First Church is committed to interreligious dialog. We respect other traditions and seek understanding, not conflict, over issues of faith and tradition. Here are some ways we carry out this practice.
Building Bridges with the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California
First Church has been building relationship with the leaders and members of the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California, based in Oakland over a number of years. Especially since the events of 9/11 it has been important to the congregation to increase its understanding of, connection to and support for its Muslim neighbors. We have visited their community and invited their leaders to participate in worship services and education times.
In addition, several members of the congregation have taken part in trips to Iran, making direct personal connections and learning about the culture, politics and religion of the country. First Church also co-sponsored a resolution passed by the General Synod of the United Church of Christ creating an annual "Axis of Friendship" Sunday to build peace and understanding with the people of Iran.
Interreligious Practice in Our Own Community
Many of our members have incorporated practices and beliefs from other traditions into their Christian path.
A Home for Multifaith Families
First Church has become a comfortable home for some families whose members come from different faith traditions. Members of our church may have grown up in other faiths or other denominations. We don't require that anyone disavow their past faith practices or traditions in order to be part of our community and welcome other family members who continue in other practices.
Resources from the Graduate Theological Union
Dr. James A. Donahue, who until recently was president of the Graduate Theological Union has preached at First Church. The GTU is an ecumenical and interreligious crossroads, building bridges among Christian denominations and other faith traditions, and is dedicated to educating students for teaching, research, ministry, and service. Dr. Donahue addressed interfaith issues and the ways that we can approach dialog with people of other faiths.
Berkeley Organizing the Community for Action (BOCA)
Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action (BOCA) is a non-profit, faith based organization of 18 member congregations representing over 10,000 Berkeley families. It is a multiethnic, cross-cultural, interfaith and interracial group of ordinary people learning to become leaders in the community by putting faith into action. First Church played an active role in the formation of BOCA, which grew out of the community organizing efforts of members of the congregation.