Our Heritage

Redding First Church of the Nazarene moved to this campus in 1964 when Virgil Hutcheson was Pastor.  Under his leadership, mission outreach and missionaries became an important part of who we are as God’s people.  Alice Bailey, the mother of Debi Brown and grandmother of Amy and Anna Brown, became the first missionary president at that time.

A passion to partner with God in His Great Commission has continued through six Pastors and nine missionary presidents since then.  Those individuals have tried to help all of us see the world through the eyes of Jesus and remember His last words to His disciples; Go into all the world.

A huge world exists beyond the boundaries of this campus, and God’s plan includes all of us connecting and impacting that world with Him.  That’s why we are embracing His DNA for us of Loving God, Connecting with Others, and Serving the World.  That is part of what helps us remember we are all called to go on mission with Jesus, whether it’s near or far.

Over the years we have recognized that some are called to go far, whether it’s on a short-term mission project, or to follow a specific calling to career mission work.  We have also realized through the years, that even if we aren’t called to go far, God still calls all of us to be active participants with Him in mission, whether it’s through prayer, contributing resources, or simply sharing Christ with our neighbor.  In God’s plan we are all in partnership with Him to change the world, one person at a time.

This church has a rich history of partnering with God in the Great Commission.  This presentation is designed to help us remember that history, to remember the stories and celebrate the lives of those from our church family who have chosen to follow their call.  We will not forget their sacrifice, even as all of us continue to live out our calling of serving the world.

He calls a few to GO.  The rest of us are called to remember those who go, to pray for them and support them.  In God’s plan we are all in partnership with Him to change the world, one person at a time.  Here are a few of those He called to Go.

Pastor Stephen Campbell


Esther Alice Howard – She was born Esther Alice Howard February 15, 1925, in French Camp, California, near Stockton.  She grew up in Alameda in the Bay Area.  She and her family were active members of Oakland First Church of the Nazarene and her house was the center for the youth of the church on Sunday afternoons.  She loved sports and was an avid swimmer and baseball player.  The Howard family of six children never lacked for fun.  They would always tease each other and have great times together.  When she returned home on furlough from India, she always went to Oakland First Church and she and her friends would go to Oakland A’s games. 

More about Esther Howard   


Guil and Doris Fitz and Family – Africa 1965—1970

In the fall of 1965, the R. Guilford Fitz family saw all of there worldly goods crated up and shipped to San Francisco, headed for Africa.  Guil and Doris with two girls said goodbye to their church family, Redding First Church of the Nazarene and drove north to say goodbye to their families.


More about the Fitz family 


Phil & Marilyn Hopkins Family Central America 1971—1988

Phil and Marilyn were appointed missionaries for the Church of the Nazarene in 1971, following Phil’s graduation from Pasadena College with a Masters degree in Education.  After language study in Mexico City, in the spring of 1972, we moved to El Salvador, where we pastored two churches, Santa Ana and Chalchuapa, about 12 miles apart.  Phil preached in Chalchuapa while Sunday school was held in Santa Ana then dashed to Santa Ana while Sunday school was held in Chalchuapa.  In Chalchuapa Phil preached when we arrived and they sang after we left then had Sunday school.  In Santa Ana they started the song service and Phil preached after we arrived.  Mark always escaped from Marilyn and jumped into Phil’s arms as he preached.  At the end of the service Mark always shouted yeah! 

More about the Hopkins family 



Ron & Debi Berk Family – Papua New Guinea 1999—2007



It all started with a globe, a little girl and a question; it would end with our family spending 8-1/4 years as missionaries to Papua New Guinea. First and foremost, as “sold out for Jesus” believers, we must be willing to follow wherever God leads. We first heard God’s call in a Sunday morning service where the need for a builder on the Melanesia field was mentioned. After much prayer, interviews, applications and such we were commissioned and sent on our way.

More about the Berk family 





Jerry & Judy Manker – Rumania 2001-2004



 Jerry Manker was Pastor of Redding First Church from 1973 to 1977.  The Manker’s spent forty four years in Christian ministry, twenty-five as pastor and 20  in District ministry.


The Mankers’s began their ministry in 1962 planting the South Georgia Church of the Nazarene in Amarillo, Texas.  Following that they went to Willows and Lodi CA then Redding.  From there they went to Oregon City as pastor.  In 1985 Pastor Manker was elected District Superintendent of the Oregon Pacific District of the Church of the Nazarene.

More about the Mankers  


Vern & Mary Edwards – Short Term Volunteers to PNG 2005

 After being urged by our friends, Ron and Debi Berk, who were serving at Kudjip during this time, and the Holy Spirit, the two of us embarked on an adventure to a land totally different from the USA.  Seemingly at the last minute, our Visas were granted, we purchased our tickets, got insurance from “Nazarenes In Voluntary Service” and bought tools for Ron and special food supplies for us.  With overwhelming support from the congregation at Redding Naz and the words from the hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” ringing in our heads and hearts, we headed off to PNG via Los Angeles, Auckland, New Zealand and Cairns, Australia.  Flying into Mt. Hagen, PNG from Port Moresby is an adventure in itself, over high mountians and landing in a bowl.  The highlands of New Guinea are beautiful with lush green foliage, colorful flowers and bountiful crops.  Alongside the road as we drove from Mt. Hagen to Kudjip, we noticed people everywhere as most of the residents walk or ride the unreliable van buses.  It was hard getting used to this culture, so varied from our own, where even the grocery shopping can be scary, but God gave us patience and protection.

More about the Edwards 


 Rudolph G. Fitz Sr. and Family                             

 Doctor R. G. Fitz Sr. was the father of Dr. Guil Fitz, Redding First Church’s own resident missionary.  Per the leading of God, Rudolph G. fitz Sr.M. D.  and his wife Lura, arrived in China in 1920, as missionaries under the Church of the Nazarene, with two little girls in tow.  Dad felt clear that God had called him to be a missionary, and mother accepted that call as including her.  They rode a train to Beijing and enrolled in the Beijing language school so that Mom and Dad could study Mandarin and Dad could study the peculiarities of disease in China.  Elizabeth and Irma were joined in a few years by a third girl, Maxine.  Guil joined the family a few years after that.

More about the R.G. Fitz family 


 Ted & Mima Hughes

 Ted Hughes is the brother of Karen Cockerell and uncle of Kieth and Ken Cockerell and Linda Bloyd.  Ted and Mima grew up in Southern California where Ted graduated from Pasadena College (now Point Loma Nazarene University). They pastored churches in Fallon, Nevada, Libby Montana, Long Beach, California, and Powell, Wyoming. In 1959 while in their pastorate in Powell, they were appointed as missionaries to Cuba for the Church of the Nazarene, and were sent to Mexico City for one year of study of the Spanish language.

More about the Hughes 


 Emily Ray

 Emily Ray is a cousin of Joy Thacker, a long time Redding First member.  Emily Ray was born in Guatemala City on December 9 and 1936; daughter of Missionary Bessie June Branstine and Federico Guillermo, a Holiness Preacher.

While they were still small, her father involved her and her sister, Wilma, in his evangelistic trips to mountain villages.  He strapped a portable organ on one side of the horse, a box with their food, clothes and other supplies on the other. One of the girls might ride on top.  At nine years of age Emily would lead the songs, while Wilma, age 11, would play the pump organ in open-air services. Emily learned to love the people and the missionary work as she experienced the joy of seeing people coming to Christ.

More about Emily Ray 


 Dr. Larry and Addie Garman

 Addie Garman is a close friend of Joanne Ratcliff.  They attended Pasadena College, which is now Point Loma University.  Larry and Addie were both called to Missions as young people.While Larry was going to Chiropractor college in Pasadena they were attending Whittier Church of the Nazarene which was Addies home church.One Sunday morning they had a missionary speaker.He was Rev. Bob Gray, from Peru.He had said that there was a real need for missionaries with medical training at our Mission Station in the jungle.This was the Augaruna Indians that lived along the Marion river and close to the Amazon area.They both ended at the altar and said yes to God’s mission call.

More about the Garmans 


Rev.Herbert and Alyce Ratcliff

 Herb Ratcliff is the brother of our own Glenn Ratcliff.  Herb and Alyce both had a mission calls as young people.They met at Pasadena, were married after graduation in l945 then to Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City.Herb was in the first graduating class of the new Seminary. Upon graduation in l948 they moved to Willows Ca to start a home mission church.They later moved and pastored the church in Exeter, CA.In l954 they were assigned to the country of British Guiana.In l957 when they were assigned to the Bible College at Trinidad in the Caribbean, where they taught for twenty years.Inl965 they were asked to go to Puerto Rico to teach at that Bible College.So they took a six month course in Mexico City to learn Spanish. After five years they were sent back to Trinidad to teach again. In l983 they were sent to the Dominican Republic.  There worked in the TET program, which taught theology to people who were unable to leave families to attend seminary in Costa Rica.

In l986 there was a need for a missionary to go to Bermuda to help a struggling church.So that’s where they finished their missionary work.They were career missionaries for 34 years, retiring in l988.


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