First Congregational Church of Berkeley
Re: children's choirs
The First Congregational Church of Berkeley has two children's choirs, one for younger grade school age, and another for older grades. Both choirs practice intermittently during the year, so it is not a lifetime commitment. In addition to preparing music to sing at the church services, they work on ear training and voice production in an age-appropriate manner. You can hear both choirs this Sunday, December 9, because it's Christmas Music Sunday. The church is in Berkeley, at Durant, Dana and Channing (enter the parking lot on Channing; it's free to churchgoers). Services start at 10:30. Louise
I can enthusiastically recommend the First Congregational Church of Berkeley at 2345 Channing Way, 848-3696, as a progressive, inclusive church with children's programs. The K-3 classes use a Montessori based program called Godly Play which de-emphasizes doctrinal teaching and emphasizes what they call wondering questions. There is also nursery care, a preschool class, and Sunday school through 12th grade, and two thriving youth groups for teens. The classrooms are beautifully kept and the program as a whole is well run. The congregation is very accepting of different faith journeys, and there is an emphasis on spiritual exploration and development. It is also an open and inclusive church, which means that people of all abilities, races, genders and sexual orientations are welcome to be (and are!) integrated fully into the life of the church.
The First Congregational Church of Berkeley is a wonderful community of people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs. Services are traditional and possibly more formal than you may have in mind, but the music is exceptionally good and the feeling is both relaxed and energizing. It is definitely a place where people of different religious backgrounds can find common ground and acceptance. It is also an open and affirming church, which means that all people are welcome in participate (and do) in church life, including gays and lesbians, people with disabilities, etc.
Services start at 10:00 (arrive early for the music) and run till 11:15 or so. The church is located on Dana between Channing and Durant--it's the Colonial-looking brick church. Parking may be available behind the church, or you can park for free in the UC lots in the area until 1:00. The address is 2345 Channing Way, and the phone number is 848-3696.
Re: Christmas Eve services that would appeal to teens
Regarding Christmas Eve Church Services in Berkeley, the First Congregational Church of Berkeley will do three services with superb music, candlelighting and singing. The format is fairly traditional, but the message and spirit are decidedly progressive. The 5:00 family service is for families with young children (and people who like an informal service) and features the family orchestra. The 9:00 service is followed by a cookie-and-coffee reception and caroling, which are followed by the 11:00 service. Both services are well attended by teens and families with older children. The church is located at Dana and Channing Way.