St. John's Episcopal Church
Re: Catholic looking for something different
As a ''fallen Catholic'', I consider myself both progressive and liberal, and really sympathize with your frustration. When I was seeking a new place of worship that would be meaningful for me and interesting and welcoming to my young children, a very dear friend of mine invited me to her Episcopal church (St. John's in Montclair). I fell in love immediately! There are women in roles as worship leaders and one can be as active or as anonymous as one likes. All are welcome at communion, unlike the very rigid way communion is looked at in the Catholic church. The welcoming congregation, the Goldy Play for children, youth ministry for older youth, the choir (both adult and youth), and sermons that hold meaning to me today in my life and the world around us are just a few of the great reasons why I chose St Johns. I invite you to visit us at St John's (http://www.stjohnsoakland.org/)and see for yourself. patricia
Re: Christmas service with lots of music for visiting Methodist mother-in-law
St John's Episcopal Church in Montclair has wonderful music oriented Christmas Eve services, including ''family'' services where there are tons of kids running around. This year there are two family services, on Saturday, (Christmas Eve)- one at 4:30pm with the Cherub (preschool kids) and Youth Choirs and one at 6:30pm with Youth Soloists. I think that there is a pagent at both services, so maybe a little too religious for you though? check out their website - http://www.stjohnsoakland.org/ A very welcoming church community, people of all religions/races/sexual orientations are welcome at all times. - love my christmas music
Re: Raised Catholic, looking at other churches, help us choose
Try the Episcopal Church (known as Anglican in other parts of the world.) My family converted to Anglicanism when we were living in England, and have never turned back. (before that we were Presbyterian, non-denomoninational, and Baptist)
I'm a member of St John's Episcopal Church in Oakland (Montclair) and it's a great community. Services are similar to Catholic services, so will probably be familiar to you, but the Church is less strict: anyone can take communian, there is no confession with a priest, we have women priests/pastors and our priests/pastors can be married, divorced, have kids, etc. No birth control ban, gays and lesbians are welcome (you probably remember the hubub when the gay bishop was ordained a few years ago.)
The Bishop of our diocese, the Diocese of California (which encompases most of Northen California,) is a wonderful, progressive man with great visions for the future of the church and religion in general (unfortunately he's retiring in a little more than a year.) He established the United Religions Initiative with the hope to help break down religious barriers across the world and have religious leaders work together to help end social and world problems (read more at www.uri.com) The Episcopal Church (especially in California) is one of the more progressive churches out there. Everyone is welcome to come to and particiapte in services, even if they are not Episcopal or even Christian. The church works for peace around the world and in our own communities.
Our particular church (St John's) has very active fellowship: coffee hour after service, sunday school (starting at age 3, there is a nursery for younger children), confirmation programs, and an active youth group (which was a godsend to me in high school) There are also mid-week services, an annual weekend parish retreat up at a ranch in Napa that the Diocese owns, and other events (the youth group holds a biannual auction/dinner to raise money which is a blast. Big pancake supper to kick off lent every year, and adult study groups. It's a great group of people, lots of families with children. you can read more about St John's at: http://www.stjohnsoakland.org/ and the diocese of California at: www.diocal.org (there also is a church directory here that lists all of the Episcopal churches in the diocese by city, (you don't mention where you live))
The Episcopal church is a great place, and a great community to be a part of.
If you want to talk further, feel free to e-mail me. Elizabeth