As Earnest Matthews and E.A. Lewis gathered in an old skating rink, little did they know their God-inspired dreams of a Nazarene church in Ridgefield would be alive and flourishing over a hundred years later. On July 26, 1914, our church was first organized under the name, "First Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene." Twenty-two charter members began worship services in a rented hall, and then moved to the homes of Daniel N. Cowley and James S. Maxson until a barn on the Cowley property was remodeled to serve as a meeting place.
Under the direction of Rev. D.P. Henry, a new church was built on the corner of 5th and Pioneer, and was ready for use in November of 1922. In that same year, our church’s name was officially changed to “The Church of the Nazarene."
Twelve years later on September 1, 1934, our church rejoiced as they held the first mortgage burning ceremony. Our church was debt-free, with the property valued at $5,000.
In April 1954, our church purchased new property at 747 Pioneer Street, our church’s current location. After the new property was purchased, but before any new facilities were built, our District Superintendent and Rev. Howard Stephens (along with 56 members) decided to build a church in the Baker area a few miles southeast of Ridgefield. Our sister church, Pleasant View Church of the Nazarene, was completed in 1956.
In August 1960, Rev. and Mrs. Art (Doc) Fee began a wonderful ministry that lasted for 15 1/2 years. Rev. Fee led a successful financial drive to support the construction of new facilities on the Pioneer Street property.
Construction of our current facilities (minus the Family Center) started in 1967 under the supervision of Ted Hubbard, a member since 1943. Our church was completed and ready for worship in 1968.
Our church has been blessed with good leadership since its inception in 1914—leaders who inspired physical and spiritual growth of the church based on prayerful hopes and dreams to reach people for Christ in the greater Ridgefield area:
Rev. E.G. Smurr (1914)
Rev. E.F. Taylor (1915)
Rev. D. Rice (1916)
Rev. Miss Bertha Welsh (1917)
Rev. F.E. Blackman (1918)
Rev. Miss Louise Pinnell (1920)
Rev. D.P. Henry (1922)
Rev. Carleton D. Jones (1923)
Rev. J.S. Parkins (1925)
Rev. H.C. Baker (1928)
Rev. Herman L.B. Smith (1932)
Rev. Richard S. Taylor (1935)
Rev. W.H. Lowry (1936)
Rev. Warren Rood (1943)
Rev. C.V. Bryson (1945)
Rev. Howard D. Stephens (1952)
Rev. Paul W. Wordsworth (1956)
Rev. Arthur (“Doc”) W. Fee (1960)
Rev. Carl C. Mullen (1976)
Rev. Michael R. Goode served as pastor of RCN for 31 years from 1978 until his death in January of 2009. During his years at RCN, attendance grew to over 300 members, and the church added the Family Center, now known as the Michael R. Goode Family Center. During Pastor Mike's years the church became debt free, the Annual Singing Christmas Tree was initiated, together with several ministries serving the community. Pastor Mike's wife, Frieda, continues to serve the church as Lay Pastor of Visitation.
Loren Hanna (2009)—already a member of the pastoral staff—willingly, skillfully, and lovingly stepped in to take over most of the preaching responsibilities after the departure of Pastor Mike. The church continued to thrive under his ministry during the interim as the church searched for its new pastor.
Dr. Brian Thomas served as pastor from August 1, 2010 to July 19, 2015. Brian began his ministry helping the church move forward as they continued to heal after the death of Pastor Mike Goode. He led the development of Compassion Ridgefield, encouraged greater church participation in school events, initiated a community children's clothes closet, introduced Life Packs to give away to those in need, joined the business association, and took the lead in the formation of Compassion 360, a non-profit umbrella organization for meeting needs in the community. Pastor Brian greatly influenced worship by introducing updates in media, music, equipment, and an incredible team of worship leaders. His wife, Jean, served as Early Childhood Pastor and started Mom's/Kid's Connect groups and organized all the volunteers that serve in children’s ministries each week.
Rev. Thomas G. Shaw (Interim Pastor) (2016) guided the church with great compassion and discernment through a prayerful pastoral search period spanning several months.
Rev. Jason E. Matters accepted a call to serve at RCN in July 2016. In 2018, Pastor Jason tackled the challenge of completing a major remodel project that had been discussed for several years prior to his arrival. The project included installation of an elevator, the development of a coffee shop/church commons, relocation of the church nursery, reallocation of children’s classroom space, and relocation of several pastoral staff offices to a single location. Pastor Jason especially enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and hunting—he came to the right place!