By Allison Gingras
In September of 2019, Wicked Awesome WINE began meetings in my parish’s hall. Our little planning committee created very innovative plans. The group decided to meet every other week for the WINE book club and fill between the weeks with different activities—utilizing the gifts and talents of the beautiful women interested in WINE.
Each Monday evening, tables welcomed friends with tablecloths, beautiful centerpieces, and of course, food. Also, a prayer table with small Scripture cards invited attendees to share prayer requests. By March 2020, the group completed two books, anticipating a third and eager to begin until COVID-19.
Undaunted, the group pivoted in the face of adversity. Like many organizations, we took our meetings online. We began with a check-in meeting then followed with a few “social-hour and Scattegories” nights. Since so many had an interest in studying together, we decided to meet weekly along with the WINE book club featuring read Rhonda Zweber’s Reading Between the Lines—it proved to be the perfect vehicle for connecting during that time.
The most amazing part for me during this time was watching how our group grew close; I was amazed by the vulnerability I never expected to find behind a video screen. I witnessed the group bonded by our common circumstances of 2020 but, more importantly, in our desire to know and love the Lord. I would have never imagined how much this Wicked Awesome WINE group would mean to me as the days, weeks, even months carried on.
Next, we dove into Maria Johnson’s Super Girls and Halos, wondering if this book would have the same magic as our first. Would we see the same commitment to meeting, now that things had begun to open a bit more? Would a slight shift in reading focus and even the group dynamics produce the same powerful connections as before? The Holy Spirit continues to show up week after week, and is usually, as one of our members likes to say, is always “el fuego,” absolutely on fire! Currently, the group is finishing up When Women Pray.
Thriving in the Vineyard
We decided to maintain a “virtual vineyard,” even when we resume the in-person meetings. Many women expressed only being able to join because of the virtual element; either work or distance kept them from participating in our parish meetings. Forever finding the blessing in all circumstances, I see this pause the Lord has allowed as a beautiful time to re-evaluate my priorities.
Wicked Awesome WINE will continue to meet each week to discuss WINE’s excellent book club offerings. Each of the books WINE curates offers catechesis and faith-strengthening in a relational, Scripture-packed, prayerful, and completely authentic way. During this time and as we move forward, I hope you will prayerfully consider coming together with others in a virtual vineyard of your own. Advent is right around the corner, and we’ve already begun our adventurous Advent of preparing our hearts for the coming of the Lord with Gaze Upon Jesus.
When you say yes to growing in your faith and open your heart to do whatever He tells you, the fruit and the blessings of your yes will amaze you in the most unlikely ways.