Pacific Union College Church
|Pacific Union College Church|
|Location||Pacific Union College
|Denomination||Seventh-day Adventist Church|
|Founded||December 31, 1909|
|Senior pastor(s)||Mark Witas|
|Pastor(s)||John Hughson, Wendy Witas, David Carreon, Adam Washington|
The congregation traces its roots to 1909, when the church had their first meeting in a former dance hall shortly after Pacific Union College's move to Angwin from Healdsburg. It records having 42 charter members at that time. In 1919, the congregation met in the chapel of the new college building and by 1921 had 290 members. Until 1947, the pastor was the head of the college's religion department. The congregation moved into its own new building in 1968. Like most churches of the time, its practices were traditional in form with weekly performances by its church choir. By 1984, the church plant was worth an estimated $7.7 million due to inflation, it had cost less than a third of that amount to construct in 1968. When Healdsburg College, now PUC, was first established, the College operated all levels of the educational experience. However, starting in 1901, the College Church took over the financial responsibility for the elementary school. They raised a church-school fund. All the children of the church were free to attend the school. In 2000, PUC Church was noted for being the only church in the Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists to have a female pastor. Pastors from the church have been featured at various events hosted by Adventist Churches. The church is active in philanthropy. In 2010 the church raised over $25,000 to aid in relief efforts after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The church has 1,800 members, not including the 1,500 students attending Pacific Union College. Theologian Desmond Ford continued to hold membership at the church after being defrocked. Many years later, in 2001, he voluntarily requested to have his name dropped from membership for reasons which seem to be unrelated to his defrocking.
Rieger Pipe Organ
The stage of the PUC Church is dominated by Pacific Union College's pipe organ made by organ builder Rieger Orgelbau in the town of Schwarzach in Austria. The organ rises 50 feet (15 m) above the front stage of the sanctuary, and its 4,000 pipes range in size from two inches to 20 feet. During planning, designers were concerned about the tendency of the organ to make the balcony shake, leading them to place it at the front of the church. The organ is distinguished by its significant French influences, departing from Rieger's previous work based on Germanic sympathies; it was influenced by organs built by Frenchmen Dom Bédos de Celles, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, François-Henri Clicquot and Robert Clicquot. When installation was completed in 1981, it was the largest organ that Rieger's company had constructed. In 1996, a group of German organists listed the organ as one of the top 35 most important organs in the United States.
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