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Families at local Lutheran church harvest grapes for communion wine

While other area churches may have been celebrating communion on Sunday morning, members of Hosanna! Lutheran Church in Liberty were preparing for future communion services. Families joined together to harvest grapes that will be used to make communion wine.

“You can see right here it brings the whole congregation together,” church member Ben Oprinovich told KSHB-41 News. “Everyone’s outside, the kids are having a blast.”

Two years ago, the congregation was in shock. Shortly before harvest, they realized that someone got to the grapes before them. Thieves snipped more than 1,000 pounds of grapes from the vines, and police never arrested anyone.

“They tried to steal our joy, but we still have joy, they couldn’t take that from us,” Pastor Mike Kern said. “So we’re going to keep going and keep looking forward.”

The church was able to harvest grapes in 2022 and hopes the vines produced even more this year. Hosanna! gives the grapes to Shamrock Hills Vineyard and Winery, which turns the Noiret grapes into communion wine. “To be able to see God growing this and be able to take that into us and know that our God is with us wherever we go, that’s what communion is all about,” Kern said.

The pastor enjoys sharing that message with children, who seem to better understand with the hands-on activity. “Definitely the community — all the people are just so kind and helpful,” 10-year-old EJ said.

Every year, Oprinovich said, his kids look forward to the harvesting tradition. “Especially because they get to participate,” he said. “They actually get to do the harvesting, and they love using tools.”

Kern believes the grapes teach a lesson about God’s presence throughout the spiritual and physical worlds. “Jesus says, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches,’” he said. “So we understand we bear fruit ourselves in our lives, that God grows us just as God is growing the stuff we can see and hold in our hands.”

–Alan Goforth


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