The “Bartenders’ Church”: Founded in the teeth of the temperance movement


Ever wonder what happened to evangelical Protestant bartenders during the late nineteenth-century heyday of the temperance movement? Because, yes, there were such people.

Turns out that in at least one case, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, they formed their own church.

During the 1870 to 1885 period, when the Prohibition movement was in force, many Lutheran churches considered the use of alcohol a sin, and serving alcohol or preparing drinks for others especially evil because it caused people to stumble in their walk of faith, said the Rev. Andi Wolf, pastor.”

These folks who felt turned away often found a home in Emmanuel Church of Christ. We gave them a voice,” Wolf said.

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