Our Story

A brief history of Vinelife's thirty years as a church in Manchester

About Us

Here’s a few headlines from over thirty years as a church family in Manchester! While these are some of the events that have marked our journey together, so much of the story of who we are together happens in the moments in between, as a community of people trying to live faithfully everyday. Most of that story will never hit the headlines but it’s of eternal significance, and we’d love you to be a part of it!

Our History

In 1989, Martyn & Linda Smith planted ‘Vineyard Christian Fellowship Manchester’ firstly as a small group in their home then soon moving into public meetings. The church continued to grow under their leadership and met in a variety of university and school buildings, as well as hosting guest speakers like John Wimber through the 1990s. In 1998, ‘Manchester Vineyard’ became an independent church, with strong links and friendship towards the Vineyard movement as well as churches across the world.
In January 2008 we changed our name to ‘Vinelife Church Manchester’ and later that same year, Martyn & Linda handed leadership of the church over to Phil & Sarah Smith.
We purchased the former Whitworth Pub in February 2012, renovating it over the course of the next year to become home to our church offices, a meeting space and a thriving coffee house called The Anchor. 2015 saw Vinelife become part of the Jesus Culture Family.
Along with the rest of the world, we experienced lockdown thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic! In late 2020 Vinelife said goodbye to the Anchor and purchased the Army Reserve Centre in Ardwick Green, with the intention of it becoming a home for our church family and a place to serve the city. Sadly this project became no longer feasible for us, and we put the building on the market with a sale due to complete in 2023.In 2021, Phil and then later, Sarah, resigned their roles with Vinelife, and we ended our association with Jesus Culture.

After a brief period with Santino Hamberis as Interim Senior Leader, a Core Leadership Team was commissioned in September 2022 to lead Vinelife into the future. You can find out more about the CLT over on the team page.

In 2023 we began to explore what it could look like to be part of the Pioneer network of churches and are moving towards a decision on this by early 2024.