One Sunday we decided to check out the Malibu Vineyard. We had noticed that there were many cars coming and going at the very non-church looking building on Stuart Ranch Road. We liked the fact that they had an early service which had to finish on time to make room for the second service. What stood out immediately was the music. The worship music folks were basically all professionals of some sort and were dedicated to playing fine worship music. Talk about diametric to the typical Mennonite a capella four part harmonies! Rock and roll, performance quality, emotional and uplifting.
We attended during the Vineyard's heyday- Pastor Dave Owen had overseen the growth of the church and its move from meeting space at Webster Elementary School to a multimillion dollar complex anchored by a theater style auditorium with professional quality sound and lighting systems. There were two morning services and an evening service and other activities during the week. Dave was a dynamic South African who's theology was quite Anabaptist and style was charismatic evangelical. You can read about the rise and fall of the Malibu Vineyard in the Malibu Times, but to summarize a very long story - personality focused church; leadership clash; fiscal irregularities; schism; terminal illness; congregation dwindles from 2500 to 25; bankruptcy and dissolution.
We very much enjoyed the music and creative arts at the Vineyard - with the majority of people in the Southland employed in "the industry" the professionalism displayed is not too surprising. The music leaders included Charity Chapman, Steve Counsel, and probably our favorite, Kate Miner. A representative video can be found here. Drama and other visual productions were capably handled by folks like D. David Morin and Joel Daavid.
Another fascinating aspect of the Vineyard was the attendees of note, from the rich folks such as Michael Hammer to celebs such as Gary Busey and Pam Anderson, a regular attendee. It seemed as though Dave and Sylvia Owen were the church celebs who could relate to the Malibu glitterati. Our favorite celeb story occurred during a California visit of Rhonda's brother Ken and wife Ann. As we pulled in to the Vineyard parking lot [in our very distinct green Subaru], Rhonda remarked "Watch for a big white Escalade because that's what Pam Anderson usually drives." Sure enough, the white Escalade rolled in, but Pam was in the passenger seat, her two boys were in the back seat, and there was a male driver. As they all got out of the car, we noted that the familiar looking man had a nicely groomed pony tail, and I said "It's Kid Rock." Ken said "No way!!" And then we all agreed it was indeed the Kid. So Ken and Ann marked it down as a memorable occasion - going to church with Pam Anderson and Kid Rock.