Conversations Uniting the Present & Scripture
C.U.P.S. is modeled after Jesus, who asked way more questions than he gave answers. He created a safe space for conversation to occur, which is what we do with C.U.P.S. This ministry provides an opportunity for faith to grow from simple/basic questions and stories to those questions and situations that result in deep theological conversations.
Sometimes people feel more comfortable in a tavern setting, and that's ok! This group meets at a different bar in the community once a month. There is an oversized brandy snifter (the CUP) and attendees are encouraged to write down any question they have regarding faith, religion, the Bible, and even politics and culture and how it relates to us as people of faith. Our pastor reads the questions, gives her own opinion/theology and a discussion ensues. This kind of environment and sense of anonymity allows space to have really deep and meaningful theological conversations that simply don't happen in a church setting. The point is not to always come to an agreement, but to discuss the various points of an issue and encourage seeing things from many different perspectives. Questions tend to focus on living life in a positive way, making a difference in the world, and what Jesus’ purpose really was.
Diner C.U.P.S. is for those who like the structure of Tavern C.U.P.S. but don’t feel comfortable at a bar. This is for people who enjoy early breakfasts in the morning and early bird specials in the evening. In contrast with Tavern C.U.P.S., Diner C.U.P.S. does not rotate to different establishments and always meets at Dino's Diner on the 2nd Saturday of every month at 8:00am. An additional difference is that an oversized coffee mug instead of a brandy snifter. These conversations tend to focus more on end of life questions, the existence of an afterlife, and how to know if one has lived/is living a good life.
If you're looking for a more structured and instructional conversation, Beach C.U.P.S. is for you! Beach C.U.P.S. includes people in a discussion group that is led by the pastor and lay servant with specific scriptures in mind. It takes place on the beach in Sea Isle City weekly, but each lesson is individual, so that you don't need to come every week. In fact, this is perfect for people visiting or on vacation, who can only come one time. But it's also good for people who want an entire 6-week Bible study. We meet on the beach for 6 weeks during July and August. Participants are invited to bring their beach chairs or beach towels in order to be comfortable, and we usually meet under the pavilion on the promenade. These studies are designed so that attendees can participate without reading materials or doing homework ahead of time as the group tends to change on a weekly basis.