FAQ

Q: Where are you located?
A: Our offices are currently located at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, 209 W. 27th Street, Austin, TX 78705. This is also the location of Actually Unplugged. Parable is currently located at Opal Divine’s Penn Field, 3601 S. Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78704. Elephant in the Room and the other events in which we’re involved take place all over Austin. However, we hope to move to a permanent space dedicated to the Front Porch within the next year.

Q: Is this a Christian organization?
A: We identify as Christian because that is the belief system of the Front Porch’s founder and staff. However, we accept that the truth can be reached through a multitude of avenues, and that everyone has their own. We exclude no one on religious grounds. We do ask that you respect the religion of everyone involved, including ours, but we’re not here to proselytize.

Q: What are your beliefs?
A: We believe that Jesus was one of the greatest teachers of all time, modeling the truth through dialogue with his disciples. His acceptance of any person who would enter into dialogue with him, regardless of wealth, health, gender, or social position, inspires us to similarly seek out truth with those who are different from us.

Q: What do you mean by “dialogue?”
A: By dialogue, we mean a conversation that goes deeper than quotidian chatting. We define dialogue as an interpersonal relationship in which all parties sincerely and completely speak their truths, listen sincerely and completely to the truths of others, and work with those others to enable the act of creation which occurs when people have active, honest, and respectful conversation.

Q: Why is it connected to the Episcopal Church?
A: The Front Porch became a mission of All Saints’ in 2011. This relationship allowed us to further develop our mission and continues to inspire us.

Q: It’s not church, is it?
A: That depends. Parable is based on the Episcopalian Rite III eucharistic service, but we’ve worked hard to make it non-denominational and encourage non-Episcopalians and non-Christians to attend. Our other programs, while frequently containing Christian themes such as redemption or transformation, are not religious. Our offices, while housed in a church building, can get very un-churchlike indeed.

Q: Can I go to church there?
A: It really depends on which “there” you mean. Parable is our monthly eucharistic service, so you certainly can go to church there. Actually Unplugged occurs inside the church, but is not religious in nature, and neither is Elephant in the Room.

Q: Do you have to be a member?
A: Nope. Every one of our programs is free and open to the public. In the future, we foresee having a membership base, but it’s still in development. If you’d like to discuss our mission or our programming with us, give us a shout. We’re always open to conversation about the Front Porch. If you’d like to donate to help us run our programs and day-to-day operations, we’re open to that as well.

Q: Can we get something to eat or drink there?
A: Not yet. Our vision is to open a permanent space that will be a cafe, coffee shop, bar, listening room, and gathering space. Our goal is to create a safe, welcoming, and sustainable environment for Front Porch patrons and the public at large.

Q: Is there anything for kids?
A: With a few exceptions, most of our programming is kid-friendly. We don’t have any kid specific programs or classes, and while we don’t have a daycare or babysitting facilities per se, you’re free to drop your children off at Steve’s office whenever you need to; he’s got a PhD in developmental psychology, so he knows what he’s doing.

Q: Is it really intellectual?
A: Occasionally it is. For our Elephant in the Room series last year, we brought in a seminary professor to talk about the apocalypse. On the other hand, we were also recently involved with a barbeque cook-off. Most of what we do is very accessible, and we’ll give fair warning when it’s going to be heavy stuff.

Q: Is it liberal or conservative?
A: Organizationally, we are both and neither. The purpose of the Front Porch, after all, is to foster dialogue across divides, political and otherwise. We actively encourage discussion across the aisle, so long as it remains constructive.

Q: What if I don’t like to talk?
A: Well, you certainly ask a lot of questions for someone who doesn’t like to talk. Even so, we’d love to have you stop by some time. There is room for introverts, extroverts, and just regular verts. All we require is a willingness to listen respectfully.

Q: Is this a bait-and-switch operation?
A: That depends entirely on what you think the bait is.

Q: Is it like…?
A: Probably not.