Vision has a very interesting history. The church was planted in 2000 and is now one of the largest churches in the district (about 200 people). Don joked though, “nobody goes to church in the northeast!” It was also the first church started by the New York Annual Conference in nearly fifty years.
The congregation just moved into the above church building a few months ago. A Presbyterian Church had disbanded and the people at Vision were looking for a new space as they had been meeting at a small community center. Where there was once a dying and struggling church, this church building, founded in 1796, will have new life.
I laughed when Don said that he wanted to make Vision a “B.S. free zone.” Good stuff because there is a bunch of B.S. when it comes to the contemporary church. Anyways, it was a nice sermon and people seemed engaged. I talked to Don for a few minutes after church and they have some great plans for this old church building. They have already started a music series and will be hosting an art gallery there. In a place where the church has become irrelevant, Vision is offering a powerful vision to the community.
But, Vision should be a model for all United Methodists. Within eight years, they have gone from church plant to one of the biggest churches in the area. They have opened their doors to the community and are growing where about everyone else has failed.
Vision is definitely rethinking church. With the huge number of small UMC churches with old buildings, places like Vision should give us hope.