When Abraham Lincoln was asked why – with his obvious interest in religious matters and his familiarity with the Bible – he did not join a church, he replied:
“When any church will inscribe over its altars as its sole qualification for membership, the Savior’s condensed statement for the substance of both law and gospel, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself,’ that church will I join with all my heart and soul.” – from Carl Sandburg’s Introduction to Lincoln’s Devotional
Many in Sonoma County think of themselves as “spiritual,” though not necessarily as “religious.” That may be why on any given Sunday, no more than 8% of Petaluma residents attend church. It’s not that the other 92% or so do not hunger for something transcendent. However, they usually do not see the institutional church as the answer to their quest. Many may have spent years going to church, but find they are still seek something more. Some of them have been wounded by the very institutions that offered healing.
Why the Vine?
The Vine Church of Petaluma is the dream of people who want to experience the love of God as well as the love of other people while following the teachings of Jesus. We are more interested in a spiritually healthy community than the usual trappings of an institutional church. We want to emphasize relationship over religion. Simple. Non-judgmental. You might say we aspire to be the church that Abraham Lincoln might join.
The Vine offers a safe place to explore ultimate questions, connect with God and with others and receive spiritual healing. We design our services especially for those who are facing trials, tensions, or transitions.
Seeking the Spiritual in Petaluma
We are constantly pressed by bad news of unemployment, political conflict and threats of war. Many of us have been hit personally with financial setbacks, health crises and relational stress. These events awaken the need for spiritual connections with others. We need the assurance that there is a guiding force working for our good. We want to connect with God but avoid the distractions that often seep into churches such as denominational politics, maintaining buildings and programs, filling committee positions and raising funds. We want to bring people together who are hungry to connect with God, focusing only on those things that facilitate being loved by God, loving God and loving others. We are spiritual beings. We need God in our lives. And we need each other.
So, we are meeting with this simple purpose in mind – leading people into the arms of the God who loves them, gathering to experience transcendent worship and transformed lives, showing our love for God in meaningful acts of praise and service and being involved to improve our community. We are connectional, but non-denominational. We’re keeping it simple: church is a “gathering” (Greek: ekklesia), not a building.
We welcome you to read more, visit, ask questions and, if you’re ready for the adventure of your life, join us.
It’s all about connecting to “the Vine.”
Vine Image: inxti / 123RF Stock Photo Used by Permission.