Even when we were very infrequent visitors to the Vineyard, people remembered who we were and seemed genuinely pleased to see us. One week in 2007 we had had the toughest time of our lives. We rocked up at the Vineyard on the Sunday and were prayed for, cared for, loved, and given wise advice. God was present.
One of the things that attracted us to come permanently was the kids ministry. In some churches kids are hushed up and tutted at, but at the Vineyard they are welcomed and truly involved. The kids get loving boundaries, parents get encouragement, and future generations will be better for it.
It is not just for the kids. The church has partnered with us in our dreams. One of Dan's dreams has been to set up a social enterprise to help people with gambling problems. The church has prayed for him despite rejection and setback, and the Holy Spirit has helped guide him as to which ways to turn.
We have built real friendships within the church and there is a strong culture of properly knowing others and not being superficial. For some this might be hard but for us it is what we craved. In every area of life - in friendships and family, in parenting, in work, in enterprise - the Vineyard has helped us to "do life well".
On our first "proper" day, when we arrived for good, someone said "Welcome home". We knew that he meant it, and we knew it was the church home that God had led us to.