Ex-church reborn as coffee shop The Congregation in Boston-Edison District

Betsy Murdoch lives in Detroit's Boston Edison neighborhood. This is her church - or what was a church - now about to reopen as a coffee shop-restaurant.

It's been rezoned commercially to be set up for a full coffee bar and a full bar with beer, wine and cocktails. Quick-serve food will also be available, like flatbreads and pastries delivered locally every day. 

It's a rebirth for this building last used in 2014, when it was New St. James Church.

Now it's called The Congregation. 

"We thought what better ambience than an old church to put our concept in," Murdoch said. An old church built in the 1920s with so much of its original character and charm.

"A lot of natural wear and tear so we had to put a new roof on, the stained glass windows are all original, we had them all restored. We were able to salvage the floors - they are all original maple flooring," she said.

There's another huge window that had been blocked in, now letting in the light. There's even an organ from the 1800s, rehabbed in the early 1900s and placed in the church when it was built. Now it will be restored. The walls all have the original brick. 

"There was plaster on the walls, a lot of it was failing," Murdoch said. "So we ended up removing the plaster and really just fell in love with the look of it. The black tar from the adhesive of the plaster really gives it a unique look. Not that clean red brick that you are used to seeing."

If you are wondering what happened to all of the church pews they are still there. They've been repurposed and used to build the coffee and cocktail bar. They were able to keep the light fixtures as well. 

"Detroit is not short on churches so maybe we will encourage other people to repurpose churches in many different ways so we can start reusing some of the architecture that we already have here," Murdoch said.

But she will start with this one.

She is hoping to rehab the former rectory next door, perhaps turning it into a restaurant or a bed and breakfast. 

Perhaps the beginning of a little business district in Detroit's Boston Edison neighborhood, the grand opening is March 5. 

"Everyone and anyone is welcome in this space," she said. "We really want this space to be utilized for any possible person. We want people to feel comfortable when they walk in the door."