Our pastoral staff works with an empowered and diverse group of leaders to curate Sunday morning gatherings and mid-week groups.
Conversation is the center of our gatherings. We facilitate a conversational approach to thinking about and living out our faith together.
Belonging defines who we are and aim to be. We are not isolated individuals, but people who belong in divine grace.
Compassion is God’s love in action. It is in serving and helping others – we actively take the good news out into our city and the world.
Decolonization is our theological approach. We are committed to the ongoing work of decolonizing Christianity in order to better love and serve the world.
We are part of Westwood United Methodist Church.
WHAT WE VALUE
Leaning on our Methodist roots, we are a community that begins with grace, and values practical theology over doctrine. We’re interested in living toward greater love and justice. We are a church that is open & affirming – comprising people of different races, ages, cultures, gender identities, sexualities, and religious backgrounds. We value our diversity.
REV. DR. CHRISTOPHER CARTER
Pastor of The Loft
MA/MDiv/PhD, Claremont School of Theology
“As a pastor and academic, I understand the ways colonial theologies have shaped much of the way we practice Christianity in America. What I love about The Loft is that compassion is the lens through which we decolonize our Christian practice. Many of us have been hurt by bad Christian theology in the past. We bring these hurts to The Loft where we hold each other in compassionate care as we move towards practicing a Christainity that is rooted in love.”
Director of Loft Music
“As a musician and lifelong member of the Methodist church, I believe that music is integral to not only the worship experience, but to personal spiritual development as well. The Loft is an extraordinary place where we believe that the Divine works through the sharing of different perspectives. We are consciously working together as a community to grow and expand our understanding of the human experience in relation to one another, as well as to the Divine.”
“Seeing the divine in the image of someone that society devalues is something I see too often. I appreciate that at The Loft there is an emphasis on centering the voices of the marginalized and questioning why those margins exist in the first place.”
REV. DR. DIANA HOLBERT
Pastor for Family and Children’s Ministries
“My short definition of “Christian” is “Advocate.” I advocate for children, and I am thrilled to be able to watch our children in Sunday school grow their own story to be a part of God’s story where truth is told, love is available, and laughter heals.”
Director of Youth and Social Justice
Everest was born and raised in Folsom (of Johnny Cash fame) and spent their childhood collecting rocks, doing crafts, reading, and birdwatching with their grandmothers. They were raised going to Episcopal churches in the Sacramento area. Their story echoes a narrative common throughout queer corners of Christian communities – one of feeling drawn to follow Jesus even as they struggled to find their place among the people who claimed to love Him. Being queer in Christian spaces presented many challenges and frustrations, but it also opened the door to deeper connections and opportunities for growth in their communities. Their passion for justice and mentorship began in high school and followed them through many positions working with different communities of young people, including four years working for Sierra Service Project, where they first encountered the Westwood community.
From a young age, faith and social justice were inseparable topics for Everest, not only in relation to their own queer identity but also in the ways Jesus’s story and legacy spoke to the issues they saw in the world at large. Through their studies at school and their own lived experience, Everest came to know and love Jesus as a radically forgiving and loving teacher. They try to center Jesus’s teachings in their own life- prioritizing the belief that all people are capable and worthy of redemption and grace.
They completed their undergraduate degree in sociology and literature at UC Santa Cruz before spending a year in Taiwan on a Fulbright Teaching Scholarship. Their position at Westwood combines several of their passions: building and participating in communities of faith, working with and facilitating spaces for young people, and pursuing social justice in an intentional and loving way. Everest has a special interest in liberation theology, restorative justice, and creating communities of belonging for people of all ages. They spend most of their free time outside – seeking out good food, books, and company.
CHILDREN AND YOUTH
Sunday Children’s Church for Birth-5th Graders
Westwood Kids (nursery through 5th grade) meet during each worship service. At 9:30am, children begin in worship in The Sanctuary with their families, come forward for the Children’s Time, and then proceed to their Community Room for the lesson and the activity response. Infants may go directly to the nursery in Room 202.
Our children’s choir begins at 10:20am.
We end out of doors for play and arts at 10:35am, and at 10:50am, The Loft children move to our Community Room for the story and response, ending on the courtyard.
Westwood Church has a vibrant Sunday morning Children’s Ministry. Integrating Godly Play curriculum, music, and curriculum written by our own team, we are able to explore God’s world using multiple teaching approaches. Our children have an amazing time developing friendships as they learn. All classes are designed to meet the needs of each age group – yet all children experience the same “lesson” each week. This provides families with an opportunity to discuss what happens on Sunday throughout the week!
Our facility, classroom design, teachers, games, sports and curriculum connect with children and also connect them to the wider life of the church. Children participate in service projects and special activities that integrate them into the larger congregation and help to fully express our heart as a community.
6th – 12th Graders: The Grapple Group Westwood Church invites young people in grades 6-12 to be a part of The Grapple Group. We bring together teens from different schools, backgrounds, and interests in a way that provides a safe-place to explore faith and develop as faith-filled persons.