Petra House: A Family for Weary Musical Travellers
What started 5 years ago with the seeds of one couple’s passion for kindness quickly grew into a successful effort with an unforgettable message; to spread love by offering free shelter for bands travelling to and from Atlanta. Welcome to Petra House.
Petra House exists because owners Robert and Lori Jeffries wanted to make a positive impact on the Atlanta music scene beyond volunteering at and attending local shows. They noticed that many bands would travel in from far away, some without a reliable place to rest while on the road. The Jeffries love the Georgia music scene, and they felt called to do something to help. After some deliberation, they decided to open their home and lives to these travelling musical acts-- and the result has been spectacular. According to Lori, the decision to take in bands was an easy one to make:
“Our son and daughter are both grown and out of the house, so having bands stay with us feels like an extension of our family. Our three bedroom house is too big for just us.”
Booking a stay with the Petra House is easy and free. Bands and musicians simply send a Facebook message or email with the dates they’ll be in town, and the Jeffries gladly open their home if they have room. At Petra House, there’s always a pot of coffee, and the Jeffries say that they have guests most weekends.
The Petra House is located in Cartersville, GA, about 40 miles away from Atlanta. The house is the Jeffries’ personal home, and it’s located in a quiet suburban neighborhood surrounded by other homes and families. It’s a common sight for the Petra House’s driveway and yard to be filled with vehicles and travel trailers - and that’s just the way they like it. According to Robert, there’s only one rule when booking a stay at the Petra House:
“We have neighbors, and even though they’re very supportive and excited about what we’re doing here, we still want to be as respectful as possible. Our only rules are: no drinking, and no drugs.”
Although it may seem counter-intuitive for a house that hosts travelling bands to enforce a no-partying rule, the Jeffries say it works perfectly for the patrons of Petra House, and all visitors are more than happy to abide by the house rules.
“A lot of times, bands need the time to rest and relax; to take a break from their usual lifestyles. We offer them peace.”
Most things can’t live on love alone, but Petra House gets by. They are not yet a 501c3 non-profit organization, and most of their funding comes from donations and merchandise sales. They have Petra House shirts up for grabs, and always welcome additional funding help. In October, Petra House will be the recipient of a fundraiser festival called Petra Fest (event details and lineup pending - stay tuned!)
The Jeffries say that their Christian faith played a key role in their decision to start Petra House, but that their approach to ministry is different from the mission of a street preacher.
“We don’t judge, ever. We don’t screen bands or limit to only Christian musicians. Our actions are our message, and we don’t feel the need to preach to people. We just treat everyone with kindness, brew some coffee, and give them a safe place to lay their head.”
Visit Petra House’s Facebook page to book your stay, contribute a donation, or simply learn more. Keep an eye on Georgia Local Spotlight for the details on the upcoming Petra Fest, hosted by Arkham Agency at the Connect Live venue in Woodstock, Georgia on October 13th, 2018.
Photo credit: Robert Jeffries