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The Vineyard Was Built on Friendship and Shared Values. Then a Leading Pastor Split.

“For many people it feels like a betrayal of a way of life together,” he said.

Leaders at Vineyard Anaheim declined an interview request. The church referred Religion News Service to its public statement instead.

“We love the Vineyard movement and although our association has ended, our affection remains undiminished,” the statement read.

Peter Greig, a well-known charismatic pastor, stepped down from the Vineyard Anaheim board after the decision to leave became public. Greig has said he was not aware the Scotts were thinking of leaving the Vineyard when he attended his first board meeting in January 2022. When they told the board they wanted to leave the Vineyard, Greig said no.

“I did not give my consent because this came as a complete shock and there did not appear to have been any due process. Instead I urged Alan to slow down,” he said in a recent statement.

Alan Scott, lead pastor of the Vineyard Anaheim in Anaheim, California, speaks on Feb. 27, 2022. Video screen grab

Alan Scott, lead pastor of the Vineyard Anaheim in Anaheim, California, speaks about his church leaving Vineyard USA on Feb. 27, 2022. Video screen grab

Luke Geraty, a Vineyard pastor in Red Bluff, California, has been a vocal critic of the Scotts’ decision. Geraty grew up in the Vineyard, has been an area leader for the group and has been involved in national leadership.

The Scotts, he said, have essentially engineered a “hostile takeover” at their church by taking over the board and deciding to leave and only telling their congregation about it after the decision was already made. As a result, Geraty said, they now have control of tens of millions of the church’s assets.

“The ethics of what they have done are highly questionable,” he said.

Butler was also concerned about the way the Scotts have framed their departure from the Vineyard, talking about kindness and honor and how they love the Vineyard while acting in damaging ways.

“This kindness that they seem to exhibit belies the ruthlessness and the absolute power grab they are making, and not caring about the history or the feelings of the members of the Vineyard.”

Steve Nicholson, retired pastor of the Evanston, Illinois, Vineyard and former national board member, said that in most Vineyard congregations, a decision of this magnitude would have involved input from the local congregation — something that did not happen in Anaheim — even if the church’s bylaws did not require the church’s pastor to do so.

“It’s not how I would have done it,” said Nicholson, who was visiting Vineyard churches in the United Kingdom.

He also felt that if the Scotts and their church want to leave, why stop them?

“We have never been a family of churches that tried to keep people who didn’t want to be with us,” he said. “Why would you want to keep someone who did not want to be with you.”