Child refugee posterFor weeks now, we’ve learned about the growing humanitarian crisis of 57,000 unaccompanied children who have crossed the U.S. border this year… the story of refugees making the long and dangerous journey, with little but hope and the love of their parents far away to sustain them. It echoes the birth narrative of Jesus, born as a refugee. A tiny child, born into poverty, a precious, yet hidden treasure.

These children make the long and dangerous journey to escape the far greater danger of poverty and violence in their own countries; especially Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.  As people of faith, we are called to notice them, imagine them as our own children, and to protect them.

In addition, as people of faith, we are called to address the vicious cycles of violence and poverty that are spurring the children to flee their countries of origin.

We are pleased to invite this Sunday at 10 am, Rev Deborah Lee, Director of the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrants Rights, http://revdeblee.blogspot.com/.  The Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights for the past 20 years has sought to call forth people of faith to promote the fair treatment and dignity of all immigrants so that all may be welcome and fully participate in our nation.  Deborah is here to deepen our understanding of how we together can protect these children, inform people about the dangers of such a journey, promote development in their countries of origin, and influence new forms of legal and secure migration.

Here is a link to an article in the SF Chronicle last week- explaining the situation where we are.

Blessings, Pastor Laurie 

Image converted using ifftoanyThis past Mother’s Day weekend my heart rejoiced in the many eco-justice events happening throughout the Bay Area; from the East Bay chapter of 350.org, to the Sierra Club, to Skyline Green Team’s  “Water Concerns” event.

I believe that we are becoming more aware of how inextricably connected we are with our many mothers – including Mother God and Mother Earth.

I leave with you the wisdom of two visionary writers, who share this love of our Mothers:
A Call to Prayer
Hildegard of Bingen
The earth is at the same time mother,
She is mother of all that is natural, mother of all that is human.
She is the mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all.
The earth of humankind contains all moistness, all verdancy, all germinating power.
It is in so many ways fruitful.
All creation comes from it. Yet it forms not only the basic raw material for humankind, but also the substance of the incarnation of God’s son.

A Quote by Chief Seattle
Teach your children what we have taught our children: that the earth is our true mother. Whatever happens to the earth, happens to the children of the earth. If people spit on the ground, they spit on themselves. We know: the earth does not belong to people, but people belong to the earth. We know: everything is joined together in some way, like the blood that runs through a family. Whatever happens to the earth, happens to the children of the earth. We did not weave the web of life; we are just a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.

Just as Paul writes, “we are one body and many parts”, it is profoundly true when we consider our relationship with our mothers… our biological mothers and with mother earth.  This Sunday at 10 AM we’ll continue our celebration of Earth Month with a service about both our human mothers and our ancient mother earth.  All are welcome.

I leave you with a quote from Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, Jungian psychiatrist, in “Crossing to Avalon” pp. 255-257.

Image converted using ifftoany

“The photo of the Earth taken from outer space may be the most significant image in the evolution of human consciousness in the twentieth century; it was a gift from Apollo-NASA’s Apollo space missions. The Apollo astronauts saw the Earth from outer space for the first time. And through them, we could see the Earth as a holy island against a sea of blackness, a sunlit ocean-blue globe with swirls of clouds and glimpses of continents. This image of the Earth touched the heart and brought humanity into a planetary age, with the psychological awareness that we share the fate of the earth, which has finite resources.

The beautiful blue and white planet that is earth, a sphere flowing art woman wrapping arms around earthwith light, silhouetted against the blackness of space, is a gorgeous sight. She is beautiful and vulnerable, and the only Mother Earth we have.

In photographs, Earth also has the shape of a mandala, a circle within a square, the symbol of what Jung called the Self, an image of wholeness and the archetype of meaning. The Self is whatever we experience that is greater than our small selves through which we know that there is something meaningful to our existence. The round or the circle is a feminine symbol that represented the Great Mother before humanity could know that the Earth is round. The Earth is the great Mother Goddess: she births us and breathes us and feeds us and holds us to her body with gravity, and we return to her in death.”

Thursday, May 22 from 7-9 PM we’ll honor Harvey Milk with a community night – we’ll watch the movie, “Milk” together, have dinner and share what the man and his story mean for us and our world.  All are welcome!  Directions.

About Harvey Milk Day: (quoted from the Harvey Milk Foundation website) “Our Equality Movement across the globe will celebrate the life story, message, and legacy of my uncle Harvey Milk. Join thousands across the globe to honor his memory and celebrate his message of hope. We are asking you to celebrate Harvey Milk’s life story, message and legacy in celebrating globally on his birthday to give hope and inspire disenfranchised communities.

Harvey was a pioneer of the 20th century. His struggle and his deeds will prove to history that there’s no such thing as a gay way, there is only one way. We can make Harvey live forever by continuing to do things his way, in the deeds and in the accomplishments of our daily efforts to make our world live.

He believed broad public education and dialogue was paramount to his life’s work as a civil rights leader and with your energy we hope you will work to inspire individuals, communities and organizations to carry on his values in a timeless vision for a better world…..”

About Harvey Milk: (quoted from the Harvey Milk Foundation website) Harvey Bernard Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978) was an American politician who became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Politics and gay activism were not his early interests; he was not open about his homosexuality and did not participate in civic matters until around the age of 40, after his experiences in the counterculture of the 1960s.

Milk moved from New York City to settle in San Francisco in 1972 amid a migration of gay men to the Castro District. He took advantage of the growing political and economic power of the neighborhood to promote his interests, and ran unsuccessfully for political office three times. His theatrical campaigns earned him increasing popularity, and Milk won a seat as a city supervisor in 1977, part of the broader social changes the city was experiencing.

Milk served 11 months in office and was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance for the city. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, another city supervisor who had recently resigned but wanted his job back. Milk’s election was made possible by and was a key component of a shift in San Francisco politics. The assassinations and the ensuing events were the result of continuing ideological conflicts in the city.”

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:

Water
By Ralph Waldo Emerson

The water understands
Civilization well;search
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
Elegantly destroy.

With love and hope,
Pastor Laurie

water drop & handWe recognize humanity’s impact on Earth and the urgent necessity to be stewards of God’s creation for the future of all beings.

We will promote awareness of our local and global environment, and work to reduce our environmental footprint in all Skyline activities:

worship
education
buildings and grounds
energy and water use
community service
our individual lives

 

 

 

It’s Earth Day! It’s spring!
The season of Re-Creation!

earth day logo

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:

  • Music
  • Games
  • Crafts
  • 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!

Presented by Skyline Community Church’s Green Team 

water drop & hand

DIALOGUE WITH NEIGHBORS ABOUT WATER USE AND NEW WAYS TO SUPPORT  A RESILIENT,  THRIVING AND BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPE

Saturday May 10, 1 – 4 PM

1:00 – 2:30 pm

Robin Freeman:    Chair, Environmental Management and Technology Emeritus, Merritt College    

 Speaking about Water use in the Bay Area:

A Look at local water options:

  • catchment
  • conservation
  • re-use at your work, schools, church, neighborhood, at home & in your garden
  • how to collect and use rain water and grey water

After the talk there will be time for questions and open discussion about the ways we can improve the health of our local environment.

2:30 – 4:00 pm

  • Refreshments, information tables, meet neighbors
  • Native Plant  tour in Skyline’s labyrinth (mostly local Oakland Hills natives)
  • Composting Demo
  • Sheet-Mulching demo (for weed or lawn composting while new plants grow on top)

Hands holding earth photo

For more information contact: Skyline Community Church, 510-531-8212

Directions

This past Sunday we had a very inspirational service celebrating the life changing power of walking in the universal ways of Jesus. Following the service, we had a lively discussion about who we are, (the state of our union in a sense) and about God’s unfolding and life giving vision for us, as Progressive Christians, living in this exciting and changing era of Post Christendom. 

Join us this Sunday as we explore and discuss the unconventional wisdom of the Beatitudes, and celebrate a different kind of “Souper” Bowl, to share our food with those in need in Alameda County!

As a wisdom teacher, Jesus taught his disciples with puzzling parables, pithy aphorisms, and challenging questions, inviting them to discover a new way of living by engaging his many questions. When the young lawyer asked what he had to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus did not recite the law, but answered Semitic-style with yet another question, and proceeded to lead the lawyer through more questioning into his story of the Good Samaritan. The story turned upside-down the conventional wisdom of the day about the limits of neighbor love, inviting the lawyer and all of us listeners ever since to expand our own capacity for compassion.

Conventional wisdom also gets turned upside-down in the beatitudes by Jesus daring to name the poor, the meek, and the mournful as the blessed ones. What could be blessed about poverty or grief? Is this simply the promise of a better day by-and-by, when we die? Do the beatitudes describe some future reward for suffering now?  If blessing is a good thing, it would seem that common sense, and the economic and political norms of first-century Palestine (and twenty-first-century America) tell us that the wealthy bear the signs of blessing, and the powerful, not the meek, own the earth today and will keep it tomorrow. So what kind of blessing is there, and who are the poor in spirit? What is Jesus talking about? Let’s talk about it this Sunday!  

Thanks for making this a happening, welcoming and vibrant place!

Peace,

Laurie

 

This week we honor the prophetic witness of Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr, and his profound influence upon this country and the world.

About fifty years ago, on August 28, 1963, MLK stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and delivered his prophetic and patriotic speech, “I have a Dream.”

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

Just a few months later, president John F Kennedy was assassinated, and Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson was sworn in as the new president. Influenced by King’s prophetic witness, LBJ began the New Year,  declaring the “War on Poverty.”

It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won. The richest Nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it. One thousand dollars invested in salvaging an unemployable youth today can return $40,000 or more in his lifetime.

Poverty is a national problem, requiring improved national organization and support. But this attack, to be effective, must also be organized at the State and the local level and must be supported and directed by State and local efforts.

For the war against poverty will not be won here in Washington. It must be won in the field, in every private home, in every public office, from the courthouse to the White House.

Fifty years later, the war on poverty, racism and violence continues, and so must the dream. It must live on, in us.

Join us, as we consider how we are called manifest that beloved community that MLK spoke of, the kingdom of heaven that Jesus manifested, and that we are called to embody!

 

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Skyline UCC
A United Church of Christ
12540 Skyline Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619
(510) 531-8212

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