First Church Berkeley Capital Campaign 2023

After the devastating fire in 2016 that burned down our community building and affected our sanctuary, we're finally rebuilding!  The new building will be fully accessible, green, and flexible, with enough room for all kinds of gatherings.  It will feature indoor-outdoor space, lots of ventilation, and beautiful details.

However, to realize this vision, we need to bridge the gap between our insurance settlement and the costs to put up this new building (compounded by inflation and supply chain issues).  To that end, the congregation has begun a capital campaign which will culminate in an opportunity for all members of our community to make a commitment to give beyond their ordinary sustaining giving levels.

We need everyone to help make this dream a reality!

Join the Campaign - Make your Commitment!
Give to the Campaign

Commitment Sunday

The above video, produced by Lorenzo Llanillo and Jennifer Williams, is entitled "Elpo: A Joyful Hope," and tells the story of our church in this season.

It was shown at the culmination of this campaign season on May 14, Commitment Sunday!  On this day, everyone who calls this their church was invited to bring their commitment card forward with joy and generosity during worship.  We walked our cards up to the front to place them in the "clay vessel" symbolizing that we know these treasures aren't fully ours, but belong to God.

If you couldn't make it on the 14th, you are invited to mail in your commitment card or make a commitment directly in Realm.

Please return commitments no later than June 2, as we will announce the results of the campaign and celebrate the end of the commitment phase in worship on June 4.

See the below video for a fly-through of the new building!

Celebration Gala

We had a wonderful time at our Celebration Gala on Wednesday, May 10, 2023 from 6-9pm at the Brazilian Room in Tilden Regional Park.

Frequently Asked Questions

Campaign Communication

Thanks to the leadership of Jennifer Nixon and our other promotion team members, newsletters will be coming out periodically with updates about the campaign!

The first newsletter came out mid-February and you can read it here.

The second newsletter came out mid-March and you can read it here.

The third newsletter came out mid-April and you can read it here.

Campaign News

A letter was sent to all members of our congregation on January 24 with an invitation to participate in the campaign and an official introduction to the theme.  You can find that letter here.

A pastoral letter was also sent to the congregation from Rev. Molly with more details and an invitation.  You can find that letter here.

Watch the Build. Gather. Grow. video shown at the Launch Parties here.

Watch Becky Smith's giving testimony here.

Advance Commitments

Thank you to all who participated in the Advance Commitments reception on April 27 at the Berkeley City Club.  Your sharing and your gifts were truly inspiring, and your leadership has given the campaign true momentum.

We're proud to report over 50 advance commitments have been made towards the campaign!

Launch Parties

Over one hundred members and friends of our church participated in Launch Parties, small groups that met in congregation members' homes and at church to learn more about the building process and talk about the ins and outs of what a capital campaign means.  The groups were intimate, hope-filled, and truly fun.  Huge thanks to all the hosts, coordinators, facilitators, and participants!


Everybody in our extended community has a role to play in leading this campaign, but we're especially grateful for the hard work of our team of work area directors.

Campaign ChairSara Woods
Advanced Commitments:  Nick Kukulan and Becky Smith
Audio VisualLorenzo Llanillo
Children and YouthRev. Hannah Turner and Nathan Hood
Launch Parties: Julie Greer
Promotion: Jennifer Nixon
"Gathering in the Spirit" EventDerek Tam and Nicole Naffaa
Resources: Louise Halsey
Commitments Team: Hanni Hanson and Craig Pratt
Gala Team: Rod MacKenzie and Kara Korbel Chinula

We are working with a consultant to support our work on this campaign.  Marc Rieke from The Enrichment Group supported our feasibility study in the fall and will continue to offer support as we move through the intense Spring 2023 campaign season.