Epworth United Methodist Church

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Berkeley, CA
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Epworth United Methodist in Berkeley is verry LGBT friendly-in fact the pastor is a.fully out lesbian with a wife and offspring,There is also a thriving children's ministry with a recent expansion of the Godly Play curriculum.  The congregation is warm and welcoming to all. And yes, very liberal theologically and socially. Social justice issues are discussed inside the service and in various meetings, movie showings and book talks Many members put into positive action support for a variety of worthy causes as well, giving the opportunity for all to participate, Come  visit any Sunday and see for yourself!

Epworth United Methodist Church in Berkeley would be great for your family. They are a wonderful church, wonderful mix of people, including a great queer community. My partner and I attended there with our kids for several years before moving out to the suburbs. Couldn't recommend it highly enough. 

I highly recommend Epworth United Methodist Church in North Berkekey.  The congregation is socially active, progressive, and welcoming. The youth are a lovely group of kids.

Epworth United Methodist church in Berkeley has a thriving youth group comprised of middle school-high school. The church is definitely open to the LGBTQ community and to women. Come check it out any Sunday at 10 AM. The kids and youth meet for Sunday school and youth group around 10:15 AM as part of worship.  https://www.epworthberkeley.org/

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Aug 2010

Re: A Worship Service Designed for Toddlers and Infants?
I highly recommend Epworth United Methodist Church in Berkeley (1953 Hopkins Street) for anyone looking for a family-friendly, open-minded, diversity-loving church. Years ago, my husband and I visited several churches trying to find something we could both relate to... he grew up Baptist, and I grew up new-agey and questioning... and I still am. We wanted something that was traditional but not rigid, and ultra-inclusive without being bland. We could not find quite the right fit anywhere, and since it was hard to commit to Sunday mornings, we let it go for awhile. When the kids were born, we tried harder to find a church where we could raise them with a solid foundation that they could later build on and choose for themselves. Epworth has been the answer for us. The community is lovely, diverse in every way, welcoming and very active in the community. The pastor, Odette Lockwood-Stewart is smart, funny, interesting, accessible and basically amazing. Children are a priority for the church, and kids actively participate in the service. There is Sunday school for kids and youth of all ages, including nursery care for infants, and it doesn't matter if you come every week, or just once, all are always welcome.

Also, there are lots and lots of ways to be involved, if you want to be, without any pressure if you choose not to. Services begin at 10am and go for about an hour (sometimes less), with optional refreshments (and good coffee) afterward. For more info., you can go to the website: www.epworthberkeley.org, or call the church office at 510- 524-2921. Going on 10 years as an Epworth Family

Feb 2010

Re: Seeking welcoming church with inspiring minister
You might want to try our church, Epworth United Methodist Church. It is much like you describe and a wonderful community. Laura

Nov 2009

Re: Looking for spiritual community w/mid-week service
Our congregation, Epworth United Methodist Church, does not fulfill all your desiderata (no mid-week service except on special occasions, a bit far from Piedmont), but enough of them that I thought I would recommend a look-see. We are a welcoming community with a wonderful pastor and choir, modest in size, very warm and progressive. Not dogmatic, far from it. Here's the website: http://www.epworthberkeley.org/ If you're interested, I'm happy to answer any questions. Linda

March 2009

Re: Church for middle age and beyond?
My church, Epworth United Methodist on Hopkins in North Berkeley might be perfect for you. We are a smallish but highly engaged group, politically and spiritually progressive, with an accent on community formation and social action. And people are very nice and welcoming there, with the whole gamut of ages, family situations, races, sexual orientations, etc. represented. A marvelous pastor and great church musician top it off. Feel free to join us some Sunday! happily churched

Nov 2008

Re: Open-minded Christian Church
I attend a very open-minded, progressive church with a seeking, intellectual pastor who really opens up biblical texts in unexpected ways. She is a real gem. We have a small but often very good choir and a positive relationship with music generally. We're an interracial congregation with a good number of LGBT members and all kinds of families. It's Epworth United Methodist Church in North Berkeley. We have a warm and welcoming community of people on various stages and paths of spiritual journeys. You would be most welcome. not a fundamentalist

July 2008

Re: Interracial family seeking truly diverse church
Have you tried Epworth United Methodist church at 1953 Hopkins in Berkeley? The only thing I can't guarantee is the anonymity part---it's isn't huge and it is a pretty welcoming group. We have an amazing pastor--you can listen to her sermons at http://epworthberkeley.blogspot.com/ It is very supportive, progressive, has a family feel, there are tons of younger kids, and much diversity, though whites are not the minority. There are several (5 or more?) interracial families, several black families, several families with two moms, single folks, older folks, and did I say, a ton of kids. I would say that *I* am in the minority (white, middle-aged, married for ~30 years) and I like that! Great music, traditional but not too. Come visit if you haven't already. Worship is at 10AM on Sundays. Feel free to email me if you have questions. Sally

You may have already tried our church -- Epworth United Methodist in North Berkeley on Hopkins -- and thought it too white, since it is predominately white. But the energy at Epworth is fantastic, especially (right now) around the issue of race and religion. We are conducting conversations with each other about the experience of race and religion in our church community and attempting to come to terms with the widespread racial segregation in churches and our community's response. We are very active in support of LGBT people as well, and home to quite a few mixed race couples. If you haven't yet checked us out, you might want to give it a try. Very friendly, very welcoming, very oriented toward justice and toward supporting our kids. Right now the pews are a bit sparsely populated due to summer vacations, and our pastor won't return for several weeks. But come by, we'll be glad to see you. working toward true diversity

Epworth United Methodist Church on Hopkins in Berkeley. http://www.epworthberkeley.org/ It is a remarkably warm and receptive place while still allowing for anonymity. It's very diverse - many families with mixed race or same sex parents and a fantastic children's program. You would ''blend'' in perfectly while enjoying the bongos one week and fiddle the next. Epworth Attender

Feb 2008

Re: Protestant church with teen programs
Well, it's not Lutheran, but I have to put in a plug for our progressive, community-oriented, youth-friendly Epworth United Methodist Church in Berkeley on Hopkins just east of MLK. You are certainly most welcome to come and see if it suits! It is a warm and welcoming congregation. The website is at http://www.epworthberkeley.org/ good luck in your search!

June 2007

Re: Liberal Church in Lamorinda or Walnut Creek
Hello, We started going to Epworth United Methodist Church in North Berkeley and love the friendly, open attitude. It focuses on being an inclusive church and very much is - my husband is Jewish and there are same sex couples, etc. It has a great youth program too which was very important to us (our children are 4 & 7 and the older one is in the choir) and it has a wonderful female pastor. It may not be close enough for you but may be worth visiting and seeing if it's a fit. Tracey

August 2006

Re: Seeking East Bay equivalent of Grace Cathedral or Glide Memorial
I invite you to come visit Epworth United Methodist Church (1953 Hopkins, above the Alameda, in Berkeley. Sunday services are at 10AM). It isn't as big as Glide or Grace but has a wonderful spirit to it and the sermons are great! (My 22 year old son, who just recently rediscovered the postive attributes of church, describes Epworth as inclusive of all, intellectual, real world, inspirational, positive...) You can hear past sermons at http://epworthberkeley.blogspot.com/ and/or subscribe to a weekly podcast. Sally

Dec 2005

Re: Christmas service with lots of music for visiting Methodist mother-in-law
Dear Deck the Halls-- Your mother-in-law will feel quite at home at Epworth United Methodist Church, 1953 Hopkins, Berkeley. You just walk in! No reservation, no membership required. Everyone is welcome! Join us for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. There will be lots of music at all of the services. Children are welcome at all the services---there are lots of families with young children. We don't just tolerate them; they are an important part of our community.

There are two services on Christmas Eve:
**5PM for families with young children--the kids get to dress up if they like and become angels, shepherds, or wise people in the re-telling of the ancient story.
**8PM is a more traditional service of ''lessons and carols''; both with candles to take the light out into the darkness. Christmas Day, Sunday (!) the 25th 10AM worship with lots of music, lights and celebration Please email me if you have questions. Sally

Dec 2005

Re: Christmas service with lots of music for visiting Methodist mother-in-law
There's a great United Methodist in North Berkeley ... Epworth United Methodist Church. It is at 1953 Hopkins Street. The music program is wonderful. There's a superb pipe organ, played by Jerry Asheim, a very talented musician. There are Christmas Eve services scheduled at 5 p.m. (for children) and 8 p.m. Anyone can just come and enjoy the music, the candles, and the festivity of the season. Epworth is my church family, and we would be happy to welcome you and your mom. David

April 2005

Re: Seeking a Christian church with a diverse membership

Epworth United Methodist Church on Hopkins in North Berkeley is a great, diverse (racially and in all other ways), liberal, welcoming church. Unlike the national Methodist church, it is a ''reconciling congregation,'' which means it is actively open to and affirming of LGBT folks and issues. It's a great community for kids, with lots of young children and an active youth program. The pastor, Odette Lockwood- Stewart, is very warm, smart, and committed to a social justice approach to Christianity. Though it is unquestionably a Christian church, and follows the traditional worship format of most Protestant services, I have found it to be very open to people's individual explorations/definitions of what faith means to them, and there is no prescribed set of beliefs you must hold to go there. As mostly- agnostic intellectuals, we have been surprised to find how much we get out of attending and being part of the Epworth community.

If you are looking for a diverse and welcoming church, I can wholeheartedly recommend Epworth United Methodist Church at 1953 Hopkins in Berkeley. We are a medium-sized congregation with a THRIVING children's program. The sign out front says ''where your children are special'' and it's really true. There are many mixed families (black/white, Jewish/Christian, two moms, etc). Worship is at 10AM. Childcare is provided in the Epworth playroom and there's Sunday School at around 10:20 for kids from kindergarten through middle school (using hands-on, play-based materials for the K-2 kids, separate classrooms for 3-5th grade, and middle school)---the kids stay in church for the first twenty minutes or so. It's a wonderful, multi-generational community.

Our minister, Odette Lockwood-Stewart is a great preacher and warm pastor. She's smart, funny, engaging, and helps create a vibrant and committed spiritual community. My father was a minister until I was in 7th grade so I've been in churches my entire life. What is happening at Epworth these days is extraordinary. That being said...choosing a church is a very personal thing. I recommend that you come visit and see how it feels for you. We welcome all. Sally

March 2003

Re: Inclusive & Friendly Church

My family has been attending Epworth United Methodist (on Hopkins above the Alameda) for three years. My 3 year old and nearly 6 year old love the children's program. It is a very warm and welcoming congregation with lots of young families, a wide variety of music and inspiring sermons. Visitors are always welcome! Elizabeth

I'd encourage you to come visit Epworth United Methodist Church at 1953 Hopkins in Berkeley (east of the North Branch of the library). Epworth is a good mix of both the spiritual and the practical and has an amazing sense of community. And, there are two 10 month old girls who are going to be really interested a boy in about 13 years ...:-) Our pastor is a great preacher-storyteller who consistently provides meaningful sermons and is able to relate ancient biblical and spiritual wisdom to the trying times we live in.

You are invited to check out Epworth United Methodist Church. Services begin at 10am, Hopkins and Napa. http://www.gbgm-umc.org/epworthberkeley/ There are many recent sermons on line. The choir is quite good and guest soloists visit often for a nice variety. We've been attending Epworth for a year and it has been wonderful. There is ''Sunday School'' for the children (a very nice light-filled playroom for the youngest children and separate 2 classrooms for kindergarten and up with a bit more structure.) Children are really appreciated. There is also lots of variety in the types of families. Whatever your family structure, it's doubtful you'd be the only ones. (We are inter-racial.) River

My extended family (parents, sisters/spouses, children) began going to Epworth Methodist church (Hopkins/Napa, North Berkeley) around 1943. We still are active members although all of us are very different in our political and social orientations.

Epworth has fine programs for children and adults. It has good sermons and music for those who want that; good ecologically- centered programs for those of us who are ''Berkeley types.'' MOst of all, its friendly, well situated and absolutely ideal for life's ''Big Events'' like weddings, funerals, baptisms and divorce counseling. Many of its original families are still active...even those who are in non-traditional relationships.

The Easter season would be a good time to try it out. Lots of activities are taking place. Stop by, call or check out the website.


Another family for peace

March 2002

Re: Upbeat church with good gospel music
I recommend you try Epworth United Methodist Church at Hopkins and Napa in Berkeley (Sundays at 10am). We have an increasing number of young families attending, a superb organist and musical director (though the music isn't what you'd call Gospel), a pastor with a knack for making scripture relevant yet with intellectual depth, and a dynamic youth program from middle school through high school. We use the ''Godly Play'' Montesorri-like curriculum for the younger kids. Epworth is also a reconciling congregation, meaning that we welcome all persons, including GLBT persons and families. Having grown up as the daughter of a minister and with three ordained uncles I know what you mean about the 'same ole' but I should also note that we have a wonderful group of 'elderly' folks who take a real interest in the young families which, for me, makes for a wonderful sense of true community. Some examples of that...one older woman has taken my daughter Christmas shopping for the last 7 years (she's now 16), we recently had a baby shower for a new baby that brought out the 'grandmother' in all of us, and another older couple took my kids to Cal football games until they were too cool to be seen with them (and then graciously understood that!) Most of the teenage girls babysit for kids in the church, an added advantage for both the girls and the families. One last thing, for me, Epworth is a good size. Big enough for critical mass but small enough to be known. Feel free to contact me if you'd like. (I can also email you some of the more 'practical' sermons that I've kept.) Sally

Dec 1999

Re: Christmas Eve services that would appeal to teens
Another Christmas Eve service: All are very welcome to attend the service at Epworth United Methodist Church at 1953 Hopkins (just above the North Branch of the Berkeley Library). The service is at 7:00PM. It's a family service of lessons and carols, lots of singing, pipe organ, all ages invited. (Epworth is a reconciling congregation, open to all people regardless of gender, race, age, economic background, sexual orientation, etc.) The thing I like about Epworth is that it is not pretentious---it's the Urban Ore of the Berkeley churches. And for some of us, that feels pretty good. As far as teenagers go, my own 16 yr old has distanced himself from church but I think that's because he senses it's somewhere he can safely rebel against me, a PK (preacher's kid.) --Sally