Prayers and pints: The uncommon place people are connecting with God

Associate Pastor at Skyland United Methodist Church Joy Moss gathers 50 people together once-a-month to sing hymns at Habitat Brewing Company. The group is called Asheville Beer and Hymns. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

According to the Pew Research Center, in the last decade, fewer people in North Carolina are going to religious services. As organized faiths across the country work to bring people in, one group looks to bring people out.

Associate Pastor at Skyland United Methodist Church Joy Moss had an idea to get people to connect with God. The idea was about where to meet.

"There are a lot of people who won't come within the church walls, but music has such a way of speaking to our hearts," Moss said.

Moss gets about 50 people together once a month to sing hymns. She thought she might be able to help cure what ails some churches with the help of some ales. So, they meet inside a brewery.

"It's a group called Asheville Beer and Hymns," explained Habitat Brewing Company Co-owner Jonathan Myers.

Myers welcomes the group into the brewery. It's not a church event, but church leadership blessed Moss' idea. She welcomes a mix of people.

"Beer and loves hymns equals Lutheran," joked Nancy Critcher-White, who doesn't belong to a church in Asheville but enjoys singing hymns in a brewery.

The day News 13 showed up was Michael Poole's first time coming to Beer and Hymns. He met his wife in church, and they still go regularly. Now, he plans on becoming a Beer and Hymns regular, too.

"This was fun for sure," Poole said.

Sarah Smith was there from Indianapolis. One day she hopes to give praise over IPA's.

"I'm trying so hard to like them. I was told to start drinking pale ale's and start liking them and then switch to IPA's," she said.

Research shows one in four adults does not belong to an organized faith. Moss believes meeting over pints helps people measure their faith.

"There are so many people who want a relationship with God, but may not step foot in a church or at least not initially," she said.

Moss also responded to those who find the notion of mixing Bibles and beer blasphemous.

"Jesus' first miracle was water into wine, and the monks made beer, so I think we're in good company with that," she said.

Maybe pints and piety have more in common than you think.

"Grace allows you to let down your guard, and beer allows you to let down your guard and be yourself," Aaron Ybarra, one of the Beer and Hymns organizers, said.

Beer and Hymns meets the fourth Tuesday of each month. The pints and prayers start at Habitat Tavern and Commons on Broadway at 6 p.m.

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