Progressive Christian Events

Easter Sunday Festival Worship 2017


Easter Sunday, April 16 we celebrate the gift of life in all forms with a joyful pairing of worship services.

Join us with bow ties and bonnets (or come as you are) for Easter Sunday Festival Worship in the Sanctuary at Congregation Beth El. Special music begins at 9:45 am and the service will start at 10 am.

Easter Sunday Sunrise Service 2017


Easter Sunday, April 16 we celebrate the gift of life in all forms with a joyful pairing of worship services.

An Easter Sunrise Service will begin at 6 am in the Berkeley hills overlooking the Bay Area. We greet the new morning and the promise of new life. This simple outdoor service will include music, song and prayer. Children are most welcome!

Holy Saturday Vigil 2017


A Holy Saturday Vigil will take place on April 15 at 7:30 pm.

This will be a time to remember in our bodies how the women friends of Jesus went to the tomb to prepare the body for burial. The service will be moody without being morbid, and will take place in the “tomb” of our sanctuary that has been offline since the fire last September.

Good Friday 2017


On Good Friday, April 14 at 7:30 pm, we commemorate the day that Jesus was crucified with a candlelight “Tenebrae” service in Loper Chapel. 

The service will include scripture readings about that time, Taizé chants and silence. The word "tenebrae" which means “shadows” or “darkness” also refers to a ritual of extinguishing a series of candles.

Maundy Thursday 2017


This year, we will celebrate Maundy Thursday, April 13, in homes around the community. The evening marks Jesus' gathering with his disciples and friends for a "last supper." They broke bread together and Jesus demonstrated the power of servant leadership by washing the feet of those gathered.

Since we don't have access to our Large Assembly space, several members of the First Church community will open their homes to small gatherings.

Palm Sunday 2017


Holy Week events begin on Palm Sunday, April 9. We will create a raucous parade with palms, drums, “hosannas” and a dramatic retelling of Jesus’ crowd-inspiring entry into Jerusalem. Gather outside the Congregation Beth El Sanctuary at 9:45 am to grab your palms and be part of the procession.

Worship begins at 10 am.

As the service progresses we look toward the other events that will take place during the powerful time of Holy Week.

The Sanctuary Movement at First Church


Some members of the community have raised the issue of how First Church might be involved in the Sanctuary Movement to support immigrants and refugees. An information meeting to widen this conversation will be held on Tuesday, March 28, at 6 pm in Loper Chapel. Light refreshments will be served.

Questions? Contact Rachel Bauman ( or Victoria Purcell- Gates (

Diverse Families Workshop: Child & Youth identity Development in a Multiracial Family


On Sunday, March 26, come to a workshop by Eileen Drapiza-Dornan, LMFT, Berkeley-based therapist whose specialties include race and identity formation, mixed heritage and adoption issues, from 11:30 am – 1 pm  in the Adult Library; light snacks provided.

YES and Winthrop youth whose parents attend the workshop will have supervision until 1 pm. Childcare provided for children age 0–5th grade.

Social Justice Theology


A three-part series called Social Justice Theology will be led by Alice Clark, Reuben Shank and Rachel Bauman on three Sundays after church—March 19 & 26 and April 2—in the Congregation Beth El Sanctuary.