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Raiders chaplain to open new church on Easter

Submitted by on 1, April 1, 2010 – 5:00 am5 Comments

This Easter Sunday brings with it the grand opening of the brand-new Bridge Point Church. And the church’s founding pastor might be familiar to local football fans: Oakland Raiders Chaplain Adam Ybarra.

Ybarra’s first service, titled “Does My Life Really Matter?” will be held at 10 a.m. on Easter Sunday, April 4. The church will meet at 10 a.m. this and every Sunday at Ruby Bridges Elementary School, 351 Jack London Avenue.

“It was just something that had been stirring in our hearts,” Ybarra’s wife, Anna, said of the couple’s decision to start a new church in Alameda. “If we’re feeling something so strongly, we felt we should just do it.”

Demographics played a part in the couple’s decision, too: Anna Ybarra said her husband found that less than 6 percent of Alameda County residents attend church, which to him indicated a need. And the Ybarras had spent lots of time here in their work with the Raiders and the players’ families. He has been the team chaplain for a decade, while she has led Bible study groups for the players’ wives and girlfriends.

Anna Ybarra said her husband toured Alameda in an effort to find a location for the new church, and he was struck by the need in the West End neighborhood they ultimately selected. The couple has been working in earnest to start the church for the past six months.

“It looks like a great area, but if you cross the street, there are these people who no one’s reaching out to,” Anna Ybarra said.

Ybarra once was in the same position as the thousands of youths he’s reached out to: The San Jose native grew up in a single-parent home living off welfare checks surrounded by drugs and gangs. According to one press release announcing his work, Ybarra even used and sold drugs himself before turning his own life around with the help of the San Jose church where he eventually served on the pastoral team (his moving story is here).

In addition to his work with the Raiders, Adam Ybarra founded The Tenacious Group, which has provided outreach to more than 350,000 youths in the United States and Africa, and he has served on the pastoral team of the Cathedral of Faith Church in San Jose. He is also the creator of Raising Expectations Standards and Honor 180, a motivational curriculum for youth.

The couple expects to move to Alameda with their two children sometime in the next few months, Anna Ybarra said. And they’ve recruited helpers to work as greeters, to provide children’s programming and to perform other tasks as the church gets off the ground over the next few months.

The church will follow their Easter opener with a two-week series called “Living With Purpose.” Their phone number is 520-5444.


  • KK says:

    How is that a church is allowed to use a public school site as place of worship and promotion of their religion? Isn’t there a separation of church and state issue here?

  • CH says:

    Don’t you know that churches started schools? Did you ever take a history lesson?

  • David Hart says:

    Non-religious orgs are also able to use school property, subject to rules & limitations, which are same for both. That doesn’t constitute establishment, endorsement, nor alignment.

  • Anonymous says:

    I find this email to be condescending to the huge amount of people living happily in Alameda’s West End without religion.

    The West End does not need churches or self-righteous proclamations that communal saviors have finally arrived. It is frankly insulting to hear ‘there is a need’ here for a religious organization, who its probably safe to say will be against tolerance, as so clearly illustrated in the recent Alameda bullying curriculum episode where churches drove the intolerance of anti-gay proponents.

    It sounds like the people behind this new church do some good work with teenagers, which is great. I don’t doubt they have good hearts. But more churches are not ‘needed’ here in Alameda. What Alameda needs is funding for schools, to put laid off teachers back to work, who can educate children away from a life of violence and bigotry.

    I sincerely hope our homes will not be littered with ‘literature’ once this church is up and running. I sincerely hope I do not have to answer my door to somebody with half my education offering me advice on life. I deeply protest the assumption that the millions of us who actively rejected the religion we were fed as kids ‘need reaching out to.’

    And I would politely suggest those with spare energy and money use it to directly help the unfortunate and actively help those in need. Building churches – notably with their tax breaks, just when taxes are needed desperately to help the nation and the community – does little to help people here and now.

  • CA says:

    What i love about this country is that if you have a dream, then you have that opportunity to do it, whatever it is! We are a free country. It’s funny how people want tolerance taught to our kids, but yet have no tolerance to others with dreams to make a difference in our world! Anonymous is probably pr-choice as well,which is fine. But don’t you think Alameda should have “THE CHOICE” if they want church or not!? And from what i hear, it seems like they do!

    If you don’t tolerate church then try CHINA, they don’t either!The US is about freedom!

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