PETALUMA, Calif., December 8, 2012 – Planted three years ago 30 miles north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, the Vine Church of Petaluma is now bearing fruit in its endeavor for a bountiful harvest of souls especially during this season of Advent, culminating on Christmas Day to commemorate the birth of the Christ Child Jesus, Son of God, Savior of the World.
For Christians, the Advent season also serves as a reminder of the original time of waiting for the birth of the Messiah by God’s people during the times of the Hebrew Scriptures. For Christians today, Advent is also time of longing and waiting for the return of Christ and the coming of salvation, justice and peace on earth.
The Vine Church of Petaluma itself was also planted at an Advent worship service held in the Advent season of 2011.
Today it has grown and holds its Sunday services in a conference hall in a beautifully landscaped business park graced with gracious lawns and towering stands of California’s own famed Redwoods.
The view for the congregation seated in fold up chairs facing towards the pulpit in its Sunday sanctuary is the awesome sight of giant redwoods stretching from floor to ceiling with some branches even caressing the glass panes
The infant church is pastored by Dave Weidlich, a ten-year resident of Petaluma and an ordained pastor having served Presbyterian churches in Sacramento, Portland and Petaluma. He is a single father of two teenaged children.
And like many church-planters, he is a bi-vocational pastor. In addition to serving as the Vine’s part-time pastor, he owns and operates a carpet care business during the workweek.
Pastor Weidlich’s congregation is a delightful mix of Petaluma’s diverse population of Anglo and Hispanic populations, young and old alike.
Music here is alive and in the hands of a praise band of young musicians for traditional hymns as well as contemporary praise songs during the Sunday worship services. Pastor Dave with his guitar and harmonica is also part of the musical mix.
Questioned for the need of a new church in Petaluma and Sonoma County, which is one of the least religious regions in the United States, The Vine Church’s founding pastor provides the answers: “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.”
He concludes, “We need the assurance that there is a guiding force working for our good. We want to focus on connecting with God and lessen the distractions that often seep into churches such as denominational politics, maintaining buildings, filling committee positions and raising funds. We want to bring people together who hunger for God - helping them find the love of God, and then to live in loving ways.”
In that serving tradition, The Vine Church of Petaluma aspires to serve the spiritual needs not only of its members and community, but regions beyond as well. The church offers a safe place to explore ultimate questions, connect with God, form new friendships, and experience spiritual healing.
The Vine designs its services for all who seek God, but especially for those who are hurting and seeking answers to difficult questions as they face difficulties of health, joblessness, severed relationships and other transitions. A DivorceCare group meets Monday nights and is a critical help to those who are grieving the loss of a spouse to separation or divorce. The holidays are especially difficult for those who are newly separated or divorced, Pastor Dave concludes.
At one time Petaluma was the “Egg Capitol of the World” and provided virtually all the eggs and other dairy products for the city of San Francisco. The San Francisco earthquake of 1908 wreaked destruction to the landmark city but bypassed Petaluma.
Its downtown is still graced with classic century-old architecture and adjoining residential areas contain classic Edwardian and Tudor mansions.
Earlier Petalumans were instrumental in helping with rescue efforts to put San Francisco back on its feet a century ago. Today its infant Vine Church is reaping a harvest of souls during this Advent season for the Christ of Christmas.
More information, visit: www.thevinepetaluma.org
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