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Re: Seeking welcoming church with inspiring minister
Sounds like you'd be right at home at the Northbrae Community Church in North Berkeley Just above Solano Ave. Nothbrae has served the Berkeley community for over a hundred years, and over the years has developed a form of Judeo-Christian spirituality that incorporates many insights from other faiths and practices. You can see the influence in the stained glass windows in our beautiful chapel--they include people we call Torchbearers: Isaiah, Buddha, Lao Tsu and Muhammad (in a respectful representation of brotherhood, not the prophet) as well as Jesus and Paul. You can also find torchbearers like Emerson, Florence Nightengale, Gandhi, and Albert Einstein. They are a reminder that we can all live a life that lights the dark.
Our Pastor is inspiring, often bringing insights from other faiths and corners of the world. We have a Biblical Scholar who regularly looks at the week's readings from a scholarly as well as emotional vantage point. And I am the Storyteller, regularly telling myths and legends from around the world for the children's sermon. Add to this a fabulous music program, and you have some excellent Sunday services.
We have a children's program that is growing stronger every year. Most of our children are younger than teens, although we do have a teen program (when they come to church). We also are renewing our rite-of-passage program for pre-teens that is worth finding out about.
The Northbrae facility is a large, friendly, open place where a number of community programs gather. You can find meditation classes, yoga, 12-step programs, and other more secular groups gathering in the gracious buildings.
I hope you'll drop by some Sunday soon and say hello. We'd love to meet you and your family! Carolyn
Re: ''comfortable'' church near El Cerrito
Hi Jen, I'm the storyteller at the Northbrae Community Church, a place that would fit your family very well. We're on The Alameda at the top of Solano Ave. Northbrae was founded 100 years ago when there were not enough of any denomination in north Berkeley to fill a whole congregation. It's a community church in the best sense of the term, meaning we are shaped by and a part of the greater community. Our pastor, Ron Sebring, calls the spirituality at Northbrae ''Christocentric but Universally Inclusive.'' We are a Christian church, but one that is fully a part of the modern world. You are likely to hear a story from Buddhism or a Native American tradition and insights from Judaism or Islam as well as Christianity on any given Sunday. Our congregation is smart, curious, and compassionate, and the Sunday services reflect that.
We have childcare for kids up to kindergarten age, and Sunday School for older kids. The Sunday School curriculum is story-based and values oriented. We want the kids to be familiar with the stories in the Bible, but also aware that other religions have insights that are important. And we want them to have fun coming to church on Sundays.
We have a growing group of young families. Besides Sundays, we get together one evening a month to share pizza or a pot luck meal, and then to sing or have a games night. The kids love it, and for us parents it feels great too.
We have special events for Christmas and Easter, as well as other special days throughout the year. Our Christmas Eve service is delightful, very inclusive and set up to make kids and families feel the wonder of the day. For Easter, we have the best lawn in town for an egg hunt.
I think even your husband would enjoy some of our programs, including our First Wednesday Speaker Series. In September, we welcomed Malcolm Margolin who spoke on the Native Californians, and in future months we'll have Barbara Essex who will discuss African American spirituality, as well as a number of other speakers.
Please come by and see our lovely chapel, our services, and our community. And I'd be happy to answer any other questions you have. Carolyn
Re: Family friendly church for a newbie
I urge you to check out the Northbrea Community Church on The Alameda at Solano. We are a small but wonderful congregation, with a growing group of young families. Northbrea calls itself Crysto-centric but universally inclusive. Our services are based on the Christian litergy, but also draw from most of the other religious traditions in the world. Almost every week, I tell a myth or story from one of our world religions as the Children's story time. The children love to hear stories from around the world, and I hear from adults that they like these stories too. Ron Sebring, our minister, also draws from many different world religions for his sermons, which are always thoughtful and thought provoking. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is a lot of room to explore at Northbrea, but there is also a strong spiritual foundation that helps with that exploration. We have a smal but growing group of young families, and our Sunday school classes are taught by paren! ts and grandparents who love kids. Carolyn
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