Nov 05 2014

Welcome to America’s Most Caring City

Petaluma residents love it here. This is a truly special city.

Now there’s agreement from an objective source, the Movato blog, which earned instant credibility in Petaluma by naming our beloved city the #1 Most Caring Small City in America.
The 10 Most Caring Small Cities In America By Movoto Real Estate

How do you measure “caring?”

most caring small city in America - PetalumaThe folks at Movato define a small city” as one between 50,000 and 60,000 population. But, how do you measure caring? How often motorists stop for pedestrians crossing the street? Neighbors taking a casserole to their neighbor? How often a friend offers a tissue to one who is crying?

Movato looked at the amount of crime, the number of counselors and therapists per capita, homeless shelters, animal shelters, and car-pooling. Things like that.

Lest we get too full of ourselves (and lose our caring-ness) Novato and San Rafael are also on the list. We beat them, but we’re not gloating. In fact, we’d be happy to provide some lessons on how our Marin County neighbors can improve. Because we care.

Now, who is the most caring church in America’s most caring small city? In my mind, there’s no doubt.

Going through separation or divorce? We care. Read about it HERE.


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Nov 04 2014

Operation Christmas Child

We’re joining with thousands around the world, packing small Christmas packages for children in need.

Why Operation Christmas Child?

Every year, Operation Christmas Child delivers millions of shoebox gifts to children around the world. Shining the light of Jesus to children affected by war, poverty, disease and natural disaster, shoebox gifts are fueled by the power of prayer, bringing Good News and Great Joy to the ends of the earth!

Can’t see it? Go to VIDEO

How to Pack a Box

It’s easy. But start now. We need to have them packed by Nov. 16.

  1. Find a Small Box

    Use an empty cardboard or plastic shoebox (average size). You can wrap the box, lid separately, but wrapping is not required.

  2. Decide Boy or Girl

    Decide whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Download and print the appropriate boy/girl label. Mark the correct age category and tape the label to the top of your box.

  3. Fill With Gifts

    Fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child (see Gift Suggestions below).

  4. Include $7 Donation Per Box

    Help cover shipping and other costs related to delivering your shoeboxes to children overseas by donating $7 for each gift you prepare.

  5. Pray

    Ask God to use your gifts to show His love to the child who will receive your shoebox.

  6. Drop Off

    Place a rubber band around each closed shoebox and bring it to the drop-off location. We’ll collect boxes Sunday and Monday, Nov. 16-17 and then drop them off at Adobe Christian Center. Or you can take yours there directly t

Get Instructions and Labels (Boy or Girl)

More info at Samaritan’s Purse.


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Sep 19 2014

Hope After Divorce

DivorceCare Petaluma testimonial“When Kim left, I was in shock,” said Jack. “I wasn’t sure if it was going to fail or if I had a chance to mend it. I couldn’t believe she was throwing away seventeen years of marriage, twenty years together. For the first time in a long time I was alone. It was totally overwhelming. I couldn’t sleep or eat. Her family stopped talking to me and including me in holiday plans. All my relationships changed.”

Like many going through separation and divorce, Jack struggled at work. He’d stare at the computer screen, but couldn’t concentrate. He made many mistakes. He’s grateful that his co-workers were patient with him as he struggled to accomplish once routine tasks.

The Losses of Divorce

“Divorce represents many, many losses,” says Dr. Archibald Hart, a psychotherapist and psychology professor at Fuller Theological Seminary. “There are many associated losses when you go through divorce.”

Paul had already lost his job and his career was in a tailspin when his wife of twenty-nine years filed for separation and divorce. “I made mistakes,” he admits, “but, I was hoping it could be mended. My oldest daughter wouldn’t speak to me. My eight-year-old daughter took my picture down from her bulletin board. My life changed completely.”

Seeing the effects of divorce on children adds to the difficulty. “My children lost their confidence,” said Catherine, whose children were twelve and sixteen when her husband moved out. “Their grades suffered. My daughter missed weeks of school and fell impossibly behind.”

Coping with Separation and Divorce

Many cope with the loss of a spouse by attempting to fill the position with someone new.

“At first I got on a couple of dating sites and looked for a lady,” said Jack. “I figured if [my ex-wife] can do it, I can do it. I dated a few ladies and realized it was the wrong thing to do. I was not content in my own singleness and my own body. So, trying to convince somebody that I had it all together wasn’t working.”

A better response to separation and divorce is to find support from others who have walked the path. Support groups provide a safe place for formerly married people to express their emotions, where they are heard, understood and encouraged to embrace positive attitudes and healthy actions.

Divorce may be a setback, but it can also be a time of tremendous healing and growth. One author wrote, “You can go through it or you can grow through it.”

“I knew what I needed to do, said Jack. “I reached out. I got on a bowling league. I got on the computer looking for divorce counselors and divorce support groups. Sitting around the house with my dog was not enough. My twenty-two year old son didn’t want to hang out with me. I reached out and found DivorceCare at The Vine Church.”

Paul found a lot of encouragement in DivorceCare. “It helped me to see how other people have walked this road. I couldn’t understand what I was going through.” DivorceCare helped Paul understand that his anger and resentment are normal responses to the loss of marriage.

“It saved my sanity,” said Jack. DivorceCare showed me that I need a relationship with the Lord. I need to start believing that I’m not alone. He is always there. It taught me the skills of what I needed to do. I needed to get well inside – with my heart, my soul, my mind before I learned how to be alone. I enjoy my singleness. I was selfish. At times I thought I was the only one giving to the relationship. Now I look back and see that she gave me a lot. She hung tough through all my drinking. Now I’m more compassionate and caring. Humble. Forgiveness. I’m determined that I’m going to learn from my mistakes. I’m better equipped next time, if there is a next time.”

Paul said it has given him hope. “It’s certainly not something I wanted to walk through, but I am walking through it.”

Support for Divorce

The Vine Church of Petaluma is offering a support group to provide help, hope and healing for those going through separation and divorce. DivorceCare is a 13-week video seminar series featuring experts on divorce and recovery topics as seen from a Christian perspective. Each session includes a video seminar and small group discussion. Seminar topics include, “Facing my Anger,” “Facing My Loneliness,” “New Relationships,” “Single Sexuality,” “Caring for Children,” “Financial Survival,” and “The Freedom of Forgiveness.”

The Vine Church is located near the Petaluma Auto Mall at 1129 Industrial Avenue, Suite 208, Petaluma, CA 94952. Call the church office for more information, 707-256-8463 or go to for more information and to register.

Names have been changed to protect confidentiality.


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Sep 08 2014

Campus Ministry at Sonoma State University

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Sonoma State University

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship staff Sara and Jenny in a recent visit to the Vine Church

Campus Ministry at Sonoma State University is alive and well, despite setbacks.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship faces formidable obstacles this year after being “de-recognized,” meaning they are no longer recognized as a campus club. They no longer have free access to campus rooms. To use the large group meeting room they’ve used in the past, they now must pay $1,000 per use and provide proof of insurance.

This is a setback for InterVarsity chapters at all 22 campuses. But, it’s bigger than that. This is a setback for freedom in the nation that presumes to represent freedom throughout the world. You can help.

Read Pastor Dave Weidlich’s recommendations.


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Aug 22 2014

Dear Friends of the Vine

August 20, 2014

Dear Friends of the Vine:

Thank you for your support of the Vine Church of Petaluma. Your prayers and gifts continue to sustain us in our third year as a church. Enclosed you’ll find a giving report for the year to date (Jan. 1 – Aug. 10). Please let us know if you have questions or see any inaccuracy.

Mother Teresa on real povertyThe tragic death of Robin Williams, thirty miles south of Petaluma, is a reminder that someone can be successful, wealthy and surrounded by winners and still be desperately sad and lonely. People in the North Bay Area need a place to “belong, be loved and believe.” Our mission is bring people together for loving fellowship, spiritual growth and service by following the teachings of Jesus Christ and welcoming God’s Kingdom in our lives, our families and our city.

We’re now implementing Fall plans. Our small groups are coming together and meeting regularly. We’re re-starting DivorceCare with a new team of leaders – alumni from the last two sessions. We’re also mobilizing Petaluma leaders in prayer for our city. And, as always, we’re holding Sunday worship services for Viners and joyfully welcoming visitors.

I’ve been living off the carpet cleaning business almost exclusively through the summer and I’m blessed to have that. However, as we’re entering into the prime season of ministry, I want to put my focus more on the church and ministry. It’s the giving of visionary people like you that makes it possible.

Would you kindly help us with a special financial gift to get our fall season off to a great start? A self-addressed envelope is enclosed for your convenience. You can also give quickly and easily online:

You are a blessing to us – both those who we see week-to-week and those who support us from afar. May God continue to bless you.

In Christ,

Dave Weidlich, Pastor

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Aug 06 2014

There’s Healing and Hope

DivorceCare Petaluma

New Session of DivorceCare Petaluma to Begin Sept. 22

Mondays, Fall 2014, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

DivorceCare helps you recover from the pain
of separation and divorce

DivorceCare Petaluma testimonialUnless you’ve been there, it’s hard to understand the hurt that comes from separation and divorce. That’s why many of your friends and family don’t fully understand what your are going through and don’t know how best to help you.

We do. DivorceCare groups are led by people who have been through divorce and successfully rebuilt their lives. We understand how you feel because we’ve been in the same place. We’ll show you how to deal with the hurt caused by your separation and divorce.


What to Expect

DivorceCare Petaluma testimonialDivorceCare is a support group that meets weekly. You’ll find it to be a warm caring environment and will come to see your group as an “oasis” in an otherwise difficult season of your life. There are three key parts to your DivorceCare experience.

Video Seminar

Dynamic and information-packed videos featuring top divorce recovery experts.

Support Group

Small group discussion about the video content and the issues faced by individual group members.


Journaling and personal study exercises that reinforce each session’s topic.

DivorceCare Petaluma

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
newcomers are welcome at each meeting
New Session of DivorceCare Petaluma Sept. 22, 2014
and ends Dec. 15, 2014

logo - The Vine Church

The Vine Church of Petaluma
1129 Industrial Ave., Suite 208
Petaluma, CA 94952 (directions)

707-256-VINE (707-256-8463)

For Those Separated and Divorced in Petaluma

DivorceCare Petaluma testimonialWe’re offering Divorce Care at The Vine Church of Petaluma, Monday evenings. There will be a one-time fee of $45 to cover the cost of materials. Meetings are open, meaning you may begin at a later date. Let us know if you need help. We have a few scholarships available.
Need Childcare?
Give us a call and we’ll provide some options.

Contact Us if you would like to learn more or to register for DivorceCare Petaluma.

About DivorceCare

DivorceCare is a network of 13,000+ churches worldwide equipped to offer divorce support groups. The program is nondenominational and features biblical teaching for recovering from divorce or separation. Learn more about DivorceCare at

The Vine Church of Petaluma offers DivorceCare Petaluma, Novato, Rohnert Park and beyond. There are other Divorce Care groups meeting in Sonoma County and throughout the United States and Canada. If you are not in or near Petaluma, check to see if there is a DivorceCare group near you.

Rev Dave WeidlichRead My Story of Divorce and Hope,
by Pastor Dave Weidlich



Divorce help Petaluma – The Vine Church of Petaluma

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Jul 20 2014

Video Library – Transformation



Journey for TransformationWould you like to learn more about how God transforms families, villages and cities? Check out these video resources. The following are available on one month loan:

1. Transformations Library Trailer Set- This is one of the best for an overview of several of the earlier series. Clips of 15 minutes as I recall.
2. Transformations 1- The first of the series put out in 1999.
3. Transformation 2- The title speaks for itself.
4. The Quickening- Combines parts of the first two issued and offered as a teaching tool to interested parties.
5. Let the Sea Resound- Stories of transforming revival in Fiji and nearby islands.
6. An Unconventional War- About Uganda and the evils suffered from the Lord’s Resistance Army.
7. Approaching Fire- A recap of revival stories produced in 2007.
8. An Appalachian Dawn- A newer one from 2010 about Manchester, Kentucky becoming the City of Hope.
9. Catch the Fire- Another more current story about Sao Paulo, Brazil and what happened with the police force there.
10. The Hebrides Revival, a retrospective- A look back on revivals in the 1920’s through early 1950’s talking to people who were there for some of it. Appears to be glimmers again among young people on the islands. Produced in 2007.

You may contact John Richards at email, or phone 762-1827. Take a look for the first time, or review if you have seen them. Please tell your friends, also. God bless, John R.

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Jun 10 2014

Informational Meeting with Larry Lane

Journey for Transformation


We met with Larry Lane for an informational meeting June 25 and had an encouraging turn-out. We were also encouraged by the desire to see our city transformed by the love of Jesus Christ and to pray to that end.

Here are two handouts Larry left with us:

Getting Started on the Journey to Transformation (pdf)

Journey to Transformation-An Overview (pdf)

Would you like to borrow a Transformation video by the Sentinel Group? John Richards is offering them for a one-month loan. More info HERE

Follow-up Meetings

Sunday, August 24, 6:30 PM at the Vine Church of Petaluma

September 27

About Larry Lane

After serving as a senior pastor for eleven years in the greater Washington DC area and for nearly twenty years in Chico, CA, Larry launched the ministry of Kingdom Catalyst in 2012. He has been deeply involved in community transformation in the greater Chico area since 1996. Through exposure to city reaching efforts, his personal journey in Chico, and lessons learned from the Lord, Larry brings living testimony of what God can do in a community. Larry’s heart is to encourage and equip people who desire to see God touch and transform their city. In 2014 Larry was asked to serve as a Regional Coach for the Journey to Transformation by George Otis, Jr. and Intercessors for America. Larry holds a BA degree from Nyack College and M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Carol, have five adult children and reside in Paradise, CA

Larry LaneRegional Coach for The Journey to Transformation

email Larry


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Jun 02 2014

Pentecost Sunday

Pentecost Icon

Pentecost Icon

Church tradition knows this Sunday (June 8th) as Pentecost Sunday, usually considered the birthday of the Church, when the Holy Spirit descended upon and filled the Apostles.  If you count starting by including Easter, it’s the 50th day of what the liturgical calendar knows as Easter-Tide (which ends that period of time, and starts what is known as ordinary time, which lasts till Advent).  It marks seven weeks from Easter Sunday (7 always being a significant number in the Bible).

Though the New Testament references Pentecost as a Jewish celebration, you will find no reference to Pentecost in the Old Testament.  The Greeks used the word Pentecost (which means Weeks – or the fiftieth day) to refer to the Feast of Weeks, which you can find in your Old Testament as the Festival of Weeks (around late May or Early June). Leviticus 23:15-22; Exodus 34:22; Numbers 28:26-31; and Deuteronomy 16:9-12.)

12th Century - Pentecost

12th Century – Pentecost(

The Old Testament referenced the Festival of Weeks as a celebration of the firstfruits of the harvest, the new grain (the grain harvest).  It contrasted with the later Festival of Ingathering, the Harvest (the fruit harvest), which occurred at the end of the Israeli farming season (around September or October), also known as the Feast of Tabernacles (the Feast of Booths).

Jean II Restout : Pentecôte (1732)

The Old Testament says again and again that the Israelis had to appear before him three times a year, at Sabbath (when the barley was ripe), at the Festival of Weeks (when the new grain, the firstfruits were ready), and at Harvest time (the Festival of Tabernacle, or Booths).

Modern Jews no longer refer to the Festival of Weeks.  (Instead they refer to Shavout – which also means Weeks.)

Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld- Ruth im Feld des Boaz

Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld- Ruth im Feld des Boaz (1828)

So for Israel, the Festival of Weeks also celebrated their entry into the Old Testament Covenant to obey the Law, which formed the basis for their national identity.  So in some ways, it was a celebration of their birth as a nation.

So it is interesting that the New Testament community finds a parallel with the birth of the Church, which is often seen as a continuation of the Old Testament Church (Assembly).

Protestant Pentecost

Protestant Pentecost

However, the Christian community has come to celebrate this Sunday as both the Birthday of the Church, as well as a very special day to celebrate the Holy Spirit, often the almost forgotten 3rd Person of the Trinity.  Western churches, by tradition, decorate the church in red to symbolize the joy and fire of the Holy Spirit, and more recently, the congregation wears something red as well – so you would do well to remember to wear something red.  However, the important point is to honor, remember, and worship the Holy Spirit, and look to Him to help us fully live our life in Christ.

In contrast, Eastern Orthodoxy uses green to celebrate Pentecost (the clergy and congregation carry flowers and green branches to celebrate it).  In that tradition, they celebrate the Pentecost feast for three days, Trinity Sunday, Spirit Monday, and The Third Day of the Trinity (Tuesday).  Their Pentecost Afterfeast lasts a week.

In a sense, those who believed on the original Day of Pentecost were a firstfruits of the many believers who would follow in the Church.  The New Testament also refers to us believers as firstfruits saved by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, as well through belief in the truth.  2nd Thessalonians 2:13.

So come join us as we celebrate the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church!



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Jun 02 2014

Forgetting What is Behind

How’s your memory?

Not so good? That may be a good thing. There are some things worth forgetting.

Forgetting what is behind

This is our affirmation of the month, based on:

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14

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