Crozet church using Pro Re Nata Brewery as a sanctuary

Published: Jun. 6, 2021 at 8:50 PM EDT
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Crozet, Va. (WVIR) - Church of the Holy Cross in Crozet is one of the few places, if not, the only place, in central Virginia, where you can worship in the same place you’d grab a beer.

Every Sunday morning, Pro Re Nata Brewery transforms into a makeshift church for its congregation.

“I remind people if they’re like, ‘Oh, your church meets in a brewery?’ I’m like yeah, Jesus’s first miracle was turning water into wine, maybe there’s something there to that,” said Reverend Blake Johnson.

It’s an unconventional worship place, but to Johnson, it’s perfect. The growing church needed a new, COVID-safe space in Crozet.

“Looking for places we could rent that would accommodate our church, we were really hitting our head against a wall,” Johnson said.

Pro Re Nata answered the call. It’s closed on Sunday mornings and boasts open-air gathering spaces both indoors and outdoors.

“I saw it as a perfect relationship for both of us,” said Gena Greer, owner of the brewery. “People approach me and they’re like, ‘You have church in a brewery?’ and while that may seem odd, they transform the space every Sunday morning, you would not know you’re in a traditional brewery.”

Church of the Holy Cross has met at the brewery for over a year now, in person, thanks to the set up.

“In a way, it kind of feels like a big pavilion,” Johnson said. “Even when it was winter and we were meeting and it was 30 degrees outside, we just told people, ‘Hey bring blankets bring coats, it’s going to be a bit chilly but it’s more important for us to be together if we can.’”

Stained glass windows are now subbed by drink menus. The closest thing that resembles an organ, may be the beer tap handles.

It’s a church, where you can have wine during service and beer after. A place, Johnson said, that adds a whole new meaning to “communion.”

“There’s a holy spirit and then there’s the spirits of this place,” he said. “I think there’s a connection there.”

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