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Belvedere’s Christian Science Church to merge with San Rafael’s

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

Belvedere’s Christian Science Church, built in 1952 and designed by noted architect Warren Callister, will be sold. (Elliot Karlan photo / For The Ark)

After 107 years in Belvedere, the Christian Science Church has officially closed its doors.

Church leaders said last week they have merged congregations with the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in San Rafael, with the official announcement coming today, July 12. It’s a move that’s been years in the making, as they already jointly operate a Christian Science Reading Room there and shared services online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Belvedere church representative Leslie Freeman said the church owns its building and land at 501 San Rafael Ave. and will put it up for sale, to be handled by San Rafael-based brokerage Meridian Commercial. She said she couldn’t provide further details before The Ark’s press time.

Designed by Tiburon architect Warren Callister, the current building resembles a sailing ship and is considered a significant example of ecclesiastical architecture.

In the 2023-2031 housing element adopted by the Belvedere City Council in January, officials identified the 0.28-acre property as capable of accommodating five new housing units — or up to 10 under state upzoning rules that allow increased density within a half-mile of job centers, existing urban areas or public-transit hubs.

The housing element notes demolition of the church is a potential redevelopment constraint.

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