Who We Are

Magnolia’s tag line is, “A Rich Tradition….A Bright Future.” Established in 1879 by a handful of pioneers whose mode of transportation was horse and carriage, Magnolia has grown into a vibrant witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and remains a beacon of inspiration and hope to the city of Riverside and beyond.

Unlike many churches, Magnolia’s people span all ages, from birth to the elderly. In response to the rich spectrum of people who choose to be part of our fellowship, a variety of worship styles are available. with our contemporary service at 9:00 AM and our traditional service at 11:00 AM on Sunday mornings.

Magnolia values its rich tradition of being a missional Church. Being an example of bringing the good news of the Gospel to our community and the world characterizes our philosophy of ministry. Increasingly, we’ve been involved in hands-on mission work in an effort to more personally share our faith.

“Gracious deference” is a phrase we’ve become accustomed to hearing. When we practice gracious deference, we agree to graciously defer our own likes and desires in order that others with varying approaches to life and ministry might feel welcomed, loved and included.

We seek to be a faithful part of the “body of Christ” that is inwardly growing and outwardly reaching as we follow the example of our Lord, Jesus the Christ. Check us out! We think you’ll discover that Magnolia is a jewel that will provide you with encouragement as you grow in faith.

What do you want me to know about Magnolia?

Magnolia has been a part of the Riverside community for 135 years. We are a caring and warm church family with committed lay leadership having a strong sense of mission and service. Our 350 members are excited about what God has for us to do in Riverside!

So you believe in the Bible?

Our belief is in the God of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We acknowledge the Bible to be God’s inspired, authoritative Word. As we like to say, the Bible is our standard in all matters of faith and life, and points us to God’s Living Word, Jesus Christ.

Can anyone belong to Magnolia?

Of course! Magnolia Church is not a country club! The Kingdom of Heaven is “equal opportunity” for everyone. You are welcome no matter who you are. We are not interested in being politically correct about membership. Through faith in Jesus Christ we are all one! This means we try to love others as he did.

What about your worship? Aren't Presbyterians often accused of being stiff and rigid in worship?

We’re really glad you brought this up. Yes, Presbyterians have often been chided as being “God’s Frozen Chosen,” largely because of our traditional formal order of worship. And, in the words of our theological mentor, John Calvin, we like to do things, “decently and in order.” At Magnolia, we have preserved the central core of reformed worship, the proclaimed word, but we have also recognized the need in today’s culture to approach the worship service with a blend of the contemporary together with the more traditional forms of music, dance and drama. It is not unusual to find members of the church family from all age groups participating in both worship services.

You keep mentioning "The Church" over and over again. Why?

Jesus began his work in this world by gathering followers. He did not come to establish such a thing as “Christianity.” That word is not in the Bible. What Christ Jesus did do was to establish the Church. In the New Testament, the word that we translate, “church”, actually means “the ones who are called out.” So really, the Church is not an institution, a building or a place, but it is literally a people who have been “called out” of the world by God to be His people and to gather around Him. When we become followers of Jesus, we want to become part of His people.

If I joined your congregation, would I have to come to every service?

That’s a commonly asked question. Since being a Christian means belonging to Jesus Christ and His people, it is difficult to imagine being a follower of Jesus and not being with others who have also been called to follow Him. We believe that the Church is the Body of Christ in the world today, called to minister as he did. Therefore, every member is an essential part of the functioning body, each contributing his or her uniqueness in this ongoing ministry. What does it cost to belong to Magnolia? It costs you your life, everything!

You must be joking!

No, it’s the truth. When you commit yourself to Jesus Christ and His Church, you will come to understand that everything you possess is a gift from Him to be used for His glory. The very purpose of life becomes rooted in the desire to serve and give glory to God.

Is the size of a church important?

The spiritual health and vitality of a congregation has very little to do with its size. Besides, focusing on numbers – which by the way, Jesus never did – tends to discount the importance of the people who ARE part of the congregation. Our members often comment on the friendliness of our congregation. This isn’t a function of size, large or small, but rather an expression of caring and reciprocating what we each in turn have felt and received through God’s love.

Where can I learn more about the life and mission of Magnolia Presbyterian Church?

You’re always invited to join us any Sunday morning at 9:00 AM for Contemporary Worship or at 11:00 AM for Traditional Worship. God will gently lead you to your eventual church home. Above all, don’t hesitate to ask questions of us. And, don’t worry if you think you know little about the Christian faith. We all walk together behind the great Teacher as seekers and students. Just remember when you feel that nudge toward God, perhaps we at Magnolia can provide some help.