“We don’t know if he will be able to keep his kidney, so it’s been really tough,” said Shannon Austin.
Having the wine church group has helped her navigate those hard times, she said, offering the comfort of having friends who know what is happening in her life. “This is a place where I don’t have to say much, but they understand,” she said. Group members have become some of her closest friends.
Shannon, who was the first to dub the group “wine church,” is the daughter of a Church of Christ pastor, and she has often struggled with organized religion.
Wine church is like church without the rules. “I always loved Jesus deeply,” she said. “But I’ve also always hated rules.”
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This article originally appeared on ReligionNews.com.