Introduction

It’s been incredibly encouraging to receive the messages that many of you have left along with your names and pictures. Before I share a large sample of these (drawn from the first 1000), I want to point out that the faith and persistence and trust of LGBTQ+ friends, near and far, goes way beyond what has been asked of most of us, and our growth and change as a community owes so much to you. Thank you!

(Also – if you’re interested in some metrics, please scroll to the bottom.)

A Sample of Your Messages:

  • As the mother of a gay child who has been devastated by so called “Christians,” I commend your courage.  Jesus would never kick you out.  He’d be joining you at the door, welcoming ALL who enter in.
  • I was the first member of our local Vineyard Church to come out. I am now attending intermittently because I feel as though my attendance is sometimes political activism rather than worship. I pray one day we have equity at the Table.
  • I was basically kicked out of my church and asked to have conversion therapy by our priest at the time. Reading this has helped me restore my faith. Thank you!!!
  • Hello, Beautiful Canadians! I am an atheist ally from the US. I was in your gorgeous province several years ago and have never forgotten its beauty or the warmth of its people. Stand strong! You have many allies all around the world!
  • I was saddened when I heard Vineyard Canada’s decision, but I am happy that my old home church is choosing love and inclusivity. I am proud of my old home church, in deciding to not leave quietly, but to show how much support there is for LGBTQ+.
  • Congratulations!  What a big step!  Lots of love from a member of a former Vineyard church that is no longer due to this very reason!!!! ❤🧡💛💚💙
  • Seeing Christians unite affirming our LGBTQ+ community fills me with hope. Starting to feel proud of being called a Christian again.
  • I was a part of the Vineyard for a long time but have left because it is not fully affirming of the LGBTQ community and did much psychological harm to that community in its Living Waters Program.
  • Thanks for making a stand! Love and blessings from the Sacred Service (safe, inclusive, evangelical) at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford!
  • I’m proud to stand with this movement. “I see you church! Keep loving well! You are not alone! (Member of Neighborhood Church, Cloquet, MN -Formerly Cloquet Vineyard)” Me and my beautiful God fearing gay daughter! We stand with you!
  • I’m grateful to stand with you. To support you. And I believe that a beautiful wave of the HS is for us in this season as we navigate how to love LGBTQ+ (including myself) and remove the barriers that we’ve implemented.
  • “This is such a beautiful way of responding! Sending lots of love, encouragement, and gratitude from Kitchener, Ontario where I serve as a queer community pastor and spiritual director.
  • Planted a Vineyard church 4 years ago and this past July transitioned out over their exclusionary policies against LGBTQ+ friends. Getting clear is a beautiful thing friends.  I’m in your corner and remember that you can do hard things.
  • “You’re a part of a growing number of believers following Jesus’ teaching of unconditional love and compassion; standing with LGBTQ+ people who’ve been hurt by the church.
  • Congratulations on the decision to support all who would attend. As a two-spirit minister, I know only too well the challenges facing queer Christians. Public, intentional, and explicit stances on behalf of Christian churches are still too rare.
  • It’s groups like you that give me faith in having faith. It’s so hard to feel like a “real Christian” when churches act out based on identity. I just wish y’all were closer
  • I was so hopeful for a different outcome. So hopeful. Though disappointed, I am proud to stand with you on the side of what I believe to be true. Find me in the margins, loving everyone. That’s where I want to be. Love wins.
  • The LGBTQ community have become the “least of these” that are treated as if they are not worthy of Gods love and grace by church communities and that is not ok. I’m proud to join you in solidarity as we bust through these barriers with love!
  • I write here having deep love and respect for people on both sides of this issue. However, after much wrestling, I can only conclude that God in his love and mercy for all, views all people equally. I’m proud to stand with you!
  • I stand in solidarity with the members and leaders of St Croix Vineyard Church.  I’m a straight ally for LGBTQ+ community..  I believe church attitudes are leading to harm for vulnerable people.  God bless you all!!
  • I am so happy that there are those willing to stand against these policies. They join a welcoming community that have gone before them in the US and beyond. Thank you for seeing the heart and love of Jesus and standing against those who do harm.
  • Stand strong and know I am with you in spirit. With love and gratefulness from the mom of a transgender son. 💜
  • I stand with you St.Croix. This exclusion of our LGBTQ+ family cannot continue to stand. The entire Vineyard movement needs to reexamine their stance and apologize to those they have injured and shut out.
  • We are all created beautifully and deeply loved by God. When we exclude anyone for something they cannot change and for how God actually created them, then we blaspheme God’s wonderful creation and cut off members of our own body.
  • We became a fully affirming evangelical church Sept 2019 after a 3 year journey.  Lost nearly 3/4 of our congregation.  Will probably have to sell our building this year.  ‘Cost’ hurts but not as much as oppression.
  • Congratulations on making public this courageous and deeply faithful decision. As a pastor in a largely affirming denomination, I’ve experienced the hate of those who dread differences & the love & support of those who long to see the Saviour’s love
  • We left a vineyard church in Ann Arbor Michigan and never looked back!  Our new church is thriving and growing and loving God and ALL of his people!!
  • I was on staff at a Vineyard in WI for 3 years,  we left for an affirming church when our daughter came out. We would love an affirming Vineyard in our area.
  • My husband grew up in the Vineyard Church, and is deeply affected by the exclusionary stance Vineyard Canada has taken. I stand in full support of St Croix’s decision to leave and take their own path of affirmation and compassion.
  • I am LGBT+ and stand with you in affirming God’s acceptance of all people regardless of their sexual orientation. I furthermore challenge the ‘church’  to stop the prejudice and unhelpful attacks on Christians who express their sexuality.
  • You won’t be prepared for the freedom that comes from not being organized around the anxiety of those who persecute LGBTQ children of God.  It’s painful what you’re doing, but glorious.
  • Thank you for refusing to go quietly!
  • I can’t stand by and watch my LGBTQ+ christian friends, or anyone, go through the torment of exclusion in the communities that are meant to bring belonging and life.
  • As a lgbtqia person of faith, I support the effort to not go quietly and to show the world not just who we are, but how many we are
  • SCV was one of the first places I had ever felt comfortable in my own skin. Leaving Vineyard Canada and welcoming others into true unconditional fellowship is a massive step forward – “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.”
  • In the United States, the United Church of Christ welcomes all.  Our sister church in Canada, the United Church of Canada, walks that path as well.  You have brothers and sisters who walk with you.
  • My denomination (Mennonite Church BC) has taken a similar stand on how we treat those in the LGBTQ2S community. It makes me very sad but I decided to give up despair for Lent and being invited to be an honorary member here helps with that! Thank you!
  • This was our safe haven and were welcomed with open arms and now to hear that my family would no longer be supported the same way is very heartbreaking. I’m glad our community is rallying together to support one another.
  • To allow attendance without affirmation of the LGBT person’s gifts, marriage, & indwelling Spirit, creates the cancer of self-doubt.  The challenge is that the doctors believe the cancer is best for the patient; & the death of the patient is ignored.
  • Its refusal to accept all God’s children as they are makes me sad for the church, but it’s movements like these that give me hope for the future of faith communities in our world.
  • There is a grief to be acknowledged but St. Croix Church can now be free to be all that God wants them to be which I am beyond excited about. Praying for you during this transition, wish I could be with you when you announce your new name!
  • I hope and pray that all churches in the Vineyard will eventually become affirming.
  • I used to be a member of the Vineyard (USA & UK) a number of years ago. It remains my best church experience. I’m sorry to hear you have had to make this hard decision and I am happy to stand with you as you do it.
  • Standing with you all at this really sad time. Letting you know that I, and my family, are working for change within the Vineyard movement and within the evangelical church as a whole. Praying for the day when you’ll be welcomed back.
  • As a former member of the United Methodist Church (US), I understand, I sympathize, and I wholly endorse this movement.
  • Welcome (?) to the club of the ousted.  The rest of the church will catch up – eventually – but somebody has to blaze the trail.  I wish you love and friendship as you walk this new path.
  • I’m profoundly sad that we have chosen to draw a line through the lives of people and determined that we can’t live together in love despite holding different convictions about this one thing when there are so many things over which we agree. Mercy.
  • I deeply appreciate your thorough and mature study of scripture which clearly shows full acceptance of all people.
  • The core of vineyard teachings and values make me who I am today, but for the same reasons given by Ken, I can’t participate and support while my lgbt+ siblings are. I stand with you
  • The best aspect of St. Croix Vineyard was its obvious non judgement openness. Thank you for making the decision to maintain the most important attitude, that of love.
  • I’m tired of the exclusion I see everywhere. Them and us, in and out, saved and unsaved, my truth is better than your truth. I’m increasingly sad how Christians have claimed Jesus for themselves when I think maybe the Christ is for everyone
  • I am a 23 year old, bisexual woman. I grew up in the Cambridge Vineyard and going to church. But when my brother, who is a transgender man, started his journey of self discovery and love, the church stopped allowing him to speak. This needs to change.
  • Peter wanted to keep the lines of the church very tight, limited to those who ate the right food, but the Holy Spirit came and spoke to him 3x in a dream and he understood that the gospel was for EVERYONE. The sheet has been lowered. It’s time to eat.
  • I stand with the rejected in Christ, who sought a home in their Vineyard Fellowship and found none.
  • I hope my Church is someday as open and accepting as this.
  • As a queer Christian woman am so incredibly thankful for for communities like St. Croix Vineyard who are standing up for the marginalized and oppressed and doing the real work of Jesus. May God bless you and your ministry!
  • “Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking.” At a crossroads, Vineyard Canada elected to favor theology that affirms walls of isolation around LGBTQ believers. Sorry, but I can’t be part of that. “We should break dividing walls.” Peace.
  • Oh how I wish this decision had not been made. It breaks my heart and is so very very wrong. Thank you for taking a stand. I will now attend your church when i can.. even though it is 3 hours away! Bless you!
  • The decision of Vineyard Canada perpetrates injustice and ongoing harm to our LGBTQ+ siblings. This decision must be resisted and protested. Harm must be acknowledged, confessed, and dismantled. Jesus stands with those excluded and so will I.
  • It saddens me to the core that a movement that began out of a need to differentiate themselves from the parochial, lifeless and conditional churches of the time has now aligned with and become the very thing it wanted to change.
  • We love visiting St. Croix Vineyard on weekends we can make the trek from Saint John. We feel so comfortable and welcomed, every time. At St. Croix it really feels like God lives and loves there.
  • I have been associated with the Vineyard, Canada for 30 years. Jesus stood (and sat and ate and walked) with people who had been rejected by the religious establishment. I will stand with my queer brothers and sisters and walk with them.
  • I have been going to a Vineyard Church all my life, and and always thought of it as a refuge from other non-affirming institutions in my community. I am deeply disappointed by this decision.
  • I left a “bounded set” church environment 20+ years ago and came into the freedom of the “centered set” Vineyard was known for.  It is with great sadness that I am once again leaving a church that has morphed into a bounded set.
  • It has been a privilege to connect and stand with many faithful Vineyard folk who love all of their neighbours. I am deeply concerned with how the Vineyard’s stance creates an unsafe environment for the most marginalized among us.
  • The people disenfranchised by this decision are more important then the Vineyard church and if I’m asked to choose, I choose the people who don’t have the voice or the power.
  • “Tuhia ki te rangi, Tuhia ki te whenua, Tuhia ke te ngakau o nga tangata, Ko te mea nui ko te aroha. Tihei mauri ora! Write it in the sky, write it on the land, write it on the hearts of the people, the greatest thing is love. Behold life!”
  • I am very saddened by Vineyard Canada’s decision. Churches have the power to do so much good in the world and I’m sad that this denomination can’t see through the bureaucracy and “God” language to see how this affects real people.
  • A sad outcome of the consultations……thank you for your principled and Spirit-led stand for equality before God for all!!
  • We are queerly beloved by God. Our 2SLGBTQ+ voices are essential to understand the fullness of God and the expanse and mystery of Their Love. We pray for 2SLGBTQ+ justice and we will not be silenced, or erased. You are Beloved and you belong!
  • I am encouraged to see Vineyard-formed people standing on the side of Christ and of LGBTQ+ folks for what is right.
  • I am sad to have to step away from this family we have been a part of for almost 30 years but am looking ahead with excitement to be free to continue to stand up and welcome all people who come through our doors.

Some Metrics (updated for total)

Of the first 1000 responses:

  • about 60% were Canadian
  • nearly half had some close connection to the Vineyard movement
  • about 38% had attended or still attend a Vineyard church
  • about 250 were “former Vineyard” (about 50 explicitly named leaving for similar reasons)
  • about 47 were “former Vineyard leaders” (20 explicitly left for similar reasons)
  • about 30 are current Vineyard leaders (incl. worship leaders, youth leaders, etc.)
  • many leaders of affirming churches welcomed us and stood in solidarity with us