Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 20 September 2018.Phone: 617-252-0005
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[flickr_set id="72157621812763001"] History In the late-1960s, the Jesus Movement began in Southern California. It drew on orthodox beliefs of mainline and evangelical Protestant churches, updating the style, utilizing contemporary music, and focusing on sermons that were applicable to daily life. The Vineyard, which is an independent church association, grew out of this movement. It officially incorporated in 1982. The Cambridge/Boston Vineyard was formed in 1998 when a few young people affiliated with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship noticed that most of their friends were not church-goers. About that time, polling data showed that only 3% of people in Cambridge went to church but that many were “spiritually interested.” Given this, the purpose of the Vineyard’s creation was to provide a safe, non-judgmental place for non-affiliated Christians to worship. The first church met in the Central Square YWCA for one year, later moving to school auditoriums and gyms. Within five years, the Vineyard was accommodating its 700 weekly worshippers in three separate services in a high school gym. In 2005, the Vineyard moved to their present, more permanent location and opened a second branch in Boston’s South End. Description The Vineyard meets in a church that dates from the mid-1920s, when it was a French-Canadian Catholic parish. The Vineyard bought the church, school, convent and rectory from the Archdiocese of Boston. Currently, a charter school rents the school and the Vineyard uses the former convent as office and child-care space. The church building has undergone almost two years of renovations. The Vineyard tried to “honor what was already there,” while updating the space to suit their needs. Much of the original artwork remains, as do the stained glass windows, complete with the names of the French-Canadians who donated the money to build them. The impressively large organ also remains but is unused. Updates have been made to lighting and sound equipment, the sanctuary has been carpeted and plush chairs have replaced the pews. The most drastic change was a 180 degree shift in the church’s orientation: the dome above the altar is now a large lobby at the church’s entrance and what was originally a small entrance in the Catholic church is now an intimate stage for rock bands at the front of the worship space. The sanctuary seats about 500 people. Demographics The Vineyard’s worshippers are on average fifteen years younger than those in other Vineyard churches around the country. When the church founders came together ten years ago they were in their mid-20s to mid-30s. The average age currently is late-20s, and about one quarter of worshippers are undergraduate and graduate students. There is a fairly quick turnaround in the Vineyard, with about 50% of the members changing every two years or less. Creeds and Covenants The Vineyard offers people a safe and open place with little pressure to officially become a member. Members pride themselves on "helping people have dialogue in the midst of difference." The Vineyard strives for creedal simplicity, so while they refer to the Apostles’ and Nicene Creed, their statement of faith focuses on Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Bible. Potential members are asked to take their own initiative to sign the membership covenant. This agreement includes statements that members will trust Jesus as a guide, pray for the church, and refrain from gossip. Activities and Schedule Every Sunday there are services for adults, children, and youth. Throughout the week small groups gather across the city. These groups are mostly member-initiated and member-run and many discuss the week’s sermon. The Vineyard offers resources and training for small group leaders. Other popular activities include "Encounter Night" (a monthly charismatic service) and a marriage/dating course that is offered 2-3 times a year. Outreach One of the Vineyard’s main outreach efforts is to warmly welcome the over one thousand visitors who come to services every year. Many of the small groups also hold events where friends from outside the church are invited to explore spiritual concerns. The Vineyard also runs SEEK, a ten-week program for people exploring Christianity. The Vineyard holds a myriad of programs available to the community-at-large at little or no cost: exercise and ESL classes, a marriage/dating course, and music lessons. Volunteers run these courses and they are geared towards the community in the public housing projects nearby. The Vineyard also runs a mentoring college-prep program for Cambridge youth and a Friday movie and game night for teens in the housing projects. About 25-30 teens attend each week. Affiliation with Other Organizations The Vineyard affiliation is a group of non-denominational churches that are linked, but without the formal ties that exist in a denomination. For example, members of the Cambridge/Boston Vineyard who move elsewhere might try out a different Vineyard church, but are not expected to do so. Pastors and leaders attend bi-annual national and regional conferences with other Vineyard churches. An important affiliation for the Cambridge/Boston Vineyard is Pastor Dave Schmelzer’s involvement in informal meetings with other senior pastors in the Cambridge area. The Vineyard also works with the Pentecostal Tabernacle and the Cambridge Community Fellowship Church to create comprehensive youth ministry programs for at-risk youth in the Cambridge area.