Abingdon Vineyard is led by Ray & Ellie Ball and was planted out of Oxford Vineyard Church in 2006. For a number of years before planting out Ray & Ellie hosted a small group at their home in Abingdon that gradually grew as more people joined or were simply passing through during their stay in the area.
Whilst still a small group our connection with Preston Road Community Centre started. Our small group would meet at the centre once a month to worship and pray with an open invitation for people to come in and join our meetings. The presence of the Holy Spirit in that place was clear from the start. On one occasion when a group of young people came into the centre intent of disrupting the meeting they found themselves attracted to what was going on, worship and teaching, and then not wanting to disrupt or to leave.
The church was eventually planted out and began to meet twice a month at the community centre and weekly at small groups. From the outset our vision was to work in the community, to be a church without walls and meet people where they were. This lead to praying for people in the town centre (Healing on the Streets), our Storehouse project meeting the needs of disadvantaged families through the provision of linen, bedding and small kitchen items etc through referral by Social services. At that time the church was really small, but still we managed to do lots for people also finding that others in the area were following our lead.
Early on we launched our annual Easter Party in the Park which continues to attract over 100 children and their families each year. The event is held in the lovely Albert Park and starts with traditional family games, egg and spoon, three legged races, penalty shootout etc followed by an amazing tug-o-war involving just about everyone there! We have a short time of reminding people of the true meaning Easter then complete the festivities with the hilarious Bunny Hunt from which all the children get to go home with a boxed Easter Egg. The event is entirely free to anyone who wants to join in so is accessible to all.
As the church became more and more established at the Community Centre the opportunity to launch a youth club came along. The club started following a request by the local Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) for the Community Centre to open up once a week for the young people and our church took up the challenge to work with the PCSO's to initiate and run the club. This later led on to Youth Alpha and the establishment of our 'Further Faith' youth group that meets each week. The youth club has continued to meet each week for the past 5 years with an average attendance between 35 and 50 young people from the area each week of the school term.
We continue to grow what we do in the church and in the community as the church has slowly grown down the years. Many of those originally with the church are still with us though some have moved on to do mission work both home and abroad.
We strongly believe that faith and deeds go hand in hand, each growing in strength through the other as we trust in God to direct and provide for the work he has called us to do in Abingdon. In the tradition of Vineyard we invite you to come and see for yourself what we do. Whether you are simply looking to find out what church is about or a returning to church or looking for a new challenge in your walk with God we will welcome you at our church.
Blessings Ray & Ellie - Senior Pastors