Eight months ago, Gabola Church was founded in a South African town, Gauteng, and openly uses that akkka-haul to juice increase its enthusiastic flock.
“We are a church for those who have been rejected by other churches because they drink alcohol,” said Gabola’s founder and self-declared pope, Tsietsi Makiti, to the Associated Press.
“Gabola Church is established to redeem the people who are rejected, who are regarded as sinners. We drink for deliverance. We are drinking for the Holy Ghost to come into us.”
“They are using the Bible to promote taverns and drinking liquor. It is blasphemous. It is heresy and totally against the doctrines.”
He said his organization intends to see that authorities close Gabola for breaking municipal regulations, that say churches should not be located near bars.
“Our aim is to convert bars, taverns and shebeens into churches,” said Makiti, dressed in a red robe and with a gold-trimmed bishop’s miter. “And we convert the tavern-owners into pastors.”
AP reports that Gabola means “drinking” in Tswana, one of South Africa’s official languages. Gabola now boasts 30 members in the Orange Farm Township, about 35 miles south of Johannesburg. The congregation sang hymns praising the positive effects of drinking. Three new Gabola members were baptized with beer which covered their foreheads, and dripped down their faces.
Dressed in a red robe and a gold-trimmed Bishop’s miter, the clergyman pours whiskey into his cupped hand and anoints the forehead of the man sitting before him. “You are hereby invested as a minister … This is a double tot,” he says of the remaining whiskey in the chalice.
He hands it to the new minister, who downs it. “Hallelujah!” shouts the congregation members who erupt in singing and dancing, swigging from bottles of beer.
Of course, the unique place of worship has its critics.
“Gabola has nothing to do with the word of God. Those are not church services,” said Archbishop Modiri Patrick Shole, director of the South African Union Council of Independent Churches. “They are using the Bible to promote taverns and drinking liquor. It is blasphemous. It is heresy and totally against the doctrines.”
He said he is going to come after Gabola, for breaking municipal regulations that say churches should not be located near bars. Here are more photos below;