A church in the Chicago suburb of Rogers Park has figured out a way to make churchgoing a little more fun. Gilead Church has partnered with a brewery to make their own beer.
Rev. Rebecca Anderson tells DNAinfo that the presence of beer makes sense, since the mission of the church is to use food and storytelling to bond parishioners.
“For so many churches and so many parts of the Christian tradition,” says Anderson, “Communion is this very somber, weighty, serious thing,” adding that “there’s not so much conviviality of Communion anymore.”
Enter “Balm of Gilead” Session IPA, made by a professional brewer named Eric Plata, specifically for the church.
“I was super interested. I was on board, like, almost immediately,” he says. “This is the chance to be a part of something a little bit unique.”
The beer is less than 5-percent alcohol, making it the perfect antidote for stuffy Communions. Plus, it creates an extra layer of bonding, since members of the church are the ones who hand-label the beer.
Says Anderson, “Christianity is so damn serious. And there are ways where the stakes are high, when you’re in a hopeless place and you have a faith that gives you energy … but there’s also a way where Christianity is supposed to be a joyful way of life, and there are so many ways of doing it that aren’t joyful.”
The church plans to throw a beer release party on St. Paddy’s Day, March 17.
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