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. 

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.

Our Faith

A lot of our beliefs are consistent with what Christians have believed since the time of Jesus. We also try to learn how to live them out by following the example of Jesus. He treated everyone he met without ethnic, economic, or gender bias. We try to do the same. We believe that he envisioned a compassionate community where everyone who wanted to could belong and there were no favourites based on wealth or gift or knowledge or behaviour. Instead, he gave a call to each of us to become the best version of ourselves and to learn how to participate with God’s Spirit in caring for our world and for those around us. 

We don’t mind if people don’t believe as we do. We long to see justice and beauty and compassion grow and we are happy to learn from other perspectives in order to bring these about. 

We believe that theology is important, but we think that God is even more concerned with the quality of our hearts. This is in line with Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 NRSV). It is also in line with the consistent thought in the New Testament that loving God and loving people are more important than all the rest of our religious endeavours. 

Our Values

Creative. Caring. Alive.

We know that God is big, and we don’t think we understand all there is to know, so we offer our best thoughts as though they might be true; we try not to force ideas on anyone
Children are treasures—we want them to like this place. We believe they have a lot to teach us. We value intergenerational events
We love good questions, creativity, and teamwork and we like it when people share what they’re really thinking
We love gardening, music, rich conversations, good coffee, shopping local, and caring for our planet
Our community seeks to be fully affirming of LGBTQ+ people, their relationships and their gifts being shared in our midst
We like it when people are real and we try to be, too. We think that there’s a time to be serious but there’s often a time to laugh
We love things that contribute to justice, beauty, and compassion in the world
We think that we can all grow to be better people without a lot of guilt or shame. We love it when people use their gifts
We honour older Christian approaches but we like to have new thoughts
Along with our focus on the teachings of Jesus, we also value Indigenous wisdom, science, psychology, and the perspectives of other religions
We like standing up for things we believe in. We deplore all forms of racism and we long for a world where all people are treated with honour and dignity
We like practical teaching from the Bible that makes people want to know God better and take care of others

Leadership & Staff

Peter & Mary Ellen Fitch

Peter

  • attempting to discern God’s leading, and trying to spark and refine vision in others (with ME)
  • oversight of the teaching ministry – responsibility for the governance of the church (with ME)
  • leading by ‘Pastoral Presence’
  • trying to be available to people for counsel, prayer and special events such as weddings and funerals (with ME)
  • acting as informal ambassadors of SCC to the church at large (with ME)

Mary Ellen

  • share and support in oversight, administration and pastoral care of SCC
  • general administration (handling most non-pastoral calls/emails to the church)
  • facilitate communication (updates, web, announcements)
  • collect, edit and post weekly teachings and training services
  • oversight of coffee team
  • recruiting, training, scheduling, etc.
  • host dinners for families and students
  • periodically do work in Victoria Street Centre
Youth

Janell de Graaf

  • pastor and care for our youth
Facility Coordinator

Helen Soucoup

Walter & Carol Thiessen

  • share and support in oversight, administration and pastoral care of SCC (W&C)
  • occasional teaching in all services (W)
  • oversight of Celtic Service (W&C)
  • St. Croix Counselling Services (W)
  • mental health consultations (spiritual, relational, emotional issues)
  • pre-marital counselling
  • reduced fee professional services for uninsured SCCers
  • oversight and management of cafe (W&C)
  • oversight of nursery and bulk supplies (cups/cleaning) (C)

Carol Anne Wiebe

On call for their wisdom

Rick & Wilma Coates

Lorna Jones

  • all weekly financial/bookkeeping functions; banking, accounts payable, payroll etc.
  • monthly financial statement preparation
  • annual government reporting/tax receipt prep and distribution
  • secretarial/general admin functions as needed
  • 1:1 spiritual direction and occasional group work
Music

Lindsay McKay

  • coordinate worship leaders and musicians
  • occasional teaching and organizing of special events
Children

Joy Benson Green

  • pastor our kids – plan and supervise Sunday morning kids' ministries and other kids' gatherings
  • ensure that the kids' rooms at SCC are visually exciting
  • coordinate connections between youth and adults to help us all move in the same direction
  • provide a safe place for our kids to grow spiritually
The Gathering

Geordie and Kathy Hull