Last Updated on 12-30-05

In the days of the gold miners, several good paying mines were opened near Magalia and soon the population reached 5,000. The year was 1859. A man with a family to support made the decision to go west. His name was Merritt G. Kellogg of Battle Creek, Michigan. And what does this mean to ridge residents? He was the first Seventh-day Adventist to come to California and the route he traveled took him to Dogtown (Magalia). From there he continued on to Marysville and then to San Francisco.

By 1880, Paradise had started to grow when people who had given up the idea of getting rich by finding gold built homes here. Cheap land had drawn their attention to the ridge. The people living on the ridge were jokingly referred to as "Poison Oakers."

The following advertisement appeared in the October 20, 1908 Chico Record: "We want everyone in Chico to own a lot in Paradise. $25 and up - 25' x 140'. Terms: $10 down and $5 a month. Excursions: Annual fruit and flower festival."

In 1908, Theodore Roosevelt was president of the United States. A.G. Daniels was the General Conference president and conveyor belts had been invented. This community had a population of about 350. The only Seventh-day Adventists that are known to have been in Paradise at that time were Grandma Nunneley and Edward Sutter and family. The Sutters had ten acres located in the southwest corner of Clark and Bille Roads, the present location of the KFC franchise. The Sam Crawford family moved to a small log home next to Sutter's place. Along with Albert and Christie Coffer, several other families moved to Paradise and all wanted a Sabbath School for their children. Although the believers felt the need for a small church building, they considered it more important to build a church school where the children could be educated.

The first Sabbath School was organized under the name of Pilgrim Sabbath School and classes were held in the Crawfords' home.  Worship services also were held in private homes. In 1910, Sam felt the need of a church school building and was able to convince Edward Sutter to provide a site on his place for the school. The new 14x16-foot building on the Sutter place was ready in a few weeks and stood where the now vacant lot is across from Rose Chapel Mortuary. Daisy Clough (pronounced "Cluff") was the teacher of the eight students. This small building served as both church and school for several years.

In the spring of 1911, Elder Thomas Watson and Elder Fred Brink held evangelistic meetings in Paradise, and by the summer of 1911, the little company of believers organized the first Seventh-day Adventist Church of Paradise. Charter Members were Mr. and Mrs. Sam Crawford, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Sutter, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Coffer and Daisy Clough.  Elder Thomas Watson was the first circuit pastor. Within a few months, he was transferred to another district leaving the new organization without an official leader. It is also reported that a man named James Die walked door to door to every home in Paradise with "Present Truth" and "Signs" magazines. Amy Sutter was credited with being the first Adventist nurse on the ridge.

By 1916, several Adventist families had moved away from Paradise and, by late 1917, there were but two or three families left. So the church disbanded. The Sutter ranch, including the church and school building, had been sold. From late 1917 to 1921, there was neither school nor church. There were occasional meetings held in the home of one or two of the remaining families but it was rather disorganized.

In 1921, another Adventist by the name of Mr. W.S. Curran moved to Paradise. Then two or three other families came. Under Curran's leadership and the assistance of Elders Hartman and Burrows a series of evangelistic meetings were held.  At the close of the series, the church and the Sabbath School were both reorganized and the Paradise area was included in the preaching circuit of Elder George Sims whose route also covered the Chico and Oroville areas. For a time, meetings were held in the Baptist Church on the corner of Pearson and Almond. 

In 1922, the L.P. Fox family moved here and he became the church treasurer for eight years. By 1927, there were 18 members and the need for a larger church building and for another school. A school opened in 1930 in the home of Richard C. Hammer on Elliott Road. The teacher was Dorothy Wangren. 

During the summer of 1931, another successful evangelistic effort was held by Elders Morton and Marvin Loewen. The tent was pitched on Pearson Road near the railroad tracks close to Black Olive Drive. With many new members added, the need for a larger facility once again became a challenge.

  Sierrra Park

After much thought and prayer, the board members voted to purchase some ground and build a church. With the help of Elder Sims, two parcels of land at 5609 Sierra Park Drive were purchased for the cost of $40.00, which, at that time, was considered an exorbitant price. Work crews were organized. Brother Dolph, the first elder, built the pews and before long, the new church building was erected. A schoolroom was in the basement. The walls were the bare 2x4s with siding on the outside. The brethren paid the colossal sum of $700.00 for all costs. The first meeting held in this structure was in June of 1932. 

The following is excerpted from Dolph's diary: "In 1932, there were 28 faithful members. These depression years were difficult. Fruit lay on the ground in many orchards. Growers gave our members permission to gather the fruit. The women cut, peeled, sulfured and dried the fruit. It was sacked and distributed to the poor through the local Red Cross station. Several medical clinics were held in Paradise by Adventist physicians and nurses - many free tonsillectomies." The Dorcas Society was also organized at this time.

In 1932, Elsie Yeoman (then Shepherd) taught school in the basement of the church. Each Sabbath morning, three curtains would be drawn in the church dividing it off for four classes. The membership had now grown to 35. Other teachers at the school during those years included Lorena Putnam and Margaret Dillon. (Just previous to this school, there had been a private school in the home of N.S. Hammer and had been taught by Dorothy Wangerin. This school moved into the new building.) The last year the school was housed in the basement, the teachers were Lorena Hart and Margaret Dillon.

From 1933 through 1936, Elder Theron Treat was the circuit minister and his visits once or twice a month encouraged the people. By now, the school had outgrown the basement and was accommodating eight grades. Opportunity presented itself to purchase some buildings up the Feather River that had been used at a prison camp. They were hauled to Paradise and erected in the Bruce Subdivision. The building was on the southwest corner of Pleasant Avenue and Maple Park Drive. This was 1937 - the year the Hindenburg exploded and Amelia Earhart disappeared. Now Paradise had a two-teacher school. Teachers in this building included Myrta Hart, Mildred Jones and Edith Gallion Scott (Edith is still a member in 2001).

In the spring of 1938, Elder Frank Perry became the first resident pastor of this district and served the membership until 1945. The work grew under his leadership and there was a definite need of a larger church. Elder Fernando Stahl moved to Paradise in 1939 and gave considerable help to the Paradise church. By 1942, the membership was 120. Much had been happening in the world. The first helicopter, jet planes, DDT, the draft law, Battle of Britain, Quonset huts, Mt. Rushmore completed and, of course, Pearl Harbor. Members felt that if a church accommodating 250 members could be constructed it would take care of the needs of the Paradise group until the Lord's coming.

Elder Perry purchased 16 acres on Hill Top Road (now College Hill) off Pearson Road - ten on the north side and six on the south side. In this location, the church became known as "the church on the hill." He promptly offered the ten acres on the north side of Pearson to the church for exactly what he paid for it - $100 an acre. The church members felt they would never need that much ground and it was voted to buy just five acres of the property. The conference had previously offered this church $300 in cash to help with the cost so the property was purchased and the members had to raise only $200. Otto Dolph helped raise the money for the new church with a goal device that pictured a brick church with each brick costing $10.

At this time, there was a struggle to get enough building materials because of World War II. Otto J. McCorkle and Dick Dyer, both masons, laid the blocks for the new church. Walter Scott and son, John Scott, both carpenters, helped with the building as did Delmer Dyer, Earl Wells and William Downing. By 1943, the building was completed and had a seating capacity of 250. It was heated with seven oil heaters. This was the year that postal zone numbers appeared and income tax was withheld. 

College Hill

Just two short years later, in 1945, the year of the atom bomb, the new church had again outgrown the building. J.R. Chamberlin, Walter and John Scott helped with the construction of the new addition. At this time there was a large tent on Barbara Way property just north of where Quality Cleaners stands. This tent was used for evangelistic meetings and incorporated health lectures in the meetings. A local merchant loaned a stove and, many an evening, when the people would come for the meeting, smells of fresh bread wafted from the tent. This tent became the temporary church during the construction of the addition, which would accommodate 150 additional members enabling the church to seat 400 people.

Elder Waldo Hesseltine and Sam Rutan were in Paradise at this time. When the church was completed, the entrance was moved from the west to a north entrance and a room was added on the east side.

War years wore on! D-day! Paradise members decided they must enlarge the school as the Maple Park Drive school was too small. So a new two-room school was to be located on the north end of the five acres belonging to the church. Work was begun on this building in the spring of 1945 and was finished in time for school in 1946 with a staff of six teachers - Paul Rice, N. Larick and Lettie Fiman, Mr. and Mrs. R. Bare and Grace Gordon. The pastor at this time was Elder AcMoody. But before the school was finished, Jack Bryson went to the county and got permission to enlarge the attic in order to make another room. This room affectionately became know as the "Upper Room" to students. (In 1958, it was necessary to build an additional wing to the school building as enrollment had grown to 100.) 

This was the time when we learned what an A-bomb could do and witnessed the liberation of the emaciated Americans who had been incarcerated in prison camps. Several such survivors became members of the Paradise church. Elder W.W. R. Lake was the first and later Elders Clinton Lee and Klass Tilstra moved to Paradise.

It was about this time that plans for the Feather River Sanitarium were begun. Believing that God was leading them to establish a medical institution on the ridge, Doctors Horning, Hoiland, Landis and Jack Bryson and Vern West each put up $200.00 to buy what was believed to be some tax delinquent land on the Feather River Canyon. The non-profit Feather River Sanitarium Corporation was formed in the fall of 1946. The Board of Directors consisted of Drs. Horning, Hoiland, Landis, Blackwelder and Roy Rankin and P.V. "Bud" Harrigan. Fernando Stahl was the first Chaplain. The construction started in 1947 and completed in 1950. During the early years, it was a well-equipped 25-bed hospital with an average of 30 patients a day. In 1966, groundbreaking ceremonies took place for a new hospital on property that was closer to Pentz Road. Later an emergency and intensive care wing was added and, just recently, a lovely maternity wing was completed. 

In 1949, Elder W.R. Foulston became pastor and a young intern, Don Mansell, replaced Sam Rutan. Harry S Truman was the President of the United States and Elder McElhany was the General Conference President. Billy Graham wore a newfangled lapel mike that enabled him to move about while preaching. Radio Free Europe was founded and cake mixes showed up on grocery store shelves.

Pastor Foulston was like oil on troubled Paradise waters. Evangelism was high on his priority list. He located a Quonset hut at a construction site up Highway 70. Men went up, dismantled the structure, hauled it to Paradise and set it up on the Skyway in a vacant space just south of La Comida. The town fathers were upset about this ugly building with a sawdust floor but were relieved to learn it was a temporary building. There were times during the series of meetings when hail and rain pounded so hard on the tin roof that Pastor Foulston could hardly be heard even though he had a good speaking voice!

Once the series was over, the Quonset hut was dismantled. Town fathers breathed a sign of relief. It was now moved to the school campus where a cement floor had been poured and a three foot wall erected. The Quonset hut was placed on top of the wall thus making a fair-sized gym which would serve as gymnasium and all-purpose room until 1974.

The year was 1950. North Korea invaded South Korea. The first kidney transplant was performed. The Skyway was opened to Chico. No more treks down Neal Road or Honey Run - unless you wanted to. And Feather River Sanitarium and Hospital opened its doors.

In 1954, Roger Bannister ran the mile in under four minutes - something people said couldn't be done. And what was happening in Paradise? Elder Foulston foresaw the need for major development and a building fund was started. This was the introduction to a systematic building plan and members found it appealing!  

A.G. Streifling

By the time Elder A.G. Streifling became pastor in 1956, the need for enlargement of the church was critical. A partition was removed which added western room to the main auditorium and seating for an additional 100. It was evident, however, that the "church on the hill" could no longer meet the needs of the rapidly growing congregation. Two services were held. Sound speakers were even hung from trees and people jockeyed for places under the shade trees. In 1956, Ada Craft joined the teaching staff at the school as the 5th and 6th grade teacher and remained for 17 years.

A church member and realtor, A.T. Hopmann, learned that 11 acres east of the school and church property was for sale! In 1957, the acreage was purchased for a future building site for $20,000.

By 1959, the congregation had grown to 500 and once again the building had to be enlarged. So a partition was removed and two western rooms were added to the main auditorium giving an additional 100 seats. It was apparent that the "church on the hill" could no longer meet the needs of the rapidly growing membership even with its double sessions.

In 1962, the church had 577 members with an attendance of approximately 500 at regular worship services. The church maintained a full-time staff of a pastor and a Bible instructor, a church secretary and a part-time church treasurer. Plans for a new church building to seat 1,000 people with complete educational and administrative facilities were completed and a building contractor sought.

Faced with the heavy financial responsibility entailed in a building project, the members found themselves drawn closer to each other and to the Lord as they pledged wholeheartedly for the building of their sanctuary. Many can testify from personal experience to the blessings received from entering into partnership with God in systematic, sacrificial giving. They discovered that liberality with the Lord, rather than depleting their personal resources, made them channels through which the blessings of heaven could flow. The liberal giving for the building fund did not diminish the regular church and Sabbath School offerings but rather they increased.

Jack Mallory

As a result of Elder Streifling's enthusiastic leadership and the faithful efforts of the Building Committee, ground was broken on August 25, 1963 for the new church sanctuary. Building Committee members were Chairman Dr. E.J. Mallory, R.W. Adams, R.H. Atkins, A.T. Hopmann, Mrs. D.H. Hoiland, Mrs. Brent Lawrence, Elder J.H. Meier, J.P. Scott, R.H. Snyder, E.D. Stortz, Mrs. E.G. Wood and Elder A.G. Streifling.  Members and dignitaries gathered on the "red dirt" parking lot for the ceremony. Elder Streifling welcomed the audience and Elder Jack Mallory addressed the crowd. Those who placed shovel to soil included Elder Streifling, Wendell Gibbs, Jack Mallory, Roy Adams, Don Hardt, A.T. Hopmann, Elder Jake Meier, local dignitaries and builders Farrar and Mayes. 

View from balcony

Work on the edifice progressed quickly on the 18,421 square feet main sanctuary just across the road from the school property. The seating capacity was 700 on the main floor, 299 in the balcony and the children's "training chapel" in a glass-enclosure at the back of the main floor could seat another 60. Pacific Union Conference stewardship director, James Cunnington, spent several weeks with the church and developed a 150-week fund-raising campaign. Putting this in history, it was just three months prior to President John F. Kennedy being shot. 

View From East Side

The progress from 1963-64 saw sweeping contour grades and slopes carved into building sites and integrated access ways and connections for building in an artistic and practical use of the hillside. To the east of the sanctuary, the land waited for the Dorcas complex and between the two sites are the north and south wings - the youth wing is down the slope and is the southern wing while the upper north wing will house the office complex and younger children's divisions. At the end of the upper wing will be the carillon tower.

Marching to New Church

In less than a year, the building was completed and the great moving day came on June 27, 1964. For the last time, the congregation, now numbering 615 members, assembled in "the church on the hill" for Sabbath School and the opening of the 11:00 o'clock service. Then, like a triumphant army, the congregation marched four abreast to their new church home. Chaplain Glenn Bowen from Fort Ord led the procession. Forest Hull, a Paradise serviceman was flown home for the event and he carried the American flag. The blue-robbed choir followed the elders and deacons and the members followed. All carried church hymnals from the "old church."  With hearts overflowing with gratitude to God, they entered the spacious, new sanctuary where they completed the memorable service.

Just How Pink


That all-pink structure could seat 999, had an elevated baptistery, a minister's room, choir room, training chapel for parents with small children and wings of children's classrooms to the east of the foyer. There were also a bride's dressing room, a treasurer's room and deacons' room off the main sanctuary. 

Entry door

Louvered windows were installed in the main sanctuary. Once the person in charge of feeding the plants in the planters thought that if a little food was good, more was better. The smell was pungent! One person remarked as they walked into church, "I never thought I'd go to church in a barn!" A few weeks later, one would never know the difference.





An organ committee selected a Saville Organ which was purchased for $18,000. With its purchase, major changes were necessary in the front of the church. Many, many yards of grill cloth were installed and the front changed so the dozens of speakers would be effective. Scaffolding from platform to ceiling greeted the worshipers one Sabbath.  

  Dean Hoiland

Being community minded, the Dorcas Society (now known as Community Services) erected buildings to the east of the upper Sabbath School wing for the storage and distribution of clothing and emergency supplies. 



  Lewis Langworthy

In late 1965, Elder Striefling and his wife Cleo, who had ably served as our third and fourth grade teacher during their fruitful stay, accepted a call to serve in Hawaii. Elder Striefling became the Hawaiian Mission President. Elder Lewis Langworthy then served as Pastor for three years. During his pastorate, the sprinkler system was installed, more landscaping completed and Wendell Gibbs was the chair of that committee. Wendell also designed the church sign at the corner of Pearson Road and Academy Drive to tie in with the buttress design in the main sanctuary. Rock work was done by John Eaton. 


In July of 1968, the main sanctuary was air conditioned for $10,600.00 thanks to an interest-free loan by a church member.

By October of 1968, Elder Langworthy left to become chaplain of Feather River Hospital. This was a tumultuous year for our country with the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, war and riots.

A phone call was made to the Edward Koenig home in Lodi to ask if they would be willing to move to Paradise. They wanted to know what Paradise would offer and were told:

 No smog. Tall trees
 Country living. Cool breeze.
  740 members. New church home.
 Lots of acreage in which to roam.

But wait! What did Paradise need?
 A shepherd who would feed the flock,
 One who'd work nearly 'round the clock.
 A debt of $136,000 hung overhead.
 This must be paid off - it was like lead.

Was there more? Ah, yes!
 The hospital was growing leaps and bounds.
 Enough room for PAS students couldn't be found.
  Did this mean MORE building was ahead?

The Koenigs accepted the challenge. His first sermon will not be forgotten. Some prankster had hidden an alarm clock in the pulpit and just when he was reaching the climax, it went off!!

About this time, Pearson Road was widened to a four-lane road from Skyway to Clark Road.

In 1972, membership stood at 873 and on May 6, 1972, with all indebtedness liquidated, the Paradise Seventh-day Adventist Church came to another mountain top experience - the dedication of its house of worship. This was a day of rejoicing, a day to look back over the way the Lord had led and to thank Him for the high privilege of laboring with Him in the building of this lovely sanctuary. H.M.S. Richards, speaker of the Voice of Prophecy, presented the Sermon and the King's Heralds presented music for the programs.

Elder Koenig wrote: "This congregation has passed through some very meaningful experiences in the construction of this church building. Some have had their faith keenly tested. Today the building is completed; however, the testing is not yet finished. The temptation to relax and enjoy our material accomplishments will be very real. As we look toward the future, may our Heavenly Father guide His church in a way that will truly make this 'a house of prayer for all people.' May the miracle of His grace continually renew and repeat itself here so that we may worship Him in spirit and in truth is our prayer."

During the seven years the Koenigs were here, the stone walls at the church were finished and curbs and drains installed. Each rock in the rock wall was hand-picked and loaded in a truck by church members from a location just east of the Clear Creek Cemetery on lower Clark Road. And the 600 foot curb at the south edge of the lower road was installed. We must mention that in 1973 major construction began at the school and by 1974, our long-needed gymnasium became a reality. And only a few short years after that, there was an addition of our main elementary school complex. But that is another entire chapter! Additionally, the Primary Sabbath School room was added to the north wing along with a large storage room. The cost for this was $36,395.00. The pastor's class was conducted in the foyer in the space that is now occupied by the library. Elder Koenig left in 1976 and another pastor came from Lodi - Hayward Shafer.  

Hayward Shafer

From 1976 to 1981, the Shafers both gave much to this church. Hayward started the newsletter - even running the offset press; a new roof was put on the Fellowship Center (the old church); Fellowship Dinners were started; the church library was expanded as was the nursery. The year of the drought in 1977 necessitated a well. The remote controlled screen was installed in the sanctuary. This meant further changes in the front and the "hour glass" as designed by the architect was removed. The new office addition, committee room, storage and another children's Sabbath School room were added.


Joyful Sound

In March 1979, a group from Paradise formed a company of 89 members in the Pines and is now known as the Upper Ridge Church. A few months later, a group in Concow organized and the Golden Feather Church was born. The Town of Paradise completed its incorporation in 1979 as well. Rose Shafer organized a wonderful singing group, The Joyful Sound. There was a great men's quartet, Men of Song, with Dean Hoiland, Hayward Shafer, Merlyn Reeves and Don Hardt lifting their collective voice in song many a Sabbath. This was also the year Keith Mulligan joined the staff as the associate pastor and Herb Greer rounded out the pastoral staff. 

Herb Greer

In 1981, Pastor Shafer retired from pulpit ministry to accept a position at Feather River Hospital as chaplain. Lonnie Melashenko came as the new Senior Pastor. This was the year the hostages were released from Iran after 444 days of imprisonment.

Lonnie Melashenko


Lonnie's first accomplishment was to visit all 400 families in the church. This was some undertaking. As one of his associates said, "He plans BIG but can be realistic." Between 1981 and 1991, a new sound system was installed, the new piano purchased, the church was painted gray and a new roof put on the main sanctuary. Lonnie planned and executed many, many memorable special Sabbaths.

In July 1983, the church celebrated 75 years of Adventism in Paradise. Arlene Seitz, a master of productions, had a Sabbath School program typical of 75 years prior - a home Sabbath School. Rose Shafer played the pump organ, Evelyn Zytkoskee was the "mother" of two small girls and Christiana Meier gave the mission story. Their authenticity even included a floral bouquet in a tin can - so typical of the old days on the ridge. The Men of Song performed and Neal Wilson, General Conference President, was guest speaker. He also spoke at the afternoon's mission pageant.

Old Entry

On Sunday morning, the Pastors' Pancake House opened at the school with all pastors flipping pancakes! This pastoral staff included Herb Greer, Lonnie Melashenko, Keith Mulligan and Bill Miller.


In 1984, the church was presented with a memorial gift of a three-octave set of Schulmerich handbells. Eleanor Sanford's gift in memory of her husband, Marvin, has allowed the enrichment of many church services and school programs. Under the direction of Luana Knable, teacher at Paradise Adventist School, two choirs were formed - one of students in grades 4-8 and one adult choir. 

The bells were idle for several years when the Knable family moved away in the early 1990s. It wasn't until near the end of the decade that the bells were dusted off and performed as part of a ladies' tea program at Christmas under the directorship of J. David Holder. The new ringers, many of whom had never even held a handbell, were welcomed back with open ears and hearts. The bells have been ringing ever since. 

By 2000, through an outpouring of love and contributions, the group completed the fourth octave of handbells and acquired the fifth octave and numbered 14 members. 

Through the ensuing years, the group evolved into skilled team of musicians and has many performancess from September through May with touring being heaviest during the spring of the year. Former ringer Dominic Beltrami has composed and/or arranged several pieces specifically for the choir and his arrangements never fail to touch hearts and lives for the Lord.

During the Christmas holiday season, the Marvin Sanford Memorial Handbell Choir traditionally performs at the Chico Mall and takes its ministry to several care and rest homes to brighten the residents' day. The Paradise Performing Arts Center lobby is their host facility where the bells help to set the tone for the annual Paradise Symphony Holiday performance and can also be heard the first Thursday in December just prior to the annual Messiah performance. 

If you would like this group to perform for you, be sure to contact the church office early as the season's schedule fills rather quickly.

In 1985, when the new church hymnal was first used in the church services, Wayne Hooper was invited to come and introduce the new book. He told about the way songs were chosen, provided a bit of history about various authors and composers and the church choir performed some of the lovelier works. The hymnals were a gift to the church from Marian Klingbeil in loving memory of her husband, Dr. Lewis Klingbeil. This year also saw the completion of the youth chapel and a large storage area on the lower wing. A sound shell was built over the choir loft and other modifications were done to the front of the sanctuary.

John Hughson

Keith Mulligan left for the Southern California area and John Hughson and his family came to Paradise Adventist Church. In September of the same year, Russ and Ila Hagen left their retirement home and their close proximity to the ocean for a move to Paradise to be near their daughter and son-in-law - the Hughsons. Russ and Ila kept busy with visitations.

Russ Hagen


On April 18, 1987, the Paradise Seventh-day Adventist Church went to two church services. Plans for a multi-purpose room began. That facility, the Fellowship Center, was opened for use in March of 1990. The narthex was redecorated and women elders were elected.

Gary Parks  

In 1991, Lonnie Melashenko moved on and Gary Parks arrived as the youth pastor that June. He and Shelley often shared their wonderful musical gifts with the entire church body. What a blessing! In December, Charles and Dianne White came as the Senior Pastor and, in March of 1992, Jerry Bowers joined the staff as Outreach and Evangelism Pastor.


Mission Statement

The first mission statement, which was created in the 1990's, said:


Recognizing the imminence of Christ's return:

The Mission of the Paradise Seventh-day Adventist Church is to share Christ's Good News of salvation in our families, our church, our community, and the world. It is our purpose to involve everyone, according to his or her abilities, in revealing this gracious salvation.

We eagerly anticipate being united with Christ, for it is "in Him we live and move and have our being."

To "live" in Christ is to personally experience and know Him, to grow in faith and the knowledge of God through His Son.

To "move" in Christ is to reach out and share the hope of salvation with a needy hurting world; to help members discover their spiritual gifts and to equip them to serve others.

     Have our Being
To "have our being" in Christ is to seek wholeness spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally in Him; and to pursue this experience in a loving, accepting community of believers.

For in Him we live, and move, and have our being...Acts 17:28



Tom and Nancy Adams


In late 1996, the Hughsons left for a position at Pacific Union College and in March of 1997, Tom and Nancy Adams arrived. A strong Parish Elder plan was put in place and the church was divided into 12 geographical areas.

After several years of consideration, there was a major renovation  at the church from October 1997 to February 1998. 

Multitudes of members aided in the dismantling of pews (they were shipped to Oregon to be recovered and returned) and untold hours of volunteer time went into the renovation of the structure from top to bottom as members worked alongside the construction crew. 
Stacking some Pews

Church at school


New audio visual systems, remodeling of the interior lobby, installation of a prayer chapel, stained glass window and state of the art lighting and sound systems were put in place to enhance the worship service. During this construction phase, church services were held across the street from the church property in the gymnasium of Paradise Adventist School. 

Final Product

On February 14, 1998 the church was once again rejoicing in a "new" facility. Though renovation costs reached $760,000, we can say "Praise Be To God!" for the debt was paid in full in less than three years from the date of completion!


Flu Clinic

Being a community-minded church, the facility is used by many local community organizations and Feather River Hospital utilizes its location for many health outreaches such as its "drive up shooting" flu clinics where the recipient of the injection may remain in the comfort of their vehicle and not even get wet if it is raining! The clinic held in the Fall of 2000 dispensed close to 5,000 doses! 

Firefighters Practice

The firefighting community was allowed an outstanding opportunity to enhance their firefighting techniques as they torched the old "church on the hill" in a culmination of 15 training exercises in April of 1998. There were 75 firefighters from Paradise, Chico, Oroville, Butte County and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection who benefited from this event. Before burning the building to the ground, some firefighters practiced being in a burning building. They set small fires and spent about ten minutes in the church until the flames got too intense. The fire was doused and the drill began again with another crew of four.

    Gary and LaDonna Gryte

  Randy Speyer

In 1998, a change was made in the Youth Pastorate. Gary and Shelley Parks moved on to Oregon and Gary and LaDonna Gryte joined the staff a bit later in 1999. An additional pastoral change happened in 1999 when Randy and Jewell Speyer came on board as the Pastor for Evangelism, Family Life and Worship.

In February 2000, Charles and Dianne moved on in the service of the Lord and settled in Arizona. A long pastoral search began and was settled in August of 2001 when Damir and Natalija  Kanacki came to Paradise and served until February 29, 2004.

The Youth Pastor position changed staff on October 1, 2003 when the Grytes moved on and we welcomed Milton and Denice Marquez.

Milton and Denice Marquez


Ben and Mary Maxson

It was less than a year later, on August 1, 2004, that Ben and Mary Maxson accepted the invitation to lead out as Senior Pastor.

Thanks to the efforts of Golden Feather Ministries, a new radio ministry went on the air. On October 7, 2004. KRGR LP at 101.3 on the FM dial began reaching out to the community from its 100-foot tower located on the grounds of Paradise Adventist Academy. Life Talk Radio, based in Tennessee, presents 24-hour broadcasting with such programming as the Voice of Prophecy, Your Story Hour, How to Manage Your Money, Christian Working Woman, Joni and Friends, Revive Our Hearts, Unshackled! and many others in addition to several  musical programs. In December, the first local broadcast was launched. Listeners can tune in to hear sermons presented by the Senior Pastor. These are broadcast on Sabbath afternoon at 3:00 pm and on Sunday at 1:00 pm. Give it a listen. You can copy this address and paste it in your browser for a program schedule - http://www.lifetalk.net/.  Listeners may support this ministry by contacting the station at PO Box 475, Paradise 95927.

As any living, growing organization does, the Paradise Seventh-day Adventist Church reflected on the mission statement and vision set down in the 1990's and decided that it was time to move forward in the new century and a newer, more relevant mission statement and vision were drafted. On May 21, 2005, they were presented in print to the corporate body and are as follows:


The mission of the Paradise Seventh-day Adventist Church is to be a loving, contagious, Spirit-led family that lives in Christ and bears fruit through passionate worship, biblical truth and healing service.

Core Values

(alphabetical order)

Discipleship -

Developing mature and growing believers with a dynamic relationship with God.
Faith -
Developing strong spiritual relationships of belief and trust in God.
Family -
Nurturing strong and growing family relationships as a foundation for discipleship and growth.
Grace -
The unmerited favor of God as manifested in Jesus Christ and as extended to others by those who have experienced it.
Leadership -
Building strong spiritual leaders within the church family.
Member Ministry -
Encouraging every member to discover and implement a God-given ministry.


We, the Paradise Seventh-day Adventist Church, are a Spirit-filled family that is warm, loving and accepting of people from all walks of life. Every person, young and old, is an essential part of our growing church family. As we are discipled and serve God in ministry, we touch and transform our community through sharing Christ and serving others. Our love for God is seen in our passionate worship and dynamic prayer life as we lift up Jesus and prepare for His soon return. 

Strategic Goals


To create a safe place for young people to thrive in their walk with God and to intentionally incorporate youth and young adults into the structures and processes of the church.


To strategically expand our prayer ministry and encourage every member to grow in a meaningful and personal prayer life.


To develop and implement a multifaceted community outreach that strategically targets the needs of our community, including health and recovery programs.


To develop and implement a comprehensive discipling/mentoring strategy that fosters spiritual transformation.


At the September 29, 2005 Church Business Meeting, several new actions were put in place. Some of them are:
Family Fellowship - The current process of entry into our congregation is often seen as extended and awkward and can sometimes take a number of months for the process to be completed. It has been felt that we need a membership process which immediately communicates warmth and acceptance to the person seeking to be a part of our church family. So, upon the request of an individual to join our church family, either through baptism or transfer, they will be immediately voted into Family Fellowship (subject to their baptism at the appropriate time or the arrival of their membership transfer letter). This Family Fellowship stage will be a time for the new member to become acquainted with the church family and for the church family to become acquainted with the new member. During this time the new member will be encouraged to participate in church life activities. The new member will also be invited to attend a New Member Class.

Upon baptism or the arrival of the transfer letter from a sister church, we will welcome the individual into full church membership, which will include the ability to hold an elected office and to have voice and vote in business meetings.

Living Like Jesus - Loving Like God - In light of our recently re-defined Church Mission and Vision Statement we have also chosen a church theme - Living Like Jesus - Loving Like God.  Here again, we hope to incorporate this statement and its sentiments into all areas of our ministry so that we can truly be a witness to the saving grace of Jesus and the unfailing, redemptive power of God.

The Church in Business Session also gave authorization to create two new ministries:

KID - The first, the Kids in Discipleship (KID) program, was presented as an exciting new focus of discipling our children in the Kindergarten through Grade 6 age level. Recently a team of six individuals from our church attended an intensive training weekend at Collegedale, Tennessee. With the hands-on knowledge they received at that session and the help of a "coach" that has been assigned to our church, this team will begin training adults for a period of 12 weeks before they in turn begin the program of discipling their children.  Following that training, the parents will commence a 32-week grace-based   program with their children for a one-hour session each week. This program will not only empower children in worship, ministry, and mission, it will also encourage parents and caregivers in their own walk with Jesus and offer practical ways to make Christ the center of the home.

Hospitality Committee - Secondly, the church voted to create the Sabbath Lunch Hospitality Committee. This committee will make certain that there are always families or individuals who will be willing to provide a Sabbath lunch for our visiting guests.

Background Checks - The General Conference is recommending the implementation of a background check for all individuals working with children in the churches. We are all aware of the tragedies that have occurred to children within various church groups. We are adopting this program for the safety and protection of our children. Every individual who works with children under the age of 18 will be required to fill out a Volunteer Information Form and to submit to a background check, if necessary. All information will be kept confidential, with a limited number of people having access to the applications. We want to  emphasize that this program is being implemented for the safety and protection of our children, as well as the protection of our church.

New Ministry Position - In May of this year, our pastoral team lost the very capable and vital ministry of Pastor Gordon Paxton when he retired. Since that time, the other members of the pastoral staff have tried to fill in where they could. This time has provided an opportunity to re-evaluate the job description and the ministries that need to be fulfilled in order to round out our pastoral staff and adequately nurture our church family.

The church body unanimously voted to accept the Executive Board's recommendation for Mary Maxson to fill this part-time position, which has since become a full time position.


Through the years both the school and church have grown tremendously. As one building project is completed at one site, the other breaks ground. New classrooms at the school, new science building, new fellowship center and youth chapel at the church. Enhanced Community Services facilities, new sports complex. May it all be to the glory and honor of our Lord and Creator without Whom nothing may be done.

This history is a compilation of printed information from the Chico Enterprise Record, Paradise Post; notes from Ann Lawrence and Thomas Adams, presentations and bits and snippets of church bulletins, brochures and memories of members. We acknowledge and thank them all for their historical preservation you now read today.

Tawmi Mitchell

Please help complete this listing of pastors

Theron Treat  1933-1936
Frank L. Perry  1938-1945
Waldo L. Hesseltine  1945-1946
Sam S Rutan  1946-1947
A.C. AcMoody  1947-1949
W.R. Foulston  1949-1956
A.G. Streifling  1956-1965
Lewis Langworthy  February 1966-December 1968
Edward Koenig  January 1969-January 10, 1976
Hayward Shafer  January 24, 1976-February 1, 1981
E. Lonnie Melashenko  1981-1991
Charles White  1991-2000
Damir A Kanacki  August 20, 2001-February 29, 2004
Benjamin Maxson  August 1, 2004-

Associate/Administrative Pastors:
Rodney Applegate September 1966-September 1967
Norm Ault  1967
Keith Mulligan
Herb Greer
John Hughson  1986-1996
Tom Adams  1997-current

Assistant Pastors:
Don Mansell   1950s?
Nordon Winger  June 1975-August 30, 1976
Gary Veden  June-August 1976

We are still lacking specific office capacity, start/stop dates on the following personnel. We also would like to include a listing of former Bible Workers, Interns,  Pastors of...Evangelism, Youth, etc., so if you have any information that should appear on this page, please contact us. Thank you.

John Zapara
Gary Parks
Sam Soler
Bill Miller
Rob LeBard
Ed Herr
Russ Hagen
Gary Gryte
Gordon Paxton
Randy Speyer