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At a HUB gathering you'll be invited into the holy space where stories - personal, communal and

biblical - connect.  You'll be given a chance to share - to tell your own story and be respectfully

heard by your neighbors.  You'll be given a chance to listen - to hear the stories of others.

You'll be given a chance to explore where your story and the stories you hear, connect.

First Presbyterian Church, Columbiana launched THE HUB in 2016 with a focus on spirituality and 

life skills education for adults.  In the years following we discovered and began to focus on, the 

power of story to transcend divisions, confront bias, bring healing and ultimately hear anew the

gospel of Jesus Christ as our framing narrative.

THE HUB welcomes all stories, including those challenging "traditional" systems and structures.

We welcome all storytellers regardless of religious tradition, race, class, gender, ethnicity, political

leanings or sexual orientation.  While individual stories may challenge, THE HUB does not tell

participants what to think or believe.  We do, however, request all at gatherings commit to the 

discipline of respectful listening.​

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An intentional spiritual gathering rooted in the inviting, hearing and sharing of story - biblical, communal and personal, the HUB uses the spiritual practice of story to transcend divisions, confront bias, bring healing and ultimately hear anew the gospel of Jesus Christ as our framing narrative.  

Our Mission

To fully experience the immense gift granted to us by God through story, we must seek out and accept the gifts of our neighbors' stories.  Story is a gift of God for the people of God.

HUB Core

The HUB Core consists of those yearning to connect their stories, and their neighbors' stories, to the gospel story.  Core participants also help plan and lead HUB gatherings.  The Core meets at 7:00 on the first and third Wednesday evening of each month at First Presbyterian, Columbiana and on Zoom.  Core gatherings include sharing scripture, telling stories around the shared scripture, praying for each other and eating cookies.  Its sort of like church, sort of like a Bible study, but not really like either.

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Spoken Threads

A series of public storytelling

gatherings as well as workshops to

help potential storytellers shape and

frame their stories.  Spoken Threads gatherings

are open to everyone. Anyone who wishes

is allowed to share a story.  Gatherings

happen at locations around the community.

Community Healing

HUB sponsored community-wide worship services and gatherings provide space for those whose stories include grief and loss to intersect with the healing story of the gospel.

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Retreats &

The HUB sponsors and facilitates in person and online retreats and workshops, inviting participants to dive deep into the healing story of the gospel, probe their own stories and receive the gift of story from fellow participants.  Contact us for more information about how we could facilitate a retreat or workshop for your group. 

Video Production

The HUB seeks to amplify both individual stories and the gospel stories through video production.  HUB Videos can be found on the Columbiana HUB YouTube Channel.  

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Jo Barto

HUB Coordinator

As HUB Coordinator, Jo provides ongoing leadership of the HUB Core, writes and leads MidWeek Pause and anchors THE HUB's prayer life with her broadly inclusive while still deeply rooted spirituality.  A certified spiritual director, Jo is retired from a 40-year career as a Catholic school teacher.


Fritz Nelson

Pastor, First Presbyterian Columbiana

Pastor Fritz provides big picture leadership for THE HUB, helping it hear community voices, develop new forms of worship and work through the challenges of identity and mission.  Fritz has over 20 years experience leading Presbyterian congregations.

Both Jo Barto and Pastor Fritz are available for retreat leadership and consultation.  Jo Barto is also available for individual spiritual direction.

THE HUB is affiliated with First Presbyterian Church, Columbiana OH and is a new worshipping community of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Participants come from a wide range of spiritual backgrounds - Protestant, Catholic, seeking, searching, skeptical and agnostic.

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