Our Values

The Core Value for SCC is to live in mutual and ever-growing awareness and acceptance of God’s limitless and unfailing Love for all of us. We want to respond to this Love with love, and aim to reflect this in our care for each other and the world we inhabit, as we see modelled for us through the life and teachings of Jesus.
Some Core Intentions: In devotion to Jesus, and in response to God’s Love, we dedicate ourselves to being intentional about sharing these priorities:
  • Open Hearts: We want to be people who respond to Love with gratitude, celebration, humility, and a willingness to learn, share, and persevere as we walk this out together.
  • Creative Service: We want to seek out creative and faithful ways to embody this Love together by collectively serving one another, caring for those around us (particularly the poor and marginalized), and nurturing the Earth as it nurtures us.
  • Authenticity: We want to live our lives together with honesty and transparency, vulnerably embracing our humanity, recognising our interdependence, and humbly facing and addressing our weaknesses and conflicts.
  • Diversity & Inclusion: We want to prioritize diversity among us, recognizing that we need each other, and that through this diversity we find all the gifts that we need to live and serve well together.
  • Growing Together: We want to nurture and facilitate the movement toward healing, maturing, and justice in our midst, as we recognize our ongoing need for new insight, evolution, and grace.
  • Rooted with Wings: We want to remain rooted in the best parts of Christian tradition and remember our freedom to follow the Spirit at work in and among us today.
Some Core Distinctives: Just as we welcome the diversity in our midst, we also value the diversity of other communities that seek to serve and follow Love. Here are some of the ways that we offer our unique collective personality:
  • Collective Leadership: We choose collective leadership with all of its life-giving potentials, challenges and inefficiencies.
  • Hospitality: We offer our building as the Victoria St. Centre to facilitate care for the community in which religious difference is not an obstacle, seeking to be generous and hospitable to those around us.
  • Openly Affirming: We fully affirm LGBTQ+ folks, and celebrate their lives, their gifts, and their relationships. We aim to be a safe and brave space for the welcoming and affirmation of all those often excluded in society, and in churches in particular.
  • Embracing Imperfection: Recognizing the beauty of being human, we celebrate our messiness and imperfection by welcoming the informal, the personal, the unpolished, and the unscripted.
  • Interfaith Relations: We love and value a diversity of wisdom traditions, within and beyond Christianity, and we seek to learn from, and form relationships with, individuals and varied faith communities.  We welcome the tension and breadth that come from integrating different streams of faith at SCC, even as we recognize that Christian contemplative traditions may be our most central stream.
  • Nurturing Community: We prioritize ways of gathering that facilitate connection, such as coffee time during services, and small interest groups like game nights, movie nights, writers circles, song circles, contemplation groups, workshops, youth groups, potlucks, and intergenerational activities, offering pathways for meaningful connection and belonging that extend beyond regular church attendance.

Who We Are

St. Croix Church is a contemporary church located in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada. Services are held on Sunday mornings and there are various groups that meet throughout each week.

Our community seeks to be fully affirming of LGBTQ+ people, their relationships and their gifts being shared in our midst.

SCC is actually more like a community than a traditional church. It is a friendly, informal, non-judgmental and safe place to grow spiritually. We teach the traditional Christian values of loving God and loving our neighbours, but we often do this in non-traditional ways. 

Who We Hope to Be

St. Croix Church is a community rooted in the Jesus Way – a way that centres a loving welcome to all and a path to liberation together. We learn from the generations of those who have followed this way, as we engage intentionally, appreciatively and critically with their examples and their words. We want to be a church community that values each voice and listens with openness and attention, trusting that the Spirit is at work in us all. This trust invites us to learn not only from the best of Christian tradition, but also from other wisdom traditions and scientific explorations. We acknowledge our imperfections as a community and try to be a place of ongoing healing and transformation rather than harm to all those who come across our paths. When we gather, we celebrate the Presence of God in Jesus and in each other, and we invite God’s Spirit to empower us all with the understanding, courage, and creativity needed to love our neighbours as ourselves.

Our Welcome

Welcome to St. Croix Church! We are a church community that seeks to be defined by our love for God, for each other, and for the world we inhabit. We do our best to welcome everyone into a community where they can be known and loved, believing that each person is a unique incarnation of the divine. We recognize that historically the church has done much to exclude and marginalize people based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, racial and cultural background, religion, marital status, physical ability, intellectual capacity, and age. As followers of Jesus, we want to do better and believe that the life of our community can only be fully expressed by prioritizing this kind of diversity, inclusion, and creativity among us.  We fully affirm LGBTQ+ people in our community, and we honour and celebrate their relationships, their lives, and their gifts. We want to learn continually how to remove any of the barriers that we knowingly or unknowingly place in anyone’s path.

Our Story

St. Croix Church was started by Peter and Mary Ellen Fitch and a church planting team on October 4, 1992. Our original name was St. Croix Christian Fellowship. We were planted under the sponsorship of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Lewiston, Maine, but we weren’t officially adopted by the Association of Vineyard Churches until January, 1994, and became St. Croix Vineyard.

Right from the start we had a deep desire to grow in terms of understanding worship, healing prayer, care for children, care for broken people, and care for building a strong and healthy community of people that actually helped each other in practical ways. We’ve also had a consistent focus on sharing with those in need outside of our church community.

For three years we met in a small community hall outside of St. Stephen, then we moved to the St. Stephen Elementary School Gym. Later we found offices to rent and a worship space over top of a local pub. Finally, in November of 1997, we moved into the Sara McCaffrey Parish Center, an old Catholic School.

We continued to rent space in this building for the next period of time, along with the local Boys and Girls Club and several other groups, until the end of December, 1999. At this time, through several wonderful events (including a large unsolicited gift that arrived one week before the closing of the deal), we were able to purchase the school and rename it The Vineyard Center. This was the fulfillment of something we felt God had told us earlier: if we would get involved in helping to build a new home for a family He called us to help near our area, at the right time He would give us a house of prayer, a building of our own. In the end, that’s what happened.

In 2020, we were asked to leave the Vineyard denomination in Canada and stop using the name because we are an affirming church; that is, we believe that the serious relationships of people of minority sexualities are as important as those of heterosexual people. We, therefore, perform same-sex marriages and we celebrate the gifts and lives of all people in our community. Our new name is St. Croix Church. Our building is now called The Victoria Street Centre.

There are several other distinctives about our church community:

First is our close relationship with St. Stephen’s University. Quite a few of the people who attend our services either work or study at SSU, including many of our church staff members. SSU students add life and passion to our art, music, and work in the community.

Second is the fact that all of our church staff members have other jobs. This means that much of the pastoring work of the church is done by other people in the church. People tend to do this quite naturally without a lot of planning or supervising from the leadership team.

Third is the sense that God is building a community in our area that is larger than our church and the university but is deeply connected to both, and to other local groups as well. People sometimes move here in order to participate. Although St. Stephen has many social challenges, it is a wonderful town. In recent years there has been a resurgence of creativity, economic development, and the arts. We believe this is something that God is doing. Celtic Christians sometimes speak of a “thin place”, a place where the veil between the natural and the supernatural worlds is tissue thin. There are times when it seems as though God is building St. Stephen into such a place.

Introducing the Leadership Collective

The Leadership Collective (LC) is the body that oversees the life of the church on a day to day basis. This group includes those with a strong sense of willingness, energy, leadership capacity, availability, call and commitment to invest themselves in the overall functioning of SCC. Members of this group take on a shared responsibility for leading, co-creating, pastoring and supporting the community. It also forms the legal board of the community. Here are the present members of the Leadership Collective:

Rachael - headshot
Leadership Collective Facilitator

Rachael Barham

Rachael's pastoral role is to support and guide the work of the LC by nurturing the health and well-being of the leaders and their functioning as a group.
Intergenerational (Youth) Facilitator

Janell de Graaff

Janell takes the lead in facilitating and developing intergenerational activities at SCC, working to secure volunteers for the kids and youth, and working with the LC to imagine creative ways of integrating kids and youth into the services.
2nd Service Facilitator

Jessica Williams

Jessica's role shares in practical pastoral leadership for the SCC community overall, while taking primary responsibility for the overall functioning and volunteer coordination of the 2nd service with the creative support of the LC as a whole.
Music/Arts Coordinator

Teena Brown

Teena organizes and supports a rotation of musicians, artists and liturgists to be a part of the 2nd service and other community events. She seeks to nurture and empower musicians and artists in the community to share their gifts as they are able.
Celtic Service Facilitator

Walter Thiessen

Walter's role shares in practical pastoral leadership for the SCC community overall, while taking primary responsibility for the overall functioning and volunteer coordination of the early service.
Lorna resting in garden
Community Engagement Facilitator

Lorna Jones

This year, Lorna is shifting from her finance role to that of Community Engagement Facilitator, where she will offer pastoral and practical care and oversight for the Community Support Network by intentionally connecting with volunteers in the Network, being a bridge between the CSN and the LC, and prioritizing the inward/outward components of caring for the community overall. Her wise spiritual direction will be central in this new role!

Community Support Network

The Community Support Network (CSN) consists of volunteers (and possibly some paid staff roles) who are a part of the broader leadership of the SCC community. They meet less often but support and encourage the Leadership Collective, provide a level of accountability and serve the community in a variety of ways. They are also formal members and vote at the church’s AGM.

Currently, the CSN includes (in parentheses – areas of serving/volunteering):

  • Rosie Sperling Funk (Finances/Bookkeeping)
  • Ray Funk (Music)
  • Kendall Kadatz (Finances/Legal)
  • Alex Henderson (Finances/Legal)
  • Mark Groleau (Teaching)
  • Carol Anne Wiebe (Various)
  • Dave and Marion Gorrie (Pastoral Care)
  • Marilyn and Bill Orr (Pastoral Care)
  • Sheila and Brian Brooks (Communion)
  • Helen Soucoup (Facilities)
  • Shannon Landry (Prayer)
  • Tracy Williams (Prayer)
  • Virginia Brewster (Intergen)
  • Mat Rouleau (Community Garden)