Posted: Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Marion Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), has been an advocate for disadvantaged children for her entire professional life. For her work and writings she has received over a hundred honorary degrees and many awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the nation’s highest civilian award), and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Under Marion Wright Edelman’s leadership, CDF has become one of the nation’s strongest voices for children and families. If you’re not familiar with the the CDF, I encourage you to find out about them!
Among it’s many initiatives, CDF sponsors the annual interfaith celebration of Children’s sabbath.
The 2014 National Observance of Children’s Sabbath, October 19, is titled “Precious in God’s Sight: Answering the Call to Cherish and Protect Every Child.” It focuses on how we can ensure every child a strong start in life by investing in early childhood development. Read a letter from CDF president Marian Wright Edelman about the 2014 Children’s Sabbath, “Precious in God’s Sight: Answering the Call to Cherish and Protect Every Child.”
This Sunday Skyline Church is honoring Children’s Sabbath by lifting up the theme – “the preciousness of EVERY child”. We will celebrate with a fun, dynamic, moving, child-friendly service. There will be drama, music, singing, story-time, and dancing. We’ve invited a representative from the East Bay Sanctuary Movement to share with us about the plight of children seeking asylum in the US.
You are welcome to come visit, and invite your friends with children!
I leave you with some inspiring quotes from Marion Wright Edelman:
“Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.”
“You really can change the world if you care enough.”
“Never work just for money or for power. They won’t save your soul or help you sleep at night.”
“Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree.”
Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Even with all of the evidence about the growing urgency of the global warming crisis it continues to be a low priority for Americans according to Pew Research.
Despite the public doubt and misinformation, the message does seem to be slowly getting through.
The UCC is the first major denomination in the US to vote to divest from fossil fuels, as a way to bankrupt Big Oil and Big Coal; not financially so much as morally in order to isolate them as outsiders just as anti smoking activists stigmatized big tobacco. The movement is spreading among the young and the educated. Students throughout the country are pressuring their administrations to divest from fossil fuels. Over 300 universities throughout the country, including UC Berkeley have divested, as the movement continues.
This year, our UCC Annual Meeting for the Northern California Nevada Conference is focusing on the theme of water conservation, education and advocacy.
At Skyline our Green Team is taking the lead on climate change issues for our church and is mobilizing the wider community here in the Oakland Hills to adopt renewable energy sources, influence practices to conserve water and encourage clean energy and sustainable living. This, too, parallels what happened in the tobacco debate when the first restrictions came at the local level. It starts with grass roots community organizing.. w/students, w/courageous faith communities, and people like you and me. Come join us for our May 10th Water Concerns event! (See event notice below)
The story of the resurrection is beckoning to us now to come and be part of the healing of our wounded planet.
I share with you this poem by Emerson:
By Ralph Waldo Emerson
The water understands
It wets my foot, but prettily,
It chills my life, but wittily,
It is not disconcerted,
It is not broken-hearted:
Well used, it decketh joy,
Adorneth, doubleth joy:
Ill used, it will destroy,
In perfect time and measure
With a face of golden pleasure
With love and hope,
Posted: Wednesday, April 23, 2014
It’s Earth Day! It’s spring!
The season of Re-Creation!
Join us for our child friendly Earth Day celebration!
Sunday, April 27th at 10 am.
Parents, the service will focus on our earth with music, prayers, and talk centered on earth day themes.
Children’s Sunday School will have:
- Discoveries about how to heal our wounded planet.
We’ll be teaching our children to care for the earth and for one another. A local ranger will bring plants and items for the children to learn about.
Please join us with your children for this enriching morning for the whole family!
Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Friday, April 18th 7:30 – 8:30 pm
Join us for our Good Friday Tenebrae service – a meditative service of Taize music, candlelight, labyrinth walking, and quiet reflection that invites us to connect our own personal pain and our collective ongoing struggle for social justice and relate it to the story of Christ’s death and resurrection.
For more information, email the office or call 510 531 8212.
Posted: Thursday, April 3, 2014
As we draw ever closer to Holy Week and Easter, let us pause and take a deep breath.
Breathing deeply is part of what this week is about. Inspired (whose root means to breathe into) by the rich imagery of Ezekiel’s vision of the Valley of Dry Bones, and also by the story of the raising of Lazarus, let us consider how the gift of breath, of spirit, of inspiration comes to us in our own lives.
Let us consider how in the very midst of struggle, despair, and death; the Spirit -the Breath – Inspiration; brings forth new life as surely as the gentle rains that fall upon us this week green and renew the earth.
I am so grateful to be sharing this road with you, to be breathing together with you. Blessings as we begin this new week!
I leave you with this poem from Jan Richardson,
Where the Breath Begins – A Blessing
in each direction.
in your own heart:
the center of your chest
a bare valley
every way you turn.
Did you think
this was where
you had come to die?
It’s true that
you may need
to do some crumbling,
That some things
you have protected
may want to be
That you will be asked
to let go
and let go,
This is what
a desert is for.
If you have come here
if you have come here
then thank your lucky stars
the desert is where
you have landed —
here where it is hard
here where it is unwise
to rely on your own devices,
here where you will
have to look
and look again
and look close
to find what refreshment waits
to reveal itself to you.
I tell you,
though it may be hard
to see it now,
this is where
your greatest blessing
will find you.
I tell you
this is where
you will receive
your life again.
I tell you
this is where
the breath begins.
Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014
Skyline’s traditional Easter Egg Hunt is happening RAIN or SHINE, starting at 11:30 am on Easter Sunday morning, April 20th. We welcome our neighborhood families and all who would love to come to join us! Stay for refreshments and conversation following the hunt.
We also welcome you to join our community Easter service at 10 AM before the hunt, if you wish. We offer a children’s program for your little ones. Also, we have a special Easter Sunrise Service with the Oakland/East Bay Gay Men’s Choir if you can slip out nice and early that morning!
For more information please contact our office at:
Skyline Community Church,
United Church of Christ
12540 Skyline Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619
Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014
You and I are called to be light. Jesus said so! As Eugene Peterson translates Matthew 5:14-16:
You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous God in heaven.
Jesus said these words in Matthew’s gospel as the conclusion to his Sermon on the Mount (the Beatitudes). To me, this means that we are blessed as we boldly live our faith in the world. To me, this means that the light that shines is one that comes from a life of vulnerable compassion and solidarity with all people, especially those who are poor, meek, merciful, those who mourn, are pure, are peacemakers, who hunger and thirst for justice.
Much like our denomination, the United Church of Christ , the Skyline Community Church story is one of being guided by the light of that amazing and radiant God, who lifts us from the night and awakens us to each new day. For fifty years, much like our denomination, ours has been a story of seeking to live in the light and truth that the “still speaking” God is revealing in this time and place.
God’s Light has led us to become the first denomination to ordain an African American, a woman, and an openly gay man. God’s light has led this faith community to serve as a beacon of light, as a progressive, inclusive, multi-racial, open and affirming, peace and justice community, locally here in Oakland, and globally, as far as Sierra Leone.
God’s light has led us to offer inspiring worship, education and children’s programs to a diverse and wide community; people hungry for a faith that speaks to their minds as well as their hearts in this changing pluralistic world. God’s light has led us to improve the quality of our preschool and our wedding programs to serve the wider community.
During this season of Lent, I invite you to join us on the journey of deepening your faith and considering the light, the gifts, the calling that God has blessed you with, so that truly, your light will shine!
Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
- Join us as progressive Christians for study and conversation.
- Experience a deepening sense of meaning, purpose and connection with God.
- Understand Lent as a metaphor for the wilderness of our lives and the journey toward wholeness, light, peace and oneness.
The course meets during Lent on Wednesday evenings, from 3/12 – 4/16.
Find out more: Video clips, facebook page, website.
6-7 pm is a lovely potluck dinner, and 7- 8:30 is our session.
Living the Questions is the most extraordinary adult education material I have ever used. Life changing – personally and collectively! Thank you and may you never stop putting out such marvelous and deeply important products. – Rev. John WhiteFirst Cong. UCC, Dudley, MA
Each session begins with a 20 minute video presentation by well known religious scholars (Borg, Crossan, Spong, Butler Bass, Armstrong) on faith journey questions and is followed by group discussion on the presentation content. Child care is provided.
This is the most greatly appreciated video series I could have imagined someone could’ve created at this time. I’ve been teaching Borg and Spong for years – but to have this series with their colleagues as well dealing with the core topics – profound! and life-changing! I can imagine – you know the looks on people’s faces after some of the stories and the tears that flow! I am so thankful to have the privilege of walking with people through the “classes” and witnessing how they very eagerly choose to go deeper in their faith and want others to experience it as well. Rev. Lee Anne Ireland, Orange Congregational Church, Orange, CT
During Lent we will be exploring these modules of the program:
- An Invitation to Journey
- Taking the Bible Seriously
- Thinking Theologically
- Stories of Creation
- Lives of Jesus
- Out into the World: Challenges Facing Progressive Christians
- Evil, Suffering and a God of Love
- The Myth of Redemptive Violence
- Practicing Resurrection
All are welcome here.
A free will offering of $60 per person for the entire series is requested to cover material, food and heat. Sliding scale for anyone who needs it, and seriously – no one is turned away.
With great joy and love,
Rev. Laurie Manning
Posted: Thursday, January 2, 2014
by Lord Alfred Tennyson
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/16131#sthash.CsiNzbnu.EeFw2ISj.dpuf
Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013
As the day light grows shorter and the air grows chillier, we become more aware of the changing seasons of our lives.
Undeniably it seems that autumn has finally arrived to the Bay Area.
Being originally from New England, I well remember the dramatic changes as the crimson leaves drop down to the earth, and nature begins it’s inward journey through the winter.
I’d love to share with you, a “Song for Autumn” from one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver
Song for Autumn
In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think
of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pondvanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.
— Mary Oliver from New and Selected Poems, Vol. 2
Blessings and Peace,