Congregational Church
of Almaden Valley
United Church of Christ
A Progressive Christian Neighborhood Church
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What Draws Us to This Church?

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In our own words: Read why we are attracted to this church

Looking Back to June 1982

Memorial Service for Harry Hawes at Almaden Valley United Church of Christ (now Congregational Church of Almaden Valley, United Church of Christ)

My father, Harry Hawes, grew up in West San Jose. I also grew up in San Jose living in the same house where my father grew up. When I was small, I thought that my father knew everyone in our city – wherever we went he always knew someone and had extensive, joyous conversations. When he passed away in June of 1982, we decided to have a memorial service for him at my church – Almaden Valley UCC.

He was not a member of this church, but never-the-less, the ladies of the church, organized by Ruth Breseke, put on an awesome reception with food and drink following the service. Even though he was 81 when he died, the church was packed. We had to set up chairs and some people even had to listen to the service in the narthex.

After that day, I thought: “This certainly is My Church”. I could never repay it for what was done for me and my father on that day.

John Hawes, June 2015


Why I love this church?

The connection with these authentic and warm people!

I come as I am — happy, sad or angry — and I'm accepted.

They bring out the best in me!


I came to this church some 40 years ago looking for a convenient way to participate in outreach throughout the world.

I continue with the outreach today in a church that has become my extended family.

In this church the music program (Choir, Folk Choir, organ and piano offerings) lift my spirit on Sunday and throughout the week that follows.

John


When I came through the doors of CCAV, UCC (Congregational Church of Almaden Valley, United Church of Christ), I felt so welcome and comfortable with the people and surroundings.

I was drawn to come back & have continued to do so, for over 2 years now.

C.L. Moore


Our family arrived in the Prune Shed one Sunday in 1967. This has been our church home ever since. Friends have come and gone, but I can't leave this very special place.

Because we are small in size we are all important and needed.

Dot A.


I was looking for a Congregational Church. To me the non-credal aspect is important. We accomodate varying beliefs — a "Christian" life is important.


Warm, caring support for others, friendships, & support of community needs.


I was struck by the friendly atmosphere & caring congregants.

Kathy Kisabeth


I ALWAYS feel refreshed and loved after every Sunday sermon!


The church "in the round" fosters eye contact, friendliness and openness to meet and converse and get better acquainted.


There are feelings of joy and acceptance in our church that keep me coming back. God speaks in the hearts of this congregation.


I came (come) because ours is a U.C.C (United Church of Christ) church.

I come because it's "O.N.A" (Everyone is welcome here).

I come because there are more questions than answers...Everyone is not told / expected to believe the same thing.


When I arrived several years ago in a state of personal crisis, I was warmly welcomed, encouraged, and supported.  Since then I have had the opportunity to welcome others and support them through their own hard times and health crises.  This church acts as one in caring for its people.

Read Sue's complete text below


What originally attracted us [my husband and me] was the UCC connection. Two couples approached us in coffee fellowship and authentically were interested in us and why we were visiting. The following week, another member gave us a loaf of strawberry bread that she had baked for us. This family-like concern for us made us feel welcome, especially after belonging to a larger 1000 member congregation.

We were looking for  a small, neighborhood church where everyone knew your name and we had some things in common with some of the members.

What made us stay was the absence of dogma and ritual that seemed irrelevant. We liked the freedom to be in different places on our spiritual journeys.


... in this particular congregation, we have found a nurturing spiritual home where there are others of like mind.   I also am impressed with the continuing emphasis on helping others and a strong social conscience, which assists me in developing a life of spiritual personal growth along with a group worship experience.

Read Janice's complete text below


This is why I belong to to Almaden Valley Congregational Church, UCC:  

Rev. David Young, pastor of First Congregational Church of Greenwich, Conn. makes my case best:

... In the world today, now more than ever, it is time for people of conscience and faith to stand up for the rights and freedoms of others -- especially those who are different and with whom we might disagree....

Read Michael's complete text below


... I would not last at a church that insisted on imposing first century Biblical explanations on everything. God and science co-exist very easily and very naturally in this church and congregation....

Read Ted's complete text below


This is why I belong to to Almaden Valley Congregational Church, UCC:  

Rev. David Young, pastor of First Congregational Church of Greenwich, Conn. makes my case best:

" In my particular faith tradition, our ancestors were persecuted for their religious beliefs and practices -- they were labeled "Separatists" and eventually driven out of England and later came to the new world for religious freedom. These early Pilgrims knew the experience of not being tolerated simply because they did not want to comply with the mandates of the Church of England. Perhaps that is why we have always stood up for those who are marginalized or oppressed. The Congregational Church ordained the first African American, Lemuel Haynes, in 1785, ordained the first woman, Antoinette Brown, in 1853 and ordained the first openly gay person, Bill Johnson, in 1972. Fighting against slavery from the earliest days, seeking women's rights, working for civil rights and gay rights have been long standing commitments of our church -- maybe because we remember what it was like to be a persecuted minority who was driven out of a society. Actually, there's a better reason -- doing what is right because it is right.

In the world today, now more than ever, it is time for people of conscience and faith to stand up for the rights and freedoms of others -- especially those who are different and with whom we might disagree. I celebrate that people can agree to disagree without becoming disagreeable. While I understand the pain and perspective of those who want others to be sensitive to their hurts -- it misses the point. If we are to honor the freedom we value, we must first be sensitive to those who are in the minority and already receiving insensitive treatment. We must do what is right because it is right, even if it is not what we might want or be comfortable with."

Many of the social reforms and social conscience we embrace today were derived through our union with the Evangelical and Reformed Church, most noted among American Protestants for their establishment and staunch support of hospitals, orphanages, and homes for the elderly, with whom we merged in 1957 to form the UCC.


Hi,

I left my former church denomination which had been in my family tradition on my mother's side since  the early 1900's.  My great-grandparents emigrated with seven children to Nebraska from Scotland in 1892.  Three more children were born after their arrival.   Of course, they were Presbyterians.  After my maternal grandparents were married in 1900, my grandfather began a dairy farm located on Hwy. 80 outside of Grand Island, Nebraska.

Every morning he got up early and milked the cows before letting them out to pasture.  Grand Island has long been noted for being the transfer point for many railroad connections, especially Union Pacific. This was true very early in the 20th century.   The Presbyterian Church was on "the other side of the tracks."   Often on Sunday mornings, a train would be "parked" on the tracks on the highway between them and the Presbyterian Church.   They couldn't leave the farm early enough on Sunday morning to be assured that they could make it to church.   So they began going to The Methodist Church which was on "their side" of the tracks.

I was raised in The Methodist Church and while at college met and married a man who became an ordained Methodist minister after graduating from Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey.   We both became concerned and unhappy about     The United Methodist Church's stand on same-sex relationships.  In addition, we both feel that the bishop has too much power over the appointment of ministers to churches.   While we were never in a position of going to an appointment that was not what we wanted, we have witnessed the cavalier way that the appointment system can be used to create situations of discomfort for both the congregation and the minister.

I find the Congregational  / UCC church, with its "open and affirming" stance, its method of placing ministers in positions where they feel a "calling" and where the church has an opportunity to make the decision on who the minister will be and the minister has the right to accept the placement to be superior to that of The United Methodist Church.

In addition, in this particular congregation, we have found a nurturing spiritual home where there are others of like mind.   I also am impressed with the continuing emphasis on helping others and a strong social conscience, which assists me in developing a life of spiritual personal growth along with a group worship experience.

Janice Krahenbuhl


I attend the Congregational Church of Almaden Valley for five important reasons:

First, the community is warm and inviting.  When I arrived several years ago in a state of personal crisis, I was warmly welcomed, encouraged, and supported.  Since then I have had the opportunity to welcome others and support them through their own hard times and health crises.  This church acts as one in caring for its people.

Second, the religious beliefs that we hold are allowed to vary.  While we all root ourselves in the shared tradition of Protestantism, we read, talk about, and explore our own personal beliefs in discussion groups and our own personal friendships.  The conversations are lively and engaged as well as accepting.  Doubts can be expressed as well as convictions.  I have found my own faith growing and changing in the years that I have been at this church, reflective, I believe, of the denomination’s openness to new insights and awareness.  As we say in the United Church of Christ, “God is still speaking.”

Third, the congregation has now passed Open and Affirming, the UCC’s welcome to gays and lesbians to join our community and participate in all aspects of our church life.  With this action we have, I believe, done our own small part to overturn centuries of prejudice in the Christian church against homosexuals.

Fourth, I appreciate our love of children.  While we may on some Sundays have few children attending church for the Children’s Message, all who do participate are known and called by name and made to feel part of the larger church community with their families.  Along these lines, we are family oriented with an active Sunday School and Youth Program that we share with our sister church, the Episcopal Church of Almaden.

Finally, I like our “church in the round” and the opportunity that our unusual architecture gives for seeing each other, especially during the time when we are invited to share joys and concerns.  I have myself shared many sorrows, worries, prayers, joys, and moments of grace, and I have noticed not only that everyone looks and listens attentively while I’m speaking, but that I receive comments after the service – usually from several people --  about what I said.  I always feel heard, and I never doubt that the importance of my joy or concern has been acknowledged.

CCAV is a wonderful church, small right now but growing, and I encourage anyone interested to join us for a service at 9:00 on Sunday.  I know you will find that you are welcomed and made to feel included and cared for in every way.

Sincerely,

Sue Scaff


What Draws Me to Almaden Valley Congregational Church

There are a lot of things that make this church just right for me. Here are some of them:

  • I've avoided churches and church services for most of my adult life. I thought I'd had my fill and then some as a kid whose parents insisted I attend Sunday school.

    I consider myself fortunate to have found a church (actually my wife deserves the credit) whose services leave me feeling spiritually and personally enhanced and that draws me back week after week.
  • It's critical for me that we have our feet planted squarely in this century. I love it that my fellow church goers have a good handle on those things explained by science and those things that are of the spirit. Personally, I would not last at a church that insisted on imposing first century Biblical explanations on everything. God and science co-exist very easily and very naturally in this church and congregation.
  • I love being around good-hearted people. It seems pretty clear that Jesus really pushed for compassionate action. Lots of our church goers have caught that spirit. This is good for me since it doesn't come naturally to me. Being around good-hearted people does me good.
  • Church goers at our church are fun to be around. Simultaneously, many are also serious seekers after spiritual truth and seekers of a spiritual path in life. It doesn't get better than this for me.

Ted Feely


 

 


The Congregational Church of Almaden Valley,
United Church of Christ
6581 Camden Avenue
San Jose, CA 95120-1908
(408) 268-0243, Fax (408) 268-4207
© 2017 The Congregational Church of Almaden Valley,
San Jose, California


 

 

CCAVUCC - Congregational Church of Almaden Valley, UCC - United Church of Christ

CCAV UCC! We're the Congregational Church of Almaden Valley, UCC (United Church of Christ). We celebrated our 45th birthday in 2010 and are looking forward to celebrating our 50th birthday (August 29 - 30, 2015).

Pastor Michele Brigham's sermons

Pastor Michele Brigham's sermons and our church worship services bring us together on Sundays.

Bell Choir

Our Bell Choir brings us together.

Acts of Caring

Acts of caring bring us together.

Habitat for Humanity gives us an opportunity to serve.

Opportunities to serve the community bring us together.

God is still speaking.

Freedom to explore and to grow spiritually brings us together.

Rich and diverse church life brings us together.

Rich and diverse church life brings us together.

Exploring our community together brings us to this church.

Exploring our community brings us together.

Instant Christmas Pageant

Christian tradition brings us together.

Sharing our talents brings us together.

Sharing our talents brings us together.

We sing Christmas Carols at our Christmas Dinner party. 2011.

Singing Christmas Carols bring us together.

Credo by William Sloane Coffin

Discussing books brings us together.

Friends Outside donations from the Congregational Church of Almaden Valley

Contributions From Members and Friends of Congregational Church of Almaden Valley Are Unloaded for Friends Outside.

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