The initial vision for starting a new church was given to Doug Kittredge, the pastor of New Life in Christ Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Doug and the other elders of the church prayed about the need for a new church in the Stafford area, 15 miles north of Fredericksburg. After seeking the Lord’s will, the elders gathered together a group of families who were then attending New Life, but interested in beginning a new work in Stafford. Stafford is one of the fastest growing counties in the United States — a bedroom community to Washington, D. C. and home to many government workers and military personnel.
The intention from the beginning was to start a “renewal church” that would emphasize the same Biblical principles that New Life in Christ Church had been built upon. The new church was affectionately nicknamed “New Life North” by the brethren in Fredericksburg. Dennis Rupert, one of the assistant pastors at Fredericksburg, was asked to act as the organizing pastor. God provided further leadership for the group through a Marine major named Steve Jennings.
The initial core group for New Life North was composed of six families. Three of those families were Marine couples who would be leaving the area in the next 9 months. We knew we were taking a step of faith, but we have a very faithful God! Following an organizational meeting, the group decided to use the name “New Life Community Church.” Besides being the name of our mother church, “New Life” also expressed what Jesus Christ had to offer to people in Stafford. We were ready to roll. A Bible study was begun in November of 1982.
After two months, the group held its first Sunday worship service in the basement of the Jennings’ home on January 23, 1983. Eighteen people were in attendance. The following Sunday we met at the Minnieland Private Day School. Dennis began by teaching through the letter of 1 John. John writes about three marks of a healthy Christian church: truth, obedience, and love. New Life Church committed itself to becoming a healthy church.
God continued to grow our fellowship both spiritually and numerically. Steve Jennings departed to seminary and Bob Dussault was affirmed as an elder (October 16, 1983). The giving of the people who attended the church was amazing. By January 1984 (about a year after we began) the church was totally self-supporting. There were only about 15 family units attending Sunday morning worship on a regular basis at that time. They were a loving and caring group of Christian people.
In 1984 we moved toward the necessary steps for organizing ourselves as a separate church. We made the decision to organize as a non-denominational church, so that we could demonstrate the unity of all of God’s people across denominational, racial, and cultural boundaries. We wrote our church Constitution and Bylaws, affirmed another elder, and chose Dennis to act as our permanent pastor. On December 2, 1984 at a service held at New Life in Christ Church, we became officially organized as “New Life Community Church of Stafford.”
In 1992 the church purchased three acres and constructed a place to worship. The building is shaped like a large home to emphasize that we are a “family for families.” In November 2008, Dennis Rupert, our pastor of 26 years, stepped down to pursue his doctorate in theology. Soon after, the church formed a pastoral search committee. David Fischer was selected as the Interim Pastor in October 2009 and served in that capacity until February 2011. In August 2011, NLCC called Ted Vinatieri to be Elder/Pastor.
Presently, we have three elders and two deacons who form the leadership of New Life Community Church. Sunday attendance is approximately 50 each week. Our church is non-denominational and multiracial. We pray that God will continue to multiply us! As from the beginning of New Life Community Church, we are committed to being a renewal church, a healthy body, and a loving, caring group of Christian people.