STATEMENT – THURSDAY 1ST APRIL 2021

From The Vinelife Senior Team

Dear friends,

Following on from our initial statement on Friday 12th March, we are now providing further clarification and information.

As we’ve previously made known, on Monday 8th March, Phil Smith made us aware of unfaithfulness in his marriage that had happened over a period of time. On Thursday 11th March, Phil was suspended and shortly after gave his resignation with immediate effect.

Subsequent to the initial conversations that took place with Phil, what has become clear is that his unfaithfulness involved two individuals, not part of the Vinelife church community, over a period of over two years. 

We are deeply saddened and shocked. Whilst we remain committed to walking with Phil towards a journey of full confession and repentance for his personal restoration, we wish to be clear that Phil will not return to a position of leadership within Vinelife.

As stated previously, Sarah will take a period of compassionate leave. We are fully committed to supporting her and the children at such a difficult time in all the ways that we are able.

We are obviously devastated that this has taken place in our midst, where values of authenticity, accountability and integrity have not been displayed at our most senior level of leadership. We will continue to work hard to properly understand what has happened and how it has impacted the way we operate; alongside this, the Executive Team and Trustees will be carrying out a review of our policies and procedures.

We want to do all we can to care for those impacted by this serious breach of trust. If you need support or are affected by this news in any way, we have a confidential and direct way for you to contact the Senior Team at a dedicated address: contactus@vinelife.co.uk

As we continue to adjust, prioritise and plan for the next season, our confidence remains in Jesus. His plans for us are good and He is with us always, and our trust and hope remains in Him.

Vinelife Senior Team

STATEMENT – FRIDAY 12TH MARCH 2021

From The Vinelife Senior Team

Dear friends,

It is with a very heavy heart that we have to make this statement.

On Monday 8th March, Phil (Smith) made us aware of unfaithfulness in his marriage that had happened over a period of time. The Trustees and Senior Team agreed that this conduct was unacceptable and incompatible with his role as Senior Leader and during an ongoing HR process, Phil offered his resignation on Thursday 11th.

Sarah will take a period of compassionate leave. We are fully committed to supporting her and the children at such a difficult time and to helping both Phil and Sarah navigate the path toward restoration for the whole family.

Santino Hamberis will take up an Interim Senior Leader position supported by the Trustees, Senior Team, Executive team and Staff team. We will be communicating clearly and often with church family throughout this period and are looking at ways to create space to process together. We’re aware that news like this can raise many questions and in some cases painful memories. If you need support, or feel affected by this news, please email contactus@vinelife.co.uk

We are obviously devastated. There are so many individuals and organisations that Vinelife has become close to over many years, and each will have their own reaction, their own pain and their own questions following this news. Vinelife is family for so many of us, and as family we intend to walk through this together.

Things may look slightly different for a time as we take stock, prioritise and plan for the next season. But our confidence is in Jesus, knowing His plans for us are good and that He is with us always, and in all things. Friends, we are grieving with you today, but we have confidence and hope for what is to come.

Vinelife Senior Team