In the U.S., there are still states that prohibit liquor sales on Sundays. However, in South Africa one congregation is including booze as a central part of its practices and services. Nairobi News reports that Gabola Church in South Africa uses alcohol instead of water for baptisms, and allows members of its congregation to sip on a drink while listening to the daily sermon.
Coincidentally, the church is located in a local tavern, which makes the whole idea start to make sense. Not only is alcohol consumption permitted, it’s encouraged. Bishop Tsietsi Makiti explains his holy belief in alcohol by referencing the biblical story of Jesus Christ turning water into wine. “So this church also prays for drinks before they are served,” Makiti asserts, according to Nairobi News. “People who drink beer are happy and peaceful. This means they are living in the shadow of God.”
This isn’t the first time religion and alcohol have intersected. In Britain, the population has become less religious and churches have become too expensive to maintain. As a result, many of these unoccupied churches are being converted into bars. In 2016, the progressive Pope Francis declared “Water is needed to live, but wine expresses the abundance of the banquet and joy of the celebration.” He concluded his reflections by saying “Wine is necessary for the celebration.” Perhaps it’s time to add other types of alcohol to the list?