When Morgan Schmidt came to Bend as a pastor for First Presbyterian Church in Bend, she thought long and hard about what local residents want in a faith community. And she decided that formal service on Sunday mornings might not be a fit for some residents.

 “With so much to do on the weekends, people would rather be out playing and I don’t blame them,” said Schmidt. 

Schmidt said she looked around Bend, asking the question, “What is good news in Bend?”

“Beer is good news to the people of Bend. And we believe that that’s good,” said Schmidt.

The church decided to try hosting Sunday evening service with beer on tap.

The church pays for beverages from its hospitality budget. There’s a bartender and a jar for contributions if people feel compelled to give, said Schmidt. 

“We haven’t had folks coming just for the beer,” said Schmidt.

The Sunday gatherings are appropriately called “Tap.”  Schmidt says she hopes the service sets a different kind of tone for the church — one that might attract a younger demographic. Service is informal. People gather in a circle for  group discussion.

“Our theology tends to be more spacious and inclusive. We’re insisting that doubt is as important as faith. There’s not one person bestowing knowledge in these gatherings, so we’re all in it together,” said Schmidt.