Saloon Preacher In Cave Creek


Ecclesia loving the outdoors

Not only does Pastor Gilbertson hold church on Sundays at the Buffalo Chip Saloon, he also  says a prayer Friday nights for the Live Bull Riding.

Not only does Pastor Gilbertson hold church on Sundays at the Buffalo Chip Saloon, he also
says a prayer Friday nights for the Live Bull Riding.

By Curtis Riggs ~ Pastor Steve Gilbertson has two rules for his Ecclesia “Church At The Chip” services.
Rule number one: parishioners can move around to stay in the shade of the lone mesquite tree where services are held near the bull-riding arena. The second rule is he must finish his sermon by 10am because that’s when the Buffalo Chip Saloon and Steakhouse opens for business.
Gilbertson, and his wife Donna, started the Ecclesia church last fall. Now, it’s not unusual for crowds of nearly 100 to make their way there. Services begin at 9am.
The unusual saloon church setting has even gotten national attention – impressing a writer with the New York Times last winter with its pulpit between bull riding and the bar.
Gilbertson sees many similarities between the early days of Christianity and the early days of Ecclesia in Cave Creek.
“When Jesus was here he went to where the people were,” he says about holding services at a popular Cave Creek watering hole.
Buffalo Chip owner Larry Wendt made the Chip available to Gilbertson for the services. The Church At the Chip fits in well with other Buffalo Chip activities, as far as Wendt is concerned.

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