LIBERTY, Mo. – A vineyard at a Missouri church was picked clean, leaving congregants without their tradition of harvesting their own communion wine.
Five rows of grapes outside of Hosanna! Lutheran Church have produced fruit for more than 15 years that is used to make wine for communion and the harvest this season was expected to be the best yet, KSHB reported.
“Every year we have a tradition where we harvest the grapes from the vineyard,” Pastor Micheal Kern said. “We love bringing the kids out here, and they cut all the clumps of grapes and then we turn the grapes into communion wine and that’s the wine we use for communion each and every year.”
The tradition will not go on this year.
“We knew that the grapes were there last Monday when someone came to check on them,” Kern said. “Unfortunately, we got here, and the grapes were gone. They had been picked already; not just eaten off by animals, but actually had been cut off the vine and were gone.”
Police are investigating. The grapes were valued at $1,500.
“It definitely had to be someone who knew what they were doing,” Kern said. “We don’t care so much about the grapes, the value of the grapes. It’s just something we love doing. It was more someone kind of stole our joy a little bit.”
But it’s not all sour grapes for the church. Their wine producer, Excelsior Springs, said it will still provide the church with sacramental wine, KSHB reported.
It’s not the only church to suffer a theft of fruit recently.
Rev. Jonathon Frazier with St. Peter and All Saints said thieves ransacked apple and pear trees from a church orchard, stealing a harvest nearly four years in the making, WDAF reported.
“They were brimming with fruit,” Frazier said. “So it’s just really sad because for somebody to take that quantity of fruit, they’re probably going to sell it.”
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