Once a month it’s God and Guinness

St. Mary Magdalene’s God and Guinness social group meets monthly at Harry’s Tavern. Photo credit Frank Baker.

Once a month, it’s God and Guinness

By Kathy Feist

It is said that Arthur Guinness started his Irish beer brewing business in 1755 thanks to a £100 inheritance from his employer, the Church of Ireland’s Archbishop of Cashel. Historically, those are the only ties that bind God with Guinness.

But for one small church, it’s a theme that binds its members closer together.

God and Guinness is a monthly social group from St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, 170th and Holmes Rd. On the third Friday of each month, the group meets at Harry’s Tavern, the bar and restaurant portion of Lukas Liquor Superstore, 136th & Washington. In a recent gathering, God and Guinness attracted 36 members of varying ages and couple status.

Founding member Richard Koch emphasizes it is not a Bible study group. “It’s just a social event. We mainly focus on getting to know people.”

The group originally started off as the Men’s Fellowship Group for the new church, which was built in 2010. In 2017, the group opened to all sexes, changed its name to God and Guinness and called Harry’s home.

Harry’s Tavern boasts 64 different craft beers on tap, which changes monthly. It also has a chef-run kitchen with a large and varied lunch and dinner menu.

For one couple in search of a church, the idea of a religious group meeting at a beer pub appealed to them.  

Harry’s carries 65 different craft beers that change regularly. Members of the social group examine beer flights, which are samples of different beers. Photo by Frank Baker.

Pete Kardash and his wife Karen were both widows when they met. They married in 2012. However, he was a lifelong Roman Catholic and she was a Methodist.

“We were looking for a church we could go to together,” says Kardash. “God and Guinness was very welcoming. And it was a very spiritual group, which was what got us there.”

“As we told our story, we began hearing the same story from others as well, especially if couples had different backgrounds,” he says. The two are now regular members of St. Mary Magdalene,  involved on different social committees.

Koch the group welcomes non members. The next meeting is at 6 pm on March 15. One need not be a beer drinker to enjoy the gathering.

“At one point members pressured us to get rid of God and Guinness name,” says Koch. “But it’s catchy and fun. We’re not a stuffy church.”

The Episcopal Church is a part of the Anglican Communion, a large family of churches around the world that trace their faith history to the early church in England

To find out more about the social gathering, contact Koch at 913-707-0148.

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