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First Presbyterian Pastor to Start Own Church

Wants to reduce focus on fundraising, committees and other church bureaucracy and spend more time on providing a spiritual service for the community

Updated 10:40am, Jan. 5, 2012

The former pastor of on B Street is starting his own non-denominational house of worship that will focus on helping people connect with God through a music-filled service, Bible teachings that apply to contemporary life and community meals.

Dave Weidlich, 56, spent seven years leading First Presbyterian, but says he encountered a vision of church elders that was different from the one he had. According to members of the congregation, none of whom wanted to be named, Weidlich was asked to resign because the church was losing members.

"He was pretty good from the pulpit, but it was a matter of clashing styles," said one member of the congregation, who said he wished Weidlich well in his new endevour. 

Weidlich aknowledges that "there was a different of vision" and that he resigned "for the good of the church."

Now the backpacking and blogging pastor is launching his own house of worship, called The Vine, that will meet in an office building near Auto Row.

“The Vine will be different in that we will focus on connecting with God without the distractions that often seep into churches such as denominational politics, maintaining buildings and programs, filling committee positions and raising funds,” says Weidlich, who also works as a website developer and calls himself a supporter of the Occupy movement.

“We want to bring people together who hunger for God – helping them find the love of God, and then to live in loving ways.”

The Vine, which will hold its first worship service on Sunday, Jan. 8 at 1129 Industrial Ave. #208, will not be affiliated with a denomination. Meeting space will be rented and committees will be kept to a bare minimum.

“I just want to strip away as much of the unnecessary things and focus on providing a spiritual service to the community,” Weidlich says. “We can rent what we need at the moment, we don’t have to maintain the property and I won’t be leaning into the congregation to pay me a full-time salary.”

Now that’s a reverend the Occupy movement can get behind.

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