‘Spirituality and Sushi’ brings young adults together for evening of food, conversation

By Matthew Livingstone | Special to The Compass | August 13, 2014

DE PERE — Two dads, dressed in traditional Japanese kimonos, stand by a kitchen island rolling and cutting countless sushi rolls. Dozens of houseguests funnel by, heading out to a patio where adults in their 20s or 30s gather for a beverage before their meal.

Young adults from the Diocese of Green Bay share conversation during a “Spirituality and Sushi” event at the home of Paul and Carrie Miller in De Pere Aug. 6. (Matthew Livingstone | Special to The Compass)
Young adults from the Diocese of Green Bay share conversation during a “Spirituality and Sushi” event at the home of Paul and Carrie Miller in De Pere Aug. 6. (Matthew Livingstone | Special to The Compass)

It may seem an unlikely location and unusual type of church-sponsored event, but that is exactly what “Spirituality and Sushi,” held Aug. 6, aims to be: something different for young adults.

This event, sponsored by the Department of New Evangelization, aims to engage young adults through the presence of good food, a quality speaker and welcoming atmosphere. It had humble beginnings in 2001 when hosts Paul and Carrie Miller started their own sushi social gatherings.

As Paul recounts, “Every Monday night we’d have a different couple or different friends over to our house. Every Monday night. So, over the course of the next couple years, we had so many great sushi nights.”

After some discussion between Carrie and Julianne Stanz, director of New Evangelization, they decided that this gathering might be one to draw individuals who might have not been to a church event in a while. Seven years later, Spirituality and Sushi continues to have new and renewed appeal from young adults throughout the Diocese of Green Bay as a non-threatening way to engage others.

“It’s just a great event because there’s wine, there’s sushi, there’s friends, there’s good conversation,” said Maggie Melchior of Combined Locks. “I think that for many young adults, especially if they’ve been away from the church, that it’s intimidating to go to church. That you can go to someone’s house, drink some wine, eat some sushi, meet some good, new people, that’s much less intimidating. It’s much more natural and engaging of where they are, which Pope Francis wants us to do.”

As the event’s onsite host, Paul Miller, stated, “It’s relational. That’s always been the point of this.”

Guests also heard a brief personal witness story of faith from Brad Fassbender. “Brad shared a beautiful story of some mission outreach work he did with people in Central America,” said Melchior.

The next Spirituality and Sushi will be held on Aug. 5, 2015.

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