26 adults and 3 children (soon to be 4!)
By all accounts, a very large planting team. With families joining us from further afield than Nottingham, meeting all together was not always possible. However, during the early months of 2016, we had three incredibly valuable opportunities for most of us to come together.
~ Nottingham ~
In April 2016, an emerging group of people huddled in a room at Trent Vineyard. There we took all we could carry from the wisdom and encouragement of John Wright. We then worshipped and prayed for the journey ahead. Knowing the road had already been travelled in a way by great men and women of God was a huge comfort to us all. However, as John and Debby had not long been made National Directors, to receive their blessing to be creative and try new routes and paths brought a great sense of freedom and excitement.
John shared a paper on Church Planting he’d written as they started out in 1996 – Ten Things by John Wright – which provided clear, honest, practical advice which reassuringly summed up our existing expectations. We left that place with a strengthened resolve to serve God with all we had, love and support our leaders, Paul and Steph, and generally get stuck into the fray.
Many times colleagues asked me before I left: ‘What exactly are you going to do in this church?’ The answer: ‘I have no idea’ may well have puzzled them, but it was incredibly liberating for me. We went with no expectations, only to be His hands and His feet.
~ Manchester ~
Our final meeting as a group, before we officially became Manchester Vineyard, took the form of a BBQ in the home of a couple on the team. We ate, worshipped and listened to Paul and Steph paint the vision for the next stage. The excitement and anticipation in the room was almost tangible and poured out through our worship and prayer. We couldn’t wait to see who God would bring to join our number, confident that 29 would not stay 29 for long!
~ Hull ~
In early June we were invited by Hull Vineyard to join them on a Sunday morning. We were welcomed with open arms, tea and cake. Paul and Steph were invited to share the journey so far and then the whole group were prayed for by the Hull Vineyard family.
After a tour of their new building (accompanied by many: ‘oooh I like that!’ comments), we were fed delicious home cooked food until we couldn’t move and were given time and space to ask questions of the pastors, once again reassured in the knowledge that we are not alone on this journey. Moved with gratitude for their amazing hospitality, we prayed for them and headed home, wherever ‘home’ currently was for each of us.