a pair of worker's gloves and suggestion of building materials

Photo: © Wendy Kaveney | Dreamstime Stock Photos

On this Labor Sunday, let us remember workers, locally and globally. 

In the U.S. today, it is hard not to notice the impact of poverty and wealth. Inequality is at a record high. The middle class is shrinking. Some 45 million people live in poverty and another 60 million people have incomes below what experts believe to be a minimally adequate level.  (Poverty counts for each state are here).  In total, about one-third of the population has too little income. Many others worry about their finances.

But although millions struggle, the United States is a very wealthy country. Over the past 40 years as wages for many have fallen or stagnated and inequality has climbed, the economy as a whole has continued to flourish. Resources are plentiful. But when they are not shared with all people, the result is inequality, a condition that prevents us from living lives of wholeness as intended by God.

Here in the US, many of the poor are working but they earn too little to get out of poverty. Among the poor age 18 to 64, just over one-third are not available to work because they are retired, going to school, or disabled. Among the other two-thirds who could work, 74% are either working or looking for work (Economic Policy Institute ).

Let us resolve to do our part to bring forth the economics of the Beloved Community. 

Blessings, Pastor Laurie 

pope francis and st francisJoin a diverse, East Bay community for an interfaith worship service, 6:00 to 8:30 PM, at Skyline Community church in honor of the recent Climate Encyclical Letter from Pope Francis.  This serves as a powerful and fitting conclusion to the “Our Common Home” study series hosted by the Alameda Interfaith Climate Action Network – East Bay Working Group.  We will conclude the evening with a potluck – bring a favorite dish!

In his letter Pope Francis expresses a desire to “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home.” Prepare to be touched, surprised, and inspired at this service.

Who we are:  In June, 2015 a group representing different faith traditions gathered to begin the process of forming an East Bay California Interfaith Power and Light Working Group. 

RSVPing is not required but appreciated, RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/skylineCIPL
For more information email will@interfaithpower.org or
Rev Laurie at  (421-2646)  revlauriemanning@aol.com 

Our pride boothVisit Skyline’s Oakland Pride Booth Sunday, September 13: 11 am – 7 pm

Enter at these locations:

Main Entrance: Broadway & 20th Street (exit 19th St BART Station)

Webster Entrance: Webster & 21st Street

17th St Entrance: 17th Street & Franklin

Parade –  begins 10:30 AM at Broadway & 14th Street and goes to Broadway & Suzies Convertible20th.  Skyline is marching in the parade, with Suzie Harris’ convertible to be decorated in style (more info to come on car-decorating, but save some time on Saturday, September 12th).

There is almost NO PARKING at the event. It is recommended that you take BART in. You may drive (carpooling is good, too) to Rockridge BART or another BART station,  park your car there, and BART to the 19th ST. BART station the festival is right there as you exit BART.  BART back out when you leave.  BART parking is free on weekends.   A round-trip fare from Rockridge (or Fruitvale) to 19th St. is $3.70.  Most lines go through the 19th St. station. Check a map if you’re not sure which train to take to get you to 19th St. BART station: http://www.bart.gov/tickets/calculator

matthew banna at pride booth

by Mirtha Ninayahuar

SAN FRANCISCO IMMIGRATION COURT VIGIL July 16, 2015. I attended monthly vigil at San Francisco Immigration Bldg.  We had a great turnout and energy. We gathered around the immigration court to be a public witness against our nation’s deportation machine, and to pray for the families and children with court appointments.
BENEFIT for “Root Causes” Delegation July 16, 2015. I attended fundraiser at University Lutheran Chapel of Berkeley to support the “Root Causes” delegation of 16 people going to Guatemala and Honduras August 7-17. This delegation will be led by Rev. Deborah Lee, Director of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity and Jose Artiga, Executive Director of SHARE El Salvador.

The Delegation will:

  • Listen and meet with grassroots and religious partners on the ground, to more deeply understand the root causes of migration in the Central America Region (economic and free trade policies; narco -traffickers, gangs, and US Drug policy’ US Military aid in the region.)
  • Explore the paths of migration and the human rights impact of US- Mexico immigration and border enforcement policies. Speak with those who have been deported from the the US back  to the region.
  • Listen to the recommendations and proposals coming out of Central America for addressing the root causes of migration, unaccompanied children, poverty and violence.
  • Engage in policy advocacy and education upon return to the US, that addresses the root causes of Central American migration and calls for the protection of migrants. See their pilgramage blog: https://rootcausesdelegation.wordpress.com/

IMG_0592
About 35 people attended the benefit; great speakers, excellent food and company. It was great to meet some of the delegates and hear why they are taking the journey. We grossed $976!

ACCOMPANIMENT TEAM visit August 11, 2015. As part of an accompaniment team (community and interfaith groups responding to needs of Central American refugees), Carolyn Cox of First Congregational Church of Berkeley and I went to visit our assigned young indigenous Guatemalan mother and her 6 year-old daughter. Our first baby step toward establishing a relationship and building trust. Although we weren’t invited into the apartment, we were happy that she felt comfortable enough to talk to us for awhile. We brought art/writing materials for her daughter.  I was able to use a few words of Mam, one of the indigenous languages of western Guatemala.

Pastor Adolfo, of Iglesia de Dios, has been teaching some accompaniment teams Mam on a weekly basis. We’ve had 3 classes already. Interesting to learn that Spanish speaking people tend to shun them when they find out they are indigenous Mam speakers. In Guatemala, the Mam community wasn’t allowed to have Mam teachers, only Spanish-speaking teachers.

GRANT OPPORTUNITY MEETING at First AME Church August 13, 2015. Today I’ll be attending a meeting for information on grants for education at faith based organizations. Reverend Deborah Lee thought it would be good to find out if Pastor Adolfo’s Mam church, Iglesia de Dios, could benefit from this literacy project for children 0-5 years. Padre Adolfo is working and cannot attend, so I offered to go.

Click here for more information for the Sept 2 study group:

CIPL Pope Francis Encyclical Sept 2 at Skyline

Also, we are providing healthy organic fruit, veggies, proteins, and drinks! 

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice! Rainbow dreamstimefree_120296

I’m still basking in the glow of the many blessed decisions from the supreme court last week: from upholding health reform, marriage equality rights, fair housing, & although not the supreme court, a long-overdue recognition that fighting for slavery was wrong. These decisions uphold the inherent worth & dignity of all people, created in the image & likeness of God, and are so consistent with who we are as a faith community and as a denomination.

I am so happy to be part of this small, evolving, prophetic denomination – the UCC: the 1st mainline religious group to affirm equal marriage rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, the 1st to ordain openly gay minister, the 1st to ordain an African American and a woman.

God IS still speaking!  rainbowcomma

    Blessings, Laurie

Hi, Friends,

In the spirit true congregationalism, from Thursday the 11th- Sunday the 14th , I will be meeting with over 300 delegates at our UCC Northern California Nevada Conference Annual Meeting in Sonoma.

Among the highlights, in addition to being in wine country, we will hear from PSR’s new president, David Vasquez-Levy, and Diane Weible, our new conference minister.

In addition, we will vote upon resolutions to be considered by our national denomination next month.

Among the topics we will be addressing are justice issues, and I will be presenting a resolution to strengthen our relationship with Jubilee USA.

To learn more, please see UCC’s justice programs and Jubilee USA.

Blessings and Peace, and see you next week!
Pastor Laurie

 

5-30-15 Catherine Work DayMichael retold the events of our May 30th Green Workday  during worship on the 31st:

We are caring for our Church gardens by beautifying without harming any living thing (except the weeds!).  Thanks to everyone who participated.

Because we want the Church to look cared for, as it is, in the labyrinth we removed weeds by uprooting with shovels and hoes and then laying down paper to prevent regrowth. We then put the pebbles back over the paper. We also used a fire torch remove weeds in the courtyard.

As a faith community, we are committed to not using chemical herbicides. It is now known that herbicides in frequent use today cause birth defects in humans. They are known to kill amphibians and insects. The salamanders on our church property are vulnerable.
Recently, the U.N. World Health Organization has issued a statement that these herbicides are probably cancer causing. We want to keep the Church property safe for children, pregnant women, all  people, and the wildlife that lives here.  Our church land is part of the watershed that drains into Redwood Creek, a habitat for native trout.

Finally, we installed 32 LED (light emmiting diode) lights in the sancurary. They are energy-saving and have a very long life, which is great because it is not so easy to changethose lights!

We hope you will join the next Workday and take part in our stewardship of our part of Mother Earth.

Catherine Kessler and Michael Armijo

A Christian evangelical social research company recently surveyed young adult non-Christians on their attitudes toward Christianity.

  • 91%  said Christians are anti-gayboy meditating and sun
  • 87 % said Christians are judgmental
  • 85%, said they’re hypocritical
  • 78 % said they’re old fashioned
  • 72% said they’re out of touch with reality
  • 70% said they’re insensitive to others
  • 75% said Christians are too involved in politics, but the politics they’re talking about are not the politics of peacemaking or justice-making.  They’re talking about the anti-politics: anti-abortion, anti-gay-rights, anti-science.

No wonder people are spiritual but not religious!

Presbyterian pastor and social worker N. Graham Standish observes that the spiritual but not religious—he calls them SBNR for short—share several attributes: 

  1. they are “skeptical of hard and fast theological constructs about God.”  …they “tend to be post-modern, and thus are extremely suspicious of any ultimate truth claims.”
  2. the SBNR are willing to listen to all sides . . . “they want to consider religious and theological beliefs from a variety of perspectives.”
  3. they want to experience what’s true rather than be told what is true. . . . “they want to learn truth by touching it, smelling it, and tasting it.” 
  4. “SBNR folks tend to be sensitive to any form of hypocrisy, especially moralizing hypocrisy. When they see priest or pastor scandals in the face of the church’s obsession with homosexuality, they get turned off.”
  5. they are cautious about being identified too much with a religion. They see the “practice of religion as inhibiting the pursuit of the spiritual . . . .”

Do you know anybody who fits this SBNR description? Sounds like us! Come join us, as the power of the Holy Spirit continues transforming us in the ways of life! 

Also, Sunday June 7th – we celebrate our grads of all ages, including a procession to pomp and circumstance! Let us know who you are! 

Anyone up for a summer barbecue and family picnic on an upcoming Sunday after church? Let me know!! 

       Peace, Pastor Laurie 

wisdom to survive

THURSDAY, MAY 5TH, POTLUCK7 PM- 8:30 PM

The Wisdom to Survive

Climate Change Capitalism & Community sponsored by our Green Team!

THE WISDOM TO SURVIVE accepts the consensus of scientists that climate change has already arrived, and asks, what is keeping us from action? The film explores how unlimited growth and greed are destroying the life support system of the planet, the social fabric of society, and the lives of billions of people.

Will we have the wisdom to survive? The film features thought leaders and activists in the realms of science, economics and spirituality discussing how we can evolve and take action in the face of climate disruption. They urge us to open ourselves to the beauty that surrounds us and get to work on ensuring it thrives.  See video preview here.

Among those featured are Bill McKibben, Joanna Macy, Nikki Cooley, Roger Payne, Richard Heinberg, Amy Seidl, Stephanie Kaza, Gus Speth, Jihan Gearan, and Ben Falk.

Praise for Wisdom to Survive

This film is deeply moving and profoundly engaging. Indeed, it has the potential to transform lives because it provides visions of how we should live in the midst of massive environmental challenges. I cannot recommend it more highly!”—Mary Evelyn Tucker, Forum on Religion & Ecology at Yale

This is a starkly prophetic film. It combines the direst of warnings with deep love of life. Better than any other film I know, it makes clear that our profit-oriented growth economy has caused the climate catastrophe and cannot itself rescue us from disaster. We need new thinking and a new way of life.”—Tom F. Driver,  Paul Tillich Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology, Union Theological Seminary

Duration : 56 min.

Questions: Contact cath.kessler@comcast.net or ngtaylor94619@yahoo.com

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Skyline UCC
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12540 Skyline Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619
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