Kenwood Community Church was founded in 1888 as the First Congregational Church of Los Guilicos. Over time, it became known as Los Guilicos Congregational Church and then simply as Kenwood Community Church (KCC). It remains true to its Congregational background. It is part of the United Church of Christ, a Protestant denomination that was created in 1957 when Congregational churches could elect to become a part.
Our motto is simple. “No matter who you are or where you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome in this place.” Please join us to worship whether or not you are a member. Being a member does allow you to vote in congregational meetings and to become an officer or board member if desired. Basically, joining the church as a member signifies a commitment to be a regular and active participant in the congregation’s life and to follow Christ’s way, as it is known to you.
Our congregation is a warm, inclusive community that shares a strong and caring commitment to each other and to the larger world, embracing religious and societal beliefs and opinions that range from traditional to progressive. People come from a variety of denominational backgrounds, including Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, and some have no prior church affiliation. It is an older congregation that includes both long-term stalwarts of Sonoma Valley and more recent arrivals who have sought a meaningful core to this chapter of their lives. It is an entrepreneurial church with abundant opportunities to contribute, depending on interests, skills and identified needs.
Our stately but simple white-steepled church looks like it was plucked out of the New England countryside. It welcomes you with the idyllic charm of yesteryear. The gracious façade has a tall bell tower and hand-carved wooden doors. Inside are an elegant raised chancel and a simple white cross, flanked by fresh flowers, taper candles, a piano and an organ. Sunlight streams through the antique stained-glass windows, flooding the room with jewel-like light in multiple colors on Sunday mornings. The plush red carpet and well-cushioned wooden Windsor chairs make the sanctuary feel warm and homey. It has the ambiance and intimacy of a small village chapel. You will feel the presence of God in this place and the peace that comes from the Christian lives lived here. The facilities also include a fellowship hall and a serene garden for receptions and informal gatherings. As with many old churches, ours has served as a community gathering place for many functions over the years.
We worship at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday for about an hour. Our hymns are typically traditional, spanning a range from historic Protestant hymns to more contemporary ones written late in the last century. A lay leader assists the pastor each Sunday, leading the prayers and reading scripture. The pastor preaches based on the scripture readings. There is a time for group announcements, as well as joys and concerns from the congregation, before the prayers. Music is provided by organ and piano. Periodically, guest musicians play guitar, flute, violin, or harp. Worship is followed by a fellowship time in the adjoining hall. The second Sunday of each month includes a potluck luncheon.
Yes, we are “trinitarian”. We profess belief in Father, Son and Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost, which can also be defined as Creator, Savior, and Inspirer.
Holy Communion is celebrated on the first Sunday of each month. It is open to one and all; you need not be a member of the church to receive the elements. We serve communion by intinction. Worshippers come forward, receive a piece of bread from the pastor’s common loaf, dip it into a chalice containing either wine or grape juice, then return to their seats. Baptism is celebrated, when requested, after consultation with the pastor.
The church is available to members and non-members for weddings and memorial services. A donation is requested for these services, and seating is limited to 100 in our small, historic sanctuary.
A candlelight carol service is conducted each Christmas Eve. The forty weekdays of Lent prior to Easter begins on Ash Wednesday with a simple evening service, including imposition of ashes. An evening service is conducted on Maundy Thursday, where Communion is served in observation of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. This is usually followed by a simple soup supper.
Each United Church of Christ congregation is autonomous. The congregation selects its own pastor and votes to elect church officers each year. The Moderator is the head lay leader and “president” of the congregation. A Secretary and Treasurer, as well as an elected Board of Trustees, meet monthly to conduct the business of the church. Kenwood Community Church belongs to the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ, which offers information, support, and assists in calling a new pastor.
Each year, the pastor offers a couple of month-long Bible study groups; each is held at a member’s home. Our most recent series was called, “From Coal to Diamonds: The Parables of Jesus.” The group met on four consecutive Mondays during the month of October from 10 a.m. to noon. at the home of one of our deacons.
Before the local demographics changed, we had a thriving Sunday School for the children of our members and the surrounding Kenwood community. Today, most of our members' children are grown. Though we currently do not have a Sunday School for children, we do welcome children at our services.