Seminary of the Street

Current Offerings

About Us
(A)Rise In Power
Confronting Police Terror
Occupied Oakland
West Oakland Project
Alternatives to Gentrification
Recovery from the Dominant Culture
Registration and Fees
Contact Us
Current Offerings

Recovery from the Dominant Culture 12-Step meetings

Read more about this brand new program here.
Every Thursday starting January 13
WORSHP House, 1724 Filbert Street in Oakland
No RSVP necessary

Liberation Bible Study at Occupy Oakland

 How might Christian scripture help to decolonize our spirits and free us to live into a new economy and a new reign of love? What glimpses do we get of an alternative to capitalism there? And how can we liberate the Christian tradition from its centuries-long servitude of empire? How do we atone for the harm done its name? These are some of the questions we expect to address in this series.

Every Wednesday at 5pm
Interfaith Tent @ Occupy Oakland, 14th and Broadway
No charge and no RSVP needed



What’s Your Greatest Spiritual Challenge in the Occupy/Decolonize Movement? A Reflective Discussion
Saturday, December 31, 2-5pm

Where do you find yourself suffering and struggling within the context of this or other justice work? Let’s come together to share those struggles with as much honesty and love as we can muster, and then let’s find ways of supporting each other into the new year. At Seminary of the Street, we believe that the success of this and all justice work at this time relies upon our ability to be in authentic relationship and have each other’s backs when the chips are down. Relationship is at the heart of the world we wish to create. Let’s learn to do it better.

Dress warmly and bring a chair, cushion, or blanket to sit on if you like.

Saturday, December 31, 2-5pm
Interfaith Umbrella at Oscar Grant Plaza (we will move to a café if it is raining)
No cost; hat will be passed for donations
No RSVP necessary, but of course we’d love to know: ntorbett (at) seminaryofthestreet (dot) org.

Fierce Vulnerability: A Holistic Self-and-Other-Defense Class for Women

How can we help create a fierce community of nonviolent allies resisting the forces of oppression interpersonally and socially? How does our capacity to identify and resist humiliation, harassment, and violence directed at us in our daily lives impact our capacity to be social change agents or allies to people facing oppression? What deep-seated beliefs and fears prevent us, as women, from effectively defending ourselves and others?

This is a holistic self-defense class about standing up for and defending ourselves and each other. In a supportive and loving environment where feelings are very much allowed, we will learn actual physical maneuvers to take up space and defend ourselves. We will also share and examine the spiritual and emotional baggage we bring to this work, including exploring our relationship to violence and nonviolence.

Participants will be invited to consider the ways that their race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, as well as their gender, influence their responses.

Please make sure you can attend all sessions before signing up. Community-building is important to this class.

Laurel Jujitsu, 4148 MacArthur Blvd in Oakland
By donation (suggested $20-40, or whatever you can afford, for the series; no one turned away)
Register by emailing us


Love Your Neighbor As Yourself: A Laboratory for Cultivating the Love that Does Justice
This class is dangerous. The skills and capacities for loving that we will be trying to develop together are a real and present danger to the status quo. Abuse and exploitation are only possible in the absence of real love. The abuser seeks to isolate his or her victim in order to make the victim vulnerable. When the victim is surrounded by a loving community that is willing to intervene on the victim’s behalf, abuse simply can’t take place.

We know that this is true on an intimate scale, for example in spousal and child abuse. I believe it is also true on a social scale. The systematic abuse and exploitation of human beings and of the planet is possible only to the degree that love is managed, confined, controlled, and limited. We are taught in subtle and overt ways from the time we are born whom and what we may love and whom and what we may not, who and what is worthy of love and who  and what is not.

In this class, we will seek to unlearn those lessons and to experiment with loving outside the lines. My hope is that we can support each other to take risks both internally and out in the world.
Week 1: Loving Ourselves as God Loves Us
Week 2: Love, Power, and Difference
Week 3: Loving in a Culture of Individualism
Week 4: Generosity Practices
Week 5: Hospitality Practices
Week 6: Loving Your Enemies
Week 7: Loving Your Neighbor As Yourself
Week 8: Celebration and Closure 

Spring dates TBA
WORSHP House, 1724 Filbert St. in Oakland
Suggested donation $40-100; no one turned away

Email us to sign up

Lessons from THE COLOR OF FEAR with Victor Lee Lewis

Many Seminary of the Street students raved about Victor Lee Lewis's Healing the Heart of Justice series last spring and summer. Victor is simply one of the most incisive, creative, lively social justice educators around. This winter, he'll be back with a brand new class based on the renowned documentary THE COLOR OF FEAR, in which he is featured along with several others. What lessons can we draw from this film for our liberation work today? Don't miss this opportunity to study the film with Victor himself. 

Details coming soon!

What to Expect

Our classes are designed to invite every participant into their own full humanity and, simultaneously, into deep community. Here is some of what you can expect:
  • As much as possible, we seek to break down barriers between teachers and learners to become a learning community to which everyone contributes.
  • We value collaboration and joint investigation as ways to challenge the individualism and competition of the culture.
  • We value rigorous critical engagement with tradition We will not dismiss difficult material nor will we accept ideas unquestioningly. Instead, we will grapple with inherited ideas and traditions to uncover that which serves life.
  • We value lived experience and seek always to make learning useful in participants’ daily lives without conforming to the dominant culture.
  • Learning is emotional and spiritual as well as intellectual; we value creative/emotional knowledge as well as facts and reason.
  • Real transformation occurs in the context of relationship, so our courses devote time and energy to the cultivation of relationships across lines of difference. As I come to care about you, I care about barriers to your freedom and full exercise of your humanity and want to work to eliminate those barriers.
  • Oppression of various kinds has created barriers to participation in learning communities. We seek to be inclusive in all our practices and to encourage participation from those who have been silenced. At the same time, participation in any activity or discussion is voluntary.
  • Recognizing that self-reflection is a vital activist skill, we give frequent opportunities and encouragement for reflection in private and in community.

**Members and pledging friends of First Congregational Church of Oakland do not have to pay registration fees and may take Seminary of the Street classes on a free-will donation basis. This applies to in-house classes only, not to those sponsored by other organizations. The latter are marked with a single asterisk on this site.

*These courses are offered by other organizations but share our approach of combining inner work with outer work for social justice. Registration is through the sponsoring organization, as listed in the description.