March 25 Gathering: Palm Sunday–Celebration or Subversion?

Holy Week Palm Sunday

We often view the scene of Palm Sunday through iconic eyes, imagining Jesus riding triumphantly into Jerusalem to take his rightful place as Israel’s true king on the back of a humble donkey. Our church services invite us to shout hosannas as we wave palm branches, usually led by our children.

It seems ironic in some ways that this raucous celebration leads us into Holy Week/Passion Week, which is arguably the time of Jesus’ greatest suffering and the church’s most somber observance.

So what if we’re missing the point of Palm Sunday. What if it’s less celebration and more subversion? Not so much a shindig as a scandal?

We invite you to observe this Palm Sunday with us at New Wineskins, where we’ll talk about the thoroughly subversive act of Palm Sunday and discuss where we might identify with and re-enact it in today’s world.

As always, we’ll meet in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company. Join us for what we hope will be a lively and informative conversation on the scandalous disruption that is Palm Sunday!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm


March 11 Gathering: Faith or Fear?

Hellfire and Brimstone Preacher

The writer of 1 John claims that “perfect love casts out all fear.” (1 Jn. 4:18). But often, it seems our faith is motivated more by fear than by love. Fear of death, fear of the other, fear of the unknown. Fear of punishment. Fear of hell.

Why are we so quick to embrace a fear-based theology? Why is it so hard to live out of a motivation of love rather than fear?

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll talk about the sources of a fear-based faith narrative, the implications of it, and how we can combat it and even turn it into something more powerful and more beautiful.

Join us this Sunday, March 11, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company as we seek to understand the role of fear in faith and seek ways to overcome it.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Feb. 25 Gathering CANCELLED


Due to anticipated flooding in Marietta and the probable closure of streets and business, including our host site at the Marietta Brewing Company, our scheduled gathering on Sunday, Feb. 25, has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Please keep our friends at MBC and throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley in your prayers in the face of potentially serious flooding and damage to homes and businesses.

Our next gathering will be held on Sunday, March 11. Stay tuned here and on our Facebook page for details.

Feb. 11 Gathering: Vulnerability

View the video of Dr. Brené Brown’s TED talk on the power of vulnerabillty.

In the story of the Exodus, Moses encounters a bush in the desert that is on fire but is not being consumed by that fire. In his curiosity, he approaches, and hears a voice from the flames: “Moses. Take off your sandals, for where you are standing is holy ground. I am the God of your ancestors, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

So Moses hides his face, presumably out of shame, or fear, or both. The voice goes on to tell Moses that the time has come to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, and that Moses is the man to do the job. And in his string of excuses why that can’t possibly be right, Moses finally gets to the key question: “Okay, suppose I do this. Suppose I lead the people out of Egypt. Why would they follow me? Who do I tell them sent me? What if they ask me your name?

And the voice from the bush answers, “Tell them ‘I Am’ sent you.”

Now, what’s lurking just beneath the surface of this exchange is a sociological norm that was true of ancient peoples but not in our world today, so we miss it. In those days, when you encountered a stranger, you never wanted to be the first one to state your name. It was a sign of subservience. By giving another your name was to give them power over you.

And so for God to give Moses the name, “I Am,” says something more about who this God is than just a name. It implies a level of vulnerability we don’t expect from a deity. It says that God is not afraid to be known.

Vulnerability is something we humans–and especially prideful, individualistic 21st Century Americans–mostly try to avoid. We want to be seen as strong, as independent, as self-sufficient.

But what if vulnerability is actually at the heart of what it means to be fully human? What if, without vulnerability, we are missing out on something that is at the core of our true essence?

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll talk about vulnerability and its place in our relationships with God and one another.

Join us Sunday evening, Feb. 11, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company as we unpack the power of vulnerability.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Jan. 28 Gathering: What’s Our Story?


We may not think about it much, but we are a people of story. What we believe and the way we order our lives are based in the story (or stories) that seem to give us truth.

For those of us who follow the Jesus story, that means we hold to a particular set of assumptions. But even those assumptions are subject to interpretation.

But beyond just following stories, we actually live out stories of our own. Because a story really is nothing more than the narrative of a sequence of events involving characters. It is, according to one definition on, a report or account of a matter, statement or allegation.

As it happens, stories have immense power. And what we do with the power of our own stories in many ways defines who it is that we actually are.

This Sunday at New Wineskins, we’ll talk about the power of story, about how we view our own stories both individually and collectively, and how we can use story more effectively to bring love and life into the world around us.

Join us Sunday evening, Jan 28, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company for a story about stories!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Jan. 14 Gathering: Active Listening


We Americans are good at talking. We revel in our right to share our ideas, positions, and opinions. Truth be known, it’s difficult for us to have an unexpressed thought.

What we are not good at, most of the time anyhow, is listening. Our habit is to hear only enough of what someone else is saying to formulate our own response. We avoid conflict by surrounding ourselves only with people and opinions we agree with, and we paint those who say things we don’t want to listen to as enemies at best and downright evil at worst.

The result of all of that is that we often talk past each other rather than with each other. Our dialogues just become multi-part monologues.

But what if we could be better listeners? Could it effect more than just our day-to-day conversations or civic discourse, but actually transform our neighborhoods and communities?

This Sunday at New Wineskins we’ll talk about the art of listening, how being better listeners can improve our relationships, and we’ll experiment with a couple of intentional listening practices through some exercises and guided meditations.

We hope you’ll join us this Sunday, Jan. 14, as we kick off 2018 with this important discussion around active listening. As always, we’ll meet in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing CompanyCome and kick off the new year at New Wineskins!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm


Dec. 17 Gathering: Christmas Traditions – Finding Sacredness in the Ordinary

Holy Family in the tradition of Christmas

Every family has them. Time-honored traditions of the Advent and Christmas seasons. The things we do, the places we do them, and the people we do them with are all deeply integral parts of how we celebrate the holidays.

And while most of those traditions are special to us, many of them comprise fairly common elements. Things like decorations, foods, family rituals are deeply rooted in our psyches, but are mostly more sentimental than sacrosanct.

Or are they?

What if we began to recognize the sacredness in our ordinary routines? To find that behind the garland-covered mantles, the overbaked sugar cookies, the elves on assorted shelves, and the inside family jokes was something deeply holy?

This Sunday at New Wineskins we invite you to come and share your stories of holiday traditions and talk about where we can find sacredness in the ordinary routines of our Christmas customs. And maybe we’ll even start a few new traditions of our own!

Join us Sunday, Dec. 17 in the 167 Side Room of the  Marietta Brewing Company for Christmas storytime at New Wineskins!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm