Advice about Other Spiritual Communities

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Looking for spiritual community w/mid-week service

Nov 2009

I'm spiritual, currently non-religious (though raised Presbyterian) and I would like to find a spiritual community that feels comfortable to me. I'm open to different paths, but would prefer something not overly dogmatic and also not too new agey. (I don't think the Religious Science churches are a good fit for me.) Music would be a plus, but it's not essential. I live near Piedmont and would like it to be an easy drive. I also would love to find someplace that has a service during the week. Got any suggestions? Thanks! Charlie

Try Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (in Alameda). We don't meet mid-week, but our worship service is at 4:00 p.m. on Sundays, a time many find very appealing. (And many stay for a shared supper after the service.) We have 45-70 people at our services. And you'll love the music! Check our website: UUs are definitely not new age. (Emerson, Thoreau, John & Abigail Adams were Unitarians.) You'll find that UUs walk varied spiritual paths to find meaning and purpose in our lives. But we are united in our belief in the worth and dignity of all people, and the obligation to express our faith through acts of justice and compassion. It's not mid-week, but not the traditional Sunday morning either. Long-time UU

It's not clear if you are looking for something Christian or are open to other faiths and traditions.

If you are open to non-Christian traditions, you might look into local Buddhist sanghas (communities that practice together), synagogues (especially more traditional or orthodox ones, which will have at least daily morning service; some more ''liberal'' synagogues may also have some sort of week-day service), or mosques. Of course, you'd need to connect with the appropriate faith leader to orient you, but maybe you'll find a new spiritual home.

Also, many people like Siddah Yoga Center in Oakland as a place for spiritual exploration and practice. You local Catholic church may also offer services or other spiritual practice opportunites. anon

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: If you're interested, I'm happy to answer any questions. Linda

Seeking Spiritual Teacher

May 2007

This might be a strange place to look for this, but I'm longing to find someone who will give me individual guidance in following my spiritual path. I resonate with Buddhism and yoga but I feel I would grow much more in a one-on-one setting than I've found at the local centers. Therapy has really worked for me in growing in emotional ways and I wonder if there's a spiritual equivalent to that kind of intense relationship. I want someone who is not from any Judeo-Christian (or other) RELIGION, but rather someone who is intelligent, reality- and experience-based (not faith-based or God-based) who would challenge me to see beyond the mundane world in which most of us usually function. Inspirational teachers for me have included Ram Dass, Pema Chodron, the Dalai Lama, and BKS Iyengar. Any suggestions? If you have a teacher yourself and would be willing to talk to me about him or her, I'd love to have some contact info from you. Thanks!

I'd like to tell you about my spiritual teacher, Joan Sutherland. She is a Buddhist teacher in a contemporary Zen lineage. I've worked with Joan for over ten years and she is fabulous, extraordinarily wise and smart and compassionate. Working with her has truly changed my life. Joan lives in Sonoma County, and has daylong retreats about once a month. She is also available for one on one conversations (phone or in person) at other times, and the group does some longer meditation retreats. Joan has a web site Good luck in your search. Fellow traveller

You may want to check out the Vedanta temple in Berkeley -- they have a swami or two there who can give you personalized instruction. I really like the Vedanta philosophy because it reveres the divine, but also tells you to be pragmatic and to keep your feet on the ground! Lisa in Oakland

Hi! I warmly recommend meditation called Sahaja Yoga, it has made my life a lot more balanced than it was before. They have free introductory classes in Berkeley every Monday 7 pm - 8:30 pm at 2029 Durant Ave, (cross st., Shattuck),Berkeley 94704. You can drop in any Monday. To find more info please visit I truly recommend to go to try out this experience- then you'll only know what it is about! Saila

Seeking Earth based child friendly spiritual circle

Jan 2005

I'm a mother of a 16 month old and am searching for a spiritual community that is earth based in its nature. (ie. goddess centered, celebrates the sun and moon cycles) I have found that these kinds of groups are very hard to find and very diverse in nature. You can get all types. I was once active in a women's spiritual circle, but most of the women have since move away. Can someone recommend a place to go and search? Are groups posted somewhere? Are unitarian church along this line? I really want to start introducing my daughter to these different holidays, and they're so much more meaningful when done in community. Any suggestions? No-I'm-Not-a -Wacko Earth Momma

Try This is the website for a book called ''Circle Round'' which is about sharing goddess/nature based traditions with kids. Great book. Written by three local women. On thier website they have listed under events, some local groups that might interest you. I've never checked them out as that isn't my scene, so I can't say anything about them. But you might like the book. Hilary

Dear Not a Wacko -- The Unitarians in Oakland used to have a Sacred Hoop group that did family ritual, but it's kind of faded away. Check in with Ancient Ways, the store on Telegraph at 40th or 41st, they are in touch with lots of folks. Blessed be. Bonnie