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About Us

 

The Beloved Community

We are ASBC, the little house church in Brooklyn. Open and affirming, we are a friendly congregation with a big heart, a sense of humor, and passion for the sacred, the arts and social justice. At ASBC, we value the worth and dignity of all God’s people and each person’s unique search for truth and meaning. Our community is the merging of three historic Brooklyn congregations, representing three progressive denominations in the United Church of Christ, the Unitarian Universalist Association, and the Disciples of Christ. We’ve been a house church since 1998.

Rooted in the Hebrew scriptures and the teachings of Jesus, we incorporate other faith traditions and the wisdom of prophetic voices from psychology, science, Womanist and Black Liberation Theology, Buddhism, Native American Spirituality, and more. Experience ASBC’s raucous and fun Passing of the Peace and our heartfelt sharing of Joys and Concerns followed by a pastoral prayer.

Once a month, we celebrate the Christian tradition of Communion, open to all, as a ritual remembrance of our covenant that all are welcome at our table.

Who We Are

We are single, married, widowed, straight, gay, black, brown, white, young, old - we have traditional and nontraditional families. Some of us live in the neighborhood, others come from farther away. We are multilingual and multicultural. Some of us were raised with religion, others were not. Collectively, we identify as a wide variety of religious traditions.

Yet something connects us.

Together we pray, we sing, we laugh and cry. We gather for reflection, music, insight, a chance to slow down - a connection with the sacred. We catch up at our Sunday coffee hour and share a meal at our monthly potluck, and then we take our call to justice into the new week! We are ASBC, the little house church in Brooklyn.

FAQ

How do I find you?

We’re at 566 East 7th Street (between Cortelyou and Ditmas) in the Kensington area of Brooklyn. You can take the Q train to Cortelyou or the F train to Ditmas Ave. Street parking available.

Who’s your minister?

Pilar Millhollen, M.Div.

What time do you gather?

Worship on Sundays with us from 10:30 - 11:30am and stay for coffee and food! Running late? Come anyway!

So...what if I hate church?

Try us out - we’re doing things a little differently!

Do you provide childcare?
Creative activities are provided for children unless your child wants to participate in worship and that’s just fine.

What’s your history?
The church has been around in one form or another since 1845 - visit our History page for more info!

Are you denominational?:
We’re affiliated with The United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist Association, and The Christian Church - Disciples of Christ.

How many people do you have?
We are an intimate community of 50 people, members and nonmembers!

What about music?

We feature traditional hymns and spirituals to blues, jazz, gospel, classical, and contemporary music with Debbie Deane, Richard Harper and special guests.

Our Minister

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Pilar hopped from the Broadway stage to the Brooklyn pulpit! Raised a Unitarian Universalist, she learned to sing and developed her love of performing arts at First Unitarian Church of Portland, taking her passion to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama and Musical theater. Upon moving to New York, she enjoyed a career on Broadway, in national tours, and in regional theaters across the country before she felt called into ministry. She holds a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York with an emphasis in Christian Ethics, and has since worked for the Food and Clothing Ministries at Middle Collegiate Church; the Prison Divest Campaign with Enlace, International; and as an intern Chaplain at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center focusing on pastoral care in trauma/crisis events. Pilar centers her ministry in the social gospel tradition, taking her cues from the great Ida B. Wells, Howard Thurman, James Cone, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and contemporary theologians Jacqueline Lewis and William J Barber, II. She is self-described as “an ecological, liberation, process theologian who follows the multi-ethnic working class refugee called Jesus,” and believes that we cannot do church in our time without wrestling to dismantle the systemic racism, sexism, classism, and ecological plight that our country and world have called us into.

Our Musicians

Debbie Deane
Richard Halper

History

The First Universalist Church of Williamsburg was founded in 1845, to become All Souls Church, and moved to Flatbush in 1905. The first Disciples church in NYC was organized in 1810, and a Park Slope congregation moved to Flatbush early in this century, creating the Flatbush Christian Church. Bethlehem Evangelical Church was founded in 1906, later to become Bethlehem United Church of Christ. The latter two merged to form Bethlehem United Church, then merged with All Souls Universalist Church in 1998 to form All Souls Bethlehem Church. We maintain affiliation with each of those denominations. For more information about these denominations click here.

The Unitarian Universalist Association

Late 1700s: John Murray led a revival in New England, preaching that all humanity was saved through the event of Jesus' life and death – hence the Universalists were born, believing in universal salvation. Historically progressive, the Universalists were the first denomination on the national level to approve the ordination of a woman in 1862!
In the early 19th century, the established churches of Massachusetts split over the question of original sin. The "liberal" churches took the name Unitarian, while the "orthodox" churches retained the name Congregational. Unitarians emphasized independent thought and religion without creeds, and in 1962, these two denominations merged to form the Unitarian Universalist Association. For more info, visit www.uua.org.

The United Church of Christ

The UCC is a liberal Protestant denomination formed in 1957 by the merger of most Congregational Christian Churches with the Evangelical and Reformed Church.
Congregationalists sprung from the Pilgrims at Plymouth (1620) and the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay (1630). As a progressive wing of Protestantism, they were active in Abolition, Women’s ordination (1853) and LGBTQ ordination (1973). The Evangelical and Reformed Church included historically progressive figures such as 20th century theologians Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich, who were ministers of this denomination. For more info, visit www.ucc.org.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

1800: Revivals broke out throughout the east coast emphasizing the Bible as the sole basis for faith and conduct, the right of each individual to interpret the Bible for him or herself, the rejection of human-made creeds, and the simple unity of all Christians. At first they called themselves simply "Disciples," but later took the name "The Christian Church, Disciples of Christ." For more info, visit www.disciples.org.

 

All Souls Bethelehem Church, 566 East 7th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11218-5902

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All Souls Bethlehem Church