Dean & Matte Downey, Montreal Vineyard

Vineyard Canada, Dec 08, 2020, 2:48 AM
Vineyard Canada Global Moderator
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Dean and Matte both learned to follow Jesus in the Mennonite church in Manitoba. They met at a missions conference where Dean was playing drums and Matte was performing a dramatic sketch (all these years later, Dean still has an impeccable sense of rhythm and Matte is still being dramatic). Shortly after they got married, they moved to southern Ontario where Dean worked in a music store and Matte worked in Communications at the Stratford Festival. Within a few days of arriving in town, they were invited to join the worship team at the local Vineyard Church. Within a few years, Dean was also leading the youth group and Matte had started an artist collective.

Dean also helped out with many of the Vineyard church plants in southern Ontario by playing on their initial worship teams.

When the renewal broke out in Toronto in the mid-90s, the church in Stratford was deeply impacted. Eventually, the Toronto church left the Vineyard and things started to unravel in Stratford. Dean and Matte were eventually removed from the church and began meeting with others who found themselves with no church home.

Two years later, Dean received a job offer in Montreal and the Vineyard Regional Leader asked Dean and Matte to consider planting a church in Quebec. After their experience in Stratford, they were hesitant to lead anything, so they chose to worship and serve in an Anglican Church. However, people kept contacting them about the possibility of a Vineyard church and eventually, they realized that this might be something the Holy Spirit was doing. In a small meeting in their living room in 2001, the seeds of Vineyard Montreal were planted.

Vineyard Montreal continues to exist because the Spirit gathers people together from different backgrounds, experiences, and cultures so they can learn to love Jesus and help each other. The city is transient so the people of Vineyard Montreal have also been transient. Dean and Matte decided early on that they would welcome people when they came and bless them when they moved on, no matter what the circumstances. This has not always been easy, but it has always been good.

Over the years, Vineyard Montreal has met in many different spaces throughout the city: various homes, the basement of a counselling centre, a band rehearsal space, a university pub, a vacant apartment, an adult education centre, a park, and a library. When one of their leases fell through, they merged with another downtown Montreal church for a year and a half and supported them in the areas of worship, prayer, and teaching. Being a small, urban faith community has had its challenges, but it has also presented the group with many opportunities to practice simplicity, humility, and vulnerability.

Dean is an experienced businessman and works as the Vice President of Sales for a large music distribution company. Matte has a PhD in dramatic theology and teaches Spirituality and Theology within various settings. Life goals for Dean include finding the perfect taco in every place he visits and roasting all the things on his Kamado grill. Matte is working on establishing that elusive equilibrium between acquiring books, having time to read them all, and not letting her chai tea get cold in the process.

After nearly twenty years of service, Dean and Matte will be retiring as lead pastors of Vineyard Montreal at the end of 2020.


Dean and Matte, thanks for sharing your story here, loving each other well and providing community for so many over the years through the Montreal Vineyard.

Hey Dean and Matte - I found the story of your journey intriguing to see God's hand on your lives and in the numerous people you have touched. Much peace to you both as you continue your journey in the new chapter!