Being and making disciples who know God and make God known through worship, community, and mission.

pastors & Staff

Matt Arden

Lead Pastor/Elder

Matt was a surprise baby, the youngest of 3 sons, born and raised in Reno, NV. He has lived in Yuba/Sutter for nearly 20 years altogether with Tara, his wife of  '99. They have two daughters. Matt did his undergrad at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO and earned a Master of Divinity in Biblical and Theological Studies from Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY in 2006. He has been in ministry for 27 years serving as a worship and youth pastor at churches in both an urban and suburban context. He has been River Valley's Lead Pastor since March of 2013.

Matt's favorite verse is Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." The testimony of Matt's life is God's strength being demonstrated in our weakness. God's presence, love, forgiveness and grace have been clear even in the midst of many failures and losses!

Fun facts: Matt enjoys buying and selling collectibles and is an avid New Orleans Saints fan. He came to Yuba College in 1995 to play football for Yuba College and still aspires to be an athlete today.

Bob Comarsh

Pastor/Elder for Music & Liturgy

Bob was born and raised in the Yuba/Sutter area...and he still doesn't like the heat. He has loved music since he was just a few years old. He has been in and around the church since he was 5 and began serving in music ministry at age 19. Bob first confessed Christ as a boy and is grateful for the saving journey of healing and gospel transformation God has had him on for over 40 years. He has been married to Bridget for nearly 30 years. They have three grown children (2 by birth, 1 by marriage) and an unborn grandson (expected late 2022). He earned a Master of Divinity from Gateway Seminary in 2021. Bob has served in various roles in various churches over the past 30 years including music/worship, student ministry, kids ministry, and as a preaching elder/pastor. He has been on staff at RVC since 2006 and currently serves as a pastor overseeing music & liturgy.

Bob's favorite verse over decades has remained 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. On a life journey that has included confessing and embracing  frailty to know the true comfort and power of Christ, this truth has remained precious to Bob.  

Fun facts: Bob enjoys Star Wars, the San Francisco Giants, and coffee. He collects Starbucks mugs and music on vinyl. He preaches in polo's and Vans and puts product in his beard. 

Dan Abken

Pastor/Elder for Community

Dan was born in San Bernardino, CA. but considers Paradise, CA. his hometown. He has been married to Kathy for 51 years. They have two grown children and six grandchildren. He has been in ministry for over 30 years including 20 years as the senior pastor of the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church in Veneta, Oregon. He also worked as a land surveyor for 25 years. Dan attended Simpson Bible College in San Francisco, CA. and received additional pastoral training through the C&MA Ministerial Study Program. He has been on staff at RVC since 2015 as an associate pastor and currently oversees our Gospel Communities (small groups) and is part of our preaching team.

Robert Choate


Tara Arden

Operations Director  

Tara grew up in church and from an early age loved serving in various types of ministries. She graduated college with a Sociology major and minor in Missions. "The plan" was to enter the foreign mission field , but God's plan was to marry Matt Arden and move to Yuba City.  Definitely a foreign mission field compared to her home state of Illinois.  
She and Matt have been married for 23 years, have two daughters and have called Yuba Sutter home for 20 years.  Tara has served in various roles at River Valley, including working with Matt in the youth ministry and as RV Kids director.  In her current role, she feels God's pleasure as she gets to combine her God-given skills with the requirements of  Operations Director.  There's nothing like creating a good system, planning and organizing for the glory of God.

Fun facts: She plays the piano and flute. Enjoys a good conspiracy theory, or two.  

Emily Abken

River Valley Kids Lead Coordinator

Trace DeNormandie

Lay Pastor (Inactive)