Church of the Apostles (COTA) is for those who are seeking a community that embraces the earthward momentum of Jesus, who long to work and be a voice for justice, who trust in the sacred wisdom of diversity, and who search for truth and beauty wherever it exists. Our church is a young Episcopal-Lutheran expression, hosting space for experiencing the divine through collectively crafted worship that is inspired by childlike play. We provide a spiritual home for those who otherwise might not find one and who desire to know God as loving. We are deeply rooted in the ancient traditions and practices of the church while blossoming openly into the richness of the culture around us. We work to create church that is not a place to visit, but a life we lead and a community to which we belong.
You don’t need to check any belief boxes, or subscribe to any doctrines or creeds to be a part of our community. (You may not even be sure that God actually exists.) We believe in a God who loves. We believe in a God who embraces us as we are right now and wants us to become more of who we are. We believe in a God that revels in beauty, a God who is not defined by our own prejudices and restrictions, a God who chose to become one of us out of a desire for relationship with us and creation itself. We believe that earth is not a place to be saved from but a place to be saved for.
There was a time when Church of the Apostles was near the center of the spotlight on the Emerging Church movement. Our founder Karen Ward had the profound courage to realize the dream of a church birthed from a Gen-X/Millenial postmodern expression. Our church imagined new ways to be a worshiping community, to disrupt rote patterns of institutional churches bent on self-preservation, and to place the agency of creating space for God in the hands of a gathered people practicing their faiths together. We do things differently at COTA because we are always working to break open the ordinary for the sake of encounters with the divine, in playfulness and wonder.
The deep ancient roots of tradition form the bones and ligaments of our identity. They provide directions to prevent our becoming lost in our journey of discovery in the world around us. Like the smells and bells of a mad liturgical scientist, we believe in experimentation and innovation as ways of encountering the divine. We invite all our senses and faculties into play as we look to receive God’s love in our lives.
In an attempt to draw in younger members, churches often try to create specialized programs or ministries that specifically meet their needs. Our faith community was intentionally built from the ground up with the unique experiences and mindset of people in their 20s and 30s, looking to the insights of these generations to lead us into the church's future. It is built into our very culture. While most of our current members are generally between 25 and 45 years of age, we deeply value the wisdom of our elder members and the fresh ideas of our children.
The Fremont Abbey Arts Center is our longtime building partner. We see their mission as an extension of our own: "to curate welcoming arts & cultural experiences where people of all ages and incomes can explore creativity, enjoy beauty, grow empathy and increase awareness." Six days a week our building is home to dancers, musicians, visual artists, youth art programs, poetry slams, community gatherings, the Moth podcast, the Round, and many more.
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