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About Us

Our History

The first Pacific Union College Seventh-day Adventist church met in the former Angwin resort dance hall. The first meeting was December 31, 1909, just after Pacific Union College had moved from Healdsburg to Angwin. The church had 42 charter members.

By 1919 the church had more official quarters--the chapel of the newly completed college building. Three years later, in 1921, church membership had grown to 290. Until 1947 the church was pastored by the head of the college religion department. The first of these was Elder A. O. Tait and the last was Elder Paul Quimby. The first person called to be full-time pastor was Elder Paul Campbell who served from 1947 to 1950.

The PUC Church continued to grow, but had no place to call its own. Irwin Hall Chapel and the gym both served as multi-purpose auditoriums which housed the church services. As an institutional church, the size of the congregation has been related to the enrollment of the college and the size of the faculty and staff. After 1935 the membership grew rapidly, reaching 849 by 1946. The need for a church sanctuary was keenly felt, and the members began plans for a new church. However, not until 1962, under the leadership of Elder Lawrence G. Scales, did the successful building campaign get underway.

On January 6, 1968, 58 years after the church's inception, the 1,755 members moved into the new sanctuary under the leadership of Elder Arthur J. Escobar. The entire complex was completed in 1977. In the years since, the church has grown to its present membership of almost 1,900 people, plus college students.

Full time senior pastors of the Pacific Union College Seventh-day Adventist Church have been:

* Paul Campbell, 1947-50

* H. K. Martin, 1950-56

* E. W. Rogers, 1956-62

* Lawrence G. Scales, 1962-63

* Arthur J. Escobar, 1963-74

* Morris L. Venden, 6/1974-81

* John S. McIntosh (interim)

* H. Roger Bothwell, 2/1982-3/88

* John S. McIntosh (interim)

* Louis Venden, 8/16/1989-9/12/92

* John McVay, 9/13/1992-12/31/93

* Ron Stretter (interim)

* Ray Mitchell, 9/1/1994-5/15/98

* John Hughson (interim)

* Mic Thurber, 12/1/98-9/21/2002

* John Hughson & Malcolm Maxwell (interim)

* Tim Mitchell, 7/2003-6/2012

* James Pedersen (interim)

* Mark Witas, 6/2013 to present


Our Rieger Organ

The PUC church organ was crafted by the forty employees of the Rieger Orgelbau in the town of Schwarzach, Austria. At the time of installation (1980-1981) it was the largest organ they had constructed.

The PUC Church Organ has become a landmark instrument; organ committees from around the country and world have visited the campus to examine and play the Rieger. It has served as the primary model for a number of organs worldwide, including the instruments in the First Presbyterian Churches in both St. Helena and Oakland, in Portland, Oregon's Sunnyside Adventist Church, at Union College in Nebraska, and in a concert hall in Hong Kong. Three compact discs have been recorded in the Pacific Union College Church on the organ. In 1996 a group of German organists included the PUC Rieger as one of the 35 most important organs in the world. [adapted from Wikipedia article on Pacific Union College]

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