New pastor, church serve as ‘instruments of grace’
Vintage Grace held its grand opening inside Marina Village Middle School’s gym last Sunday, where Pastor Drew Sodestrom delivered the first sermon about finding joy in Jesus in front of more than 300 people. Parishioners enjoyed food, bounce houses and live entertainment once the celebration moved outdoors.
“The word ‘church’ is absent from the name because it’s Vintage Grace’s mission to be the church by being the living proof of a loving God,” said Sodestrom. “Church is not just somewhere you go.”
Before coming to El Dorado Hills with his wife and three young children, Sodestrom was a teaching pastor at a large church in Orange County and a professor at Biola University. He was chosen by the Evangelical Free Church of America to plant a new church in a growing community.
At first he didn’t want to leave his church family or their local children’s hospital, who’d seen him through his and wife Jen’s most challenging days when their now 7-year-old son Brayden battled cancer. “I was on staff at the church but people were praying for us and supporting us and I thought, ‘This is what church is supposed to be,’” said Sodestrom. After many visits, Sodestrom realized he wanted to replicate the same experience in El Dorado Hills.
As soon as his family moved to town last summer, Sodestrom and his staff wasted no time serving others. They hosted a bone marrow registry and blood drive in the fall and then passed out hot chocolate and coffee during the Santa Run. They’ve made busy bags for hospitalized children and have helped feed the hungry.
“We just want to serve people and be an instrument of grace,” said Sodestrom. “All of life is grace. We want to do what we say we want to be.”
As for the “vintage” in the church’s name, Sodestrom explained to Village Life, “Vintage is the idea of going back to something that’s old and making it relevant. I think church is pretty simple: love God, love people. Our vision is also really simple — building joy-filled communities of faith whose very existence inspires individuals to live an abundant Christian life, made up of three key relationships: a deepening relationship with God, a life changing relationship with other believers and an engaging relationship with those yet to believe.
“This is what church is supposed to be: an extension of His love for each other,” he continued. “Health is not guaranteed. Life is not guaranteed. But El Dorado Hills is such an incredible community. The recession hits us. Cancer hits us. Trials and suffering hit us like anybody else no matter how great our community is. We just want to be there as a community within our community that’s going to love us regardless of circumstances.”
Sodestrom is pleased to see there are other churches in El Dorado Hills also “doing great things,” but said there are no churches in northern El Dorado Hills. “We want to be a neighborhood church,” he said. “There’s an old saying: If your church closed tomorrow would anybody notice? We think it will. If we are the living proof of a loving God then it will matter.”
Vintage Grace services are held every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. in Marina Village Middle School’s gym located at 1901 Francisco Drive. For more information visit vintagegrace.org or call (916) 293-8245. The Vintage Grace office, 873 Embarcadero Drive, Suite 4, is open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.