Nov. 8 Gathering: Spiritual Practices — Listening

Creative Commons
Creative Commons


The word itself gets our attention. But how good are we at actually doing it? And how can the act of listening be a spiritual practice?

We can practice spiritual listening in conversation, in meditation, in prayer, and in studying scripture. But like other spiritual practices, it requires–well–practice. We have to learn to turn off our internal monologue, stop planning our response before our conversation partner is done speaking, and stop thinking “how does this affect ME?”

Elijah encountered God not in the wind, or the earthquake, or the fire, but in the still, small whisper. Hearing that voice requires patience and inentionality. Join us this Sunday, Nov. 8, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company to enjoy food and drink together as we discuss the spiritual practice of listening and learn from one another how we can all listen better and more effectively.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Oct. 25 Gathering: Spiritual Practices — Fasting

Of all the various spiritual practices of the church, the one we perhaps think about, talk about, and engage in the least is fasting. Especially in our over-indulged American culture, the idea of depriving ourselves seems downright foreign, if not altogether absurd!

But fasting is a practice that has gone hand-in-hand with worship for people of many faiths for nearly all of history. In the Hebrew tradition, fasting is associated most closely with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. But it is also mentioned throughout both the Old and New Testaments as a normative ritual for both Jews and Christians.

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll talk about the practice of fasting, where it comes from, why we do it, and the benefits we might derive from it.

As an added experience, we invite you, the New Wineskins community, to partake in a period of fasting this weekend. You may wish to do a traditional fast from eating, or you may want to “fast” from something else–television, technology, social media, soft drinks, etc.

We’ll break our fast together at our gathering and share our experiences. If you’re participating from out of town or can’t make it Sunday night, we invite you to post your reflections here in the comment section or on our Facebook page.

Join us this Sunday, Oct. 25, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company to enjoy food and drink together as we discuss the ancient spiritual practice of fasting, and savor the irony!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

October 11 Gathering: Jake Kaufman Returns!

Jake Kaufman
Jake Kaufman

This Sunday, Oct. 11, we are thrilled to welcome Jake Kaufman back to New Wineskins to share stories of inspiration from his most recent blog series, 15 Stories in 15 Weeks (#15Stories).

A Mid-Ohio Valley native now living in Columbus, OH, Jake is a full-time writer and speaker who prefers his beer from a can. His blog,, is a diary of  seeking God in the face of doubt and finding faith despite the often-harmful trappings of religion.

Jake first visited New Wineskins in July 2014 as our first-ever guest speaker and is excited to join us this week as our first-ever two-time guest speaker!

Join us this Sunday, Oct. 11, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company to join Jake in a conversation about stories and how we live them.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Sept. 27 Gathering: Anthony Mossburg

Anthony Mossburg
Anthony Mossburg

Award-winning local singer-songwriter Anthony Mossburg will join us this Sunday at New Wineskins for a frank and in-depth conversation about art, faith, and the challenges that lie in the tension in between.

A native of New Matamoras and graduate of Frontier High School, Anthony brings a “raw, gutsy, open and honest” quality to his music and lyrics that are capturing the hearts and imaginations of a loyal and growing fan base. He’s won numerous local, regional, and national honors and has performed in venues ranging from small country churches to large national stages.

Anthony is brutally honest about his faith and the struggles that go with being authentic as both an artist and a 21st-century man trying to follow Jesus. We’ll talk to him about those topics and a lot more at this week’s gathering.

Join us this Sunday, Sept. 27, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company to join Anthony in a raw, gutsy, open and honest conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Sept. 13 Gathering: Spiritual Practices — Lectio Divina (praying the scriptures)

Every faith tradition has spiritual practices–those rituals, routines, and disciplines that keep us connected with the divine. This week at New Wineskins, we’ll kick off a new fall series on Spiritual Practices with a focus on an ancient monastic practice known as Lectio Divina (literally, “divine reading”).

How often do we find ourselves approaching the Bible more in search of information or knowledge than in a mystical quest for an experience of God? Whether it’s through daily devotionals, Bible studies, or even our weekly worship, we often find ourselves mining data from scriptures. Even when we open ourselves to allow God to speak to us through the words on the page, it’s frequently with the idea that we’ll be better able to defend a particular argument rather than the idea that those words could actually transform us.

Lectio Divina offers a different way to approach reading scripture. It allows us to strip away our agendas and preconceptions and places us in a posture of purely receiving God’s words on God’s terms.

This Sunday, we’ll walk through a modified Lectio Divina exercise adapted to our setting to allow us to enter into this ancient and powerful spiritual practice and have a conversation about how God may be using it to reveal himself to us, both personally and as a community.

Join us in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company this Sunday, Sept. 13, as we explore and discuss this ancient prayer tradition.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

Announcements: New Series, Guest Speakers, Fall Schedule

calendarpagesWith our return to our every-other-week format for the remainder of 2015, the New Wineskins home office is pleased to make a couple of announcements regarding upcoming weeks:

  1. Starting this Sunday (Sept. 13) we will launch a series on spiritual practices. This series will not necessarily occupy consecutive gatherings, but will be a recurring theme we will visit throughout the coming months.
  2. Anthony MossburgOn Sept. 27, we will welcome popular local singer-songwriter Anthony Mossburg, who will speak to us (among other things) about how faith informs his creative processes and some of the challenges that come with being labeled a “Christian” artist.
  3. Jake KaufmanOn Oct. 11, our friend Jake Kaufman will make his second visit to New Wineskins as a guest speaker. Jake has launched a new series on his blog titled “15 Stories in 15 Weeks.”

We are always open to new ideas for presentations, guest speakers, and artistic expressions. Contact us by email at or on our Facebook page if you have ideas or suggestions!

Gathering dates for the rest of 2015 are as follows:

Sept. 13

Sept. 27

Oct. 11

Oct. 25

Nov. 8

Nov. 22

Dec. 6

Dec. 20

All gatherings are held in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company and get underway with Happy Half-Hour at 6:30pm. Conversations start at 7:00.

Aug. 23 Gathering: When God seems distant


Our religious life tells us to strive to be close to God. Many of us have experienced those “mountaintop” moments when we are filled with the joy of God’s presence.

But what about the rest of the time? Those times when we seem to be slogging through the routines of life, struggling to sense God at all. Those times when God seems distant. Or not there at all.

Volumes have been published about what we’re supposed to “do” when we feel far from God. But somehow, that only reinforces the myth that our nearness to God is somehow up to us, that we can earn God’s favor. Which, in turn, deepens our guilt when we’re not close enough.

So how do we deal with it all? With the reality that we can’t live on the mountaintops. With the struggle in the valleys.

Join us in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company this Sunday, Aug. 23, for a frank and open discussion about the distant times, what we’re to make of them, and how we can not only cope but still thrive in our faith as we pass through them.

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm


July 26 Gathering: What are we afraid of?

“Do not be afraid.” “Fear not.”

It’s one of the most common phrases in scripture (although, despite popular internet memes, it doesn’t show up anywhere near 365 times–once for each day of the year). Whenever you see puny humans being approached by the living God, the command is clear: “Do not be afraid.”

In fact, it is fear, not hate, that the apostle John posits as the opposite of love:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. (1 John 4:18)

So why is it that modern-day Christians seem to be not only consumed by fear, but thoroughly driven by it? How has fear gone from something explicitly commanded against to our primary motivation for our words and actions? How does a fear-based theology fit with the inbreaking kingdom of heaven?

This Sunday at New Wineskins we’ll talk about some of what’s at the root of our fears, how it drives our behavior, and how we can try to live beyond fear.

Join us in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company this Sunday, July 26, and be part of the conversation!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm


June 28 Gathering: Guest Speaker Dina Andrews–Helping Lift People from Poverty

This Sunday at New Wineskins our guest speaker will be Rev. Dina Andrews, Director of the Circles Campaign of the Mid-Ohio Valley, Inc.

Circles® is a national initiative that seeks to empower individuals from all economic backgrounds to solve poverty in their communities. The Circles model started in 2000 as a way to increase the capacity of communities to address poverty by combining best practices in several disciplines, including community organizing, coaching, grassroots leadership, SMART goal setting, financial literacy, mentoring, peer-to-peer counseling and learning, and child/youth development.

Dina is an ordained Deacon with the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church and serves as the Pastor at Stephenson United Methodist Church in Parkersburg, WV and is an Associate Staff Chaplain at Camden Clark Medical Center. She is a graduate of the Methodist Theological School in Ohio with a Master of Arts in Counseling Ministries and a Master of Divinity. She’s also an occasional guest and long-time supporter of the New Wineskins community!

Join us in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company this Sunday, June 28, to hear from Dina about how Circles® is helping people right here in the Mid-Ohio Valley and how to get involved!

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Conversation Begins: 7:00pm

June 14 Gathering: “Way, Truth, Life”


This Week we visit The Greenhouse of St. Marys, WV!*

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

— John 14:6 (NIV)

Are these words from Jesus, as many claim, a formula for guaranteeing an afterlife in Heaven? Is it a claim over against all other religious and/or non-religious belief systems?

Or are these words spoken to the disciple Thomas filled with more meaning than we give them credit for? Could the specific context of the disciples lend insight? Why would Jesus choose these specific words in the run-up to his crucifixion?

This Sunday at New Wineskins we’ll dig a little deeper into this famous quote from John’s gospel and probe its more holistic nature. Far from a claim for Christian exclusivism, we’ll examine it as a call for those who follow Jesus to live a particular kind of life.

*As a special treat, this week’s gathering will be held at The Greenhouse of St. Marys, WV! Bring a lawn chair and the beverage of your choice (adult or otherwise) and enjoy some tasty treats from the Greenhouse’s renowned grill masters. Click here for directions.

We’ll gather under the majestic trees of Historic Abicht’s Landing for drinks & snacks at 6:30pm. Conversation begins at 7:00. Invite your friends and join us for this week’s gathering!