ABOUT

WHAT IS THE LOFT?
The Loft is a conversational community that offers an innovative approach to Christianity for those willing to redefine church. We are committed to the ongoing work of deconstructing and reconstructing our faith, in order to better serve and love the world.

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.

Community defines who we are. 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.

Creativity comes from those who call the Loft home. It shows up in our music, in our use of poetry and painting, and even in our sermon design.

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.

RECENT STATEMENTS
In May 2018, our Church Council voted to officially become a reconciling church as a way of cementing our historic and continuing commitments to the LGBTQI+ community.

In June 2020, our Church council made this statement, in response to George Floyd’s murder and in affirmation of our belief that Black Lives Matter.

In March 2021, our Church Council, Social Justice Initiative leaders and pastoral staff made a statement of acknowledgement of violence against the Asian American Pacific Islander community, and in commitment to work against this racism.

You can read more about how United Methodists understand the theological work we are all called to do at www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/ourtheologicaltask.

OUR TEAM

REV. MOLLY VETTER
she/her/hers
Senior Pastor, Westwood United Methodist Church
MDiv, Claremont School of Theology
Ordained Elder

“One of the things I most treasure is when church offers us a community to belong to while we work at deconstructing harmful theologies and dismantling systemic injustices . For me, it’s a place where I’ve been loved by people who I wouldn’t otherwise have known; it’s also where I’ve learned to love and care about people whose lives are different from my own.”

REV. DR. CHRISTOPHER CARTER
he/him/his
Pastor of The Loft
MA/MDiv/PhD, Claremont School of Theology
Commissioned Elder

“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.”

JULIA BLACK
she/her/hers
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.”

WESTLEY GARCIA
he/him/his
Director of Loft Connections

“As a queer person who grew up in the church, I know how harmful Christianity can be. It’s my hope that the Loft and Westwood UMC will continue to be a place of refuge for those fleeing the harms of historic Christianity, while also being a place where people find their chosen family.”

Shiran Witt
she/her/hers
Lay Leader

ALEX SMITH
he/him/his
Lay Leader

“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
she/her/hers
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.”

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. 

Our youth leadership team uses movies, games, meals, breakout conversations and scripture lessons to engage the youth and facilitate a fun, open environment where everyone can become the best version of who they are made and called to be.

The Grapple Group meets regularly on Sundays from 10:30am-11:30am. Additional activities give more opportunities for young people to connect with each other and with God.

Young people in Grapple Group are invited to serve as acolytes and readers in our Sanctuary Gathering, as well as in the other ministries of our church.

We offer Confirmation Class every other year, for young people in 6th grade or older.

Westwood Church offers additional activities for our high school group, including Sierra Service Project (a summer mission opportunity).