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  • About Us

    Our Story

    St. Croix Vineyard was started by Peter and Mary Ellen Fitch and a church planting team on October 4, 1992. Our original name was St. Croix Christian Fellowship. We were planted under the sponsorship of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Lewiston, Maine, but we weren’t actually adopted by the Association of Vineyard Churches until January, 1994.

    Right from the start we had a deep desire to grow in terms of understanding worship, healing prayer, care for children, care for broken people, and care for building a strong and healthy community of people that actually helped each other in practical ways. We’ve also had a consistent focus on sharing with those in need outside of our church community.

    For three years we met in a small community hall outside of St. Stephen, then we moved to the St. Stephen Elementary School Gym. Later we found offices to rent and a worship space over top of a local pub. Finally, in November of 1997, we moved into the Sara McCaffrey Parish Center, an old Catholic School.

    We continued to rent space in this building for the next period of time, along with the local Boys and Girls Club and several other groups, until the end of December, 1999. At this time, through several wonderful events (including a large unsolicited gift that arrived one week before the closing of the deal), we were able to purchase the school and rename it The Vineyard Center. This was the fulfillment of something we felt God had told us earlier: if we would get involved in helping to build a new home for a family He called us to help near our area, at the right time He would give us a house of prayer, a building of our own. In the end, that’s almost exactly what happened.

    There are several distinctives about our church community:

    First is our close relationship with St. Stephen’s University. Quite a few of the people who attend our services either work or study at SSU, including many of our church staff members (Peter & Mary Ellen Fitch, Walter & Carol Thiessen, Lorna Jones). SSU students add life and passion to our worship times.

    Second is the fact that all of our church staff members have other jobs. This means that much of the pastoring work of the church is done by small group leaders and others in the church.

    Third is the sense that God is building a Christian community in our area that is larger than our church and the university but is deeply connected to both. People have been moving to St. Stephen in recent years in order to participate. St. Stephen is a wonderful town, although it continues to have many social challenges, but now an unusually high number of serious Christians have chosen to live here. We believe this is something that God is doing. Celtic Christians sometimes speak of a “thin place”, a place where the veil between the natural and the supernatural worlds is tissue thin. There are times when it seems as though God is building St. Stephen into such a place.