The Vine is a new hybrid (online and in-person) community of faith of the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
Like the season of spring that brings new life and color to what was once made bare by the winter season, The Vine United Methodist Church seeks to bring healing and connection to those who desire to be part of a community that actively pursues a faithful and generous way to follow Christ with others. The Vine is not a novel experiment or reaction to present challenges but a new avenue for faithful discipleship grounded not in what sets us apart one from the other but on the one who unites our hearts and minds—Jesus Christ, the True Vine.
The people called United Methodists have long understood that each generation has a responsibility to discern anew how to live out God’s gracious invitation to love and service in the here and now. Charles Wesley, in his hymn, A Charge to Keep I Have, reminds us of this truth by saying, “To serve the present age / my calling to fulfill / O may it all my powers engage / to do my Master's will!” (UMH # 413) In these times of social polarization, misinformation, division, and displacement, the people of the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference of The United Methodist Church have sought to answer this call by planting ourselves firmly in the words of Jesus, who said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything” (John 15:5, CEB).
The words of Jesus remind us that the work we do is not our own, so we must constantly discern to ensure that our actions are aligned with God’s preferred future for our times. The COVID realities we experienced taught us some valuable lessons in hybrid community formation. We know that with careful intentionality, it is possible to create and nurture community life with those who are physically distant from one another. We understand that the realities of God’s kin-dom can be manifested on earth not only through church-wide missional efforts but also through the caring, prayerful, and generous actions of a single individual. We understand that caring for others is not a task reserved for the clergy, but a call to all who have said “yes” to the limitless love of God, revealed through Jesus Christ.
The Vine is not the end of our discernment process, but the next faithful step that allows us to journey more intentionally with those who are seeking an inclusive and hospitable place to grow in love of God and in service to others. The Vine will be a space of adaptable practices and collaborative work. This community is unapologetically United Methodist, Christ-centered, grace-filled, disciple-making, justice-seeking, prayer-fueled, Spirit breathed, and radically welcoming.
Like other United Methodists worldwide, we affirm our faith in the living God, who created everything that is and called it good. A God who created human beings in God’s own image. We give thanks for Jesus Christ, God’s love incarnate and our Savior, who redeems and heals our relationship with God. We trust in the movements of the Holy Spirit, which transforms human lives and the whole creation. We believe in the Holy Bible, Old and New Testaments, and affirm that Scriptures reveal the Word of God so far as it is necessary for our salvation. We hold that the Scriptures are to be interpreted through the lenses of tradition, reason, and experience. We declare that God’s grace is available to all and “nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created” (Rom. 8:38–39). We seek to live our lives in accordance with Jesus’ commandment to love one another: “Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other” (John 13:34–35). We honor the dignity of all beings and affirm the goodness of life.
We invite you to journey with us—offering your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness so the kin-dom of God will grow within each of us and overflow into the world.
To learn more, visit our website thevineumc.church.