Gate City Vineyard Church History
Gate City Vineyard Church began as New Beginnings Christian Fellowship in the fall of 1988. It consisted of a group of believers in the Piedmont Triad who were longing to be part of a church fellowship committed to a growing personal passion for the Lord Jesus Christ and a desire to make Him known to others in authentic New Testament Christian living. The Body soon found their home as a mission congregation of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church with six Elders and Lee O’Hare as their pastor.
The first place we met as a Body was in the Southeasten Eye Centers conference pavilion on Battleground Avenue in Greensboro, NC. We moved from there to an older brick church building that was on Inman Rd out near the runway of the Piedmont Triad Airport. It was often visited by a mighty wind with strong vibrations when the planes took off. We had to laugh as the Pastor would wait for a few minutes till it passed. Eventually the airport called for us to move when they had need of the land for construction.
The Westover Presbyterian Church building was vacant and for sale across the street from Grimsley High School at 908 Westover Terrace. The Westover Church was kind enough to sell and finance it for us in 1994 until we could qualify for a bank loan and pay them off. Shortly after moving to the much larger building and central location we felt led to leave the EPC denomination and joined the Association of Vineyard Churches in the summer of 1994.
While evangelical and conservative in theology, New Beginnings Vineyard, along with the rest of the Association of Vineyard Churches, believed in the present day relevance and availability of all of the biblical gifts of the Holy Spirit and sought to move in the signs of the present fulfillment of the Kingdom of God, invoking the Spirit’s powerful presence and seeing God heal and work wonders.
In the summer of 1998 we called Jim Snider from Wilmington, NC to be our new pastor. He and several Elders led the body through some exciting times with July 4th outreaches (involving other churches), home group ministry, conferences including “Let The Fire Fall” and Vineyard Worship schools. We also pursued times of racial reconciliation with Native American and African American believers. However, the most significant time was when we shared our building for one year with a predominately African American church called Elim Christian Fellowship. We shared worship nights, special celebrations, and men’s retreats. It was a growing time for both church bodies through which the Body of Christ became richer in understanding and mutual respect.
In 2007, we sold the church building on Westover Terrace to another growing church and moved in to share a building with Harvest Church on W. Market Street while we renovated the current location at 204 South Westgate Drive. Renovation took longer than expected but we gratefully moved into the current location in 2008. In 2009, Jim Snider felt called to return to Wilmington. Our associate pastor, Todd Oakley, became the lead pastor at that time and led us with the Elders until 2020 when he felt called to a different career path.
In late 2020, we started a search for a new pastor and after evaluating 28 candidates for the lead pastor position, we selected Beth Graham. She came to us, with her husband Paul, from New York in July 2021. Beth has a vision for the body and our city and we are solid and growing personally and as a congregation in spite of the Covid pandemic.
Thank you Jesus for Your grace and mercy to us. “What is impossible with man is possible with God!