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Baptist Pastor Opens Bar One Block from Church: ‘We Have to Think Outside the Box’

Michael Foust | Contributor | Thursday, May 2, 2019
Baptist Pastor Opens Bar One Block from Church: ‘We Have to Think Outside the Box’

Baptist Pastor Opens Bar One Block from Church: ‘We Have to Think Outside the Box’

The pastor of a multicultural church in Minneapolis is set to open a pub he hopes will be a place for the community to come together. 

Pastor Jeff Cowmeadow of Calvary Baptist Church and his wife, Randi, say they’ve long dreamed of owning a bar, possibly because they met in one. 

“We believe that the church has to do new things. We have to think outside the box. So people have been very generous to help this come to fruition,” Cowmeadow told Southwest Journal, a Minneapolis community newspaper.

The bar, Prodigal Public House, will serve food and focus on whiskey and Guinness. It is just one block from Calvary Baptist, a member of the American Baptist Churches USA denomination. 

The pub’s name was inspired by Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son. Cowmeadow and his family own it. 

“People say we have the gift of hospitality. So it’s really just living out who you are,” Cowmeadow told WCCO. “We can have spirits and have spiritual conversation. You can laugh, cry, do life together in a pub.” 

He has served at the church since 1986 and sees the pub as an extension of Jesus’ commandments. 

“The two great commandments, right? Love God, love your neighbor,” he told the Southwest Journal. “So we’re just trying to be a neighbor.”

The church’s vision, according to its website, is to be “a multicultural movement of mature, glad-hearted followers of Jesus Christ, deeply embracing life while living out our discipleship in the world.”

On social media, reaction was mixed to the pub. Some wanted to visit it. 

“We have to check this out!” Michelle Lundequam Stillwell wrote on the Star Tribune’s Facebook page. 

Others, though, seemed to question the idea. 

“Just wondering why not a coffee shop? Credits for him not opening up a strip club,” Dani Savage wrote. 

It is scheduled to open May 9.


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Michael Foust is a freelance writer.  Visit his blog,

Photo courtesy: Alexandre Godreau/Unsplash