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Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (Kensington, CA)
Re: A Worship Service Designed for Toddlers and Infants?
The Unitarian Universalist Chuch of Berkeley (actually in the hills of Kensington) is starting this fall a religious education class for toddlers and preschoolers. Until now, most young children stayed in service for the first 15 minutes or so, then left for the childcare program after the story. We are now integrating into the childcare program a 15-20 minute toddler-friendly ''class'' based on the theme of the month. The class will include songs, a ''chalice lighting'' (fabric flames), and a story or activity. After the class, the children will just play in the childcare until the end of service. Children are also free to remain with their families during service if they wish.
We also have weekly Thursday night suppers that are catered by a church member. Typically, children eat with the group, then go off to play supervised by a childcare person. Parents are free to attend a small worship service. Last night we started the first of our first-Thursday family nights where the worship is specifically geared towards children.
For more information, call the minister of religious education, Chris Holton- Jablonski at (510) 525-0302 ext. 304. UU mama
Re: Catholic looking for something different
I'm also a catholic who needed something more/different. I found a wonderful religious home at UUCB (Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley) which inspires me and feeds my spirit. We don't have a religious Dogma, we have principles and our members come from many different faith traditions. I found it a very welcoming community and our whole family attends Sunday service. We have many women ministers as well. Check us out: http://www.uucb.org/index.php/newcomers/imagine-a- religion.html seportil
Re: A place to come together spiritually as a family
Unitarian Universalism: I love UUCB, and my 5 yr old daughter and I attend most every Sunday as we have since she was two. For us it's a great supportive community where I don't have to check my brain at the door. I can bring it right on in with the rest of me and enjoy conversations with people from all sorts of religious traditions, including followers of Christ's teachings, Jews, and devout atheists. It's not a complete free for all- it's never OK to hurt anyone. There's a quiz at beliefnet.org that's helpful, but here are the basic beliefs: We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote The inherent worth and dignity of every person; Justice, equity and compassion in human relations; Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations; A free and responsible search for truth and meaning; The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large; The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all; Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
If you're interested in coming, send me an email- I'd be glad to accompany you. Melissa
Re: Church for middle age and beyond?
If you're anywhere near Berkeley/Kensington you've got to take a treck up the hill to UUCB- http://www.uucb.org/about/
We're a multigenerational congregation. We celebrate all aspects of human experience. Another poster mentioned the long history of their denomination. Many churches boast humanitarian members- but as far as I know UU is the only place where you are recognized as having your own beliefs and welcomed in joyful celebration.
We're a little on the traditional side, as far as our services go- with a beautiful organ, grand piano, and choir, but you may find yourself seated next to a humanist, an agnostic, a christian, a jew, all together under one roof: Loving and accepting eachother regardless of labels.
Get a blue mug if you'd like folks to welcome you, or a ''plain'' one if you want to hang back and just take it all in. melissa
Re: Churches with kids near El Cerrito?
I'm a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (UUCB)(actually located in Kensington, off of the Arlington, at the top of Moeser Lane, so practically in El Cerrito). I think it's a great church and very family friendly. I don't have children of my own so I'm hoping you'll hear from others but I have taught in the religious education program at UUCB and there is a lot of thought that goes into the curriculum. I was involved with the ''Coming of Age'' program for young adolescents at the church and there seemed to be a nice sense of community among the youth in that group. There is a part-time religious education minister who oversees these programs and is creative about trying new ways to help integrate children into the services. You might want to check it out.
Re: Family friendly church for a newbie
Hi, I would recomend the UU Church of Berkeley in Kensington. I am the Education Assistant there and we have a brand new Minister of Religious Education. The children and youth education program is growing. My daughter is in the 1st grade and loves the program. She also sings in the youth and children's choir.
UUCB has a congregation with a diverse range of spiritual beliefs and backgrounds. Many come from other faith tradtions, some from atheist or agnostic backgrounds and we even have a few life-long UU's. There are a number of adult education offerings. The congregation also has a strong commitment to social justice.
If you would like more information, I would be happy to talk with you more. Feel free to contact me off list. Margaret
Re: I think I want to join a Unitarian Universalist Church.
I've only been to the UU church in Kensington (it gets called the Berkeley church, though there is also a smaller group that meets in actual Berkeley) and I would say that you would fit right in without discomfort. I'm guessing the participants are mostly from a variety of Christian and Jewish backgrounds. The Religious Education program is very active (they are in the process of searching for an additional minister whose main activity will be promoting this aspect of the church) and there are a lot of kindergarten age children. Also, I would say that quite a few members are atheist; there is even a special meeting for UU atheists at least once a month if not more often. It's not that they don't mention the bible during services, but it's seen as one of many sources of wisdom. The church tends to be politically involved (on the left side of the spectrum), which to me is a very good thing. There are lots of visitors, especially this time of year when the childrens' programs are revving up, and they have an area set aside where church members answer visitors' questions at the end of services. There is a children's choir, a large adult choir and a lot of activities to become involved in. Liz
Re: children's choirs
Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (1 Lawson Road in Kensington) has a new music director who directs the adult choir and the children's choir. The UUs always sing a great variety of music. I was very impressed with how well the kids sang this Fall after only a few weeks of lessons. I think the children's choir practices on Thursday evenings. The church also offers catered meals for a community dinner on Thursdays so you could eat there too (there is a charge for the meal). Lissa
Both UU congregations in Berkeley are wonderful, the one on Cedar and
one in Kensington which they call "Berkeley" because they don't wish
to the acronym of "First Unitarian Church of Kensington" but secretly
known with the affectionate nickname of "the F____ church"! Everyone
which one that is! The 930 am Sunday philosophy discussions are often
good with people like Huston Smith giving talks. Both churches are
in justice issues & have active & friendly congregations.
I grew up in a Lutheran household, though I am not attending any church at this time. One church that you might be interested in if you haven't been exposed to organized religion and are looking for more of the spiritual and community aspects of religion is the Unitarian Church in Kensington. The church sends out a newsletter from time to time, and I know a member of the congregation. What I gather from reading the newsletter and talking to the member of the congregation is that the church is more about bringing people together and breaking down barriers than it is about worshiping a god. I do not believe that you would find _any_ kinds of biases at the church. My impression is that it is church and community that embraces everyone.
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