In the spring of 2015 God stirred the imaginations of Micah and Heather Brickner to start a new Brethren in Christ church in Lancaster City. After a year of discerning and preparing, Micah and Heather moved to the city in August 2016 to put down roots and begin forming Branch & Vine. Branch & Vine exists to embrace and share Jesus’ love with our community. The vision of Branch & Vine comes is rooted in John 15:4 & 12:
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me…. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
Branch & Vine believes that Jesus loves everyone and church should be simple. Branch & Vine started its first Brunch Church on April 8, 2018 in the Brickner’s house. The simplicity of Brunch Church – eating together, gathering around the story of Jesus, and serving neighbors, has allowed the church to grow, adapt, and thrive.
The mission of Branch & Vine is to multiply mission in neighborhoods that includes multiplying Brunch Churches. As we embrace and share the love of Jesus, we multiply Brunch Churches in the neighborhoods we live, work, play, and go to school. We focus on Brunch Churches being spaces of belonging that are intentionally 20-50 people so people can know another and follow Jesus together.
Who We Are
Each week we discover more and more that church is a new family we can belong to. We prioritize eating together because some of us are physically hungry, yet all of us are starving to belong and authentically connect with people. People take turns holding babies and toddlers to give a parent a break. New friends are made that started with a handshake and ended with joyfully finding common interests in the midst of differences. We whisper prayers for one another who are experiencing hardships and ask: How can we help?. Kids participate and help us say goodbye by leading This Little Light of Mine. We help one another find an apartment after living in a shelter. We pull extra seats around our dining rooms tables on holidays so no one is alone on a holiday if they don’t want to be.
We differ in age, ethnicity, language, socio-economics, and neighborhoods, but we are a growing family where people’s lives are being changed by Jesus through relationships with people.
Heather’s favorite people are Micah, her husband, and their sons – Lucas and Levi. They live in the city’s southwest and they tend their front yard garden, hangout at Lafayette Elementary’s playground, bike around the neighborhood, and fill there home with a lot of laughter.
Heather loves helping people follow Jesus, which includes living as people who generously love their neighbors through words and actions. She wants to help eradicate loneliness in the city by helping people become aware of the ways Jesus is already at work on their blocks and how they can join in. By providing pastoral care, stewarding the multiplying mission of the church, she find joy in building bridges with community leaders, groups, and neighbors that cross racial, cultural, and economic divides.
Heather has several degrees, yet she has learned the most about being the vocation of a pastor from her neighbors starting Branch & Vine after years of pastoring in traditional established churches.