Beer and Hymns provides new atmosphere for faith expression

Alumni Eric Thiele (left), Christopher Meester and Daniel Hanson sing hymns and enjoy beer at Joe’s Knighthawk. — Hannah Cox/ TRUMPET

Around 50 Wartburg students, alumni and faculty gathered in the back room at Joe’s Knighthawk on Oct. 19 to sing hymns and drink beer.

Campus Pastor Brian Beckstrom said this is the second year for the event Beer and Hymns.

“Last year Dr. Black and Pastor Ramona and I were talking a little bit about wanting to do something around homecoming that would be a fun thing for alumni and current students,” Beckstrom said.

Beckstrom said he had seen other congregations host an event like Beer and Hymns and he thought it would be a cool idea.


Karen Black, professor of music, said when Beckstrom came to her with the idea she thought it was great.

“I know there are a lot of people who like to sing,” Black said. “It’s great to have it in a relaxed atmosphere.”

Alumna Kate Glenney attended Beer and Hymns for the first time. She said the main reason she attended was her friends.

“I met up with a lot of friends and I saw that they were going,” Glenney said. “I’ve heard of it like on Facebook and stuff so I thought it would be good to see friends and I love hymns, beer’s OK.”

The event lasted an hour and a half and people were welcome to come and go. Karen Black gave some background information on the hymns before they started singing.

Beckstrom said Black plans out some of the hymns they sing but the group also took requests toward the end.

The event was open to everyone and Beckstrom said it was not just for Lutherans.

“Everything we do with spiritual life on campus is for everybody,” he said.

Beckstrom said the group singing always gets some curious looks from other community members in Joe’s.

“We’re in the back room so we’re kind of closed off from the rest of it [bar] and they can here us singing through the door there,” Beckstrom said.

He said Beer and Hymns gives people who would not necessarily come to worship in a chapel the opportunity to sing about their faith in a different context.

“It’s a great opportunity for fellowship, a great opportunity for people to sing together which is something that we don’t do a lot in our culture anymore,” Beckstrom said.

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