Leith & Patti White, Langley Vineyard

Tina-Marie Axenty, Feb 2, 2021, 7:35 PM
Vineyard Canada Global Moderator
Leith & Patti White.jpeg

Leith & Patti met in Sweden while attending Bible School, both keen to respond to God's leading, both having come from Winnipeg but never having met previously.    Sweden was a life changing place for both of them and a place where God first spoke audibly to Patti, a place that deepened their love for God in ways they had never expected.

After Sweden and travelling, Patti returned to Winnipeg while Leith remained serving in various short term Missions projects - primarily working with the underground church in Communist Romania - and then with Roger Forster in the early days of "ICTHUS" Church in East London. God used this as a critical shaping and formative time with respects to the Holy Spirit, church planting, evangelism and loving the community through practical means.  God was laying the groundwork for future days within the Vineyard.

A year after Leith returned back to Canada - Leith & Patti were married in 1984 ( now for 37years) .... although not before Patti's aunt who now discovered who Patti was marrying (she had babysat the twins as toddlers) and seriously counselled her and warning her NOT to marry Leith! "Those White twins (Leith & Miles) were TROUBLE!" Politely disregarding she's thankful for her decision.

They quickly got on with the realities of having a family which has blossomed into a source of endless life, laughter and gratefulness.Their 4 amazing girls eventually grew up and got married and added 7 fantastic grandkids to the family, which of course continues to add to the momentum of life, laughter, conversations, and babysitting (woot!).

For roughly the next 15 years, life for Leith & Patti comprised of Leith working a career in retail management with IKEA, Starbucks and Staples and Patti homeschooling, and taming & training the girls.  These years took them back and forth between Calgary and BC over the next 16 years.

Their first exposure to the Vineyard came through Leith's parents involvement with John Wimber in the early, early days of the Vineyard. Leith's parent's had moved to Southern California to attend the MC510 John was running at Fuller Seminary. They quickly began sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge of what God was doing and what they were learning with all their kids.  Leith and Patti remember initially being very leary of these newfound experiences of the Holy Spirit but were committed to joining John and Lorrie in a move to Delta, BC (1986) to help in the planting of the Delta Vineyard with Ken Blue. God used their time at the Delta Vineyard powerfully - continuing to deepen their relationships with Him and their growing experience with the Holy Spirt and dynamics of the Kingdom.

After God leading them to Calgary for a season - Leith was presented with a choice of increasing his commitment to IKEA, heading up their North American Goodsflow & Distribution in the US - which would involve more time away from home & family.    Though a miraculous God encounter it was clear to both a move to Langley, BC is where God was leading them.  They started attending Langley Vineyard and in 2000 Leith was invited to join the staff at Langley Vineyard.

Patti began her career at Trinity Western University In 2001. While she loved this job and it provided for her family – her heart was really drawn to Spiritual Direction and becoming a Spiritual Director – so in 2007, Patti joined Soul Stream and over the next two years completed her Spiritual Direction Training.

This practice and rhythm of life has been a gift that she is able to offer in so many different ways, and met so many amazing people through it. She still works at Trinity Western University and has added being a host/spiritual director at a silent retreat venue on the island.

Being the first Vineyard in Canada, Langley Vineyard has a long history within the Vineyard Movement in Canada. On reflection of their time at Langley Vineyard Leith & Patti liken it to the feeling Jesus' disciples may have felt - fresh off of seeing Kingdom miracles and the feeding of 5,000, excited about what lay ahead - Jesus tells them all to get into a boat and to go to the other side. Thinking all the lessons have been learned and feeling flush and full with fish and loaves and "kingdom come" little did they comprehend that whenever Jesus mentions a "boat trip" what he means is "adventure" and more learning. The time at Langley Vineyard has been a boat trip for Leith and Patti - learning in deeper and deeper ways God's unfailing presence & love, faithfulness and grace...boat loads of it!

The last 20 years have seen a huge demographic change in the downtown core of Langley City being the next highest behind Vancouver with respects to Homelessness, subsidized housing and Senior Homes on a per capita basis. Challenged by the Lord one day walking into the church Leith heard the Lord say to him, "Leith...The world knows who Langley Vineyard is - but your neighbours don't have a clue about who you are."  That set about a transformation that at times seems at odds with established church growth strategies - but very much inline with the heart of Jesus. The Least, the Lost and the Lonely.  The strategy to engage them - LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and lots of prayer. The community of Langley Vineyard today provides and acts as a hub of activity and resources to Langley's most vulnerable (low-income, single-parent families, those on disability, seniors on pensions and always burgeoning homeless population.) through boat loads of love, practical service, and a network of local churches and almost every social agency, emergency and service provider in the city coming together.  Shameless about what drives us (His LOVE) the desire is that whoever comes through our doors encounters the love of Jesus. Jesus' front line workers in an area devastated through trauma, addiction, poverty and lonliness.

While working alongside many groups and organizations outside Langley Vineyard -
God has cultivated and grown through much patience and pruning a growing passionate collective of followers from all backgrounds. Hungry for his presence, yearning for more of the Spirit, rooted in prayer - learning to receive more of his love so they can give it away are the simple characteristics of this community.  The continue to pray for God's fruitfulness and blessing in their midst as they desire to be salt and light to their community.

Leith currently commits his energies to leading Langley Vineyard. For the last 3 years Leith has served on the National Board for 24-7 Prayer Canada.