Join us for Homecoming Sunday on September 12

2021-09-10T18:29:55-07:00September 10th, 2021|All Church|

September 10, 2021 Dearest First Pres Family, Get excited! In just two days, we will celebrate Homecoming Sunday at First Pres on September 12! Join us for worship at 10 am as we begin our new sermon series, Deep Roots: Tracing Our Sacred Story Through Genesis. Following worship, we will gather for an extra-special "meet and greet” (complete with a few fun surprises). Reconnect with old friends and make some new friends as well. Keep an eye on the mail for your very own copy of our new and improved Pathways brochure. Within its pages lie all of the amazing things we have planned for the fall at First Pres. [...]

Guidelines for Gathering

2021-09-01T17:08:03-07:00September 1st, 2021|All Church|

August 29, 2021 Dear First Pres Family, School has started and the beginning of the program year is just around the corner! To stay safe, the Coronavirus Task Force wants to share our updated practices in light of the ongoing pandemic and wildfire season. For the start of the 2021–2022 program year, here is a review of our current guidelines for gathering: Sunday worship in person will continue to be on our closed campus with a simultaneous livestream service. We will maintain our reservation system for 300+ (~50% of our sanctuary capacity). If three or more households report COVID-19 cases following that [...]

Generosity Abounds: A Financial Update

2021-08-12T09:02:15-07:00August 6th, 2021|All Church|

August 6, 2021 Dear First Pres Family, Thank you to all who have financially supported First Pres Berkeley so far this year. Your faithful generosity has enabled us to continue our life-changing ministries in the midst of an incredibly challenging year. God is good! Here is a mid-year financial update: Our General Fund giving is up about 10% compared to last year due to so many of you fulfilling your pledges earlier than in years past. If we keep this up, we might even have a drama-free December! If you have been giving online this past year, we encourage you to continue to do so [...]

New First Pres Website Extends Welcome to All

2021-08-02T11:28:21-07:00August 1st, 2021|All Church|

July 29, 2021 Dear First Pres Family, Welcome to our new website! As the online front door to First Pres, our website welcomes congregants and newcomers—and makes it easy to find priority news and information about worship and all of our ministries. With this goal in mind, we are so excited to launch after many months spent diving into our needs and wants, editing ministry information, and making it easier to find the most frequently accessed content. We are proud of what we accomplished and we truly hope you will love the new site as much as we do! Click around! Be sure to check [...]

July 23 Friday Email

2021-07-26T14:35:00-07:00July 23rd, 2021|All Church|

Dear First Pres Family, What a difference four weeks has made. A month ago the Coronavirus Task Force was tracking with staff toward being able to fully reopen our campus in September. In mid-June, California relaxed restrictions. COVID-19 case rates reached minimal levels (as low as 1.9 cases per 100K). Then case rates began increasing...and last week's case rates in Alameda County were at what the state formerly called the Purple/Widespread virus tier. So now we are stepping forward a little more slowly. This week, we are thankful there are signs that Alameda County case growth may be slowing, and also that the Task Force's policies and procedures [...]

The First Pres Reopening

2021-07-20T17:04:30-07:00July 20th, 2021|All Church|

Coronavirus Task Force Update June 16, 2021 COVID-19 cases in Alameda County have been increasing over the past four weeks, and we have now breached the bottom of Red - Substantial tier of the state's virus tier system, with cases concentrated in a few zip codes in east and west Oakland. Over the same period, cases in high-vaccination zip codes have trended downward. We continue to follow public health guidance from the CDC, the State of California, Alameda County, and the City of Berkeley. The Coronavirus Task Force of volunteers and staff with health and facilities expertise are working within [...]

Welcome Dave Carranza, Director for Youth and Family Ministry

2021-07-26T14:32:57-07:00July 16th, 2021|All Church, Children, Young Adults, Youth|

We are delighted to welcome our new director for Youth and Family Ministry! Dave Carranza brings with him extensive experience working with youth inside and outside the church and helping them discover their identity as radically beloved and uniquely gifted children of God. Dave will begin his time at First Pres Berkeley on July 19. Save the Date for a meet and greet with Dave Sunday, August 8, following worship. We give thanks to God for this community and for the wonderful gifts Dave will bring among us. In Christ, First Pres Berkeley Director for Youth and Family Ministry Search Committee [...]

July 16 Friday Email

2021-07-26T14:34:32-07:00July 16th, 2021|All Church|

Dear First Pres Family, In May, we began detailing more about the new staffing structure by ministry area as teams are coming together and beginning their work. Since then, individual ministries have presented their hopes and ideas for the way forward: Mark Stryker for Community Care,  Tom Elson for Missional Engagement, Michelle Vecchio-Lyzenga for Christian Formation, and Li-Wen Monk for Worship. Today, to conclude these updates, I’d like to share about the First Pres Operations team. The Operations Team at First Pres exists to facilitate and support our campus and ministries. We want operations to function effortlessly like an elevator: you push a button, the door [...]

July 9 Friday Email

2021-07-26T14:34:43-07:00July 9th, 2021|All Church|

Dear First Pres Family, In May, we began a series of letters from the Session, Personnel Committee, and pastoral team about the new staffing structure at First Pres. As teams come together and are beginning their work, individual ministries are presenting their hopes and ideas for the way forward. We've had the opportunity to hear from Mark Stryker about Community Care, from Tom Elson about Missional Engagement, and from Michelle Vecchio-Lyzenga about Christian Formation. Today, I’d like to share about the next season in worship. When California shut down last year due to COVID-19, our congregation was unable to do what we have [...]

July 2 Friday Email

2021-07-26T14:34:38-07:00July 2nd, 2021|All Church|

Dearest First Pres Family, This past week, I received an email from my dear friend, the Rev. Glen Bell, who works at the Presbyterian Foundation. In his work with PC(USA) congregations around the country, Glen learned that the challenges and opportunities facing the church today are many and yet very similar. In the realm of challenges, most pastors reported the same answer…their members are struggling to adjust to “the sudden shifts accompanied by uncertainty, isolation and fatigue.” I think we can all relate to this feeling of exhaustion over the relentlessness of change. Yet in the area of opportunities, the [...]

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