Praise the Lord and pass the libation – that’s the motto for an Gabola church in South Africa where services are held in a bar and believers are baptised with beer.
For the past two months, Freddy’s Tavern in the town of Orange Farm, near Johannesburg, has been home to the Gabola Church – which takes its name from the the world for “drink” in the local Tswana language.
Congregants are encouraged to help themselves to a drink during worhip and can even have their booze blessed by the church’s founder, Bishop Tsietsi Makiti, who runs it along with a pastor.
Jesus turned water into wine, Makiti told South African tabloid the Daily Sun, “so this church also prays for their drinks before they are served”.
The bishop himself enjoys a tipple while preaching his energetic sermons – and he sees no problem with mixing beer and the Bible.
“People who drink beer are happy and peaceful.,” he said. “With God in our taverns we would see crime being reduced and love and respect promoted.”
After two months, the church has already attracted a congregation of around 500, Kenyan news site SDE reports, and 2,000 people have been baptised in the church’s signature style.
“If you drink beer, you get baptised in beer,” Makiti said. “The same goes for those who drink cider and other alcoholic beverages.”
The Gabola Church might seem unorthodox, but Bishop Makiti says he is living the example of Jesus by welcoming those who might feel shunned or uncomfortable at mainstream churches.
“This is where those labelled ‘drunkards’ by other churches are welcome,” he told the Daily Sun. “This is a space for people to come together in God’s name without being ashamed of being drinkers.”
His parishioners appear to agree. “The church makes me feel at home. I can’t see myself being a member of any other church,” one churchgoer told the Daily Sun.
Bishop Makiti says the next stage is to reform his all-male congregation to the point where the church can accept its first female parishioners.
“We have men who are drinking, and we cannot have instances where some of them start troubling these women,” he said. “We will allow women at a later stage, once our congregants have been well prepared.”
However, he sees a bright future for bar-room gospel, News24 reports.
“We have been overwhelmed with invitations from across the country. People want us to come and launch Gabola Church.”
Source: the week
- Pastors Demand Criminal Investigation On False Prophets That Are Misleading Ugandans
- Nigerian Pastor Reportedly Caught With Human Head
- Ugandan Pastor Shot Dead In South Africa