Bev's Corner is heart of downtown Rockville
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon/Rockville - posted Fri., May. 31, 2013
If any place could be called the heart of the downtown Rockville community, you'd get little argument if you said that place was Bev's Corner. Bev's Corner was conceived as a Christian bookstore-type of place by Larry Meehan and his wife, Beverly, who passed away in 2007 from a brain tumor. After Beverly's passing, Meehan said he soon felt that it was his mission to open the place, with the premise of it being a place of peace and rest and where people could feel comfortable.
The Union Congregational Church purchased the building in 1973, and it was used as an annex of the church until around 10 years ago, when the UCC agreed to let the Vernon Youth Services move into the second floor. “We bought it and really didn't know what to do with it,” Meehan said, adding that the building was mainly used as classrooms for the church studies.
In 2008, it became Bev's Corner, and Meehan said he is best described as its “host.” The Christ-focused center began in the former office building next to the Union Congregational Church, and the church's offices have moved there. It has remained a place where people can receive a variety of resources, including sometimes Meehan's ear, on Tuesdays through Thursdays each week.
Many people who utilize local shelters also visit Bev's Corner regularly. A Bible study group led by Meehan takes place at 1 p.m. when the center is open.
Many local community organizations also utilize the space for meetings, including the Rockville Community Alliance, the Hunger Action Team, and the Vernon Community Network. The 211 Workshops also take place there, and the local WIC office has hours at Bev's Corner once a week. The Rockville Public Library also holds some of its summer programs there.
“We want to be a place where the community wants to come in,” Meehan said, “and be able to meet and have an enjoyable place to do so.”
Bev's Corner is also the headquarters for the large activities in downtown Rockville, including the "July in the Sky," "National Night Out," and "Rockville Fest." The Jacob's Well '70s-style Christian coffehouse takes place there once a month.
But it's still hard to describe what exactly Bev's Corner is. “There isn't any place like this,” Meehan said. “I don't look to publicize it. I don't have to. It's just here. It's hard to put into words.”
Several people who frequent the facility spoke about why they visit. “Bev's provides an atmosphere that is quiet and relaxing, that is welcoming and comforting with open arms,” said William. “Its Bible studies are a great learning experience and provide great tools for both the experienced and new Christian.”
“People can ask questions and freely discuss their perspectives and viewpoints without feeling judged or condemned. Larry does a great job presenting the Bible study to different people with different personalities and backgrounds,” said Russ.
Future plans include finishing the third floor and installing showers, as part of a plan to use the building as an emergency shelter if the town ever has need of one, similar to how it was once used by several people after a fire destroyed their Elm Street home. Meehan said he also hopes the facility will be used more toward combating hunger in the area.
“It's all so we can provide more services for the community,” Meehan said. “That's how it's evolved. Now we know this is what it's supposed to be. With our location, where we are at, how can we not do something like this for the town, to be that centerpiece? So, that's what we are.”
Meehan said that Bev's Corner has lived up to its name, and that like in the Bible chapter Ecclesiastes, there are seasons to one's life. “I believe this is the season the lord has me in right now, to be here – to be that person people can get comfortable with and talk about their problems if they need to,” he said, adding that he also refers people with mental health or medical services if that is their need.
“I personally think of this place as a heart of this community, just because of all the people that come here, and meet here,” he said. “I believe it's doing exactly what it should be doing.”