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A Place To Grow

Posted October 10, 2012 in Community Featured

A new Lifetree Café has opened to a younger audience at the Iowa Central Community College campus.

A new Lifetree Café has blossomed into the cafeteria overflow room at Iowa Central Community College.

Lifetree provides an open and honest atmosphere to share an hour of stories and conversation to feed the soul, as the café adage suggests. The addition of the new location provides a great outlet for students, much as it has done for adults for more than a year at the Cana location on 18 S. Third St.

“It really is such an open environment,” says Phil Somsen.

Somsen is the chaplain at Trinity Regional Medical Center in Fort Dodge. He had a huge hand in bringing Lifetree to Cana, which is why he adamantly supports the growth into ICCC.

“Everyone’s thoughts and doubts are accepted at Lifetree,” Somsen says. “Everyone is welcome to join us, and we have people of all faiths who come and realize that there are no barriers on who can come and share.”

Lifetree Café is, and always has been, open to anyone wishing to share experiences and conversation related to life and faith in a comfortable, intimate setting with free refreshments. It also provides the community with an opportunity for in-depth discussion and to connect with others struggling to continue living after traumatic and confusing life events, such as the death or suicide of a loved one. Discussion may also center around contemporary topics that may seem convoluted and difficult to fully understand — issues like same sex-marriage and abortion. Or it’s a place to go simply to find peace when life becomes difficult. The discussion topics are the same at both locations. The only difference is the audience.

“Here at Cana, we’re not trying to compete with other churches,” Somsen says. “Out of our core group of about 45 participants, many are still very active in their own churches. We just believed that Lifetree Café is something that complimented the presentation of the gospel. It’s so open and welcoming.”

For more information regarding the café at Iowa Central Community College, contact IVCF leader Rachel Black or Somsen at (515) 574-6428. To find more stories, topics or how to “plant a Lifetree Café,” visit the website at

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