The History of the Vine Wesleyan Church


The History of the Vine is really “HIS- story.” It is a story of the faithfulness and goodness of God over time.


To understand the Wesleyan Church we go back to England in the 1700’s and a man by the name of John Wesley. John Wesley was a minister in the church of England. As a part of his service he was sent to America to do missionary work. As the ship was returning to England it hit a storm as the people on the ship were instructed to gather their belongings John Wesley was returning to his room and observed some Christians from Germany whom were called the Moravians. As it seemed they all would die in the journey the Moravians were praying and singing praises to God. They were at peace with God. While Wesley had a great fear of death.


As the ship safety arrived in port John Wesley connected with the Moravian’s leader: Peter Bohler. As they began to correspond Peter explained to John Wesley that he needed a personal relationship with God. Soon after John Wesley finds himself at a Bible Study where the Martin Luther’s preface to the book of Romans was read. This explained how we must understand that Christ died on the cross for our sins and now asks us to follow Him. Wesley would write in his journal that his was the moment that “his heart was strangely warmed.” With a prayer lifted to God, Wesley begins a personal relationship with God.


This becomes the basis for the ministry of John Wesley, the Wesleyan Church, and the Vine Wesleyan in particular. You must have a personal relationship with God and surrender your life to Him to inherit eternal life.


Wesley never leaves the Church of England, but begins to preach of how anyone can have a personal relationship with God. Thousands respond and a revival breaks out in England. As people receive Jesus as Savior Wesley puts them into small groups to help them grow in their new faith.


There were two men who wanted to take preach the message of God’s love and how to have a personal relationship with God to these new 13 colonies in the Americas. These two men were Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke. These men came sharing this message and as the 13 colonies became states and spread across the land the United Methodist Church is born.


We fast forward to the 1840’s and there is a growing tension between the north and the south. There is a growing number of pastors led by Luther Lee and Orange Scott that is encouraging the United Methodist Church to take a stand against slavery. The United Methodist church refuses because it does not want to alginate the churches in the south. So a group of churches pull out of the UMC church and become the Wesleyan-Methodist Church. These churches were mostly in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana.


In 1968 the Wesleyan Methodist merge with the Pilgrim Holiness Church to become the Wesleyan Church. The headquarters of the Wesleyan Church was first in Houghton, NY then Lockport, NY, Marion, IN and now exist in Indianapolis, IN. There are 31 Wesleyan churches presently in Western New York.


In 1983 Pastor Harold and June Burdick wanted to start a new church in the Williamsville/Clarence area. After 4 years Pastor Karl and Anita Eastlack led the church into become one of the region’s first megachurches (churches averaging over 1,000 in weekend attendance). In the process of building a new facility in 2001 Eastern Hills began to put together a strategic plan to start another church somewhere in the Western New York region. Eventually, Lancaster/Depew is selected as the location and Pastors Christopher and Tammy Baldwin are selected as its leaders.


The Vine Wesleyan Church was started in March of 2005. The church first worshiped in the William St. School then spent 6 years in the Court St. Elementary School. In June of 2011 the church closed on the former St. Augustine’s Church located on Penora St. in Depew, NY.


There are many great people and many great ministries happening at the Vine. To those who attend we thank you for all you do. If you are thinking about checking out the Vine we invite you to do so and pray you find it to be a real blessing.