Chapel in the Pines is a non-denominational church with a multigenerational congregation.  We have representation across the spectrum from young families with young children to senior adults. We are a casual, come-as-you-are kind of place. Engaging Bible teaching, authentic vibrant worship, and strong community have been constant values for this congregation. The people of Chapel in the Pines come from a variety of denominational backgrounds and Christian experience. Everybody is welcome, nobody is perfect, and we believe that, with God, all things are possible.

Core Values

Engaging Biblical Worship

We strive to glorify God in all we do.
(Luke 4:8, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:16-17)

We hold to Biblical principles for all worship activity.
(Psalm 150:1-6, Philippians 4:8-9, Hebrews 12:28-29)

We seek to worship with excellence.
(Psalm 33:1-4, Psalm 95:1-7, Proverbs 22:29, Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 9:24-26)

Healthy Growth

We recognize our need for ongoing spiritual development.
(Philippians 3:12-14, Colossians 1:10-12, James 1:22-27, 2 Peter 1:5-8)

 We purpose to absorb others into God’s family well.
(Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 2:46-47)

 We commit to embracing healthy change
(John 3:30, Romans 12:2, Philippians 1:6)

Selfless Service

We strive to love God and love others selflessly.
(Matthew 22:37-40, Romans 12:9-21, 1 John 4:7-12 & 19-21)

 We value others above ourselves in humble service.
(John 15:12-14, Romans 12: 3-8, Philippians 2:1-8)

Community Focus

We purpose to be a light in our community.
(Proverbs 4:18, Matthew 5:14-16, John 8:12, 2 Corinthians 4:5-6, Titus 2:7-8)

 We strive to welcome people well.
(John 1:12, Romans 15:7, Ephesians 2:19-22, Hebrews 13:2)

 We desire to influence our community in practical ways that display our hope.
(Galatians 6:10, Hebrews 13:15-16, James 2:14-17, 1 Peter 4:8-10, John 3:16-18)


Chapel in the Pines started in 1947 as a group of people who began to meet for Wednesday evening fellowship and Bible study. At that time, Twain Harte was just a wide place in the road along Highway 108. The town did not have a church building.  As the gathering grew, so did a desire to form a congregation and build a local church. Russ and Alva Peters were part of this gathering of believers and Russ designed the plans for Twain Harte’s first church. Materials were donated, volunteer labor invested, time was sacrificed to see the dedication of Twain Harte’s first church building in May of 1949. This “Old Chapel” still stands. Pastor Bill Callahan, who was also the pastor at Standard Community Church, served as Chapel’s first Pastor.

Russ Peters became the Senior Pastor in 1955 and served 29 years, retiring in 1984. The ministry was family-oriented and missions-minded. Emphasis was placed on introducing people to Jesus and equipping the church to be selfless servants. Pastor Russ continued to serve and encourage the Chapel family until his homegoing in 2018.

In 1984, Steve Peters, son of Russ and Alva Peters, was installed as the new Senior Pastor. At the same time, construction began on a larger church building. Pastor Russ designed the new sanctuary. As with the Old Chapel, the new building was a labor of love by the members who donated money, time, skills, and effort to see the building completed. The first service was held in the new Chapel in 1987. Pastor Steve had a great passion for worship and encouraging the church to grow in their relationship to the Lord. He was a gifted preacher and, with his wife Debbie, had a special gift in making everyone feel welcome. He also did much to foster collaboration with other local pastors and church leaders. Pastor Steve faithfully served as Senior Pastor until his passing in 2000.

Pastor Dennis Ortmann took on the role of Senior Pastor in 2000. Originally from the Pittsburgh area, Pastor Dennis had served in Berlin, Germany for 22 years. With his wife Alexandra, they moved to Tuolumne County to serve the Chapel family and emphasized a common faith in Jesus woven together through the love and working of the Holy Spirit. Pastor Dennis retired in 2020.

In 2020, Pastor Daniel Baxter arrived to serve Chapel in the Pines as Interim Pastor. He, with his wife Tegan, came with a heart to build relationships and see the ministry thrive. Pastor Daniel encouraged an exciting revitalization around Chapel’s core values of engaging Biblical worship, ongoing spiritual development, selfless service and a desire to positively impact the community.

A new season for Chapel in the Pines began in summer of 2022 when Tim Kayser became the Lead Pastor. Tim and his wife, Echo, are passionate to see lives changed by the love, truth, and power of God. They are eager to see Chapel grow as a family who puts Christ first as we love God, one another, and the people around us.

Statement of Faith

We believe that the Bible (All Scripture as found in the Old and New Testament) is the Word of God, given by inspiration of God, and that it is the supreme, only and final authority from God for our faith, life and conduct. It is our guide for all questions regarding faith and practice.

The Trinity
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three Persons: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

God the Father
We believe in God the Father, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. As Father, He concerns Himself with the needs of fallen mankind. He exercises perfectly both justice and mercy. He is faithful and works all things to His glory.

Jesus Christ
We believe in the absolute Deity of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, who existed from all eternity and who came into the world that He might reveal God to man as both Redeemer and Lord. To this end, He was born of a virgin and became a perfect Man; yet retained His absolute Deity, being at the same time true God and true Man.

Holy Spirit
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the blessed Trinity. He is the Comforter, the source of all true power, equipping the believer to be a witness of the gospel of the kingdom. He is present with the believer to guide and to empower into all acceptable worship and service.

We believe that man was originally created in the image and after the likeness of God, and that he fell through sin and as a consequence lost his spiritual life and became dead in the trespasses and sin. Man stands in need of personal salvation (To be forgiven and reconciled to God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ).

We believe that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. However, salvation has been accomplished for those who believe solely through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was made sin for us, dying in our stead. Nothing we can do can add to the finished work on the cross. We believe that by simple faith in Him our sins are forgiven, imparting a new life from above, being born again into God’s family, becoming Sons of God.

The Church
We believe that all who are in Christ have become part of His body over which He is the Head. It is our desire to always endeavor to keep the unity of the Body, representing the kingdom of God to the world around us. The church’s purpose is to worship, to disciple, and to evangelize.

Christian Conduct
We believe that all true Christians should be careful to serve as salt and light to the world around them. They should maintain a good witness and endeavor to serve with good works that are birthed in the Spirit. The supreme task of the believer is to glorify God and to love his neighbor as himself.

Last Things
We believe in the personal return of Jesus Christ and the final judgment.