Orcutt Pioneer Article

During COVID Orcutt Christian Church Enjoys Drive-In Worship Services

Worship services have been drastically affected during COVID 19.   But members of  Orcutt Christian Church have been blessed with continuing faithful messages from their dedicated minister.   Through the the creativity of Pastor Archie Miller of Orcutt Christian Church on Patterson Road, the congregation enjoys services in the parking lot of their church on Patterson Road.     The eighty-four year old minister, who has been serving the local congregation for twenty three years, has built a stereo transmitting system which meets standards of a professional radio station so that members can meet in the church parking lot and remain in their vehicles to sing hymns, pray, take communion and hear a weekly message from their minister.   Each Sunday, the 10:15am religious service is heard on the FM dial at 94.7.   

Pastor Miller says after two weeks of the pandemic restrictions and Easter approaching, "I had a meeting with two sergeants from the Santa Barbara County Sheriffs station and told them Easter was one of the most sacred days of the year.   And when I told them I had a trasmitting system meeting the guidelines of the Federal Communications system,  they said ‘Go it’” So on Sundays law enforcement drives by and sees lots of cars in the church parking lot,  and importantly they see folks are observing COVID 19 restrictions.

"It's such a blessing," says one hundred and one years old Geneveve Williams.  "I have been in this house so long.  I can at least wave at friends.  I don't have a drivers licence and my daughter takes me to church every Sunday. I am so thankful."   

Another member, Ben Colon, an emergency room nurse at Marian Medical Center, says the congregation has grown since the drive in services have begun.   "Everybody takes part in communion as the emblems of our Savior's atonement are given in paper bags as congregants drive into the lot.  We see each other; we wave.  Fellowship is wonderful."    Ben Colon is the Faith Community Nurse for the church.  He has taught nursing at Allan Hancock and Santa Barbara Colleges.  

The Orcutt Christian Church has about 40 members and has been in its current Patterson location for 63 years.

About Pastor Archie Miller

Pastor Miller was Raised in Tuskegee, Alabama.  In his teens, his propensity for “All things radio”propelled him as a ham radio operator to set up a radio repair shop.  When he joined the Marines in 1953, the Eagle scout was assigned to communications training.   During the Korean conflict, Pastor Miller was a combat engineer and helped distill water for jet planes used on take-off and created drinking water for combat troops. The Marines then sent him to a school to be an Atomic Biological Chemical Warfare instructor.

After Pastor Miller's Marine service he began his education and eventually earned two doctorates.    He received a bachelors degree in theology at Cincinnati Bible Seminary and then went to Earlham College in Richmond Indiana, a Quaker school for ministerial training.    He achieved his Masters in counseling at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.    He then studied at the University of Southern California School of Medicine and received certification in psychiatry and served as chaplain.   

In the late sixties the Air Force requested him to serve as a  chaplain.  Following his second stint in the Armed Forces he accepted a pastoral position at  Pacific Grove Christian Church in Monterey, California.     He then moved down the coast to Santa Maria where he was invited to take a position at an electronics personnel firm. Soon after he became general manager of Caps Communication in Santa Maria before assuming his current position at Orcutt Christian Church in 1997.

Pastor Miller actually built the stero transmitting system years ago for people who may not be able to always be in the chapel during services.   "When the pandemic kept us from church the weeks before Easter,  We knew the drive in concept so people could worship in their cars was the way to go.   And Heavenly Father has so blessed us."   

The Orcutt Christian Church is located at 204 Patterson Road.  Worship and Communion Sunday is at 10:15am.  Bible study is Thursday's at 5:30pm.