What kind of Church is this?
We are a “no pressure” church seeking to walk the journey together, but not in step with each other. As such, we welcome everyone and find in our pews a wide variety of perspectives on faith. Most of us have some connection to Christianity and it is the liturgical tradition we follow. It is also the story many of us claim as we honor all traditions that connect us to God. We do not identify ourselves by specific dogmas or creeds but by our commitment to engage our individual spiritual journeys in community. This is called “relationship.” All other paths to spiritual awakening and deepening flow from this work in faith.
We are a welcoming church. Jesus did not reject people and neither do we. God calls us to love each other and we embrace that calling, welcoming the whole person into community. Our gender identities and expressions, our sexual orientation, our age, our race, our politics, our income, our physical bodies, our resources, our identities all serve to ground and locate us, but can never be a source of separation from God’s love and our call to share that love.
We take our faith seriously and emphasize Respect, Relationship, and Responsibility in our spiritual journey. Healthy community is grounded in these three values. We cannot follow the Christ - loving God, neighbor, and self - without embracing them. Respect means we begin with the best possible assumption about each other. Respect also describes how we treat each other, how we honor the community, and how we walk in the world. Responsibility suggests that we are not in it just for ourselves. It is true that people seek out communities of faith because they are seeking something. But if a person's only agenda is to get his or her spiritual needs met, the community suffers. We have a responsibility to God's creation, to our loved ones, to our communities of support and to the communities of need that surround us. By beginning with our generosity instead of our need, we create space for the movement of the Spirit in our lives. Relationship means that we understand ourselves to be connected - to each other, to our God, and to the world around us. In relationship, we grow, we deepen, we discover, we struggle, we embrace, we love.
We are an authentic church. Our services are interactive. Our prayer time is honest. Our work is our own. We allow the Holy Spirit to move among us - which means we joyfully embrace a bit of chaos at times. We create safe space for sharing of stories, pain, and joys. We ask “how are you” and we wait for your response. Our fellowship time after the services is almost as important as our worship because it is when we practice the love of God in community by listening to each other, sharing our stories, experiencing the movement of the Spirit, and centering ourselves in faith.
* A United Church of Christ church. This is a mainline Protestant denomination with an inclusive, global perspective. See www.ucc.org to find out more.
* A “Still Speaking Church” which means we believe God is still speaking to us today! And our call, as people of faith is to listen for God, dance with God, and live out God’s call of love as expressed through Jesus Christ.
*An Open and Affirming Church which means we welcome persons of every gender, sexual orientation, sexual expression, race, ability and age – everyone! – and we invite all to participate in the full life and ministry of Berkeley Church.
This little dog clearly conveys our greeting at BerkChurch.
What is Progressive Christianity?
We are a Christian church. This means we hold Jesus Christ in special regard and seek to learn from his teachings and honor his particular relationship with God as “son.” We find Jesus’ most important and relevant teaching to be his “Greatest Commandment” words from the synoptic Gospels which call upon humanity to Love God, Love Neighbor and Love Self as best as we can. When we are doing this work of love, we are following Christ.
We consider the Bible our sacred text and we take it seriously. We understand the Bible to be the story of God’s relationship with God’s people throughout history. Through understanding the context of the passages, we discover meanings for our lives today. This means we study the historical, socio-economic, political, cultural AND faith meanings within the text. We acknowledge and name contradictions in the text. We understand the function of the Bible to be a way to bring us closer to God. When it does not support that purpose, we trust our knowledge and experience of God’s love over the hurtful and damaging language in the text.