Santa Cruz

Church Plans to Build Brewery, Host Services Inside

Would you drink at church?

The Greater Purpose Community Church has held services for five years in Santa Cruz, but a new and interesting concept has gained them new followers.

"We decided to sell the building, because for us a church is a community and a movement," said Pastor Chris VanHall. "It’s not brick and mortar."

Sure enough, the church looked for a new place and landed at a food lounge. A community space, with plenty of beer taps.

"There’s nothing in the bible that says you can't drink alcohol in a responsible manner," VanHall said.

Every Sunday, the parishoners join to pray, listen and drink beer.

"Why not serve beer when they're reading bible verses? I thought it was genius," said food lounge owner Andrea Mollenauer.

VanHall said everyone drinks responsibly, having a glass of wine or beer in a comfortable atmosphere where "people cannot only listen to a progressive take on theology but can also engage in conversation."

The space has always been a temporary site, a tasting ground of sorts for a grand plan.

"I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great if a church could figure out a way to make a product where they split the profits with local community service organizations, we were like 'hey, we love beer, we love making beer, why not do a brewery?'" said VanHall.

So now, he's converting the Old Logos Bookstore downtown into a brewery where they will have church services on Sundays before opening up to the public.

"We don't want to dupe anyone, we don't want to have this bar, and say 'ok come on in' and boom you get a church service," said VanHall. "We don't want that."

Crafting the new space will take about a year, just in time for summer where new members can pray with a pint.

"They can have one or two, as a matter of fact if they have two my sermon’s always better," VanHall said.

He expects to donate 30 to 60 percent of the profits to charity.

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