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Sequim Gazette staff
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly:” Jonathan Simonson, pastor of The Vineyard of Sequim, quoted Matthew 11:28-30 from “The Message.”
“It is our desire to lead the body of Christ at the Sequim Vineyard to function as a body, all of us serving and gleaning off of all that God has put in us in gifting as well as our character,” Simonson said.
The Vineyard’s mission says its members are “to be who God has called us to be and to do what God has called us to do.”
“It is our calling to pastor and teach as well as we can through ‘worship,’ the ‘word,’ and ‘relationship,’” Simonson said. “The journey we are called to can be a tough road but with Jesus all things are possible and we can make it through.”
What to expect on Sundays
Vineyard’s Sunday services begin at 10:30 a.m. with a social time before contemporary worship, song and expression begins shortly thereafter.
After a coffee and tea break about 11:30 a.m., the children meet for Sunday school in classes for pre-kindergarten-second grade and third-sixth grade.
Simonson leads what he feels are relevant messages through about 12:30 p.m.
He said the church is very casual with relaxed attendees who like to have fun.
Sequim Vineyard is part of the Association of Vineyard Churches started by John Wimber, who shaped the churches’ theology and practices.
Olympic Vineyard in Port Angeles planted Sequim’s church in November 2006 at the Sequim Boys & Girls Club.
“We want our Christianity to be simple, relevant, practical and supernatural … No hype … No manipulation. We want to say ‘yes’ to Jesus while saying ‘no’ to religion,” Simonson said.
The Association of Vineyard Churches is one of the fastest growing church-planting movements in the world.
“The Vineyard is simply one thread in the rich tapestry of the historic and global Church of Jesus Christ, but it is a thread of God’s weaving,” Simonson said.
“From the beginning, Vineyard pastors and leaders have sought to hold in tension the biblical doctrines of the Christian faith with an ardent pursuit of the present-day work of the Spirit of God. Maintaining that balance is never easy in the midst of rapid growth and renewal.”
Simonson and the church founded the LaVina Cafe at its River Road site in July 2010.
Church members desired their own space and a facility for continuous use for meetings, services, concerts and dances.
Simonson’s hope is to attract younger people for all-age concerts and open mic nights because he feels there aren’t enough evening activities for youth.
He wants to book secular artists for LaVina as a noninvasive environment, so that people can discover Christianity in a different light. The Vineyard’s sanctuary could host Christian artists as well, but Simonson said he’d advertise those specifically as Vineyard activities as opposed to LaVina events.
“If we can get the kids into a Christian environment, then we can foster a community of hope and help change people’s lives,” Simonson said.
The cafe opens weekdays at 7 a.m. and serves as a tool to help pay for church operations. A drive-through is scheduled to open in a few months and Simonson said he’s not opening the cafe only for money.
“My wife and I aren’t looking for a bigger income, but a way to better serve people of the community,” Simonson said. “My goal is to play music and share Jesus.”
For the rest of the church facility, room is available to add a prayer room and nursery and to expand the sanctuary.
Simonson said the church’s new location is great and he couldn’t imagine a better place.
Church events and groups
• The church offers home group Bible studies — one on marriage — on Mondays and Wednesdays at different times.
• A Tuesday recovery night begins at 6:30 p.m. at the church for those struggling with alcohol, drug, gambling and other addictions.
• A youth group for middle and high schoolers runs weekly at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
• Prayer meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. each Thursday at the church.
• The women’s group meets at 9 a.m. the third Saturday of each month.
• The men’s group meets at 9 a.m. the fourth Saturday of each month.
• Biker Swap Meet. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, April 2; free
On Facebook: “Clallam and Jefferson County Biker Network”
• Blessing of the Bikes. Meet at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 30, at The Buzz and return to LaVina at 1:30 p.m. for free barbecue.
Simonson said another of the church’s goals toward being a healthy church is giving to others in the world.
“Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation,” he quotes from Mark 16:15.
The church supports the following missions: Qaumaniq & Suuqiina for Indigenous Messengers International, Youth with a Mission in Discovery Bay, and Children of the Nations in Silverdale.
For more information on Sequim Vineyard, contact Jonathan or Kenda Simonson at 477-5747 or 460-7083, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a spiritual spotlight on your church, group, event or special person, reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.