Racial Justice & Diversity News

black lives matter signFirst Church Berkeley is committed to address issues of racial justice and diversity through education, activism and prayer. The Diversity Ministry Team meets each month and initiates conversations and educational offerings. The Team also has a blog where they have published some of their reflections.

The ministers preach on these issues as well and other members of the congregation are involved in a variety of activities. The church is also committed to having a diversity of voices preaching at the church.

Below are past news items and event listings related to racial justice and diversity.



The Diversity Team led a 2-part study of Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law: The Forgotten History of How Our Government

At the First Church Annual Meeting on Sunday, February 3, the congregation voted unanimously to become a

First Church is partnering with the Disabled Contingent of the Women’s March, coming up on Saturday, Janu

Kerrie Hein is looking for more volunteers to help with the task of waking the unhoused neighbors who sleep each night in

At the First Church Annual Meeting on Sunday, February 2, the congregati

On Sunday, January 27, The Ministry of Families, Children and Youth (FamChY) will sponsor another Church

The Diversity Team will lead a 2-part study of Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law: The Forgotten History of How Our Gove

On Sunday, January 13, Nancy DeNero will talk about Emotional Support Animals (along with her Yo

For the Learning Hour on January 20, 2019, Dr. Henry L. Abrons will present a program on Single Payer Healthcare—“Improved Healthcare for All”—at 11:45 am in Loper Chapel.

Lupita Muñiz will be our guest preacher on Sunday, December 30.

This Christmas we have two opportunities to make a small but powerful difference in the lives of those experiencing homele

This Sunday, November 11, First Church will participate in Neighbors in Need (NIN), an annual offering to support

First Church observed Transgender Day of Remembrance on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at 6

The Affordable Housing Aficionados group has begun meeting monthly.

On Sunday, December 9, come to further explore the possibility of First Church becoming a Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive

The events of the last week have brought up a range of feelings for many among us: anger, sorrow, shame, fear, despair, and reopened ol

On Sunday, September 30, 2018, the First Church congregation voted unanimously to recommend the endorsement of two Califor

At its last meeting, the Church Council voted unanimously to recommend the endorsement of two California

The first meeting of the Affordable Housing Aficionados Group will be this Sunday, September 9, 11:45 am–

Photos! On Saturday, September 8, 2018, a march called Rise for Climate, Jobs & Justice took place in San Francisco beginning at Embarcadero Plaza. The march to promote a New Energy and Economic Future was one of thousands taking place around the world.

First Church member Kerrie Hein presented a series of five seminars on Mental Health Promotion.

Alexa and Dianeth still need your support!

First Church celebrated Pride weekend in big ways.

There is interest in expanding the FCCB sanctuary ministry to include sponsorship and housing of an immigrant/refugee. 

On Saturday, June 9, a vigil was held at the West County Detention Center.

Come join First Church’s Accompaniment Team (a subset of ou

Marvin K. White served as First Church’s Public Theologian in Residence for 2017-2018.

For over three decades, US immigration policies have become increasingly harsh, a trend that is only becoming worse under the Trum

A whole crowd of First Church Berkeley folk joined other local church members in the 2018 CROP Hunger Walk to support projects add

On Sunday, May 20, at 11:45 am, Regina Evans (poet, playwright, social justice performer and a m

April showers bring more worries than flowers when your roof is leaking.

An Oakland “March for Our Lives” Rally to protest gun violence will be held at 10 am on

Sunday, March 31, 2019 is One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Sunday.

After 16 years, First Church member Judy Norberg is stepping down as the coordinator of the Kitchen Community Ministry Tea

First Church member Judith Norberg and the Kitchen Community Ministry Team will be honored at a benefit event for

The Sanctuary Ministry Team announces the formation of a new Accompaniment Te

The Adult Education Ministry presents two Learning Hours on California prison issues on Sundays February

On Sunday, February 18, the Adult Education Ministry and the Diversity Team will screen the awar

Members of the First Church have formed a new Disability Empowerment Team.

Come one, come all!

The Berkeley Food Pantry recently learned that the Alameda County Community Food Bank

On Sunday, November 5, 2017 a “founding meeting” for the Choral Majority will be held from


On Sunday, August 27, 800 to 1000 people of faith from a variety of traditions in the Bay Area gathered in response to a planned rally by right-win

In the wake of white supremacist rallies in other parts of the country, Bay Area residents are responding to a pair of rallies sch

Join the “Choral Majority” on August 27 as a mass choir sings in nonviolent response to that wee

In March of this year, Stan Boghosian traveled to parts of Israel, Jordan and Lebanon at the invitation of a rela

The Justice & Service Ministry (previously named Outreach, Mission, and Service—OMS) is beginning the yearly

Berkeley Food Pantry families are missing school breakfasts and lunches during summer months. Pantry Manager, Amy

Reuben Shank will present a two-part Learning Hour series on Restorative Justice on Sund

As part of the celebration of Pride Month, First Church members will be attending the Trans March on Frid

On Sunday, June 18 First Congregational Church of Berkeley, United Church of Christ voted unanimously to sign the National Sanctuary Movement Pledg

The Church Council has called a meeting of the congregation on Sunday, June 18 to vote to sign t

Rev. Da Vita “Day” McCallister will be our guest preacher on Pentecost Sunday, June 4, 2017 for our Grand Celebration of our return to the Sanctuary.

In partnership with the Sierra Club and

A crowd of at least 33 First Church folk joined the 2017 CROP Walk to End Hunger on Sunday, April 30.

Last Wednesday, April 26, 2017, on the day of the ceremony of remembrance at First Church to commemorate the mass removal and impr


Rebuilding Together is now on May 6.

Interfaith leaders will wash the feet of immigrants in a special Maundy Thursday public event at 4 pm

Some members of the community have raised the issue of how First Church might be involved in the Sanctuary Movement to sup

On Sunday, March 26, come to a workshop by Eileen Drapiza-Dornan, LMFT, Berkeley-based therapist whose specialtie

This Sunday, March 26 is One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Sunday, an offering taken up across the

A three-part series called Social Justice Theology will be led by Alice Clark, Reuben Shank and

At the Learning Hour on Sunday, March 12, First Church member Victoria Purcell-Gates will report

Many in our church have been taking our core religious values to Congress and the White House, and upping our social justi

Kit Novotny & Annis Kukulan will be organizing a First Church group to join the Oakland event at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater at 11 am. An interfaith service will take place at 10:30 am near that same location.

On Sunday, February 26, 11:45 am–1:15 pm, parents are invited to a workshop led by First Church member Patty Contaxis, MFT

An InterPlay Art Response will be held at First Church Berkeley on Sunday, February 19, 2017 to mark the

First Congregational Church will participate in our fifth annual service day with Urban Relea

Hosted by Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action (BOCA)
Monday Feb 13, 12-5 pm

On February 19 the Green Ministry Team


On Saturday, January 21, First Church friends of all genders are invited to march together in the Women’s March in Oakland

On Saturday, January 21, First Church friends of all genders are invited to march together in the Women’s March in Oakland

The First Church Adult Education Committee and the Diversity Team are sponsoring

Do you believe in the right to freedom and dignity for all?

New Year?s Resolution: Get to know my friends and family members who think about

Save the date for a First Church Berkeley Progressive Revival featuring Rev.

Members of the First Church community are gathering items to fill up 40 Christmas stockings (actually red Santa hats!) with items

On Tuesday, January 31, Alameda County will be conducting its 2017 Point-in-Time Count

Our former Emerging Leader Sonny Graves, M.Div, will be back with us leading worship on Sunday November 20, as th

Come take part in Second Sunday Sandwiches, a ministry that has emerged from Service as Worship Day experiences l

The next Diverse Families Project workshop for parents, ?Widening the Circle: Gender & Sexuality Vari

With the harvest season here, the

POST FIRE UPDATE   This meeting to take place following the

This year First Church has made great strides in lowering its carbon footprint.


A spirited, dedicated and growing group of Second Sunday Sandwiches volunteers gathered on the sidewalk outside of Loper Chapel th

First Church’s Children at the Border/Sanctuary Ministry Team is celebrating the Global Citizens Award from the

For the second time a group from First Church took part in a peaceful demonstration to share messages of love and


As it approaches it?s annual grant-making process, the Ministry of Outreach, Mission and Service (OMS) is inviting the congregation to help them prioritize the areas in which grants will be made. Each year, OMS funds social justice projects that address oppression, violence, and discrimination of and against marginalized populations which are often defined by race, gender, gender expression, religion, and socioeconomic status.

On Thursday, August 25 we?ll be screening the beautiful new documentary Real Boy at 7 pm in the

Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA) is presenting an ?art exhibit of humanity?

On Sunday, July 10, 2016 First Church responded to a disturbing and challenging week in which two more black men

UPDATE   On July 19, the Oakland City Council took it's

You are invited to join Fr. Didace Kamana, Catholic priest, justice worker, scholar and survivor of the Rwanda genocide for a weekend of events at First Church Berkeley, UCC, on Saturday and Sunday, August 27 & 28, 2016.

The Center for Progressive Renewal in cooperation with the

The First Church community contributed $3,652.75 thus far to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS), a special offering

First Church held a vigil to mourn the murders in Orlando at 6 pm on Wednesday, June 15

First Church member Alice Clark is the author of a new book

This summer the Pacific School of Religion?s (PSR)

On Sunday, May 29, First Church will take up a special offering of cereal and peanut butter for the

On Saturday, ?June 4, in the Large Assembly, come to a forum on Institutional Racism in th

The Green Ministry Team would like you to know about a

Professor Moises Gomez of the University of Central America in San Salvador, will speak in Loper Chapel at

Are you interested in learning more about a ordable housing in Alameda County?

First Church has been at the forefront of providing aid and support for the “Children from the Border” immigrants and refugees.

As part of the series Easter to Earth Day

On Sunday, April 17, during the Save the Bay Learning Hour, come hear a representative from


The Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll will be our guest preacher at 11 am on Sunday, April 17.

In April, we will celebrate the dignity and beauty of this one earth we share, honor the devastating realities of climate change a

What role can faith play in motivating our leaders towards sustainable change?

At its February meeting the First Church Green Ministry Team

Once again First Church will participate in a service day sponsored by Urban Releaf to

SURJ (Showing up for Racial Justice) is a national and local network of gro

Andrew Hanauer, campaigns director for Jubilee USA Network spoke

Forget about giving up cookies for Lent. How about giving up some carbon? ? a.k.a.

Celebrate Valentine?s Day at the ?Loving Our Neighbor? Meet in the Middle!

First Church is planning a ?Service as Worship?

A dozen First Church Berkeley members spent the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, Monday, January 18, 2016 picking up more than 100 pounds of trash along the San Francisco Bay shoreline as part of a day of service.

The First Church Diversity Team is building relationships with other faith communities in the area that are looking at issues of r

At its January meeting, the First Church Diversity Team discussed an article written by Drew Gilpin Faust in the December 17 issue

On Friday, January 15, 2016 religious leaders and community members of the Bay Area are joining together for an interfaith

The Green Ministry Team and the

In January, the Family, Children and Youth Ministry launches the Diverse Families Project Exploration Series, to

Former FCCB member Peter Sly will give insight about crucial water issues in Israel and Palestin

First Church Berkeley supports a powerful statement made by leaders of the United Church of Christ

In October 2015, for the fourth year in a row, First Church

At its November meeting the Church Council endorsed the Paris Pledge on behalf of the FCCB congregation.

On Fifth Sundays, First Church takes up offerings of special items to meet specific needs.

First Church Green Team members Freddie Bunge, Rev. Charlotte Russell, and Young Adult Minister Rev. Kit Novotny spent Thursday, November 12 in Sacramento today with faith leaders from across California, part of a day of action organized by Faith Against Fracking.

The 23nd Annual East Bay Sanctuary Covenant International Holiday Crafts Fair will take place on Saturday & Sunday, No

On Sunday, November 15, First Church members will have an opportunity to contribute to the national

The Green Team, in partnership with,? will be joining a climate mobilization march and rally ?in advance of the United Nations Climate Change Summit (called COP21) on Saturday, November 21 in Oakland

On Thursday, November 12, members of Faith Against Fracking (wh

New Member Loi Almeron will share her experience of participating in the International Solidarity Mission in

Join Young Adult Minister Kit Novotny and members of the First Church Diversity Team

The Green Team is sponsoring the screening of Merchants of Doubt

The Ministry of Justice & Service will be sponsoring a service day at the Alam

We're all painfully aware of the growing challenge of refugees escaping from Syria.

On Sunday, September 13, members of the First Church community canvassed Berkeley neighborhoods, mostly near the

In June, Pope Francis released his much-anticipated and ground-breaking encyclical, Laudato Si, called ?O

First Church mourns the loss of nine members of Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, in a tragic and sho

In its third year, the Green Ministry Team accomplished much to help the ch

Members of Children at the Border/Sanctuary, First Church?s newest ministry team, ar

Have you come up against the challenge of how to recycle certain objects or materials and wondered where to turn?

On May 31, 2015 First Church will celebrate the many wonderful volunteers who keep the

In March, eleven clergy and lay people from a spectrum of US Protestant denominations, including First Church Minister of Community Life

Recognizing the importance of the recent events in Baltimore both for their particularity and their connection to important and challenging nation-

First Church Berkeley continues to pray for the situation in Baltimore, Maryland as members of that community and

In response to events in Nepal and Baltimore, First Church held an impromptu Community Prayer Gathering

The United Church of Christ, the denomination of which First Church is a part, is responding the massive earthquake in Nepal where

Minister of Community Life Rachel Bauman will give a presentation on her recent

$11,813.84 raised to date! This year?s Easter Offering will support four local organizations that are working to help make our community a better place: Rebuilding Together, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Planting Justice and Berkeley Food and Housing Project.
First Church is considering adding two phrases to the Open and Affirming (ONA) Statement?gender identity and gender expression?to be more explici

Last month, Toni Battle, who is involved in the group Welcome to the Table, spoke during a First Church Learning


During Lent, First Church is exploring the theme Room at the Table.

UPDATE   On Sunday, April 19, In an official congregational meeting, First Congregational Church of Berkeley vote

The Green Ministry Team invites you to join a tree planting day of service on Saturday, March 21 with Urban Releaf. Please mark your calendars and RSVP to Paul Chapman. Urban Releaf is an urban forestry non-profit organization established in Oakland, California to address the needs of communities that have little to no greenery or tree canopy. They focus our efforts in under-served neighborhoods that suffer from disproportionate environmental quality of life and economic depravity.

This year's Lent theme is Room at the Table. Three Learning Hours will explore tables of exclusion and inclusion.

America has recently honored the legacy of the Rev.

They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ?Peace, peace,? they say, when there is no peace. ? Jeremiah 6:14

Honor the life of Dr.

The Children from the Border Ministry Team shares an opportunity to work with youth refuguees who have settled in

Members of the First Church community joined with other people of faith to participate in a walk in the Telegraph Avenue area in a

In October 2014, Green Ministry Team members, assisted by students of the

Members of the First Church community joined with other people of faith to participate in a walk in the Telegraph Avenue area in a

A group of 17 First Church members and friends volunteered at the Alameda County Community Food Ban

A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity

Best-selling author and New York Times columnist Nicho

First Church Berkeley is participating in an on-going food drive to support the work of the

First Church?s Diversity Ministry Team is endorsing Proposition 47 on this November's ballot.

Rabbi Stephen Pearce will deliver the third and final presentation in the series InterFaith Perspectives on the Environmen

This fall (2014) First Church is exploring the theme "Enough for All: Challenging Inequality" through a series of sermons and adult education progr

Jakada Imani, the Director of the new Center for Spiritual and Soc

The First Church Green Ministry Team has written a letter to the


People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014 in New York City.

First Church's Green Ministry Team will show the new film, ?Disruption,? p

Every month with a fifth Sunday, the Ministry of Outreach, Mission and Service provides an opportunity to contribute specific item

On Wednesday, September 3, 2014 the Diversity Team will screen the documentary film “John Brown's Body at

A group of First Church members are moving toward creating a Children at the Border Ministry Team.

First Church is responding to the recent wave of youth immigration into the US from Central America.

Tomorrow night, Wednesday, July 16, there will be a special meeting to consider how First Church might respond to the needs of

350 Bay Area and co-sponsors invite you to come hear Dr.

On two Sundays, July 20 & 27, The Green Team and the Adult Education Committee is presenting Learning Hours (

In April the Green Ministry Team completed a Transportation Survey

In the summer of 2013, members of the First Church community went to Guatemala with the organization

On Sunday, May 18, YES, the middle school youth group, will be assembling activity kits to be de

In a bold move, the United Church of Christ has filed suit in the state of North Carolina challenging a law that

Committed cyclist and First Church member Dan Leaverton will be taking part in the

Easter is a time when God?s abundant blessings give us new hope and compel us to share our resources to help make the

In honor of Earth Day (April 22), the Green Ministry Team is organizing th

UPDATE 5/13/14: THE SHOW WILL GO ON. We're sorry to announce that Suzanne Westenhoefer has been in an accident and is currently in the hospital. She will be unable to perform this weekend. Suzanne is expected to make a full recovery. We wish her much healing and send her our prayers. The show, of course, will go on! We're pleased that Shelagh Ratner is stepping into the show alongside Jennie McNulty.



This year?s Rebuilding Together project will take place on two Saturdays, Apri

One Great Hour of Sharing, a special offering of the United Church of Christ and

First Church?s Ministry of Outreach, Mission and Service challenges you to help

The Green Ministry Team invites you to join in a day of tree planting with

View Patricia de Jong?s sermon at the 9 am service...

Twelve members of the First Church community took part in a Save the Bay activity on Saturday, January 18.

On Sunday, January 26, members of the Climate Change Team at the

On January 19, the First Church Green Ministry Team has in


Three local and three international organization will share your gift to First Church's annual Christmas Offering.

Gifts for the World is an alternative gift catalog, providing an opportunity to contribute to local and w

Senior Minister Patricia de Jong will be joining a delegation from Church Worl

Dumpster diving on Thursday, Oct.

The Green Ministry Team at First Church is hosting a

About 50 people gathered for the Green Ministry Team?s Sustainable Potluck Lunch

Our church?s offering to Neighbors in Need (NIN) will take place during worship on Sunday, October 6 in both serv

At its meeting on Tuesday, September 10, The Ministry of Outreach, Mission & Servi

Join the members of the First Church community who traveled to Guatemala with the organization Common Hope for a

Paul Chapman is the chair of the Green Ministry Team, formed in 2012 a

The Diversity Ministry Team will meet on Wednesday, August 7 to reflect on the recent three-part study of the

Thanks to the outstanding support from the First Church community, the Green Ministry Team enjoyed a productive year promoting

First Congregational Church of Berkeley, United Church of Christ, celebrates the decisions of the Supreme

The Diversity Ministry Team led a just-completed a three-part discussion of Michelle Alexander?s book,

First Church marked Juneteenth in worship on Sunday morning, June 16.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Fifteen First Church folk gathered at the Shorebird Park Nature Center near the Berkeley Marina

The United Church of Christ has set a goal of sending 100,000 advocacy

How many members of the First Church community found a way green way to commute to church on Sunday, May 5?

Special note   As of May 15, 2013, the total of contributions for One Great Hour of Sharing was

Members and friends of First Church Berkeley helped transform the home of a Berkeley resident by cleaning inside

One of the goals of the UCC-wide campaign ?Mission 4/1 Earth? is to plant 100,000 trees world-wide.

More than 30 members and friends of First Church plus three dogs spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon walking throu

30 members and friends of First Church Berkeley joined with the committed staff of the Oakland organization

How many members of the First Church community can find a green way to commute to church on Sunday, May 5?

We will have the opportunity to work with the Shorebird Park Nature Center near the Berkeley Marina to promote environmental stewa

Six youth and ten adults from First Church traveled to Antigua, Guatemala from June 30 to July 7

Rev. Matthew Crebbin grew up in First Church Berkeley and much of his family are current members.

Members of First Church Berkeley joined their hearts and minds in prayer with congregations across the country on Sunday,

The Ministry of Outreach, Mission and Service lifts up four local organization

The UCC-wide campaign ?Mission 4/1 Earth? began on April 1 and will be ending soon on Sunday, May 19

On Sunday, February 10, First Church joined in the National Preach-In on Global Warming sponsore

FCCB member Jim Alnas-Benson (on the far right in the photo) will be riding in his third AIDS/LifeCycle June 5-11

The 5th Sunday Collection received on Sunday, May 29 and June 5, will gather school supplies for the children ser

Each summer, members of Winthrop, the Senior High youth group, participate in a week-long work camp.

FCCB member Liz McBride has been paying close attention to the famine and refugee situation in Somalia.

Senior Minister Patricia de Jong joined a delegation organized by Church World Service (CWS) to visit wat

This year‘s “Gifts for the World” Catalog was a wonderful success, raising $5805 as of the end of the year.

This year?s Christmas Offering brought in $12,332.67!

First Church friend Amir Soltani will screen his documentary film Redemption on Sunday, January

Sunday, March 18 is One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Sunday. Your generous gifts to OGHS will help to:

The Ministry of Outreach, Mission and Service invites church members and friends t

An opportunity for FCCB members to promote a healthy environment comes on Saturday, June 9, when volunteers, orga

Birtukan Beyenssa who has worked with our young children for many years also created the Ethiopian Village Schools Advance

Join members of the new Green Ministry Team at the Berkeley Marina for the International Shore Line Cleanup on

First Church plans several responses to the pressing issue of hunger among East Bay residents, organized by the

This year, the Ministry of Outreach, Mission and Service has chosen six organi

The Outreach, Mission and Service Ministry is organizing volunteers to participate in shoreline cleanup with the Shorebird Nature