Business

The Ground Floor: Bible study and a glass of wine

Winery setting a venue to reach others

Mandy Sullivan  of Women, Wine and the Word speaks during an event at Cedar Ridge Winery near Swisher on Thursday, May 4, 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Mandy Sullivan of Women, Wine and the Word speaks during an event at Cedar Ridge Winery near Swisher on Thursday, May 4, 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
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Mandy Sullivan’s new business gives women a reason to go out and have a glass of wine with their friends.

“I call it girls’ night out with a purpose,” Sullivan said. “Women tend to have so little time for themselves after work, home, kids and spouses. I’m giving them a purpose for going out so they don’t have to feel guilty about spending three hours away from home in the evening.”

That purpose is a closer relationship with God, she said.

Sullivan, who describes herself as a mother, second-time wife, singer and speaker with a passionate love for Jesus, has worked in ministry for 20 years. She currently serves as the director of Discipleship and Family Ministries at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids.

“About eight or nine months ago, I started having this feeling that there is something else God is calling me to do,” she said. “But I couldn’t put a finger on what that was.”

Over the course of the next several months, Sullivan had an epiphany.

“I am divorced and remarried with two kids and three stepkids,” she noted. “I’ve had all this life experience stuff that God has allowed me to learn from that I can use to help other women. I want to make sure as many women as possible get to know Jesus.”

Sullivan had been leading women’s Bible study in her home for the past several years. Sometimes people would bring along a bottle of wine, and Sullivan found that the wine tended to create a more comfortable atmosphere, especially for those women new to Bible study. But her living room had reached its maximum capacity.

So, she thought, why not take the Bible study to a winery setting?

“It’s a way to reach other women,” Sullivan said. “It’s a relaxing, fun environment for women of any faith or of uncertain faith to experience the word of God.”

Sullivan also realized she had the perfect business partner in husband Tom.

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“He has such wonderful entrepreneurial skills,” she said. “God knew what talents I would need for this venture and gave him to me a few years ago.”

With Tom’s assistance and support, Sullivan launched Women, Wine and the Word on March 30. The business offers monthly events for women that combine Biblical teachings on a specific topic, with food, wine, contemporary Christian music and games.

The first event took place May 4 at Cedar Ridge Winery in Swisher with a focus on forgiveness. An upcoming June 1 event, also at Cedar Ridge, will focus on finding the answers for everyday strength.

The events are open to all women at a cost of $38, which includes two drink tickets, appetizers and a complimentary wine glass. One dollar of every ticket sold will benefit Ashton Kutcher’s charity, Thorn, which works to address the sexual exploitation of children.

l Know a business in operation for less than a year that would make an excellent “The Ground Floor”? Contact michaelchevy.castranova@thegazette.com.

At a Glance

l Owners: Mandy and Tom Sullivan

l Business: Women, Wine and the Word

l Email: info@womenwineandtheword.com

l Phone: (319) 213-9799

l Website: www.womenwineandtheword.com

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