Finding fellowship in an unexpected place
By Dustin White
Mandan News, editor
When many people think of church, the idea of drinking beer does not come to mind. Yet, throughout the country, many congregations are finding a new way to enjoy fellowship together, often in interdenominational settings. “Beer and Hymns” events are sprouting up in a variety of locations, with one such event opening locally.
The Rev. Craig Schweitzer (Good Shepherd Lutheran), Rev. Paul Schick (Trinity Lutheran), and Rev. Jon Splichal Larson (Faith Lutheran) had joked about starting a “Beer and Hymn” event locally for sometime. They loved playing music together, which they have done at various church gatherings, and wanted a chance to do so more often. Having heard of similar events elsewhere, they decided this was the right opportunity they were looking for.
Opening this event to all was an important factor. The intention was not to grow membership at their own churches, but instead was motivated by what they believed Jesus would have done himself.
“The point is being together in faith and being gathered in a welcoming, casual atmosphere … a place outside the normal church building,” Larson said. “Jesus was a person and leader who gathered with people in a variety of places, meeting them where they were at, and his meetings were not always in a traditional sanctuary.”
To begin with, the trio are signing traditional hymns, African spirituals, and worship music. However, they are open to adding musicians of all sorts, and expanding their repertoire.
“It’s about hospitality and being welcoming,” Larson said.
For the trio, this is a way to give people a chance to create a community, and be in fellowship.
The event itself is not sponsored by any church, and welcomes individuals regardless of denomination. The gathering is reserved for those 21 and over though.
While the point of the event is not drinking, but being together in faith, Rev. Schweitzer, Rev. Schick and Rev. Larson are aware of the challenges of addiction, especially in younger individuals.
This event is planned for every first Monday of the month, at 7 p.m., at the Brazilian Harvest Grill.