By Pamela Dozois

Contributing Writer

The Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church will host the first of its kind unified church conference called the “Patmos Bible Conference” in August.

The four-night event will be held Tuesday through Friday, Aug. 6-9, starting at 6 p.m. each evening. The theme of the conference is “Jesus is Different.”

Food service will be provided at 5 p.m. each night, and free child care will be provided upon advance request. 

The four evenings will be devoted to “seeking God and falling down before Him,” through the ministries of Biblical preaching and worship. The speakers will be Rick Murray, pastor of the Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church; Sam Kiser, pastor of Crossroads in Buellton; Jay Marshall, pastor of Valley Christian Fellowship; and Rick Soto, pastor of the Ranch Church.

The valley-wide event is free and open to people of all faiths. Advance registration (on line at is important so organizers can plan the right amount of food for those attending.

Just before Thanksgiving, after returning from a trip to Israel, Soto was moved to read the Book of Revelation in the Bible, a book which tradition holds was written by the apostle John when he was exiled on the Isle of Patmos off the coast of Greece. 

“I was reading the Book of Revelation for my own benefit,” said Soto. “I didn’t get much further than the first chapter when the Lord seemed to stop me. I feel I was divinely inspired at that moment with the thought that we needed to get together for a week of gospel preaching, to elevate the lost art of preaching, and that multiple churches needed to be invited.”

“I went and talked to Rick Murray, the pastor of Santa Ynez Presbyterian Church, and to Sam Kiser, pastor at Crossroads in Buellton, and Jay Marshall, pastor of Valley Christian Fellowship,” Soto explained. “I shared with them what I believe — that God inspired me into action – to put together a group of churches to elevate Jesus Christ’s Gospel teachings.

“Each of them agreed that it was divinely inspired. It took a little time to put the event together. Each pastor had to pray about it and discuss participating in the event with their individual leadership teams and board members. All four of us were in agreement, and the Patmos Bible Conference was formed.” 

“All four of us got together at Figueroa Farmhouse to discuss all the details of the conference. It was a lot of fun,” said Soto. “I give each pastor a lot of credit because they were stepping into the unknown – they are taking a step of faith.”

The conference was put on hold temporarily after Soto was struck Jan. 3 by a truck on his morning run and suffered a broken neck and a brain injury.

“That left me with some limitations up to now,” said Soto. “But I was divinely healed. I am now back to work.”

“We’ve established a brotherhood of pastors,” he added. “It’s been a joy to talk together, and we chuckled a lot in our meetings. They are a group of classy, tactful, godly men, and it is a pleasure to be their friend.”

Soto has also written a book about the simplicity of knowing and loving God, titled “Simple Bible Commentary,” based on Philippians. It is available at Soto also holds online Bible classes.

For more information, visit or call 805-697-5250. Register for the conference at