by Pete Crouch (Founding Pastor)
Pete and Carol Crouch, now based in Ipswich, are the founding pastors of Potton Vineyard Church. They had moved to Potton in the spring of 1985 to be more involved in the church they belonged to, which was based in Potton. Unfortunately that church suffered a number of crises, partly in response to which it ceased operation in Potton during 1991.
A number of people began to meet with Pete and Carol in their home on a regular basis. By mid 1991 there were 8 adults and three children in regular attendance. These were the founders of a new church which called itself The Kings Christian Fellowship.
Their first public church meeting was on the first Sunday in November 1991, at Potton Community Centre. Because the three children were fairly noisy Carol started children’s church that same day.
Pete and Carol were familiar with the teaching ministry of John Wimber, having attended many Vineyard conferences at which John had taught. However they had little detailed knowledge of how Vineyard churches operated or what their values were.
This changed in March 1992 when Pete and Carol were unexpectedly invited to an Open House conference at South West London Vineyard. It was not what they had expected. Instead of a large anonymous gathering, there were only 30 delegates. It was intense and very practical.
The curriculum was an in depth review of Vineyard values, priorities and practices. As each successive session elapsed two important things happened. The first was that Pete and Carol realised that they were, at heart, Vineyard people in terms of values and aspirations. The second was that the explanations about the Vineyard approach to church answered most of their many questions as to how to structure and build a church.
From that time, whenever asked, “What kind of church are you?”, Pete would reply, “We are a Vineyard type church.” It was not necessary to change anything, but the way forward had been indicated, confirmed and clarified.
Pete and Carol sought recognition from the National Vineyard Leadership, but for various reasons, Kings Christian Fellowship was not officially adopted as a Vineyard until June 1999, after which the church became known as Potton Vineyard Church.
Liz and Jim Burke lead the church through the next phase of development from 2005 to 2010.