The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Beware of nonalcoholic wine

Stick to grape juice for those who can't drink wine

The congregation I serve offers weekly communion. To be sensitive toward communicants who can't drink alcoholic beverages, we offer a choice between wine or consecrated grape juice. Recently the council was asked to explore the possibility of offering exclusively "nonalcoholic" wine at communion.

At first, the nonalcoholic wine option seemed appealing for several reasons: a) the "one cup" of Christ can be offered in one form emphasizing the unity of all communicants rather than the divisions focused around the fruit of the vine; b) those who receive grape juice for medical/personal reasons would no longer feel "set apart" if they could partake in the one cup of nonalcoholic wine with other communicants; c) the use of nonalcoholic wine could further accentuate our sensitivity to those with the disease of alcoholism by completely eliminating alcoholic beverages from the church.

After investigating the pros and cons regarding nonalcoholic wine for communion, the congregational council voted against its exclusive use. The most convincing reason was that nonalcoholic wine does, in fact, contain significant amounts of alcohol.

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February issue


Embracing diversity