Guitar solos brought life to downtown Elkin on Sunday morning as Vine Church displayed an exuberant exhibition of Christianity.
Formerly Abstract Church located on Bridge Street, Vine Church changed names along with its location when opening the doors of 113 W. Market St. on Sunday.
“The name before I guess people didn’t understand it as well,” said congregation member Yvette Stals, “but now hopefully when they see Vine they will be able to more understand the meaning behind it.”
Vine pastor Alan Parsons explained the meaning behind the name in his first sermon at the new location, quoting John 15:5 (NIV) which says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
According to the sermon, Jesus is rooted in Christianity, while believers must cling to him in order to bear nourishing fruit.
“The vine and branches verse is really memorable,” said Worship Team member Angie Caswell. “A lot of people understand what that means and we’re trying to connect people to God and to each other while we’re here.
“I liked the name Abstract as well, but it seemed to confuse people and we’re here to reach people, it makes sense to have something that is more understandable.”
Reaching people is one of the reasons Vine moved to the new location.
“From the very first time we ever met together when we started Abstract, we said we wanted to be downtown,” said Parsons.
“We kind of view this as the heartbeat of Elkin and especially now it’s starting to revive downtown, which is good because there’s good things coming down here especially with John [Cheek] at Dirty Joe’s.”
Parsons feels affectionate towards Cheek, not only because of a craving for coffee during long work days, but because new attendees to Vine Church will receive a free coffee from Dirty Joe’s upon turning in a completed guest card.
“They’re avid customers; Allan, Maggie, the whole [church] family, and it is just that,” said Cheek.
“You have to support the people that are here to get support from the people that are here,” said Cheek, encouraging other businesses into similar partnerships with fellow merchants as well as non-profits.
“We thought we could actually contribute and take an old building and do something positive with it,” said Parsons, who planned to participate in improving downtown from the beginning.
“My wife and I on our one-year anniversary came to look at [113 W. Market St.] and then we were here working this year on our two-year anniversary so it’s kind of a tradition.”
Tradition was important as Parsons and his team worked on the historic building.
“Everything from colors of rooms to the tile in the bathroom to the sinks to everything was researched,” said Parsons, who, with hard work from his team, completed the project in about three months.
In spite of such difficulties as a carpeted floor with glue thick enough to break a man’s shoe, thanks to people like Joey Blackburn, not only have the floors been returned to their original hardwood, but other details like the windows have been attended.
“We tried to bring those windows back, and I looked and looked and looked for someone to do metal frame windows, but I couldn’t find anybody,” said Parsons, explaining the most reasonable choice was copying the look of the original nine-panel windows.
“I love it,” said Caswell. “It’s super beautiful, there’s a lot more space, the acoustics are really nice in here and it has a different kind of a vibe than the place we were at before.”
The previous location was a former bar with pool tables and beer iconography embedded in what the church used as a coffee counter.
“I think it’s going to be a little bit more welcoming for some people,” said Caswell, who has always felt welcomed in the non-denominational Christian church.
“The facility was very different,” said Caswell’s father, David, who is discipleship pastor for Vine Church.
“The attire was not the traditional, but the message and the doctrine that we follow is very similar to many of the churches in the area that I visited. It’s just maybe a little more casual or laid-back approach to church,” said David Caswell.
“[Vine preaches] the kind of message that you would hear at any other Christian church.”
“I went to a bunch of different churches and this was the one,” said Stals, who moved to the area two years ago from Florida where she attended a 2,000-member church. “As an out-of-towner, as a person from another whole environment, it made me feel awesome. I just felt at home right away with everybody.”
Part of the reason is the variety of programs available for youths and adults, including outreach programs for non-members.
“There’s something for everyone,” said Stals. “I couldn’t ask for a better place. Hopefully [with the new location] we can reach out to more people to bring more people to knowing the Gospel.”
For more information about Vine Church, go to http://vinechurchelkin.com.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.