“The Greater Purpose Community Church in Santa Cruz, California is making headlines not only for its unusual practice of drinking while holding services, but also for its plan to open a brewery and its promise to donate part of the profits to local charities that include Planned Parenthood.
Pastor Christopher VanHall didn’t start Greater Purpose Community Church with beer on his mind. For five years, they held services in a traditional church building, but it was only recently that they sold the building and changed their venue to a local food lounge, ostensibly to save on costs. Pastor VanHall noticed that the congregation tended to indulge during the service, and it soon became a staple.
When asked about drinking during the service, he explained, ‘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. We don’t want that. They can have one or two, as a matter of fact, he joked, if they have two my sermon’s always better.’
Taking the idea of beer and worship and running with it, Pastor VanHall and the church leadership now have plans to relocate to a brewery, sometime in the summer or fall of 2019. ‘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?’…
The location will be an abandoned bookstore that also houses Planned Parenthood, which also happens to be one of the local ‘community service organizations’ that the pastor said he would be proud to support with 30-60% of the brewery’s profits. On the subject of Planned Parenthood, the Pastor glossed over the realities of abortion as he gushed, ‘[Planned Parenthood] which we adore and support their efforts for giving health care to women.’
Currently, a rainbow flag flies outside the food lounge where the church meets for sermons and Sunday jam sessions, a reflection of their support for the LGBT lifestyle. Affiliated with the Disciples of Christ denomination, the church prides itself on being inclusive of all races, all sexual orientations, all political views and even all faiths, though they do still claim to follow Christ.”