Who We Are
Owned and operated by the Advent Christian Churches of Southern California, Camp Maranatha is a beautiful, secluded, 26-acre retreat center located a mile-high in the San Jacinto mountains with a camp history that goes back to 1951. Enjoy a quiet escape above the city and worldly cares. As the stars at night seem almost within reach, Christ seems closer than ever. During your stay the hours of worship, study, fellowship, and recreation breeze by all while drawing you closer to a relationship with our mighty Creator. The well-kept grounds are covered with pine, cedar, and oak trees which become your canopy for the duration of your camp stay. Occasionally, you may even catch a glimpse of a deer or raccoon roaming by.
Whether it be a juniors program, a bunch of high school teens, a young-adult college group, families gathered for family camp, or men or women assembled for individual retreats, Christian camping is an indispensable auxiliary in the program of the church, and here at Camp Maranatha you will experience Christian living in the context of a zestful out-of-doors atmosphere.
Camp facilities include:
A dining hall that cultivates community and caters to even the most restricted diets (Be sure to let our food service director unique dietary needs in advance)
Modern heated swimming pool (open only during the summer)
Rustic, meeting rooms
Variety of Housing Facilities
Sunset Bowl, a cement amphitheater with a gas fire ring
Large athletic Ball Field
Lighted Basketball/Volleyball court
Nature Trail and "The Path" has places for quiet time or use as a short hike
Close proximity to 100 miles of back-country trails for hiking or biking (bring your own bike)
For further enjoyment, Foosball, ping-pong, horseshoes, shuffleboard, outdoor checkers, swings, and an outdoor fitness area are here to utilize
We are an accommodations facility, providing housing, meeting rooms, recreation, and dining. Once you have designed your camping program, our team of staff is ready to meet your logistical needs. Contact us and grant us the liberty of serving you.
Camp Maranatha exists to glorify God by serving His Church through partnering with Christian ministries to further His kingdom.
Statement of Faith
We believe that the Bible is the inerrant, inspired Word of God, being in its entirety a revelation given to man under divine inspiration and providence; that its historic statements are correct, and that it is the only divine and infallible standard of faith, practice, teaching, discipline and serving. II Peter 1:20-21, John 17:17, II Timothy 3:16, 17
We believe, as revealed in the Bible:
a. In one God, our Father, eternal, righteous, and infinite in his wisdom, love, and power, the Creator of all things, “in whom we live, and move, and have our being.” Existing in three persons, each having the same attributes: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Deut 6:4, Mat 5:48, II Cor 13:14, John 1:1
b. And in Jesus Christ, our Lord, the only begotten Son of God, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; who came into our world to seek and to save that which was lost; so that He can be the satisfaction and sacrifice for man’s sin. He died on the cross, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day according to the scriptures and is now sitting at the right hand of the Father. Luke 1:35, Phil. 2:6-11, II Cor 5:21, Eph 1:20
c. And in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, equally God, sent from God to convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. John 16:3-11, Rom 8:9
We believe that man was created in the image of God. Adam and Eve listened to the devil’s lie rather than to God’s instructions and so sin and death became part of man’s nature, breaking the relationship with God. Man was unable to reconcile this separation in his own power, incurring death, both physical and spiritual, thereby all men are born with a sinful nature. Only through personal faith in Jesus Christ, can men become “partakers of the divine nature.” Gen 1:27, Rom 3:23, 5:12, Eph 2:1-3
We believe salvation comes through turning from sin, repentance toward God, accepting God’s free gift of grace brought to man through Christ’s death and resurrection, and is received through a personal faith in Christ as Lord, whose blood was shed on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice. I Cor 15:3-5, Eph 2:4-5, 2:8-9, Rom 10:9-10
We believe the Church consists of all those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, are redeemed by His blood and are born again of the Holy Spirit. Christ is the head of the church and the cornerstone to unify believers in Christ and through Christ. Eph 1:22-23, 2:20-22
The local church is a body to continue to meet for worship, prayer, fellowship, the teaching of God’s Word, the proclamation of the gospel, and observance of the Lord’s Supper. Mat 28:19-20, Acts 2:41-47
We believe the name MARANATHA (Aramean for "Our Lord is coming") encapsulates the beauty and strength of our belief that Christ will return at the end of this age. This is the truth of our hope of eternal life through Christ and the incentive for daily living holy lives in faithful service to God as He builds His Kingdom. Heb. 10:37, Titus 2:11-14
Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.
Camp Maranatha is owned and operated, as a non-profit organization, by the Advent Christian Conference of Southern California. The campground has been at our current location since 1951. Prior to that (dating back to the early 1900s), camp meetings were held at a beach-side in Carlsbad, California. The only permanent structure at the Carlsbad location was a kitchen/dining room. The campers slept in tents with a larger tent serving as a meeting hall.
In 1951, Ed Jaffarian, a member of the Advent Christian Church in Pasadena, purchased 25 acres in Idyllwild, California, and donated the land to the conference to be used as a campground. Through this generous act, Camp Maranatha was born and many lives have been impacted by Christ's work here.
At the time of purchase, the land had long been used by a sawmill business. Of the five frame buildings left by that enterprise, two have been modified for camp use today: A portion of the staff housing at Maple Lodge and our Ice Cream Parlor which, in its former life, served as the sawmill's office. Two others, the original Big Pine Lodge and The Ponderosa, were dismantled in 1998 and 2002. Although rich in history and memories the old buildings were in need of costly repairs and the space was cleared for the construction of the current Big Pine Lodge and the Oak Chapel/Oak Lodge structure.
The first camp meeting was held at Camp Maranatha in 1951. Most campers slept in tents, and they held meetings in the same "Tabernacle Tent" that had been used in Carlsbad. That first summer, the dining hall was under construction. Campers ate on one side while the other was being roofed. When that side was completed it was used for eating while roofing continued on the other side.
Errol and Juanita Hunt served as the camp’s managers for the first twenty years of its existence and did much to shape the camp’s layout and mission.
In 1971 Dick Beggs stepped in as director and his wife, Nancy, ran the kitchen. After more than thirty years of dedicated service Dick retired in 2003, and Nancy retired in 2007 (though she can still be seen helping out in the kitchen from time to time). Many lives have been impacted through this precious couple’s years of ministry and service.
Following Dick’s retirement in 2003, Keith Shirley took over the director’s position. Keith had served on our summer teen staff and was employed at the camp since 1990 as the facilities manager. With almost 30 years of service, Keith retired in October 2018. God has truly blessed this campground over the years with God-fearing leaders who possess vision, servant’s hearts, a genuine love for the Lord, and a desire to see the camp used for the glory of God.
Currently, Brian Reeves is serving Camp Maranatha as director. He, his wife, Katie, and their 5 children reside on campus.
Camp Maranatha has come a long way since those early days when campers slept in tents and ate in unfinished buildings. Over the years, the kitchen and dining hall were completed; cabins, meeting halls, restrooms, and shower facilities were constructed; and a swimming pool, volleyball court, and Sunset Bowl were also added. To replace the one original meeting tent, the campground now boasts four meeting halls; Eagle Mountain Tabernacle, Mt. San Jacinto Chapel, Mt. Tahquitz Chapel, and Oak Chapel.