What a year. God is so faithful.
Today we celebrated one year since we started doing Sundays at Manchester Vineyard. Through tears of thankfulness and out-stretched hands of praise, we gathered together to thank God for the journey so far. [watch the talk here]
And what a journey.
From small but expectant beginnings in a flat in the Heatons, via the Rampant Lion, we have come to Deans Trust in Ardwick. What a wonderful space. The extraordinary journey the team went on before we arrived here is a story in itself; to approach 100 venues before finding home requires an incredible amount of faith.
But we trust in our God. He has provided beyond what we could have ever expected or imagined – and that’s just on a Sunday.
Outside Sundays, our family has grown into something staggeringly beautiful. People who have known each other less than 12 months are inviting each other to live in their homes during turbulent times; looking after one another’s children; giving their time, money and love in service of our city and one another.
God is building His Church.
Here are just a few of our key moments this year…
There have been plenty of great times together. Bonfire night in the home of one of our families was truly spectacular. Such a wonderful evening and we cannot wait for this year. Stay posted for more information – it promises to be spectacular once again! [Get tickets here]
When the weather improved we took to the canal, with varying degrees of competency it must be said! Spending the best part of an hour in a boat with someone is certainly one way to build relationship!
Christmas, too, was an incredible time for us as a growing church. Carols were sung, both with beer and by candlelight, and the kids team lead a brilliant family service full of laughter and squirty cream (obviously.) What a time to remember the miracle of God coming to us, to rescue us and to bring us home.
22nd May 2017 is a date none of us will forget. In the face of hate and evil, the church came together with the people of Manchester showing love and light in any way we could. Offering prayer, a listening ear, drinks and snacks on the streets within a day of the attack at the Arena, we were able to show how deeply we love this city when it mattered most. The response of the people of Manchester in giving blood, time and skills was humbling and beautiful – we were so honoured to be a part of it.
We are well on the way towards our target of engaging with 10,000 homes in the area surrounding our Sunday venue. Teams have been out delivering invites to our services, meeting local people and taking the light of Jesus into a place full of challenges.
We are a church who will always prioritise compassion and worship.
One final thing to celebrate – out of our response to the attack on our city in May, we have been blessed with our newest addition to the compassion team: The Living Room. We are so excited to see what will happen this year as we head out as often as we can in this amazing campervan! [More about the van & how we intend to use it here]
Matthew tells us that Jesus sent His disciples out with these words:
As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
So on we go, giving in the full knowledge of what God has given us. Never stopping; never giving up. We will continue to write our part in the story of hope.
Here’s to the next chapter.