First Baptist Church of Berkeley Closing After 133 Years of Ministry

— Rev. Dr. Nancy E. Hall, Pastor ([email protected])

Dr. Zulu Lemtur, new ordinand, and Pastor Nancy Hall

At the end of June, First Baptist Church of Berkeley (FBCB) will close, with our last public worship service on Sun., June 19 at 11 am. Our church and yours, First Church Berkeley, have a long relationship that we’d like to honor here.

In 1975, having sold FBCB’s historic property at Haste and Dana, we were invited to sojourn with First Church Berkeley and move into Loper Chapel while deciding the congregation’s future. A temporary situation turned into 37 years of collegial and shared ministry, for which FBCB has always been grateful.

During the height of our covenant relationship, the two churches shared a Sunday School and a Minister of Christian Education. We held joint worship services regularly, featuring our combined choirs. Having been called to FBCB as Minister of Music in 1984, these occasions and the years at First Church Berkeley were highlights of my own worship life and ministry, and our congregation’s, as well.

You stood by us when our denominational region, American Baptist Churches of the West, disfellowshipped FBCB for becoming a Welcoming and Affirming congregation. We’ve never forgotten your support during this difficult time.

In 2012, FBCB departed the First Church Berkeley campus, as you made changes in Plymouth House. We moved to the American Baptist Seminary of the West (now Berkeley School of Theology) just four blocks away. Now the time has come to exercise a particular kind of stewardship and bring the life of our beloved church to a close. We go out rejoicing, as we have just ordained two outstanding young ministers and maintained our strong worship life throughout the years. But, of course, there is sadness in ending our church family life as we’ve known it.

Thank you, First Church Berkeley, for your love and your friendship over the 133 years of FBCB’s life. We wish you all of God’s best blessings as you rebuild Pilgrim Hall and continue your outstanding ministries in Berkeley and in the world.