Grace Baptist Church Serving the Poor and Homeless

As a church, GBC is well experienced in service delivery. For 100 years we have been serving our San Jose community and its needs. We have been active in the work for peace and human rights, and against racism and oppression. We have sided with the poor and their plight, offering them compassion and material resources.

In recent years, GBC has offered bus passes to the needy, a community meal every Sunday after worship, a welcoming attitude toward the homeless, free showers and laundry room service, and a winter emergency shelter for those who sleep on the streets. Continue reading

PCBA NOTES 8.1 (Winter 2018)


Download a pdf version: PCBA NOTES 8.1 (Winter 2018)

Three Bay Area ABC Churches Serving Homeless and Hungry

CrossWalk Community Church of Napa, Grace Baptist Church of San Jose, and Shell Ridge Community Church of Walnut Creek are engaged in special ministries to homeless and hungry people.

For the Napa congregation, it has been the need of the suddenly displaced persons from the Northern California wildfires. On the first night of the fires, CrossWalk, which already was a Red Cross evacuation site, sheltered people who had lost their jobs, their homes and the businesses in which they worked. Hosting up to 300 individuals nightly, they replaced the pews in their sanctuary with cots. Those sheltered included people without means as well as affluent community members and tourists. They continue to provide meals from their kitchen for the displaced.

The San Jose congregation for many years has offered bus passes to the needy, a community meal every Sunday after worship, a welcoming attitude toward the homeless, free showers and laundry room service, and a winter emergency shelter for those who sleep on the streets. They are now responding to the crisis created by the city’s closing of an encampment of homeless people. Forming an interfaith organization, they temporarily housed up to 50 people a night, and subsequently set up a program which included mandatory classes and individual coaching on self-understanding, goal-setting, and empowerment leading to transitional housing,

The basic food needs of children have led the Walnut Creek congregation to join in an
interfaith endeavor called “Feed the Kids.” Sixteen Shell Ridge volunteers have helped provide food for children of 277 families from nine schools as well as other critical family needs during the Winter Break.

PCBA has supported the ministries of these churches. Stories about the congregations
may be read by following links above.


Seafarers Ministry of the Golden Gate
Saturday, March 17
10:00 Breakfast Served; 11:30 Program
$10.00 Donation
International Maritime Center
4001 Seventh Street
Portview Park, Port of Oakland

Open Letter to Scott Pruitt

By the Editor, Dale Edmondson

Dear Mr. Pruitt,

I’m writing to you about my grandchildren and the environment I wish to bequeath to them. You’ve been entrusted, as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, with the care and protection of the natural environment of our nation. Because I know you profess the Christian Faith (and like me stand in the Baptist tradition), you will understand that our world is God’s world and you are accountable ultimately to the God of Creation.

When Mr. Nixon signed the bill creating your agency in 1970, with overwhelming bipartisan support, to “set and enforce standards for air and water quality and for individual pollutants,” he said in doing so we “by conscious choice, transform our land into what we want it to become.” I want that land to be a land–indeed a world–of fresh  air and clear skies and clean water and healthy forests and verdant valleys and wide prairies. I want it to be a land in which my grandchildren’s children can drink tap water without fear of lead poisoning, where they can run relays without polluted air damaging their lungs or causing asthma, where they can surf along our beaches without petroleum clinging to their skin, where they can marvel at glaciers, and plan their lives and build their homes without fear of cataclysmic storms.

Unfortunately, many of your actions run counter to the purpose of the EPA and indeed are destructive of the environment. You have removed or diluted environmental regulations involving methane emissions, pesticide use, clean air and clean water standards; replaced half of the Board of Scientific Counselors with non-scientists who are industry representatives; and lobbied the President to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord despite the overwhelming consensus of the world’s scientists about the human influence on climate change. You’ve removed from EPA’s website previous statements by EPA scientists about climate change and awarded EPA grants to universities and non-profits on the basis of political, rather than scientific, concerns.

Any objective analysis will make clear that the short-term interests of the fossil fuel, chemical, and related industries are served by your actions. I acknowledge that our national economy is heavily dependent of the production of oil and that your policies may be of short-term economic benefit. But what is the long-range consequence? I share the concern of your agency’s first Administrator, William Ruckelshaus, who served under Presidents Nixon and Reagan. He has said, “We’ve spent 40 years putting together an apparatus to protect public health and the environment from a lot of different pollutants. [Mr. Pruitt] is pulling that whole apparatus down.”

I understand you have yet to look forward to grandchildren. When you do, I know you’ll find them a precious gift. I pray that your stewardship of the environment will ensure them, and all of our grandchildren, a place of beauty and well-being.

Brief Notes

Oakland’s Ceasefire Program, hosted by Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church was credited in the January 9 Mercury News for the city’s reduction in violent crime (murders lowest in seventeen years).

Copies of the Inaugural Sermon by ABSW President James Brenneman are available
from the seminary at or 510.841.1905.

Save the Date for Seafarers Ministry’s Ice Cream Social on Saturday, May 20 at 3:00 PM at the International Maritime Center, 4001 Seventh Street, Port of Oakland.

The Baptist Peace Fellowship Summer Conference will be held July 2-7 at Keuka College, Keuka Park, NY with the theme, Decentering Power and Privilege: Becoming the Stranger.”

Resource material on the themes of peace and justice has been prepared by  the Baptist Peace Fellowship for personal or church use is available free at

Christmas at Sea gifts were distributed by The Seafarers Ministry of the Golden Gate to the crews of 46 different ships before Christmas. These included 945 “Ditty Bags,” among which were hand-knitted scarves and hats from local churches. The program has been headed by retiring Board member, Alodia Corpuz.

For individuals wishing to send books to Central Philippine University’s College of Theology, PCBA provides assistance, although the Association no longer makes these shipments itself. Under the new plan, a new shipment of theological and basic educational books was made in February. For information: or 510.483.6836.

Becoming a Sanctuary Church, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church has voted to undertake steps of advocacy for undocumented residents.

Douglas Avilesbernal, new Executive Minister of Evergreen Baptist Assn, introduces himself in “The Paradox of Beginnings,” at in the February newsletter at


The lives of three leaders in the life of American Baptists in Northern California were celebrated in memorial services in January: Lynn Hunwick, former missionary to India and active member of First Baptist, Palo Alto, on January 13 . . . Don Sheppard, long-time, faithful member of the PCBA Board and Grace Baptist, San Jose on January 20 . . . David Bartlett, former Pastor of Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland, professor of New Testament at ABSW and later Dean of Yale Divinity School on January 27.

Congratulations are extended to Sydney Webster on her ordination, December 16 at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church. She is a hospice chaplain and Minister in Residence at Lakeshore. . . Michael Burch has been called as Interim Pastor of Shell Ridge Community Church, Walnut Creek. He is also Visiting Professor of New Testament at ABSW. . . Jim Hopkins participated in the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC in February . . . Allison Tanner has been engaged to  prepare study guides for the American Baptist Home Mission Society’s forthcoming mission project in New Orleans.

An Exploration Event
The History of American Baptist in Northern California

Saturday, April 7 – 2:00 to 4:00

A significant part of the life of American Baptists in the Bay Area can be traced to the ministry of the historic  First Baptist Church of Oakland, founded in 1855, only a little more than a decade after the first congregation of Baptists was organized in San Francisco. On Saturday, April 7, there will be an opportunity to explore this history through a visit to the impressive history room of that church and enjoy a tour of the building including its sanctuary designed by the noted architect, Julia Morgan. The church is located at 534 Twenty Second Street, at Telegraph Avenue.

The event, arranged in cooperation with the First Chinese Baptist Church of San Francisco, will be hosted by Steve Reimer and Phil Meads, longtime members of the Oakland church. It is planned to be an occasion for fellowship as well as an educational venture. Refreshments are being served by the Semanon Fellowship of First Chinese. Reservations will assist the planners in their work. These may be made at or with the First Chinese Baptist Church, 415-362-4139.


PCBA Notes

PCBA NOTES 7.2 (Fall 2017)

Download a pdf version: PCBA NOTES 7.2 (Fall 2017)

ABSW Announces Inauguration of President James E. Brenneman

Saturday., October 28 – 2:00 PM

James E. Brenneman will become the new President of American Baptist Seminary of the West. A service of inauguration will be held on Saturday, October 28 at 2:00 PM in the First Church of Christ, Scientist, immediately across the street from the seminary at 2619 Dwight Way in Berkeley. Dr. Brenneman is a distinguished biblical theologian, author, and administrator,  having given visionary leadership for 11 years as President of Goshen College in Indiana, a respected Mennonite institution.

Meet President Brenneman
A Time to “Meet and Greet” the New President of ABSW
Sunday, September 10, 2:00-5:00
American Baptist Seminary of the West
2606 Dwight Way, Berkeley

Continue reading

PCBA Ministerial Standards

The Ministerial Standards Committee of PCBA serves as the committee that relates to Ordinations among member churches, on behalf of the Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches.

We have recently completed a revision of our Guidelines for Ordination.  You will find them here, along with the Application forms used by Evergreen for Ordination and Recognition.

We hope you will find them useful should the occasion arise in your church.

Our committee meets again on September 6 and November 1 later this year.

Many thanks to all,

Paul Hardwick, Chair
Ministerial Standards Committee

Baptists Lunching Together: Spring 2017

Wednesdays at Noon ($10)
Grand Lake Gardens, 401 Santa Clara Ave., Oakland

April 19, 2017: Robert Walter

President & Executive Director of the Joseph Campbell Foundation

Spaceship Earth Ascending: Mythologies for the 21st Century & Beyond

Joseph Campbell frequently noted that every mythology is “another person’s religion.” In this talk, we will consider his thoughts about today’s mythologies and those of the future.

The “future”? Since time immemorial prophets have authoritatively declaimed it, artists have conjured utopias and dystopias, and beguiling shysters have tantalized the gullible with promises. But when tomorrow arrives it is often not what we had envisioned. Why is that?

How do our mythologies, the stories and belief systems that inform our lives, all-too-often defeat us by pitting each-against-the-other? Why must our embedded mythologies be reimagined for the 21st century and beyond? How do we do that?

In our time together, we will seek to answer these questions.

Reservations by Monday
Fill out the online form below or call 510-483-6836

Continue reading

PCBA Notes

PCBA NOTES 7.1 (Winter 2017)

Download a pdf version: PCBA NOTES 7-1 (Winter 2017)

Ministers and Students in the Philippines Helped by Book Project

More than 10,000 books are now on the library shelves of Central Philippine University or in the personal possession of Baptist ministers in the Philippines thanks to PCBA’s Philippine Book Project.  The books on theology, biblical studies, church history, ministry, and general reference were once in the libraries of ministers, teachers, and others mostly in Northern California.

Following a semester in which Dale and Alice Edmondson taught as volunteer faculty members at the American-Baptist-related university, the project was begun as a response to the extremely high cost of books in that country.  Thinking of the number of books basic to ministerial preparation which belonged to retired clergy and others in the Bay Area, they discovered people here were happy to make many of these books available.  The books were welcomed by the University to fill gaps in the library’s collection which had resulted from their limited budget.  Books not needed in the library were made available to seminary students and pastors for whom many such books were beyond reach.

Continue reading

Baptists Lunching Together Winter 2017

Wednesdays at Noon ($10)
Grand Lake Gardens, 401 Santa Clara Ave., Oakland

  • February 15 – Laura Landgraf
    “From Victim to Victor:  Empowering Women and Men Surviving Childhood Trauma”
  • March 15 – Will McGarvey
    “Envisioning a World of Interfaith Peace”
    Executive, Interfaith Council of Costa Contra County

Reservations by Monday
Fill out the online form or call 510-483-6836

Continue reading

PCBA Notes

PCBA NOTES 6.3 (Fall 2016)

Download a pdf version: PCBA NOTES, Fall 2016

Youthquake Sends 42 Youth & Adult Missionaries to New Orleans
PCBA-sponsored Program Joins Home Mission Society Project

Continuing the work of rebuilding in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward ravished in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, forty-two Bay Area American Baptist young people and adults journeyed there to participate in a project of the denomination’s Home Mission Society.

Important projects undertaken by the mission team included working on the home of a woman who had paid a contractor unsuccessfully to repair her home, helping ready a charter school serving kindergarten through 8th grade students, painting picnic tables and picking up trash at a small local store serving an overlooked neighborhood, and working to transform an abandoned building into an Internet café for youth near a new high school. Continue reading

Seafarer’s Mission celebration

Seafarers MissionThe Seafarers Mission of the Golden Gate announces a service celebrating the work of men and women serving on international container ships. It will be held on Sunday, July 10 at 4:00 PM at the Port of Oakland’s Maritime Center, 4001 7th Street (the end of 7th Street). The service will be followed by an ice cream social at 5:00. SMGG’s new chaplain, Jamieson Prevoznah will lead the service. The seafarers are those served by SMGG’s historic Baptist ministry.