Feb. 26 Gathering: Focusing through Lent


Hands framing distant

Today’s Christians embrace a wide variety of practices during the season of Lent. From giving up sweets to embracing new spiritual practices, there are many ways to walk through the season of introspection and repentance that Lent represents.

Regardless of how we choose to observe Lent, it is primarily a season of focus. Whether we choose to abstain from a thing or a habit for this six weeks, or add a new dimension to our spiritual lives, or engage in some sort of weekly discipline, our goal is to focus on Jesus and the coming remembrance of his crucifixion and resurrection.

At this week’s New Wineskins gathering, we’ll talk about various ways of observing the Lenten season, how those practices help us focus on the Passion narrative, and discuss possible ways we as a community might engage the season together.

Join us Sunday, Feb. 26 in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company as we examine our Lenten practices and the deeper meanings behind them. Add your voice to the conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

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Jan. 29 Gathering: Living Through the Psalms


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Throughout history, people have turned to the Psalms for wisdom, insight, comfort, and healing. The church has used them in liturgy, hymnody, preaching, and prayer.

The Psalms give us some of the keenest insight into the human condition. Their topics and content range from celebration to lament, from gratitude to raw anger.  Some of David’s Psalms, for instance, walk us through nearly the entire range of human emotion from rage to repentance.

What is it about the Psalms that make them so universal to our spiritual experience? Why were they so important to the early Jews and the first Christians? And what do they still have to say to us–and for us–today?

Join us this Sunday, Jan. 29, as we explore some of our favorite Psalms, look for revelation from them, and see what God may still be saying to us through these ancient texts.

As always, we’ll gather in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing CompanyBring your favorite Psalm(s) and be part of the conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Jan. 15 Gathering: Unity?


Multi-coloured hands joined around the world (nasa imagery)

The narrative arc of scripture reveals a clear call to unity of God’s people. But in today’s fractious society, unity seems further away than perhaps ever before.

So is unity really even possible? Is there a way to break down the walls we’ve built between us?

This Sunday, we’ll relaunch our New Wineskins gatherings with a discussion about unity–not just in the church, but in our society in general–and explore possible pathways toward it.

Join us Jan. 15 in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company for what promises to be an interesting exchange of ideas and perspectives!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Dec. 11 Gathering: Have Yourself A Subversive Little Christmas


Mary and Joseph with the child Jesus in the Manger of the crib at Christmas

Mary and Joseph with the child Jesus in the Manger of the crib at Christmas

Ah, Christmas. Hymns and caroling, cocoa and candlelight. Baby Jesus lying in a manger. Angels singing. It’s the most wonderful night of the year.

In many church buildings around the world, people will gather in poinsettia-filled sanctuaries and nostalgia-filled pews with friends and families to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We’ll sing songs like “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and “Joy to the World!” We’ll light candles and sing “Silent Night.”

But how many of us will tell the real story of Christmas? Not the one with the pastoral imagery of white-washed Nativities, but the one about the unlikely delivery of a child to an unwed couple in a filthy stable in a backwater town in a two-bit corner of the Roman empire? The one where shepherds–the nobodies who nobody would believe–are the first to hear the news? The one that upset static notions of who God favored and set in motion a revolution that is still changing the world more than 2 millennia later?

The Christmas story–the real Christmas story–is one of the most subversive stories ever told. So why have we wiped it clean of its rawness and messiness and replaced it with a cheap, sanitary imitation?

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll discuss the birth narratives from the gospels of Matthew and Luke, and try to rediscover a story that can still change the world.

Please join us Sunday, Dec. 11, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company as we seek to uncover a better way to live out the Christmas story!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Nov. 13 Gathering: North Place Maternity House


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In a culture where being a young, unwed mother can easily trigger a cycle of poverty and ever-shrinking options, there is a place in our community offering hope and support to women and their children.

North Place Maternity House offers a safe, Christ-centered environment for young women who find themselves unexpectedly expecting. Through mentoring, support, and education, NPCH helps give their clients the tools they need for a safe, healthy, productive life.

This Sunday at New Wineskins, North Place’s Wendy Williams will join us to introduce us to the facility’s mission and vision and share how unconditional love is breaking through to transform the lives of new mothers and their children.

Please join us Sunday, Nov. 13, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company to learn more about North Place Maternity House!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Oct. 16 Gathering: “The Dreams You Encourage Them to Have”


This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.

–Jer. 29:4-9 NIV

In the midst of the most contentious political season in recent memory, it’s often hard to live out Jesus’ call to peace and forgiveness. We’re so wrapped up in our fear of what might happen if this candidate or that one gets elected, it’s hard to have any sense of objectivity.

To make matters worse, our social media is often an echo chamber where we only engage with people who agree with us, and we unfollow or unfriend those with contrary opinions. We suddenly find ourselves thinking we don’t really know people we thought we knew well because they support a candidate we despise.

Then there’s the national media, which seems intent on stirring our discontent in the interest of creating controversy to boost ratings. And even though the election will be over in just a few weeks, few of us expect that the vitriol will die down. It’s hard to imagine a way forward.

But there’s a little passage from the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah that might prove helpful. Writing to expatriate Jews during their exile to Babylon, Jeremiah urges the people to make peace with their enemies. He even goes so far as to suggest that they will prosper as their captors prosper. And he has a warning for those who might try to benefit from sewing strife.

What might it look like for us to seek the best for our political opponents? How can we imagine prospering under leadership we so deeply disrespect? And what about the dreams we encourage the “prophets and diviners” of our day to have?

Join us this Sunday, Oct. 16, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company for a deeper look into Jeremiah’s 2,500-year-old prophesy and how it might help us navigate the difficult political waters of 2016.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

 

Oct. 2 Gathering: World Communion Sunday Instructed Eucharist


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For centuries, the celebration of the Eucharist has been of central significance to Christian communities. Whether it’s celebrated daily, weekly, monthly, or at less regular intervals, nearly all Christians participate at least occasionally in Holy Communion.

But have we lost some of the significance of this ancient and holy rite? Has it become little more than another ritual we methodically march through occasionally, more out of obligation than for transformation?

This week at New Wineskins, we will celebrate our first Communion together as a community in observance of World Communion Sunday. But since we are a people called to look beyond the ritual into the deeper meanings of Jesus, our service will be slightly different.

Led by Father Steve Peck (Catholic Universalist Church) and Rev. Joe Webb (Provisional United Methodist Deacon), we will participate in an “Instructed Eucharist.” This ceremony allows us to examine and reflect on the various elements of the Communion service in order to help us understand and recapture some of the deeper meanings behind why we do what we do, and to allow Jesus to encounter us in new and profound ways.

Please plan to join us, and perhaps invite a friend, to what promises to be a deeply meaningful New Wineskins Gathering this Sunday, Oct. 2, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm