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Past Events

November 14, 2016 | Israel Information meeting

For those thinking of traveling to Israel this February-March 2017 with Rabbi Cartun and Pastor Parish, this evening offered an introduction. This is Rabbi Ari’s and Pastor Danielle’s “dream trip,” going to places they never get to take people to.

November 12, 2016 | Michelle Higgins

Seeing Past the Color Line in the Bay Area. Faith leaders from across the Bay Area gathered for transparent conversations around race and unity.

November 11, 2016 | An intimate conversation with Dr. Curt Rhodes

Dr. Curt Rhodes of Questscope shared with us his journey and insights from first-hand, on-the-ground experience with refugees, and spoke candidly about the realities of this situation.

October 30, 2016 | Spark's 4th Anniversary

In this special service, with guest worship leader, Junior Tagata, we reminisced, remembered, said a lot of "thank you's" and talked about the vision moving forward. Here's to "four more years!"

October 9, 2016 | A Conversation with Dr. Randall Balmer

At our 4:45 service, Dr. Balmer spoke on The History and Future of Evangelicalism (What is Evangelicalism? How did it form and emerge? What forces shape and influence its expression). At 7:00 he spoke on Evangelicalism and Politics (What role have Evangelicals played in American politics? What are the driving ethics and values that have influenced Evangelicals' political engagement?)

Dr. Balmer has published more than a dozen books, including Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy CarterGod in the White House: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush, and The Making of Evangelicalism: From Revivalism to Politics and Beyond. His second book, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America, now in its fifth edition, was made into an award-winning, three-part documentary for PBS. Read more about Dr. Balmer at his website, and in his CV (Curriculum Vitae)

September 11, 2016 | Multifaith Peace Walk

The 15th anniversary of 9/11 was commemorated with a Multifaith Peace Walk & Picnic. Sparkers, Etzniks, and other faiths for this declaration of peace in the midst of a tumultuous world, said "no" to fear and "yes" to friendship!

August 12-14, 2016 | Spark's Summer Retreat

This summer we stayed at the beautiful Asilomar Conference grounds near Asilomar State Beach and enjoyed food, hanging out, beach, games, and strengthening the community of our church.

July 31, 2016 | Special Guest, Dr. Peter Enns

Dr. Peter Enns presented on his two most recent books, The Sin of Certainty, and The Bible Tells Me So... He then offered further reflections and answered questions during the Q&A time.

May 1, 2016 | Special Guest, Dr. Curt Rhodes

Curt Rhodes has spent over 30 years working with, and on behalf of, marginalized communities and young people across the Middle East, making him uniquely prepared to respond to the current Syrian war and the refugee crisis.

As the recipient of the 2014 Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award, Dr. Rhodes was recognized by Tufts University for his demonstrated compassion and tenacity in creating a highly effective and determined organization dedicated to the survival and nurturing of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised.

In recognition of his work through Questscope with marginalized youth in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and in the region, Dr. Rhodes was awarded the 2011 Social Entrepreneur of the Year for the Middle East and North Africa by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Rhodes began his career in the Middle East in the early Eighties, as Assistant Dean in the School of Public Health at the American University of Beirut. During the 1982 invasion of (west) Beirut, he volunteered in a community-based clinic alongside students and friends, doing around-the-clock triage for wounded and ill civilians. That was when the seed idea for Questscope began to take shape. Living and working with people in great suffering compelled him to find a way that he and others in the Middle East could assist the most vulnerable: participating with the voiceless ones in invisible communities.

In 1988, Questscope was founded with the goal of putting the last, first. From the beginning, Questscope worked closely with local communities, identifying their aspirations and together addressing their greatest needs.

05.01| Restoration Instead of Devastation: the Synergy of Relationship, Agency and Critical thinking within networks of Syrian refugee youth in Jordan.

April 23, 2016 | Passover

Spark celebrated Passover complete with a kosher catered meal and fun activities for the kids!

March 27, 2016 | Easter Family Celebration & Child Dedications

This Sundy, while we celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus, we also had a petting zoo, bounce house, and egg hunt for our families. We dedicated 11 children in our community, and concluded with a Communal meal celebration.

November 21, 2015 | Memorial Service for Brianna Izuno

Family, friends, and community members came together to celebrate the amazing life of Brianna Rose Izuno. A memorial fund has been created to honor Brianna. The purpose is to create a leadership program for ministering to female students with the UC Davis Navigators. Brianna Izuno Memorial Fund - Navigators. ( The San Jose Mercury news published this article/tribute about Brianna.

November 8, 2015 | Spark Learning Seminars presents Dr. Amy-Jill Levine

Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, and Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Sciences. Holding the B.A. from Smith College, the M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University, and honorary doctorates from Christian Theological Seminary, Drury University, the University of Richmond, the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, and the University of South Carolina-Upstate, Professor Levine has been awarded grants from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. She has held office in the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association, and the Association for Jewish Studies. Her books include,

4:30 service: "Parables of the Lost" | 7:00 Seminar: "Jesus in His Jewish Context: Piety, Politics, Practice, & Prayer

October 31, 2015 | Spark Harvest Party

We invited families to join us for a neighborhood event with a bounce house, carnival games, goodies sale to benefit the Syrian refugee crisis, and a coffee cart. Event began at 4:30, with trick-or-treating for the kids after the sun went down.

August 22, 2015 | Spark Beach Day!

We met at Twin Lakes Beach in Santa Cruz and enjoyed a bonfire bbq with goodies.

August 9, 2015 | Communal Meal

Spark held Communion and our Communal Picnic immediately following service on our beautiful patio and grassy grounds.

June 13-27, 2015 | Israel Study Tour

Consider a life-changing experience that could radically transform your reading of the Bible, and your faith. Our tours are a full engagement with the land, culture, history, and people of Israel.

Early bird discount rates through February 13. Visit our website to read more and to register! Future dates will be published soon. Visit our website to subscribe to our updates.

Sunday, May 17, 2015 | Special Service at Mitchell Park Library

Spark will held it's service in the Adobe Room at the new Mitchell Park Library in Palo Alto. Because of the special venue, we planned special programming for our kids, and catered tacos from Los Altos Taqueria after service. In addition, families enjoyed the new Magical Bridge Playground in the park behind the library.

Saturday, May 9, 2015 | Freedom Summit - "Get in the Game"

America’s largest community-based anti-human trafficking eventtook place at Levi’s Stadium featuring prominent local and national trafficking experts, survivors, and Congressional delegates, along with celebrity Bay Area athletes and musicians.

Sunday, April 5, 2015 | Easter

Spark was excited to celebrate our first Easter Sunday morning service. We Join us at 9:30am for a special time of celebration. Regular 4:30pm service will also celebrate the Resurrection!

Friday, April 3, 2015 | Passover & Good Friday

We celebrated the first night of Passover with our annual Seder meal. Our delicious, kosher meal was provided by our amazing caterer and included a special table in the middle for the kids. This year was particularly special as the first night of Passover also fell on Good Friday.

Sunday, March 29, 2015 | Palm Sunday with Pony Rides

Spark celebrated Palm Sunday with pony rides for kids our kids!

Sunday, March 22, 2015 | Freedom Seder @ Etz Chayim

Spark Church and Congregation Etz Chayim, along with the JCRC, hosted an inter-faith Freedom Seder highlighting the issue of human trafficking, both globally and locally. Download the flyer here.

Family Ministries "Triple Play" | Three free seminars for families with teens

Sponsored and hosted by The King's Academy, these seminars are free, and open to the public. Click on each poster for more details and information. Contact [email protected] with any questions.

Sunday, February 15, 2015 | Special Valentine's Communal Meal

After service, we held a special "Valentine's Edition" of our Communal Meal, complete with food, and quiz!

Saturday, January 17, 2015 | Selma

In a show of solidarity and our commitment to both interfaith and racial reconciliation, Spark Church and Congregation Etz Chayim saw the movie, Selma, together. Refreshments and a moderated discussion occurred immediately following the film. Tasty coffee, treats and a moderated discussion will be available at Etz immediately following the film.

November 7-9, 2014 | Healing Our Image of God & Ourselves

A Spark Learning Spiritual Retreat with Mark Yaconelli
This weekend, Sparkers focused on healing our relationship with God, the foundational relationship which impacts all other relationships. Many of us learn about God from our families, our faith communities, and our experiences. Sometimes, through that process, we make God in our image, rather than letting Him mold and shape our identities according to how He sees us, with love and compassion. Through the guidance and teaching of Mark Yaconelli, we slowed down, reflected, played, ate, and practiced the Presence of God together. This weekend, we engaged in experiencing the God of Jesus, the God who loves, gives, sacrifices, pursues and forgives. Talks from this retreat are available on our teaching page.

Mark Yaconelli is an incredibly gifted writer, speaker, retreat leader, spiritual director, community activist, youth worker, storyteller, disco dancer, husband, and father. He is the author of Contemplative Youth Ministry, Growing Souls, and Wonder, Fear and Longing. To read more about Mark, click here.

“You will find Mark Yaconelli to be a wise and patient teacher with a lovely sense of humor. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll find direction and validation and a lot of truly great suggestions in his words.”
~ Anne Lamott, Best-selling author of Traveling Mercies and Operating Instructions.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 | David Crowder Neon Steeple Tour

David Crowder performed at The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco.

Sunday, October 19, 2014 | Spark's 2 Year Anniversary

Our members put on an amazing party, complete with delicious savories and sweets, a petting zoo, face painting, bounce house, and our special guest worship leader, Junior Tagata! We bless God for what he has done, and for the years to come!

Saturday, September 20, 2014 | San Francisco Day Trip

Spark visited Grace Cathedral in SF, discovering the spiritual discipline of prayer through an ancient practice of labyrinth walking. Then we hung out at Dolores Park and ate lunch at Old Skool Café.

Friday, August 22, 2014 | Midsummer Night's Tacos and Sleepover

Tacos, movies, hanging out, all to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of a whole new school year!

Thursday, August 7, 2014 | Los Altos Farmers' Market

Sparkers explored what downtown Los Altos and its weekly Farmers Market have to offer as we walked together through the market, cruised through local shops, and picked a place for dinner.

Friday, July 4, 2014 | Celebration at Pastors Danielle & Kevin's house

Pastors Danielle and Kevin hosted a 4th of July party at their house with games, food, music, and yummy tacos from Roberto's Taco Cart! Aftewards, a few headed to Shoreline for the Fireworks, and some stayed to watch on PBS!

May 1-3, 2014 | NT Wright Conference at Fuller, Pasadena

Spark took a road trip to Pasadena in May to participate in a 3 day conference with noted theologian and New Testament scholar and author, NT Wright. Media is available here.

Monday, April 14, 2014 | Passover Seder with Spark Church

All were welcome to join Spark Church for the first night of Passover as we remembered and celebrated the deliverance of Israel from slavery. As Christians, we also remember Jesus' celebration of Passover with his disciples. Our Seder was an amazing catered, gourmet, kosher for Passover meal. We celebrated, sang, and retold the story of the Exodus, embracing our God who rescues, bringing us freedom from slavery, and freedom for building His Kingdom here on earth, illuminating His deep love.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 | Noah Movie Night

Spark Church and the Etz Chayim Film Club will meet at Century 16 Theater, near Shoreline, for the showing of Noah, staring Russell Crowe. For those interested, we returned to Etz Chayim for a discussion after the movie.

Saturday, April 5, 2014 | Slavery & Human Trafficking Posting Day

Santa Clara County took part in a Bay Area wide DAY OF ACTION to begin the implementation of California Law, SB1193 which requires certain establishments to post information about human trafficking and how to seek help for victims. California is one of the nation's top four states for trafficked persons, and the Bay Area is a particular national hot spot for human trafficking. Human Trafficking is modern-day Slavery and also a multi-billion dollar global epidemic. Victims come from all nationalities, backgrounds and are trafficked in all industries.

Though human trafficking is illegal under Federal and California law, trafficking survivors often do not know where to turn to for help and community members may not know where to report suspicious situations. SB1193 helps the community direct victims to essential services by requiring public and private entities to post anti-trafficking notices that include telephone hotlines to seek help or report unlawful activities. In states where similar posting requirements have been enacted, there was an increase in the number of reported trafficking situations and rescues of victims. Businesses can help free victims of trafficking. By complying with SB 1193, they will be joining in the fight against the national criminal enterprise of human trafficking.

Learn More about SB 1193

February 25, 2014 | Mobilizing Anti-Human Trafficking Volunteers

The Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition and community partners join learn more about human-trafficking in the Bay Area. Local service providers and volunteers presented on their organizations’ initiatives and share information about how you can help. Spark Church co-sponsored the event along with Congregation Etz Chayim, Congregation Beth Am, Congregation Kol Emeth, and BAATC.

February 19, 2014 | Gary Haugen, The Locust Effect

Sparkers went to hear Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice Mission (IJM) speak about his latest book addressing the scourge of violence upon the poorest amongst us. We must mobilize to ensure that poverty alleviation efforts be partnered with the eradication of injustice and violence. For more information visit

January 26, 2014 | Spark Learning Seminar
The New Testament: Is What We Have Now What They Wrote Then?

Dr. Daniel B. Wallace is a Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, and the founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM), an institute whose initial purpose is to preserve Scripture by taking digital photographs of all known Greek New Testament manuscripts. He holds a B.A. from Biola University, a Th.M., and a Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary. He has written, edited, or otherwise contributed to more than twenty books. Of those books, his work Greek Grammar Beyond The Basics is used in two-thirds of the Biblical Greek classrooms across the country including Yale and Princeton. He is also the senior editor of the NET Bible, the world's first biblical translation to be tested on the internet with over 61,000 footnotes.

Dr. Wallace taught on the transmission and development of the New Testament, and addressed issues and concerns regarding its reliability in light of our manuscript evidence. He also shared some of the most up-to-date findings from CSNTM's research.

January 29, 7pm | BAATC Ambassador Training

Spark Church & Etz Chayim hosted a Human Trafficking Awareness Training with Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition. BAATC provided an hour and a half of specialized training on how to combat Human Trafficking in the Bay Area and beyond. Upon completion of this training, attendees were equipped to share with friends, coworkers, neighbors and family on why and how to join the fight for a Slave-Free Bay Area.

January 12 | Movie Night with Q&A

In recognition of the 27 million enslaved today, Spark Church and Congregation Etz Chayim are partnering together to bring
awareness to the issue of Human Trafficking. A special screening of the film, Call + Response will begin at 7pm at Congregation Etz Chayim followed by a Q & A with Betty Ann Boeving from Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition and Ben Patterson with the film, Call + Response. This hopeful film features Grammy winning artists, politicians, journalists, celebrities and activists heralding the call for the end of slavery. Join the call to be a 21st Century Abolitionist!

January - May, 2014 | Garden To Garden

Spark Church and Spark Learning Seminars presents, "Garden To Garden: The Grand Narrative of the Bible," a community Bible study experience through Genesis to Revelation! This study focuses on the Grand Narrative, discovering the primary themes running through this beautiful, ancient Text. We move through approximately 10+ chapters of the Bible a day, six days a week, completing the entire Bible within 5 months. Pastors Danielle Parish and Kevin Neuner provide weekly teachings and curriculum to accompany the readings, focusing on historical, cultural, geographical, and linguistic context.

December 14, 2013 | Spark Activity: SF Holiday Fun!

Activity options include Tcho Chocolate Tour & Tasting (23 spots available), Ferry Building Farmers Market, Embarcadero Center & Ice Skating Rink ($10/adult, $7/children under 7, $4 skate rental), Exploratorium (prices here), Pier 39 and dinner at the youth-run supper club, Old Skool Cafe!

December 13, 2013 | Shabbat Service at Etz Chayim

One of the things that makes Spark Church unique is our warm interfaith relationship with Etz Chayim. During this season of Hanukkah and Christmas, we have an opportunity to get to know one another by experiencing a Shabbat service together. We are grateful to Etz Chayim for this invitation.

December 3, 2013 | Teens & Tech

In a world of ubiquitous technology, it is important for all of us to pause for a moment and ask what these digital devices are doing to us. This seminar will help parents understand the effects of technology on the family and how smartphones, the internet, and social media are influencing adolescent development. Drawing from the wisdom of technology theorists, child and family psychologists, and research professors, we will discover the ‘best practices’ that can be immediately employed to not only protect, but empower the family. Download a .pdf flyer here. Watch the presentation on YouTube or Vimeo. Download the presentation and notes: Regular Res. (2.7MB) | High Res. (56.1MB)

November 3, 2013 | Spark Church "Hack-a-thon"

It's time to get our hands dirty! All Spark attendees and members are invited to a day retreat at the Preservation Center in Los Gatos. Opening with worship, prayer & vision casting, we'll then break into the following groups and plan for all the exciting stuff in the coming year: Small Groups, Events/Activities, Hospitality, Kids & Youth, Prayer Ministry, Spark Learning Seminars, Social Media / Podcasting, Hands-On Projects, & Rescue: BAATC, Shevet, World Vision, Education.

August 12-15, 2013 | Introduction to Biblical Hebrew

In partnership with our good friends at Etz Chayim, Spark will host an Introduction to Biblical Hebrew sponsored by the Biblical Language Center (BLC). Instructors Gary and Sharon Alley, will introduce us to over 200 vocabulary items and structures with direction for continued self-study in the language. This fun, interactive course, based upon the ulpan and Total Physical Response (TPR) models in Israel, lays the foundation for continued study towards reading and understanding the Hebrew Bible. 

Foundation Experiment 2013

Spark Church and Spark Learning Seminars presents, "The Foundation Experiment," a 20-week community Bible study experience from Genesis through Revelation!

April 7, 2013 | Spark Learning Seminar: Faith & Technology

Technology impacts our world in ways previously only imagined. Here in Silicon Valley, advancements are rapid as science-fiction becomes science-fact. As we live in the midst of these developments, let's pause to ask, “What is technology?” “How does it change us?” “What is the relationship between faith and technology?” Come and explore these questions and more as we consider technology's influence on our humanity, our thinking, our practices, and our faith. Join us in pondering the role of religion, ethics, and God, in the midst of everything from smart phones and laptops to autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence.

Part 1. Part 2. (Quality disclaimer: The videos were originally intended for archive purposes not meant for production.)

January 26, 2013 | Feast of Jewish Learning

Description: "Using the recently published The Jewish Annotated New Testament, Rabbi Ari Cartun (Etz Chayim Synagogue) and Pastor Danielle Parish (Spark Church) will lead you through a variety of well-known stories and fundamental concepts in the New Testament, from the Gospels through the Letters ("epistles"), from the Acts of the Apostles through the Revelation of John. Together we will encounter texts important for Jews to know, from those with theological similarities to modern Judaism, to those defining differences between our two religions - including some of the texts that are the most problematic to Jews (as well as to Christians)."

Download the flyer here. Visit for more information.

January 25-26, 2013 | Freedom Summit

Groundbreaking influencers, lifelong activists, and change-makers of the Bay Area join in the fight against human trafficking. We invite you to engage with local heroes to be equipped and mobilized to join forces to make a difference in the Bay Area and beyond. Together we can DELETE_SLAVERY!

A reminder to join Spark Church at the Freedom Summit in January. Registration is only $95 per person and scholarships are available. Your registration includes two days of training, free fair trade items, and lunch on Saturday. Click on "scholarship" at the website, or email [email protected].

January 14, 2013 | Origins Today: Genesis Through Ancient Eyes

NOTE: This is a Highway Community Event, which will take place at 2050 Miramonte Ave., Mountain View, CA, 7:30pm. Click on the image to the left for a full-sized flyer.

Description: "The rift between faith and science in Christian circles today often results in the marginalization of Christians engaged in the sciences, impediments to evangelism, and the attrition of young believers who are told that Christianity is incompatible with the acceptance of evolution or an old earth. John Walton’s work in Genesis 1–3 offers a fresh perspective on this complex issue by seeking to understand the message of Scripture within its ancient context. Origins Today: Genesis Through Ancient Eyes does not presuppose or promote a particular scientific standpoint, but rather aims to facilitate a deeper reading of Scripture among Christians seeking to take the Bible seriously. A close reading of the Genesis creation account and an evaluation of its ancient Near Eastern setting raise the question of whether the Bible provides modern scientific information related to our understanding of the natural world (e.g., cosmology, biology, or human origins), or whether it offers a theological, rather than material, framework for thinking about the cosmos—for example, God made everything and is sovereign over it. This question in turn leads us to inquire whether today’s scientific conclusions regarding old earth, common descent, and parentage of the human race necessarily conflict with the Bible or theology."

Dr. John Walton (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School. He focuses his research on the literature and cultures of the ancient Near East and the Old Testament, with a particular interest in Genesis. Before his role at Wheaton, John taught for 20 years at Moody Bible Institute. John has authored many articles and books, including The Lost World of Genesis OneGenesis 1 as Ancient Cosmology, and Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament. His book on Genesis 2–3, The Lost World of Adam and Eve, is forthcoming from InterVarsity Press.

November 11, 2012 | Spark Learning Seminar: Prone to Wonder

In the public sphere, faith and science are often presented contentiously and in opposition to one another. Perhaps there is another way. This seminar hopes to elevate the conversation as we honor each discipline. We will focus on the history of the debate, share personal thoughts, and provide a few educational insights. Ultimately, we seek to discover how both faith and science provide ways of understanding the world around us that begin and end with a grand sense of mystery, awe, and wonder.

Kenneth D. Gibbs, Jr., Ph.D., is a Science & Technology Policy Fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), placed at the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Pastor Kevin Neuner is the Spiritual Life Director at The King's Academy in Sunnyvale, an adjunct professor at William Jessup University in Rocklin, CA, and a co-founding pastor of Spark Church in Palo Alto.

Videos online: Go to our teachings page or click on the images for links to the videos.
Audio: Click here for Pastor Kevin's talk, and here for Dr. Kenny's talk.

September 23, 2012 | Spark Learning Seminar: Setting The Stage

“If we really believe in any sense in the incarnation of the Word, we are bound to take seriously the flesh that the Word became.  And since that flesh was first-century Jewish flesh, we should rejoice in any and every advance in our understanding of first-century Judaism and seek to apply those insights to our reading of the Gospels.” - N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus
Lecturers & Media