Our Savior Lutheran Church is blessed to have a leadership team who are truly dedicated to Christ and accomplishing His will. Following are brief bio's of our leadership team and their qualifications for ministry.
Pastor Brandon Merrick
Reverend Brandon Merrick grew up in the Bay Area and was baptized at the age of 20 at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Milpitas. He received his Bachelors degree in theology from Concordia University, Irvine in May 1997 as a Director of Christian Education (DCE). He served the youth and family in churches in Goleta, CA, Cottage Grove, OR, and Ft. Lauderdale FL.
In September 2006 Brandon was moved by God to enter into the pastoral ministry and served as a licensed deacon at Christ the Life Lutheran Church in San Jose, CA and attended classes through the Cross-Cultural Ministry center in Irvine, CA and Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. In July 2011 Brandon graduated with his Master’s Degree in Theology from the Seminary and was ordained.
In November 2014 Brandon accepted the call to Our Savior Lutheran Church in Paradise, CA and has been blessed to serve God’s family here on the Ridge. He enjoys being outdoors and he and his family love the people and culture of Paradise. He has a passion for the mission of living the Good News of Jesus as a part of everyday life and connecting all people to the unconditional love of God which is found both in the pages of the Bible and in the hearts of repentant believers.
Doug Houston has served as the Congregation President for Our Savior Lutheran Church since December 2018, right after the Camp Fire.
He is a retired college administrator and a retired U.S. Army Reserve Officer having served in various Reserve and National Guard assignments and a decade as a Regular Army Officer. He holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Physics and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. He has held numerous senior leadership positions in the Army and in the California Community Colleges and has taught full and part-time at the community college and university level, including as a Physics Professor at West Point. He is the Emeritus Chancellor of the Yuba Community College District and still active with several education leadership associations.
For sixteen years, Doug led the teen Bible Study at Our Savior, including chaperoning the church’s youth group attending the National Youth Gathering in Orlando in 2007. He also led a small group Bible Study for six years and has occasionally had the honor of delivering a Sunday message in Pastor’s absence. The Houston's have been members of Our Savior since the late 1990s when they transferred from Concordia Lutheran Church in Barstow, CA where Doug also served as congregation president.
Doug’s home is with his wife Kathryn on a small ranchette south of Paradise, California along with a dozen, or so, animals including horses, dogs, cats, chickens and several birds ... Kathy is a veterinarian! Their son Samuel is an Army veteran currently enrolled in a Masters program at Georgetown University; their daughter Anna Marie earned a Masters Degree from William Jessup University and currently works in Sacramento as a clinical therapist. Doug and Kathy enjoy the outdoors and working on their land but most of all they enjoy the fellowship of their church family and friends. The Houston family has twice defended their home and those of neighbors from two major wildfires – the Humboldt Fire in 2008 and the Camp Fire in 2018 that destroyed nearly the entire town of Paradise.