Here’s a brief look into the history of how the Vine Church started from our Founding Pastor Jimmy Dowds.
“Elma and I were born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1952, Elma in Kinross and I in Dunfermline. I started my career as an electrical fitter and Elma as a cook. We met at 16 years of age in the Sound 70s discotheque and married a few days before my 19th birthday. A great miracle turned our lives around forever. Lying in the mud by the river in Reading with 20,000 other hippies at a jazz and blues festival God showed up in an amazing way. I cried out to God for mercy as I was experiencing a very bad trip on drugs. In a split second God answered the prayer and took away all effects of the drugs and filled me with great peace. A few weeks later we radically turned our lives over to following the Lord Jesus Christ and we began our search for a church that would accept a couple of long haired hippies. We thought this would be difficult due to our lifestyle and taste in music. The Alpha Group became our spiritual home for a number of years where we enjoyed great leadership, excellent teaching, radical evangelism and met some wonderful friends.
These were thrilling days when we only seemed to have a few rules; be sold out for Jesus and be sold out for hitting the streets weekly to win souls. Each year we had blistering pilgrimage hikes averaging 25 miles a day carrying your own food and kit on your backs. After a quick bite each day it was back on to the streets to share the gospel some more. Justin and Aaron our sons were born during this time and our daughters Gemma and Zara came a long later. God was bringing into our lives a great family and great friends to enjoy the thrilling journey with.
God called us to plant a new church in Wellwood on the outskirts of Dunfermline in 1981 with two other great leadership couples, Adrian and Muriel Turk, Lenny and Carol Turk and twenty one other wonderful believers. We moved from meeting in Wellwood to the former church of Christ church in Bruce Street . Then moved along the road to the former silk mill known locally as Thomsons World of Furniture. After around eight years renting Del Farqurson Center our present meeting place came on the market at £250,000 . We offered the most we could £215,000 which was quickly turned down. We decided to pray for one more miracle and the owners, Thomas Mitchell, the former owners of the Lemonade factory came back and said they would accept our offer. That offer was no longer on the table and our new reduced offer of £195,000 was accepted. Like God’s word says: “strength comes to those who wait”.
Apart from the offices the rest of the building was a brick shell. We roofed it and built the sports hall which we met in for a while as we bit by bit renovated the rest of the building. The building is used by the church and almost every other day is used by the community including NHS, Sky TV, NCT ,Dunfermline Athletic, and a host of other great organisations. It is even used as a polling station. Our intention was to design it as a multipurpose non-religious facility that could be a hub of the city, enjoyed by the rich and poor alike. It’s a great joy to see this dream fulfilled in such a short space of time. God the amazing provider always worked great miracles to provide us with premises when we needed them and the sacrificial giving of the friends and members of the church was phenomenal. Our spiritual journey took us through the charismatic, house church and G12 movements where the Lord greatly blessed us with many new insights and friends from around the world. Every single movement brought us another aspect of Gods character and prepared us for the next move of God.
Every new direction the Lord has moved us in has cost us but the rewards have been tremendous as God has backed us up in such thrilling ways. To deliver pints of milk at 12 years of age to the houses of Garvock Hill and wonder how the other half lived and now worship in the largest facility in the area fills our hearts with great thanksgiving to God. Our God never stands still and his blessings are new every morning.
Seeing that the church in Europe’s number one “Achilles heel” was predictability we sought also to never stand still and expect new direction and leading from God at all times. The growing need from leaders around the world for mentoring led us to start an International Leadership Network called Kingfisher Globe.
Our desire has always been to see Cities and Nations transformed through an on fire, non-religious, sold out band of radical Kingdom warriors. This has burned in our hearts from day one. God has brought to us some of the most exciting cutting edge churches and young pastors across the world to mentor in expanding his Kingdom through ordinary people.
All this has been possible through the outstanding love and support of a great family, leadership and church. God has greatly enriched our lives and the work with a great family and brilliant friends to complete the work God has started. A people who would of course discover their high calling in life but far more importantly would passionately seek and follow obediently the “caller” no matter the cost.
This is how the church got started.”
Pastors Jimmy and Elma Dowds