"Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes."Isaiah 54:3
The land was purchased in 1987, and a modest log house and pond were added for the purpose of a family retreat for hunting, fishing, and relaxation. Gradually other structures were added which included a large log barn to function as support for farming activities and the occasional square dance and picnic. But God had other ideas, and even before completion, it began to house retreats and teachings and praise and worship meetings. The hayloft and workshop and stalls and tractor bays never received their intended occupants (except for one cold night when our ewe, Mary used a stall to give birth to Peter and Paul. And we later found it wasn't even needed as they did better outside!) Because of its new usage, we created a foundation. The True Vine, and later deeded 70 acres to set aside the property for Kingdom use in perpetuity.

We've been blessed by many wonderful organizations and groups using the facilities – from large contingents of 150-200 to small elders retreats of 5-10 – from high-school teams, to youth groups doing community outreach, to Special Operation Forces Wounded Combat.

In 2000, the first of 20-something Outback America weekends for parents and teenagers took place and continue in spring and fall with 150 to 250 campers and staff. When our barn found itself no longer available for farm use, we built a large shed for this purpose which had stalls and feed and tack rooms and a forge. During the course of an Outback weekend Bruce Johnson, the founder of JH Ranch and Outback, suggested that it would be nice if they could use the shed for meals and meetings, and that structure too began its transformation. A commercial kitchen was added, and the horse stalls were converted to shower and commodes, and the tack and feed rooms to bedrooms.

In January 2009, the LEGACY School of Discipleship began its second eight-month long season with three months on site with 20-or so students and staff. In preparation the barn “horse stalls and workshop” were converted to bedrooms with heating and cooling installed. To provide separate quarters for females, bedrooms in the old shed (now dining room) were created, and the bathrooms and bedrooms insulated and heated, and the bathrooms segregated.

AND SO – nothing has ended as we intended. For God had the plans, and we could never have imagined them, even in our wildest dreams. But isn't it just like Him, that what we imagined and built, He changed to suit His purposes, and we can claim no credit.

There are so many wonderful stories of God's provision and blessings – the story of how the Odyssey high ropes course came about, the affirmations of His Word in Isaiah 54:2 and 55:11-13 and countless others.

At one time we earnestly sought from the Lord a plan for what He wanted to take place, so that we wouldn't mess it up. His answer was crystal clear! If He gave us such a plan, we'd surely mess it up, so He'd tell us step by step. And SO – we wait for the next step – with awe and excitement.

For those considering a visit or event at The True Vine, I offer the following biographical information and personal observations about the people who will be your hosts and who with God’s help and direction have fashioned the facilities and grounds you will visit. My perspective is admittedly biased but will hopefully give you a feeling for who we are.
- Finley McRae -


GEORGE COLIN MCRAE
Steward and manager, True Vine Foundation and Fortitudine Vineyard

Education – The Hill School, Pottstown, Pa., Auburn University, Mercer University, graduate of West Alabama University 1997, post-graduate work in waterfowl biology, Mississippi State University

Eutaw Ducks Unlimited, Alabama Ducks Unlimited Greenwing Chairman, Volunteer Firefighter/ Rescue Technician - Eutaw, Al., Steering Committee - Outback Tuscaloosa, Co-chairman - Feathers, Fins and Fur outdoor weekend youth event - Demopolis, Al. A man of many interests and projects, eager for challenges, and gifted with the ability to solve almost any problem. A godly man with the heart of a steward committed to maximizing the potential of this ministry. Favorite scripture – John 15:1-8., II Corinthians 12:9-10 Favorite hymn – “Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing”.

AMANDA PEARSON MCRAE
Secretary/Treasurer, True Vine Foundation and mother of George Jr.

Education – Demopolis High School, graduate of The University of West Alabama 2002

Merchants and Farmers Bank - Eutaw, Alabama, PNC – Tuscaloosa, Al., University of Alabama Honors College Program Assistant

Author of Blog: "Raising George

A gifted gardener and canner with the passion to learn all she can about growing healthy foods. A woman with a deep love of God and compassion for others. Favorite scripture – Philippians 4:6-7 Favorite Song – “How He Loves Us”.


JASON DALTON
Steward and groundskeeper, True Vine Foundation and McRae’s Pond

Husband of Tonya and four awesome children, Formerly on greenskeeping staff - North River Golf Club, Children’s pastor Catalyst Church - Tuscaloosa, Al., Peewee football coaching staff - Greene County, Volunteer Firefighter - Eutaw, Al., Former board member - Greene County Parks and Recreation Board.

Groundskeeper extraordinaire, committed to enhancing the natural beauty of the land that God has provided for this ministry. A man after God's own heart who hears His voice, who treasures His Word and enriches the lives of those around him. Favorite scripture – Romans 8. Favorite hymn – ‘Be Thou My Vision”.


ELIZABETH HUNT “BETTE” MCRAE
Adored mother of six children and fourteen grandchildren and the love of Finley’s life

Education - Myers Park High School - Charlotte, NC., Sullins Junior College - Bristol, Va., Hollins College - Roanoke, Va., graduate of University of South Alabama, Post-graduate work University of London.

Elementary school teacher - University Military School, Mobile, Al., Fulltime mother and grandmother 1971-until Jesus comes back.

Prayer partner, friend, counselor, mentor to countless ones, both male and female of all ages. As close as it comes to the virtuous wife” of Proverbs 31. Favorite Scripture - Galatians 2:20 and Job 19:25. Favorite song - "How He Loves Us"

J. FINLEY MCRAE JR. M.D.
Retired physician

Education – The Hill School - Pottstown, Pa. Princeton University, graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine 1961. Practice of neurological surgery 1966-2005. Ochsner Foundation Hospital and Clinic - New Orleans, La., Chelsea Naval Hospital - Boston, Mass., University of Alabama School of Medicine, private practice in Birmingham, Ala. 1970-2005.

Former board member Bruised Reed Foundation, J.H. Ranch, and Outback America

Since “retirement” in 2005 full-time maintenance and development of True Vine facilities and farm. Aspiring gardener and farmer and aspiring fisher of fish and men. Favorite scripture – Psalm 1 and Matthew 5:16. Favorite hymn – “Amazing Grace”


"Instead of the thorn shall come the cyprus tree, instead of the briar shall come up the myrtyle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off." Isaiah 15:13