts are played at discussions.

May 3 The Movement Remembered Forward –“Wisdom for how we can move and heal our society in our time as the Civil Rights Movement galvanized its own.”

May 10 Let’s Talk About Whiteness – Could we learn to talk about whiteness in a multi-racial world?

May 17 PBS Film – Against All Odds: the Fight for a Black Middle Class with Bob Herbert (running time 1 hr. 15 min) – from the film’s website, “Acclaimed journalist Bob Herbert explores the often heroic efforts of black families to pursue the American dream in the face of unrelenting barriers.”


May 24 The Freedom of Real Apologies – “Entry points for us all — to events that are not merely about the past, and to the freedom real apologies might bring.”

May 31 How to Be Spiritually Bold – “How to engage with the well-being of our neighbors in this complicated age.”

For June through August, The Civil Conversations Project at The Portico will meet monthly, with topics expected to center around the future of Christianity and Evangelicalism.

As conceived by the NPR program “On Being” the Civil Conversations Project encourages “Speaking together differently in order to live together differently.”   From its website:

“The Civil Conversations Project seeks to renew common life in a fractured and tender world. We are a conversation-based, virtues-based resource towards hospitable, trustworthy relationship with and across difference. We honor the power of asking better questions, model reframed approaches to entrenched debates, and insist that the ruptures above the radar do not tell the whole story of our time. We aspire to amplify and cross-pollinate the generative new realities that are also being woven, one word and one life at a time.”

“These conversations are taken from episodes of On Being and are moderated by host Krista Tippett. Our hope is that these conversations model an approach to civil dialogue that:

  • Creates space for a new quality of conversation and relationship;
  • Is grounded in lived virtues;
  • Calms fear;
  • Engages common life even in the absence of common ground;
  • Restores the social art of listening;
  • Models an adventurous civility;
  • Patiently calls forth the best in ourselves and others.”

For more information contact Michelle Schumacher at 813.363.3970 or at michelleschumacher2015@gmail.com.

Celebrate the Grand Opening of The Portico Cafe

Celebrate the Grand Opening of The Portico Cafe

Join us for an opening ceremony for The Portico Cafe 10 a.m. May 5 to celebrate the work that God is doing through this coffee shop with a mission! The opening of the cafe is thanks to the people of Hyde Park United Methodist saying “yes” to unleashing God’s hope and healing through this coffee shop. Mayor Bob Buckhorn will be in attendance and will speak at the ribbon cutting.

The Portico Cafe provides quality coffee, excellent food and plentiful working space while making a positive impact on the local community. A portion of the staff are hired from local not-for-profit agencies. Working at the cafe provides them a livable wage and healthcare. Each purchase supports the livelihood of people transitioning out of difficult situations and our homeless initiatives.

“We are excited to be a part of Tampa’s revitalization. Our purpose is to foster important conversation, connection, and participate in community change. The Portico Cafe embodies that purpose,” said the Rev. Justin LaRosa, Director of The Portico.

The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay – “Big Sing”

The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay – “Big Sing”

Big Sing
Where the audience is the choir!

6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 28
The Portico – 1001 N. Florida Ave., Tampa

Bring your friends, our Big Sing is free and open to everyone!

Proud part of Downtown Tampa’s Fourth Friday Events

Musical selections will range from familiar rounds, spirituals, and Beatles songs to popular 20th century standards from the Great American Songbook. Through a fun, no-pressure group singing experience, audience members learn basic vocal technique and sing as one with hundreds of others.

Members of The Master Chorale will be there singing along with you.

Deah McReynolds, conductor
Featuring a performance by The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay Ensemble Singers

Tampa Downtown Partnership’s Fourth Friday program happens every month showcasing Downtown Tampa’s rich arts, culture, and entertainment scene. Dozens of cultural venues and restaurants participate with extended hours, special admission, and food and drink deals. We are excited to be a part of the events in April!

Parking: Park once and walk The Tampa Riverwalk, ride a Coast Bike, or use the new Downtowner free ride service to get from venue to venue.

Learn more about Fourth Friday here.

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