Winterville Christian Church is a place where you can be your authentic self. We are a loving community that is committed to welcoming and affirming all people. Central to our beliefs is that the Gospel is good news for all of creation. It was Rob Bell who said, “If the Gospel isn’t good news for everybody, then it isn’t good news for anybody,” and we believe this to be true.
For more than 20 years WCC has welcomed our LGBTQIA+ siblings into full fellowship. All members are welcome to serve the church in whatever way they feel led. There is nothing that can separate you from the love of God and there should be nothing that can keep you from serving God and your church.
Many of our LGBTQIA+ siblings have been hurt by bad theology and restrictive policies. WCC is a place where we recognize this and we continually strive to be a place where healing can begin. Whoever you are, whatever you’ve done and wherever you’ve been, you are welcomed and loved at WCC.
The table is the focal point of our worship service. Communion is offered each Sunday and everyone is welcome to participate.
We are an inclusive people openly welcoming persons of all sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status or any other designation of individuals who have known the pain of exclusion and discrimination by the church and society.
We wish to live out our faith by caring for creation. We care for creation through the steps we have taken to reduce our carbon footprint. Some of the steps we have taken include: an Energy Audit, a Recycling Program, we use real dishware, and have stopped using Styrofoam and disposable dishes, we are changing to efficient light bulbs, and we have Installed programmable thermostats,
We are committed to being a Pro-Reconciling/Anti-Racist Ministry. We seek to deepen our understanding of systemic racism, as Christ compels us to advocate for justice, fairness and equality within our world.
Rich Vreeland was called to serve as our Pastor in January of 2021. He previously served as an associate pastor at Missiongathering Christian Church in Charlotte, NC. He is a Master of Divinity candidate at Lexington Theological Seminary and holds a Certificate in Pastoral Ministry from that same institution. He was awarded the Whitehouse Award for excellence in pastoral care and the Moore Award, awarded to an outstanding student in their ministry site. Rich was ordained into the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in June of 2021.
Prior to entering ministry, Rich was a licensed middle school math teacher in the North Carolina public school system. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Finance from St. John’s University and spent many years working on Wall Street and in financial services software.
After leaving finance in 2006, feeling a void, Rich spent several years searching for spiritual meaning and purpose. Having been raised Catholic and experienced a Christian re-birth in his 30’s, Rich had little exposure to other traditions and theologies. Never giving up his love of Jesus, Rich struggled to find his place in the church. His connection to his Christian upbringing and his belief in the life, death and resurrection of Christ would follow him into his exploration of religion and philosophy.
It wasn’t until October of 2014 that Rich finally found a connection and a spiritual home in the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. Missiongathering Charlotte proved to be a living example of God’s love. A loving and warm congregation, that truly welcomed everyone, Missiongathering served as God’s messenger and placed God’s call on Rich’s heart.
Today Rich answers that call by sharing God’s love with all people. His vision and passion are expressed through a desire to heal those hurt by the church and to create a space where all are welcomed, loved, and encouraged to live into their authentic self. Rich believes that we are all wonderfully made regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age or socio-economic status. We are all equal in God’s kin-dom.
During the late 1930’s a number of people living in the Winterville area were active members of Disciples churches in neighboring communities. In May of 1938, Mr. R.E. Boyd made contact with Rev. C.C. Ware, State Secretary of the Disciples Church, and requested that the organization of a Disciples Church be attempted in Winterville. Arrangements were made for the Rev. C.B. Mashburn to hold services in Winterville during the summer of that year.
The Winterville Christian Church was formally organized in the home of Mr. and Mrs. R.L. Abbott, on October 13, 1938, with 25 charter members. Its newly chosen officers were ordained on the second Sunday in November by Rev. Mashburn, who continued to serve as minister until October 31, 1940. In December 1940, Rev. Perry Case became minister and served in this capacity until August 1956. Since that time have been 9 regular and eight interim ministers.
Services were held rent free in the Methodist Church building until a structure was purchased by the new congregation in February 1944. At the same time a building fund was started. During 1948 this building was moved to the back of the lot in order to clear a site for the new church. Construction was begun on May 5, 1951, and the first service was held on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1953. On June 2, 1857 all mortgage notes were burned. In 1960 a parsonage was constructed, and in 1946 the church’s physical plat was expanded with the completion of a new fellowship facility, Ellis Hall.
Through the years the congregation has actively participated in all areas of church life. Sunday School has been held continuously and there have many youth oriented programs such as Bible School, Christian Youth Fellowship, Chi Rho, and Junior Fellowship. A woman’s Council was organized in 1939 with Mrs. Annie Abbott servicing as first president, and the women’s work has continued without interruption sim that time. Early in 1959 the Christian men’s Fellowship was organized. Beyond its local ministry, the church is actively involved in denominational endeavors ranging from a growing commitment to world outreach, to representation at district, state, national and International meetings.
The church continues to grow both spiritually and numerically. Its membership has evolved from a nucleus of life-time Disciples to a church family with diverse religious backgrounds. Winterville Christian Church celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in October of 1988. The celebration included the dedication of stained-glass windows in the sanctuary which were installed in 1987 and depict the seasons on the church year. We look back to our heritage with appreciation , and at the same time we anticipate a future of expanding vision and service.
We are grateful for your continued support of Winterville Christian Church. Your generosity helps us to continue our outreach into the community. Your support allows us to help people in need of money for food, rent and utilities. It allows us to provide space to the Girl Scouts and other community groups. Your donations permit us to continue the work of the Kin- Dom. Thank You.
Winterville Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
257 Cooper St
P.O. Box 597
Winterville, NC 28590
Phone: (252) 756-2898