March 3 Gathering: “Reverse Lent”

Not for me, thank you

It’s almost upon us…Lent! That time of year when we put oil and ashes on our head and spend the next 6 weeks invoking some kind of personal misery in preparation for the glory of Easter Sunday. Giving up chocolate or coffee or diet soda or some other vice as a sign of sacrifice in unity with our Blessed Lord and Savior.

Okay, that may have been a bit snarky. But sometimes it seems the practice of “giving up something for Lent” can seem a little more self-serving than self-giving.

The practice of giving up something for Lent probably comes from ancient catechism practices, where new converts ended their long (up to 2 years in some cases) preparation with a 40-day period of personal sacrifice and cleansing as sort of a final initiation rite prior to their Easter morning baptisms.

But in a world where the personal Lenten fast has often become more about an individual show of perseverance than a sacrificial act of love, maybe we need some new practices.

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll talk about the concept of “Reverse Lent.” While it’s not a new idea by any means and has been practiced by Christians in some manner for a long time, it’s a way of adding some kind of meaningful practice to your life during Lent rather than taking something away (below are a couple of helpful links with ideas you might find interesting).

So please join us this Sunday, March 3, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company to hear and share some ideas about how “Reverse Lent” might bring some meaning to your season!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

*Check out these websites with ideas of how to do something different for Lent:

The Reverse Lent Challenge

Ask Sister Mary Martha

Atheism for Lent (not advised unless you are in the midst of deep spiritual deconstruction)


Feb. 17 Gathering: Time to go all “Old Testament”

It’s an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, buried in a quagmire: what on earth are we to make of the Hebrew scriptures, or, as we call them now, the Old Testament?

For modern-day Christians, not much is more misunderstood, misinterpreted, or mistreated than the Old Testament canon. We don’t know quite what to do with stories of God ordering genocide, or the ways the writers use myth and legend, or the work of the prophets. And what in the world is up with Song of Songs?

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll take a bird’s-eye view of the Old Testament, try to unpack some if its content and context, and see what it might still have to say to us in a postmodern, post-Christian world.

Join us this Sunday, Feb. 17, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company as we give some love to the Old Testament!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Feb. 3 Gathering: What’s in a verse?

tears and eye

From King David to Dave Matthews, from the Psalms to beat poetry, there’s a way in which songs and verse speak to us in ways narrative prose cannot. They reach a different part of our brains and provoke us at different emotional levels.

This week at New Wineskins we’ll share some poetry and song lyrics with one another, and try to unpack the words behind the words that reach into those deeper places. And we invite you to contribute some lines that you find particularly meaningful for the group to discuss.

So look up your favorite lyrics or dust off that old college poetry book and join us this Sunday, Feb. 3, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company for our first-ever New Wineskins Poetry Slam and Lyric Party!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Dec. 30 Gathering: Watch Night

oil lamps

CC via Creative Commons. Copyrighted work. Some rights reserved.

In the early days of the Methodist movement, John Wesley gathered people together on New Year’s Eve to reflect and pray, and to give them an alternative to the drunken revelry that, even in the 18th Century, predominated the culture. The Watch Night service was also a time for people to renew their commitment to God, and many Methodist and Wesleyan churches today still hold Covenant Renewal Services at the turning of the year.

Watch Night took on special significance for the African American community on Dec. 31, 1862, as people anxiously awaited Lincoln’s enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation. Historians say that many slaves gathered in churches to pray together as they anticipated freedom from bondage. The Watch Night tradition remains strong in black churches as the struggle for equality continues more than 150 years later.

This Sunday at New Wineskins, we’ll close out 2018 with our own Watch Night observation as we take some time to reflect together on the past year and look ahead to 2019. Please join us this Sunday, Dec. 30, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company as we look back and look ahead together!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

*PLEASE NOTE: New Wineskins will be on hiatus during January 2019. We will resume our gatherings in February. Please watch here and our Facebook page for dates and details!

December 16 Gathering: Incarnation

Holy Family in the tradition of Christmas

One of the ancient doctrines at the church is that Jesus is fully divine and fully human. But what exactly does that mean? How can it be possible? And how does that impact our lives and our faith?

For this second Sunday in Advent, we’ll discuss the concept of incarnation — the idea that God is brought to life in the person of Jesus. We’ll talk about what it means to call Jesus “Christ” (hint: it’s not his last name), and the critical importance of recognizing Jesus’ humanity.

Join us this Sunday, Dec. 16, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company for a conversation that’s sure to be both interesting and provocative!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Dec. 2 Gathering: Advent = Hope

Many People Hands Holding Colorful Word Hope Blue Sky

This Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent. More than just the lead-up to Christmas, Advent is a season of anticipation…of waiting, of wondering, of hope.

Is “hope” the same thing as “faith?” Or is hope something altogether different, something that motivates and informs the way we approach our day-to-day lives?

This Sunday at New Wineskins we’ll talk about Hope…what gives us hope, what feeds our hope, and what having hope means to us. We’ll discuss how the season of Advent is, in fact, a season of hope, and what that means in our lives.

Join us this Sunday, Dec. 2, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company for a conversation about how Advent is a season based in hope, and what our own hopes are in this season.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Nov. 18 Gathering: Thanks-Giving

Gratitude Attitude Word Cloud

Female hand outstretched with palm up and the word ‘Gratitude’ surrounded by a relevant word cloud hovering against a rustic stone effect background

What are you thankful for? Not just in that warm-fuzzy-feeling-good kind of way, but in terms of deep gratitude? Things that deeply inform the way you live your life. Things that make you grateful to draw breath each morning. Things that give you a sense of self.

This Sunday at New Wineskins, we’re going to celebrate a time of Thanks-Giving. We’ll express those things for which we’re thankful and open up group discussions on exactly what those things mean and how our gratitude for them can be life-giving and affirming.

Join us this Sunday, Nov. 18,  the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company for a conversation about giving thanks and living grateful lives.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm