Are you looking for a community, fellowship, or a place to explore and perhaps deepen your spirituality? At First Unitarian, you will find all of this and more. Come… be our guest. Fill out our Guest Connection Card and let us help you find what you are seeking.

Our Mission

We, the members of the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, unite to build a beloved community within and beyond our walls. Guided by individual conscience and wisdom from many sources, we gather in worship and service to nourish the spirit, work for justice, and celebrate the divine in all.

— Adopted by the congregation on March 18, 2001

Our Vision:

To build a radically inclusive community, to grow the beloved community by expanding the welcome table and deepening our commitments to countering oppression as an intentional multiracial, multicultural, multigenerational congregation.

— Adopted by the congregation in 2010

Minister’s Message

Welcome to the First Unitarian Church of Oakland. Here in this historic sanctuary in the heart of downtown Oakland, we are a diverse people seeking to meet the spiritual challenges of today and shaping a more just, inclusive, and joyful future. Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, we hope that you find support and encouragement for your next chapter here.

Some have called congregational life a spiritual co-operative, and that is an apt description. Rev. Theresa Soto, as our Lead Minister, tends to our ministries of worship, pastoral care, justice-making, membership, and church governance. Alex Haider-Winnett, as our Interim Director of Religious Education, nurtures our ministries of adult faith development and children and family ministries. We work with dedicated music, office, facilities, and children and family ministries staff. But the real heart of our church community is the members who become enlivened by what they experience here, find ways to serve the mission of the church, and invite companions into those ministries of our congregation that feed their souls.

In our church we encourage members:

  • to attend worship regularly to connect with one another and what is most sacred, to give us time to pause, celebrate, reflect, and recommit to our values, our spiritual lives, and the change we want to be in the world.
  • to commit to a regular spiritual practice. Members have chosen things such as spiritual or religious activism, meditation, prayer, yoga, interplay, memorizing poetry, music, walking, or spending time in nature. We can help you find a spiritual practice that is right for you.
  • to join a small group in the congregation. Our community is large enough that to have real depth of connection you’ll need to find a place to connect. Covenant groups, ongoing affinity groups like the young adult group, the book club, a music group like the choir, Journey Toward Wholeness First Sundays, or the Buddhist sitting group are all great places to begin.
  • to serve a ministry of the congregation. Where does your joy or your need to grow draw you to serve? Many members start by becoming a greeter or an usher, helping with the 4th Sunday potlucks, volunteering with the pastoral care team to help congregants in need, or working with one of our justice teams.

What to Expect

One of our greeters will likely meet you and answer questions as you come in. If you complete our guest form, we’ll also send you a few copies of our newsletter.

Our services are about an hour in length, and include music, hymns, readings, and a sermon.

After the service, we invite you to join us for hospitality hour in Wendte Hall, a time for discussion and making friends. This is also a great time to inquire about the many activities we have going on and to visit our the information tables of our various church groups.

In the meantime, browse our web site, meet our ministers, check out our education programs for children and adults. Questions? Review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page.

What We Believe

Our faith, Unitarian Universalism, is spiritually alive and justice-centered.

Unitarian Universalists search for truth along many paths. Instead of centering our religion on specific beliefs, we gather around shared moral values that include the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

With its historical roots in the Jewish and Christian traditions, Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion that keeps an open mind to the religious questions people have struggled with through the ages. We believe personal experience, conscience and reason should be the final authorities in religion, and that in the end, religious authority lies not in a book or person or institution, but in ourselves.

For more information on what we believe, you can review our congregation’s principles, vision and purpose.

To learn more about Unitarian Universalism’s religious roots and theologies, visit the Unitarian Universalist Association’s “Sources Within Our Tradition.” For other information about the denomination, visit the web site of the Unitarian Universalist Association. You can also check out Wikipedia’s description of Unitarian Universalism.

Worship Services & Times

Please join us for Sunday worship services. We recommend you attend 3-4 services to really “try us out.” And be sure to come into Wendte Hall (adjacent to our sanctuary) for fellowship and refreshments after the service. We look forward to welcoming you and getting to know you.

Worship Services

Our services normally held at 10:20am, but watch the website for announcements about occasional special services. All are welcome to attend our worship services at any time.

Our Location

The First Unitarian Church of Oakland, 685 14th Street, is on 14th St. at Castro St., right next to the 980 Freeway and near downtown Oakland, CA.

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Public Transit

The church is about 4 blocks west of the 12th Street Oakland City Center BART station, between Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and Castro St. Several AC Transit bus lines also pass near the church.

Driving Directions

From Berkeley, Richmond and points north, or west:

Take the 580 freeway to the 980 freeway toward downtown Oakland.
Take the 18th/14th Street off-ramp onto Brush St.
Turn left on 14th and cross over the freeway.
The church is on your right (first building after crossing the freeway).

From Contra Costa County and points east:

Take the 24 freeway westbound, which becomes the 980 freeway near downtown Oakland.
Take the 18th/14th Street off-ramp onto Brush St.
Turn left on 14th and cross over the freeway.
The church is on your right (first building after crossing the freeway).

From Hayward and points south:

Take the 880 freeway north to the 980 freeway.
Exit at 11th/14th Street.
Merge right and go three blocks to 14th Street.
Make a right on 14th Street.
The church is on the corner.


Parking is usually available on Castro St., some on 14th St., and around the corner on Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. You can also park at the Clay St. garage at 14th & Clay. The entrance is on Clay.

Accessible Parking: There is one curb-side parking space designated for handicap use in front of the church and one on Castro St. just North of the light at 14th St. The Valva Realty parking lot directly across the street from the church is in use by their staff, clients and paying tenants Monday through Saturday. In order to ensure that your vehicle is not towed please do not park there during the week. The lot is available on Sunday mornings for those with limited mobility or special needs only.