Access is available via request and approval from Vineyard USA.
If you aren’t familiar with our Vineyard history, you may be wondering why this is such a difficult moment for our family of churches, and why we are putting so much effort into these communications.
Vineyard Anaheim is the mother church of the Vineyard movement. It was pastored by John Wimber, with whom many of us had personal relationships, and by whom all in the Vineyard have been profoundly influenced. Many of us have personal ties with the remaining members of the Wimber family, and have deep sympathy for their pain and outrage in regard to this decision. This church was built and paid for by the contributions of generations of Vineyard people, as well as by the donation to Vineyard Anaheim of the building that housed Vineyard Ministries International and Vineyard Music. It is a place of deep spiritual heritage for all of us who consider ourselves a part of the Vineyard movement.
There are thousands of people in the Vineyard movement, both locally in Anaheim and all over the world, expressing their conviction that the decision to suddenly remove Vineyard Anaheim out of our family of churches is an action of extreme betrayal. They are looking to us to help answer their questions, and help them make sense of the pain they are experiencing.
As we shared in earlier communication, we learned from Alan and Kathryn Scott about their intention to disassociate Vineyard Anaheim three weeks ago. Though we implored the Scotts and their board to slow down their decision so we could discuss it together before they made their announcement, they sent an email to their entire church less than 24 hours later. At that point the conversation had been made public. After sending their email out on Friday, the Vineyard Anaheim Board admitted that they had made a “mis-step” in the process of communicating this decision. Thus, the following Sunday Alan Scott told the church that they were taking a pause on disassociation, in order to “honor” Vineyard USA by having a conversation about this.
We immediately opened lines of communication between their Board and our team, in order to help process their announcement. We were sincerely hoping that this meant that Vineyard Anaheim was open to a different outcome, and that together we could find a way towards one. During this time, we offered several different possible ways forward to the Vineyard Anaheim board for their consideration, asking for their input about reasonable next steps for the future of the church.
Concurrently, we tried to work out an on-the-record, in-person meeting between representatives from Vineyard USA and Vineyard Anaheim to discuss them in more depth. Ultimately, this is something that they would not agree to. At every point we wanted things to be transparent and on the record, due to the public nature of the conversation, they sought to walk it back into a private conversation behind closed doors. At every point we sought clarity, they offered obscurity. In the end, the Vineyard Anaheim board refused to sit down with us for an “on-the-record” conversation, on the grounds that such a conversation would not be “relational” or “honoring” but could only be “structural and legal.” We disagree wholeheartedly. We do not believe that there is a dichotomy between relationality and accountability in church life, any more than there is in a marriage or a family. We believe that, given the way that this conversation was made public by Vineyard Anaheim’s initial announcement of their disassociation, it was necessary to have the conversation in a manner that ensured transparency and accountability.
In light of this news, we would like to share with you some of the points that we found most pertinent in our processing of this situation. Here is a link to some FAQs we have put together. For all those who desire to review this situation more closely, we have created a backend site containing all of the written communication between our board and Vineyard Anaheim’s board. If you would like to request access to this password-protected site, please email Robb Morgan, Managing Director of Vineyard USA, at . He will be happy to assist you.
Finally, while we are beyond grieved to have been informed of Vineyard Anaheim’s decision to end this process, we recognize the Scotts, their Board, and this church as our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are praying that God will give them favor for the sake of their city and the Kingdom. We have loved the fruit that we have seen from Vineyard Anaheim and the way that God moves through the ministry of the Scotts. The encouraging stories coming from Anaheim are akin to the stories we hear from all around the Vineyard – stories of healing, of compassionate service of and with the poor, of salvations and baptisms, of passionate worship, and of transformed communities. May we celebrate the work of God among them as we celebrate those stories as well.
In the midst of this sorrowful moment, we remain incredibly excited about the future for the Vineyard in our nation and around the world. May you know Jesus even more deeply and experience the power and presence of His Kingdom today and in the days to come.
Grateful to lead with you,
National Director, Vineyard USA
I am encouraged to report that we are in ongoing and active conversation with the board of Vineyard Anaheim. We look forward to continuing this consequential conversation. As we are able to provide more updates, we will do so as clearly and quickly as possible.
I also want to say very clearly that while there are many opinions currently circulating about the content and implications of what is happening with Vineyard Anaheim, no one is speaking on behalf of Vineyard USA besides members of the National Team.
In times when information is low and emotion is high, we all have opportunities to choose what we put in the gap in our understanding. I would encourage you to fill that spot with trust in those of us charged to lead in this moment.
Please continue to pray for us, as well as the Vineyard Anaheim board, as we pursue peace and clarity.
National Director, Vineyard USA
We were made aware of their board’s decision to dissociate from the Vineyard, effective immediately, by the Scotts at a dinner meeting on Thursday evening, February 24th. This was the first time I had had any conversation with anyone from Vineyard Anaheim about this. I received it less than 24 hours before they sent out public communication to their church announcing the decision on February 25th. Prior to my meeting with them on Thursday night, I was not included in any conversation, process, or discernment about their choice. This was my first time meeting with them since becoming National Director on January 1st. Furthermore, none of the National Team of Vineyard USA was invited into this process with them either. We started our dinner meeting by inviting the Scotts into more leadership in Vineyard USA, as we have been so encouraged by all the good things we’ve seen happening at Vineyard Anaheim, so you can imagine how shocking their announcement of disassociation was. Over the past two days, I have been in communication with many of our founding fathers and mothers of our movement, who have also expressed their shock and confusion at this decision.
Vineyard Anaheim was one of the founding churches of our movement. For some of you, this is where you first experienced the power and presence of God’s Spirit and stepped into Kingdom ministry personally. Even for those who have not been there physically, the history of Vineyard Anaheim has had an impact on every Vineyard church. The values and practices that founded this church are still the values and practices that we are deeply committed to during this new season for our movement. And God is with us as a movement. Every single day I hear new stories of the ways that God’s Kingdom is breaking through in power in our churches all over the country. This is our legacy that we continue to steward as a movement. For all of these concerns and questions, we recognize that Alan and Kathryn and their team are our brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as family members in the Vineyard – which makes the suddenness of this all the more painful.
We exist as a movement so that people will come to know Jesus and experience the power and presence of His Kingdom. We will continue to seek His empowerment in every space that we are in – personally, in our churches each week, and as we gather across our regions later this year. Our National Team is committed to starting and supporting local churches like yours. We will continue to call each other to deeper commitment as brothers and sisters in Christ, and as part of this family called the Vineyard. We are incredibly excited about the future for the Vineyard in our nation and around the world.
I pray that each of your churches will experience the power and presence of the living God this weekend. And I’m praying for each of you that you will experience that Presence every day in your own lives. Come, Holy Spirit.
National Director, Vineyard USA