Cabramatta Vineyard Church began as Southwest Vineyard Christian Fellowship in 1995, started by Greg and Diane Trainor on their return from three years in Canada. The first meeting in their home in Guildford was attended by Jill Trainor and Roy Tooth. Judy Wicks joined a few weeks later.
The Trainors moved to Vancouver in mid 1992 so that Diane could pursue her career with accounting giant, KPMG, staying until the end of 1994. Greg almost completed a Master of Christian Studies at Regent College.
Greg & Di joined the Vancouver Vineyard Christian Fellowship (now Vancouver Eastside Vineyard) where God turned their lives upside down. Greg became associate pastor in mid 1993 and they were sent out as church planters at the end of 1994.
The Southwest Vineyard was one of eleven Australian Vineyard churches released in Perth on 26 February 1995. Greg and Di were in this first group of Australian Vineyard pastors commissioned by John Wimber.
The church had a slow, painful birth when Greg and Diane suffered personal tragedy in the first year. They met with a small group of faithful people for nearly two years without much growth. The group doubled in size in 1997 and again in 1998.
The church gathered at King Park Public School for several years, moving to Cabramatta Public School in July 2000, then to our own leased facility in Park Road, Cabramatta in 2001, growing to about a hundred people.
Somewhere along the way, Greg realized that doing church the old way is not a very effective way of making disciples who actually follow Jesus. He began reading, teaching, then exploring a missional approach to church – the people of God living as a people sent into the world bearing God’s good news.
Our name changed to Cabramatta Vineyard Church in June 2002 to identify more strongly with our area as we began exploring the idea of church as a “missional community”.
In February 2001, Grant & Karen Dempsey were sent out to plant a Vineyard Church in Timaru, New Zealand accompanied by Paul & Jenny Matos. In March 2003, Jeff & Carol Fazl, two of the original Australian Vineyard pastors, were released with a team of people to plant a Vineyard Church in Richmond on the northwestern outskirts of Sydney.
In September 2003, we vacated the premises in Park Road and moved to the Cabramatta Inn, where we met for several years on the first and third Sunday afternoon each month. On the alternate Sundays, the small groups began experimenting with missional activities, seeking to engage with the local community and win people to Jesus.
The life of the Cabramatta Vineyard Church is built around three strands of mission, community and spiritual life, woven together like the cord of a rope. Each strand is important. Together, they structure the life of an apprentice of Jesus, intertwined and interdependent.
Over the last decade, we dismantled the church that we had, trained ourselves to be missionaries and reinvented church as a network of organic missional communities. Rather than seeing ourselves as a single ship on a mission, we have begun to see ourselves as a fleet of sailing ships catching the wind of the Spirit.
Cabramatta Vineyard Church is an incorporated association governed by a missional council representing the different elements of a growing missional network. The Council oversees all of the affairs of the network – financial, administrative and pastoral.
Vineyard Churches Australia
Cabramatta Vineyard Church belongs to Vineyard Churches Australia, which is part of the international Vineyard movement. VCA is a voluntary association of autonomous churches sharing common values, priorities and practices. We contribute 5% of our tithes and offerings to VCA to promote church planting and mission.
Vineyard Churches were released in Australia by John Wimber in March 1995 under the oversight of International Director, Bob Fulton. In 1997, Brian Anderson, pastor of Vineyard North Phoenix, Arizona, took over as overseer.
In February 2003, Peter & Kathy Downes from the Yarra Valley VCF became the first Australian national directors. Kirk & Nicole Delaney from Pine Rivers VCF now serve as directors of Vineyard Churches Australia.
The Australian Vineyard has grown from eleven churches in 1995 to more than twenty churches in every state except Tasmania.
The Vineyard Story
You can read more about the Vineyard story here.