New Wine Group spread its love and music for Jesus Christ throughout the U.S.

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They travel across the United States each year spreading their love for Jesus Christ through song and fellowship. “This is called New Wine. It is a ministry out of Zion Lutheran Church in Cloquet, and each year we choose a musical that we perform in May at Zion here. Then in June, we take it on the road to multiple destinations across the U.S.,” said Amanda Olson, the Theatrical Director for the Sound of Music.

On Tuesday night, the group returned from a ten-day tour to Virginia Beach and back, where they performed for their families and friends, who welcomed them back home with open arms and a potluck dinner.

The new wine group was formed over 30 years ago with a focus on spreading the teaching and learnings of Jesus Christ.

“33 years ago, there was a pastor here named Todd Martin, and it was kind of his brainchild to develop this ministry and take it to people across the country. You mean new communities spread God’s word, share our message, and share faith and fellowship with the country,” Olson explained.

“Every show that we do is such a good message, and they all have a different meaning in them. The Sound of Music has such a deep meaning to it. I think it’s really cool getting to show that with different people around America,” third-year member Merissa Witte shared.

The group not only performs; but also offers a safe place for its members as Witte mentioned. “I’ve definitely grown like with Christ, and I’ve just felt closer, and I know all my friends have and it is a safe place for everyone.”

The group is made up of students from 9th through 12 graders, as Olson explains how these times can be very important in a young person’s stage of life.

“I just think nine through 12th grade, you’re at a really pivotal moment in your life where you kind of are choosing what you’re going to do with the rest of your life and how you’re going to live the rest of your life. Getting them together and kind of choosing the path toward Christ and fellowship and making good choices and having a safe, inclusive space is really important. And I think that they’re a very impressionable age. So it’s just the perfect time for them.”

The growth of former and current members has blossomed thought out the years, especially for Olsen as she gets a front-row view. “I see them grow every second I am with them. Just the fellowship they have together, the bonds they make, and the people we meet along the way, spreading God’s message and the people that share their message with us that we see in all these churches we stay in.”

The group starts auditions in the fall; then they open a coffee shop in May to raise money for the 10-day trip which occurs in June.