Our Purpose

At Yorktown Vineyard Community Church our main goal is to be pleasing to God and to advance His Kingdom. The Apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:9 and again in Romans 12:1-2 exhorts all Christians to have this as their ambition.

In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus teaches that the greatest of God’s commandments is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” He also teaches that the second greatest commandment is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ” In the hope of pleasing God and in the hope of keeping His commandments our purpose is stated as follows:

To Love our God

It is our desire that each of us cultivate a deep and meaningful relationship with God through prayer, worship, and the study of His Holy Scriptures; loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

To Love One Another

We desire to train, disciple, and encourage Christian believers in the teachings of Jesus Christ so that they will live godly, victorious lives that are pleasing to God. We also encourage each person to develop their natural and spiritual gifts and callings, and we promote love, fellowship and unity among believers.

To Love Our Neighbor

In order to “love our neighbor as ourselves,” it is our goal to minister to the local community through physical as well as spiritual means, to make disciples (Matthew 28:19), and to spread the Good News of the Kingdom of God both in the local community and in the world at large through missions, outreach, charity, evangelism, and any other work the Lord may direct.

Our Story

Yorktown Vineyard is the product of a merger between two churches, Light of the World (LTW) and Living Word Fellowship (LWF).

Light of the World began in the early 1990’s and was originally known as Peekskill Fellowship. The fellowship moved to Yorktown in the 1980’s and first met in the Yorktown Community and Cultural Center, but soon needed its own building.  Dave Diggs became the pastor of LTW.

Living Word Fellowship (LWF) began in 1990 and was located in Peekskill on Locust Avenue.  It was orginally Christian Church of Peekskill.  Graviano Sanzo was the Pastor.  In 1988 Rick Smail became the pastor of Christian Church of Peekskill and changed the name to Living Word Fellowship. Rick and Dave were very good friends and Dave would often ask Rick and the LWF congregation to join in their Friday night services in Yorktown. After many years of meeting together, both pastors and congregations made the decision to become one church.

In 1993 both churches merged and was governed by the two pastors, Dave and Rick. LWF sold their building and joined LTW in Yorktown, The church continued under the name Light of the World for several years but after the five churches who were in the Light of the World organization disbanded, we started looking for another church organization to become our covering. We looked at a number of church organizations and finally settled on The Vineyard because our church was very similar in many ways to the Vineyard and we had spent years fellowshiping with them and saw that we were a good fit.

In mid 2000’s, Light of the World was adopted into The Vineyard Community of churches. Our current pastor is Pastor Earl Darling

Pastor Earl’s Testimonyirst encounter

Pastor Earl’s first encounter with God was July 1977 at his sister-in-law’s home in Memphis, Tennessee. Earl was sitting on the bed with his wife casually reading the bible she had given him for Father’s Day. As Earl read a passage in Galatians chapter 5, his eyes became opened and he knew the word was speaking directly to him. He handed the bible to his wife and she also read the passage and responded with alarm as the bible described their life. Together they were led by God to seek forgiveness of sins and right there in that bedroom received their salvation in Jesus Christ.

Pastor Earl began a serious study of the scriptures and was ordained in the Bible Way Churches. He attended and ministered at the Refuge Church in Peekskill, Mount Lebanon Baptist Church in Peekskill and Peekskill Fellowship from 1992 until the merge with Light of the World in January of 1994.

After the Senior pastor, Rick Smail, left Light of the World in May of 1996, Earl was one of three elders who kept the church going for a period of two years. In 1998 Earl became the senior pastor of Light of The World, now Yorktown Vineyard Community Church.

Through the mercy and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, Pastor Earl  has been called to minister Christ’s compassion to the hurting. On January 1, 1987, his first wife, Margaret, died from breast cancer. Because of the encouraging words from leaders that she would live and the prevailing beliefs on faith and healing taught by prominent teachers of the day, her untimely death greatly
challenged Earl’s faith and resulted in a period of withdrawal from God. By the 
grace of God, he recovered and developed a one day seminar on faith for people to know the true way to apply faith.

On September 11th, 2001, Pastor Earl’s daughter Elizabeth died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, although this was yet another painful event, the lessons Pastor Earl learned on trusting God stood the test. He never blamed nor questioned God, nor did he retreat into sorrow and despair.

Pastor Earl is a strong believer in the power of God to set His people free.  He has personally experienced the power of God to grant freedom from sin and bondage.  As a result of the freedom God has given him through His word, he has dedicated his life to bring that same freedom to those still in bondage Pastor Earl has a passionate desire to be God’s vessel to set people free. (And to know that God has appointed him for this purpose is one of the motivating factors of his Life.).

      “….I have appeared to appoint you as a servant and as a witness 
of what you have seen of me and what I will show you.
 I will rescue you from  your own people and from the Gentiles.

I am sending you to them to open their eyes 

and turn them from darkness to light,

 and from the power of Satan to God,

 so that they may receive  forgiveness of sins

 and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” 

(Acts 26:16-18).

Many people have received transformation and breakthrough from Pastor Earl’s teachings and seminars.  He believes anyone can experience release from bondage and stay free.

Pastor Earl has a Executive MBA degree from Pace University, many years of bible study and practical experience. He has ministered in the US, Mexico, Jamaica, and Kenya.  He is a member-in-good-standing of the American Association of Christian Counselors.

Pastor Earl has been married to his present wife, Gwen, for 30 years. They have four wonderful children, Joseph and John from their current marriage, Richard from Pastor Earl’s first marriage and Elizabeth, who went home to be with the Lord on September 11, 2001.  They reside in the town of Cortlandt Manor, NY.


The Vineyard Story

The first Vineyards were planted in 1975. By 1982, there were at least seven “Vineyards” in a loose-knit fellowship of churches. Kenn Gulliksen, a soft-spoken, non-assuming leader who had a passion to know and walk with God, started a church in Hollywood in 1974.

In 1975 he, believing that God had instructed him to do so, gave the name “Vineyard” to this association of churches and provided leadership for these churches for about five years. In the early eighties, Kenn felt led to ask John Wimber to assume leadership for the emerging movement. The official recognition of this transition took place in 1982, and thus, the emergence of what was to be called, “The Association of Vineyard Churches.”

Twenty-five years later, there are more than 1,500 Vineyard churches worldwide, 550+ in the US, with 8 regions actively planting churches across the country. Vineyard worship songs, documented by Vineyard Music, have helped thousands of churches experience intimacy with God. Many churches have been equipped to continue Jesus’ ministry of proclaiming the kingdom, demonstrating the kingdom and training disciples.

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