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When and Why was Grape Juice first used in Communion Services?
by Pastor Dan White 
04/30/09
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Grape juice was first introduced in the church as a substitute for wine by a Methodist, Dr. Thomas Welch, of New Jersey, in 1869. He later went on to establish the highly successful and profitable Welch’s Grape Juice Company. Because of the connectional system of the Methodists, grape juice was adopted as the element of choice to observe the Sacrament by many Methodist churches near and far. The practice spilled over into Baptist churches too. Welch's father was an alcoholic. The post Civil War era was the beginning of two issues that would sweep across America and not be resolved until the beginning of the 20th century. Both were almost simultaneously resolved. One issue was giving women the right to vote which was resolved in 1920 with the passage of the 20th amendment giving women the right to vote. (Note: African-American men won the right to vote before white women did - and African-American women too). The other issue was Prohibition. Women were very active in both the Suffrage movement and the Prohibitionist movement because of husbands who were alcoholic whose addiction destroyed their homes. This issue was resolved in 1919 with the 18th amendment which prohibited the sale, manufacture, and possession of alcohol. During the period of Prohibition, the number of alcoholics decreased dramatically. President Franklin D. Roosevelt used the Depression to repeal Prohibition saying that it would put people back to work. Presidents use difficult economic times to pass their agendas. Anyway, that's the history of grape juice being used in church communion services and a little more added as well.

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