CORPORATIONS: Almost Like Wine

Devout Christians had been sipping sacramental wine for centuries when Dr. Thomas Bramwell Welch stepped in as Communion steward of the Vineland (N.J.) Methodist Church in 1869. A stern prohibitionist, Dentist Welch determined forthwith to banish Bacchus from the altar. After reading up on Pasteur and experimenting with figs, raisins and blackberries, Dr. Welch gladdened the hearts of fellow communicants on Sunday by serving sterilized, unfermented grape juice. It tasted almost like wine.

British-born Dr. Welch not only pioneered the nonalcoholic Communion service that has become standard in U.S. Methodist, Baptist and...

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