Sitting down with Christ and Joe

Published 6:10 pm Monday, July 14, 2008

“I should have died,” said Casey Morris, one of three owners and operator of Ekklesia, Chelsea’s new ministry–based coffee house. “I’m very blessed.”

The former Chelsea High School quarterback was talking about a 2005 accident — one that destroyed the Ford pickup he was driving, but left him without serious injury. The accident may not have affected him much physically but it did change his life. Morris had heard Mike Ritka share his faith with students and football players, but had paid little attention to what he said, until after the accident. Ritka was the first person he called.

“I knew if I had died, I would have gone to Hell,” said Morris. “So Mike shared Scriptures with me about salvation and I accepted Christ.”

The two began meeting for Bible study at the Dairy Queen in Chelsea, and before long other people were joining them.

“When there got to be about fifteen of us, we began talking about opening a place of our own, and two and a half years later here we are,” Morris said, indicating the cozy room equipped with a comfortable sofa, easy chair and tables where patrons eat, drink coffee and use their laptops to access Ekklesia’s free wireless internet connection.

During the planning stage of their venture, the two friends met Owen Watkins, a building contractor, who became the third partner.

“The Lord worked out everything for us to get our equipment and move into this building,” said Morris.

Ekklesia Coffee House is located on Foothills Parkway behind McDonald’s in Chelsea. Regular weekday hours are 5:30 a.m.-8 p.m.

“But we close at 5 p.m. on Fridays for Bible study at 6 p.m.,” Morris said. “And stay open later on Wednesdays for people to come by after church.”

Weekend hours are Saturday 5-10 p.m., with live music around 7 or 8 p.m.

Ekklesia (meaning “the called out ones” in Greek) is available for group meetings, and Morris says he will open earlier on Sundays when Grace Presbyterian church begins meeting next door sometime during August.

Shelba Nivens can be reached by e–mail at