This Sunday as part of our Oakland Pride worship service we will  hold a prayer vigil  for the people of Ferguson, Missouri, and prayers for our country. 

We will pray for the healing of all those affected by this continuing tragedy, and healing in our race relations from Ferguson to Oakland. 

In the immortal words of the Rev Dr MLK Jr, who wrote, while imprisoned in a jail in Birmingham Alabama, “Why We Can’t Wait”:

But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Was not Paul an extremist: “ I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist? “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.” And John Bunyan: “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” And Abraham Lincoln: “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” And Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal…” So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice, or for the extension of justice?

Blessings, Pastor Laurie 

This Sunday, August 24th is our own Oakland Pride Sunday service. Come celebrate with us at 10 AM! Bring your friends! Hear testimonials from several members of our congregation!

All are welcome here!

  • When the UCC, Golden Gate Association in 1972, ordained Bill Johnson as the first openly gay minister in an historical Protestant denomination, we were extremists for love. All are welcome!
  • When the UCC, on July 4, 2005 overwhelming voted as the first mainline denomination to support same gender marriage equality;
  • when, in 2008, at the height of the debate over same-sex marriage in California during Prop 8 this congregation hung a banner in front of the church entrance, proclaiming to every passerby “Support Marriage Equality. We do”;
  • when your pastor blessed same sex couples for many years before it was a legal right, and urged all heterosexual couples she married to stand in solidarity with them until the day that marriage became a legal right for all people, we were standing on the side of love.

All are welcome here!

By the way, did you hear that the states that allow same sex marriage have lower divorce rates? In states where same-sex marriages are legally recognized, the divorce rate is 20 percent lower than in states that only allow marriages between a man and a woman. Rachel Maddow says “It turns out gay marriage is a Defense of Marriage Act.” Who knew?

Standing on the side of love doesn’t require power. It requires courage. Because courage is power. Join us as we celebrate the liberating empowering good news!

Here’s a 1 minute all-are-welcome video called The Bouncer!

Blessings,
Pastor Laurie

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

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10 a.m. Sunday Services

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

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