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Contemporary Church opens at Northstar

DARIN OLDE, Sierra Sun

Truckee residents have a new, contemporary house of worship.

Tahoe Forest Church celebrated its official opening last weekend with 160 attendants, adult and children’s services and a nursery program for infants at the Northstar Homeowners’ Adult Center.

An evangelical pastor with an adventurous twist, senior pastor Mike Sampson communicates an old message with new-school style.

“We are a Christian Church and believe in the Bible as authority,” Sampson said, “but we believe strongly that the ways to communicate vary.”

Sampson added that he found new members to complement his burgeoning soft-rock band just last week.

“I’m the kind of person who likes a little more adventure vs. joining existing congregations.”

A former resident of Oakhurst, Calif., where he started his own congregation 14 years ago, Sampson arrived in Truckee last autumn. Sampson is a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University and was ordained in 1983. He brings 22 years of pastoral experience to compliment Truckee Tahoe Christian School Principal Bob Cromwell, who is the churches associate pastor.

“It was time to make a change and start a new church,” he said. “The people have been very friendly here.”

After doing demographical surveys of the area, Sampson decided to Truckee residents matched the criteria he was hoping to reach.

Mike and Tara Vaughan are new Truckee residents, soon to be parents, who visited Tahoe Forest Church for their inaugural ceremonies.

“We thought it was really good,” Tara said. “We like that it’s just starting out. In a lot of churches that are already established it’s hard to get plugged in.”

Tara said she found out about Tahoe Forest Church after visiting the inflatable bounce houses at the regional park.

“We’re really big on kids,” Sampson said. We’ve put on a ski camp for kids ages 6 to 12, a concert with singer Mary Rice Hopkins and we’re putting on Jump in the Park [inflatable bounce houses] this weekend.”

The goal is to reach Truckee residents between the ages of 25 and 45 who are married with children and found previous services boring.

“Worship shouldn’t be something you have to endure,” he said.

For more information about Tahoe Forest Church call Mike or Bob at 587-7725.


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