Growing Faith

retreat  groupGrowing Faith

Adopted by the Community Church in the 1950’s, the following Statement describes our continuing commitment to grow our faith.

We come together from varied religious backgrounds to search for a vital experience of God, and to build our own personal creeds from the reality of that experience.

Starting with ourselves as we are, where we are, we seek to grow in accordance with our discovery of God’s purpose for us.

We accept the commitment to live in this world as God’s children and as brothers and sisters with each other, bound together by the challenge of Jesus: “Follow me.”

Each year the Christian Life Team plans programs to help us grow in faith, to increase our understanding, and to undo our prejudices.

 

Through Worship

Advent altarThrough Sunday worship and special services throughout the year, we seek to experience God through reading and interpretation of the Scriptures, visual art, special music, and drama.

The church year begins in Advent with a spirit of hopeful expectation.  At the Community Church we honor this special season by gradually decorating our space, letting the season come at its own pace, week after week.  Each Sunday, we light another one of five Advent candles, as we draw closer to Christmas.  On Christmas Eve, excited, wiggly children help build the crèche and recreate the Bethlehem scene of Jesus’ birth.

During Lent we slow down a bit to draw a holy comma in our busy lives.  Beginning with Ash Wednesday and for the next six weeks of Lent, we set aside more time for silent prayer and meditation as we journey toward Easter.

During the summer, the Sunday service becomes more informal, the choir takes a break, and our gatherings are smaller and more intimate.

With the return of fall we look forward to some of our favorite special services: Labor Day Sunday, when a lay member of the congregation preaches on the connection between faith and work in his/her life, and World Communion Sunday when we celebrate our Christian connection to people throughout the earth with breads from nations around the world.  In November we plan a Day of Remembrance when we celebrate the lives of family members and friends who have died by sharing memories and telling their stories.

 

Through Study and Reflection

Study Group

Every Sunday at 9 a.m., our pastor Pam Shortridge leads an informal discussion class to dig deeper into the Scripture texts that will be read during the worship service.  Often what we discover together is far removed from what we learned long ago in Sunday school or read in a magazine.  The class is designed for those who are curious about the Bible, but have no time or inclination to read it on their own.  You are welcome to drop in on Sunday mornings.  There is never any homework, and no advance preparation is ever necessary.

Study groups, lecture series, retreats, and/or workshops are offered every year. The topics have varied widely from workshops on poetry writing and banner-making to community forums on stem cell research and capital punishment.  To learn about upcoming programs, see the home page for a link to upcoming News & Events and our newsletter “Of Good Report.”

In the midst of the winter season of reflection, we take a weekend break and get away for an adult faith retreat in the coastal hills above Napa Valley.  Some retreat themes from past years: “Faith Unmasked,” “Telling Our Stories and Making Sense of Jesus’ Stories,” and “Re-Imagining the Church.”

During Lent we offer a book study or film series.  In previous years, we have discussed provocative books such as John Dominic Crossan’s God and Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now and Robin R. Meyer’s Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus.   At other times, we’ve sponsored a film series, including Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.”  More recently we’ve held a forum/discussion series on Ethical Concerns In Our Work.

 

Persons In Discernment

The Community Church gave support to Arn Lou Mutia as he studied and prepared for ordained ministry in the United Church of Christ.  We continue to support his efforts to build a ministry serving the Filipino immigrant community.

Born and raised in the Philippines, Arn Lou Mutia completed his studies at San Francisco Theological Seminary in May 2008.  He says, “I hope to create a ministry that builds bridges among our churches, encompassing regional boundaries and race, and advocating for strong, vibrant justice and peace programs.”