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.

During this season of social distancing, experiencing community through Life Groups is more important than ever! While it’s so difficult to be distant from one another, there is also opportunity in that we are now equidistant. Why not use this season to build new friendships we might have missed if the status quo prevailed? Please check out our groups below–perhaps one of them will be just the right way to build much-needed connection and spiritual friendship this Eastertide.

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 the link below.
  3. After you sign up, the leader of the group will contact you with further details.


Contact Pastor Gary VanderPol (gary@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.

DYN 01 – Psalm Meditation
led by: Abby Jensen
when: TBD, both lunchtime and evening times available
A 45-minute opportunity for us to center ourselves in the intense, inspiring world of the Psalms.

DYN 02 – Spiritual Direction and Discernment
led by: Sharon Henthorn-Iwane
when: time TBD
God is speaking, but how do I hear him? God is at work, but how do I recognize His activity? God is loving and empowering me, but how do I experience that reality? Are you asking these kinds of questions or do you desire more of God? In the context of group spiritual direction and prayer for each other outside the group, we will form a spiritual community which assists people in ongoing individual discernment. We will meet twice a month in a set group of 6-8 people. Come as you are. No spiritual direction experience necessary!

TUE 01 – Spirituality in Everday Life (aka Eat, Share, Pray)
led by: Bora Reed
when: Tuesdays at 7:00 – 9:00 pm
We love Jesus, good food, art, and one another. We will follow along with the sermon series and have time to eat, share, and pray.

TUE 02 – Spirituality in Everyday Life
led by: Loretta Matty and Erin Schweng
when: Tuesday evenings, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
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 historic and present injustice, especially as it regards race, in our culture.

TUE 03 – Virtual
led by: shared leadership
when and where: Tuesday evenings, 8:15 – 9:30 pm
We are the original Zoom group at CWOW! 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.

WED 01 – Deep Hope
led by: Gary VanderPol
When: Wednesday evenings from 7:30-8:30
In a world inundating us with bad news every day, we need hope that things are going to be OK. For six weeks we’ll go deeper into the good things God has planned for us in the last chapter of the gospel story. Spoiler alert: all things are renewed in the happiest ending imaginable. Come expand your imagination for what deep hope looks like!

WED 02 – Rooted in Faith: the Gospel in Eastertide
led by: Dana Lundblad
when: Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00
We’ll be following the Luke series, asking questions about discipleship in this particular moment of shelter-in-place & following Jesus in our current reality.

THU 01 – Daytime Group
led by: Kim Winkleman, Tracy Ashlock, and Lynn Lee
when: Thursday afternoons, 1:00-2:00pm
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.


THU 02 – Justice and Restoration
led by: Ryan Grant and Dana Lundblad
when: on hiatus for Eastertide
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.

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