What are Life Groups?

Life Groups create space within our stressful schedules to experience dynamic spiritual growth together. Through shared spiritual practices we call a Rule of Life, we connect with God through worship, prayer, and Scripture; by doing justice and sharing faith we hope to extend God’s wholeness to the world; in the process, we find deeper connection with each other.

How do I know if a Life Group is for me?

All that’s required to be a part of a life group is a desire to grow, experiment, and share your spiritual journey as you feel comfortable. You don’t need any religious background or knowledge; it’s OK to be seeking what faith looks like for you. All of us are beginners together, just trying to take the next step towards Jesus.

How do I sign up?

  1. Read the descriptions below and decide which group you want to join.
  2. Then, sign up using this link.
  3. After you sign up, the leader of the group will contact you with further details.

After Town Tent, we will be working to arrange childcare for as many groups as possible; please indicate your needs when you sign up. Most, but not all, groups will meet weekly for two hours and meet through November.

Any exceptions are noted in the group descriptions.


Contact Pastor Gary VanderPol (gary@churchwithoutwallsberkeley.org) or Pastor Rena Crocker (rena@churchwithoutwallsberkeley.org)

All groups described below practice the five elements of our Rule of Life (prayer, Scripture, worship, justice, and evangelism) but most have chosen an “anchor practice” that distinguishes their group.

MON 01 – John Study
led by: Jason and Susi Jensen
when: Monday evenings, 7:30-9:30 pm
where: South Berkeley, close to Ashby BART
When we look deeply at the Bible together in community, and begin to do what it says, God pours out life and joy. For the next five months, our group will study scenes from the biography of Jesus in the Gospel of John. We expect to keep an open door to invite seeking friends into the group, and also to host outreach events.

TUE 01 – New!
led by: Humberto Reyes
when: Tuesday evenings, 6:30 pm
where: West Berkeley
Interested in engaging the educational needs of our community, looking for an exciting and practical way to have an impact? Come join our group as we look at how we can take our Science Night experience to the next level! We will focus on identifying a curriculum that can begin to address the need for a Summer School Program here in Berkeley, a need that Ty Alper (School Board Member) shared with us. We will start at the Elementary School level and plan to launch a week long summer program. Join us as we start small and se where God’s vision leads us!

TUE 02 – cwow.justice.edu
led by: Deborah and Tim Zenor-Davis
when: Tuesday evenings, 7-9 pm
where: West Berkeley
Each week we gather to dig into Scripture, share our lives and stories, pray, worship, reflect, and laugh a lot. Our justice practice is a focus on educational equity, and over the next six months, we’ll be doing some hands-on activities to partner with local schools, students and families in exciting ways. No experience required–just a heart for the kids and youth of our greater community. Come join us!

TUE 03 – CWOW Advocates
led by: Gary VanderPol
when and where: Usually Tuesday evenings, but we flex with our changing schedules.
Looking for a practical, effective way to do justice together? Come join us as we grow in using our political voices as allies with those left behind or damaged by the structures of our society. We aren’t looking to engage in partisan politics, but to do the hard work of advocating for issues long supported by CWOW such as educational equity, ending mass incarceration, and immigration reform.

TUE 04 – Intergenerational Group FULL
led by: Jill and Pete Gidlund
when: Tuesday evenings, 6-8 pm. Part of our time will be dinner together.
where: West Berkeley
We are an intergenerational group, meaning we’ll welcome all ages. Sometimes, we will break out into age-specific groups, separating kids and adults, but most of the time we will practice worshiping, praying, studying scripture and doing justice and evangelism together. Our anchor practice will be following a liturgy of songs, prayers and scriptures that everyone can follow; readers will be able to follow along right away, while younger children will learn by repetition.

TUE 05 – New! FULL
led by: Loretta Matty
when: Tuesday evenings, 7-8:30 pm.
where: Northwest Berkeley
We have an unstructured approach, but often include worship songs and time for sharing. We attempt to understand and experience Ignatian spirituality as well as engaging with the historic and present injustice, especially as it regards race, in our culture.

WED 01 – Faith and Work
led by: Ron Some and Gary VanderPol
when: Wednesday evenings, 7-9 pm
where: South Berkeley
We spend most of our waking hours on the job, but often our faith and work lives feel disconnected. In order to integrate our journey with Jesus, vocation and justice must be deeply rewarding in a really tangible way. But we need help from God and others to do this! Through Scripture, readings, dialogue, prayer and friendship, we’ll learn and take steps of faith together. It will be an encouraging and stretching experience!

THU 01
led by: Jason and Jane Lee
when and where: Varies (see below)
Our group exists to form community and discipleship for people in circumstances that makes attending a weekly, in-person group challenging (e.g., parents of young children). We are an entrepreneurial bunch who will try different technological and logistical approaches to facilitate both remote and in-person discussions, which will be inspired by the sermon series. Our current plan is to have weekly meetings virtually on Thursdays at 8pm and monthly in-person meetings at a time and place to-be-determined (likely on weekends).

THU 02 – Contemplatives in Action
led by: Sharon Henthorn-Iwane and Anne/Ryan Park-Grant
when: Thursday evenings 7:30-9:30 pm
where: Central Berkeley
At CWOW, we say in our values that “Ongoing intimacy with Christ transforms hearts and lifestyles.” Regardless of your current practice or past success, join us if you desire to grow with God through daily prayer practices. We will explore what God wants to do in and through us and exercise the discipline of prayer that is free of shame. We will encourage one another, debrief our experience honestly, and ask Jesus to clarify the next step of faith he calls us to—both in prayer and in our other core disciplines of worship, scripture, evangelism, and justice.

THU 03 – CWOW Artists’ Collective
led by: Bora Reed and Lynn Lee
when: Thursday evenings, 7-9 pm
where: Berkeley
Are you an artist? Whether you answered with a resounding “yes!” or raised a tentative hand while your heart roiled with angst, we invite you to engage your calling through the lens of Christian spirituality. Through Bible study, prayer and sharing, we will explore our vocation and offer practical support as we work. You do not have to be a full time artist, but the expectation is that you are working on your art…or are at least committed to trying. Artists of all mediums and spiritual backgrounds welcome.

THU 04 – Justice and Restoration
led by: Wes Reed and Dana Lundblad
when: Thursday evenings
where: Berkeley
Starting with a foundation in what scripture has to say about justice and restoration, with some consideration of issues present in and influencing our criminal justice system, we will serve people entering life after incarceration. This is meant to be an exploration with much learning, experimentation, discovery, and a variety of ways for members to respond. Okay, that all sounds pretty serious. We will also be enjoying life together as we nurture our spiritual lives and eat good snacks.

FRI 01
led by: Kim Winkleman
when: Friday mornings, 10 am-12 pm
where: West Berkeley
Got time during the day? Join us to study the texts of the sermon series, pray and worship together. We put an emphasis on creating a safe space to share our real selves and what God is up to in our lives.

CWOW en Español
Dirigido por: Humberto y Gaddy Reyes
Donde y Cuando: Póngase en contacto con Gaddy y Humberto para más información
Somos un grupo que se reune en español para estudio bíblico, oración, alabanza y servicio. Niños y jovenes son incluídos. Si tiene interés en aprender más sobre este grupo, ¡por favor déjenos saber!

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