Tribute  Fri, Feb 6 (6-9) and Teach-in, Sat, Feb 7 (9-4)

You are invited to join national and local justice seekers from 20th c. and 21st c. movements for human rights on Friday, Feb. 6 (6pm reception, 7-9 program) in a Tribute honoring the life of Dr. Vincent Harding and Saturday, Feb 7 for an Inter-generational Teach-in (9am registration; 10-4 program). We will engage in deep conversation about the protests against systemic violence against black and brown communities and how to create a movement for radical change. Register now! (Follow the links for Friday and Saturday events below) Space is limited!

Nancy Taylor invites us to attend this event for Black History Month.   She’ll be going to the Saturday event and will coordinate a group and carpool. Mirtha and Johan Langewis-Ninayahuar are joining her – how about you?

Friday’s Tribute (free):  St. Columba Church, 6401 San Pablo Ave., Oakland
To  RSVP Click Here

Saturday’s Teach-in:  Chapel at the Pacific School of Religion, 1798 Scenic Ave., Berkeley
(box lunch included scholarships available)
$15 – at the door;  $11 – online
To register online  Click Here

This past week, I’ve been reading about the early life of Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman. An influential African American author, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader, Thurman was considered one of the three greatest African-American preachers in the early 20th-century. I find a kindred spirit in his enduring sense of the Divine.

From his journal, he writes:

dreamstimefree_boat and river (1)As a child I was accustomed to spending many hours alone in my rowboat, fishing along the river, when there was no sound save the lapping of the waves against the boat. There were times when it seemed as if the earth and the river and the sky and I were one beat of the same pulse. It was a time of watching and waiting for what I did not know—yet I always knew. There would come a moment when beyond the single pulse beat there was a sense of Presence which seemed always to speak to me. My response to the sense of Presence always had the quality of personal communion. There was no voice. There was no image. There was no vision. There was God. 

I leave you with a blessing for this day, by Howard Thurman

I will lift up mine eyes to life,
lest I miss the turning in the road.
I will lift up mine eyes to love,
that I may not close the door of my heart.
I will lift up mine eyes to God,
that I may meet the divine in all things.

 

black history monthFebruary we lift up Black History Month; we share stories from our own personal and collective histories and lift up the ongoing story of culture, courage, brilliance, faith, and heroism.

We will celebrate this rich legacy through worship, education and events. I encourage you to join us and share your ideas with us!

Our denomination, the United Church of Christ, has a long history of commitment to the ongoing story of liberation and equality in the black civil rights movement; from the Amistad, to ordaining the first black minister in the US, to the presidency. The UCC is forever entwined in the history of a people who stood with courage and pushed forward with faith. I encourage you to read more about our UCC history, in the links below.

http://cpcucc.org/blog/2087/black-history-and-the-united-church-of-christ
http://www.ucc.org/black-history/

I leave you with the inspiring words of Howard Thurman, an influential African American author, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader, who writes:

“Whatever may be the tensions and the stresses of a particular day, there is always lurking close at hand the trailing beauty of forgotten joy or unremembered peace.” 

 “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 

“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.” 

US civil rights leader Martin Luther King,Jr. (C)This Monday means so many different things to so many people.

To some, it’s a day off from work, and a time to save big on those great MLK sales deals!

For others, it’s a time to remember the great legacy of Dr King.

For others still, it’s a time to lament that he is gone, at a time when we need to keep his dream alive.

Let us, you and I, take time to not only to remember him, but to do what we can together to work for the true equality of all people on this planet.

I leave you with some interesting quotes, not from, but about, Martin Luther King Jr.

“For years, I declined to fill in the form for my Senate press credential that asked me to state my ‘race,’ unless I was permitted to put ‘human.’ The form had to be completed under penalty of perjury, so I could not in conscience put ‘white,’ which is not even a color let alone a ‘race,’ and I sternly declined to put ‘Caucasian,’ which is an exploded term from a discredited ethnology. Surely the essential and unarguable core of King’s campaign was the insistence that pigmentation was a false measure: a false measure of mankind (yes, mankind) and an inheritance from a time of great ignorance and stupidity and cruelty, when one drop of blood could make you ‘black’.” 
― Christopher Hitchens

“The self-congratulatory popular account insists that Dr. King called on the nation to fully accept its own creed, and the walls came a-tumbling down. This conventional narrative is soothing, moving, and politically acceptable, and has only the disadvantage of bearing no resemblance to what actually happened.” 
― Timothy B. TysonBlood Done Sign My Name: A True Story

“Everyone knows, even the smallest kid knows about Martin Luther King Jr., can say his most famous moment was that ‘I have a dream speech. No one can go further than one sentence. All we know is that this had a dream. We do not know what the dream was’.” 
― Henry Louis Taylor

A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back — but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you.

― Marian Wright Edelman, as quoted in The Art of Winning Commitment : 10 Ways Leaders Can Engage Minds, Hearts, And Spirits (2004) by Dick Richards

- Enjoy this “The Dream of Martin Luther King” video.

US civil rights leader Martin Luther King,Jr. (C)For Skyline’s church service on Sunday, January 18th at 10 am, we will honor the memory of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., his sense of God’s calling in his life, and the larger civil rights movement to which he gave his life.  We will also take seriously our call in this time, to participate in the civil rights movement of our times for greater economic justice, particularly within our country.  Together, one day, we shall overcome!

Our choir director, Joshua Feltman, with the choir will teach the children the song, “The Dream of Martin Luther King”.  It will be lovely!

Please bring with you friends who would be drawn to this celebration.  Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss ways that you’d like to take part at revlauriemanning@aol.com.

Blessings, Pastor Laurie

MoreJackets

Stop Shivering Sunday is a tradition started here by our beloved Kay Gilliland. We collect warm coats and other clothing and take them to East Oakland Community Project (EOCP), East Bay Switchboard, & Bay Area Community Services (BACS) to be given to those in need. Please bring whatever you have on Sunday, Jan. 25th. If possible, bring your contributions in a box. We’ll put all the boxes in a few cars and will take everything to these groups the following week.

Please mark your calendars to bring in those clothes for Sunday, January 25th!  If you can’t be here on the 25th, bring them to the office between 9 and 2 Mon-Fri.

ScarvesThank you for sharing and participating!

Jesus was a very radical dude. In his time,  much like our times in this country, people were very divided one from another. Back then if you were a child or a woman, if you had no money, if you had a disease or a physical disability, or if you came from the wrong country or city or even the wrong family you had no rights and no respect.

Jesus refused to play along with division and discrimination. One of the truly subversive things he not only taught – but did constantly – was to eat, drink, and visit with the outcasts of society.  He hung out with beggars, lepers, prostitutes, children, and even tax collectors. As Thanksgiving approaches we are reminded that we are not only what we eat, we are also with whom we eat. In Jesus’ kingdom & at his table everyone, especially all those considered “the least of these”, is welcome.

This Sunday, we welcome your many food donations for these various causes:

  1.  Alameda County Community Food Bank (canned tuna & chicken, soups & stews, peanut butter, canned foods)
  2.  East Bay Interfaith Immigration Coalition, EOICC, collecting food for undocumented immigrants from Central America.(beans, rice, cooking oil )
  3.  Pies for Lake Merritt United Methodist (ACCFB food pantry’s) Thanksgiving dinner.

Please see the details included below.

We also welcome volunteers to help prepare and serve and share Thanksgiving dinner at Lake Merritt! Please see Paula Byrens for details.

After all of this eating we invite you to work it off on Saturday, Nov 29th, at our “Greening of the Sanctuary” from 8 am – 1 pm.

Oh yes, one more food item – mark your calendars for our Sun Dec 7th Christmas Party, 5 – 8 pm, which includes dinner and a fun program (see details berlow)! If you’d like to help with the food planning, please contact Suzie Harris and Marilyn Shaw.

Blessings, Laurie

HeartLast Sunday we shared a beautiful day celebrating and giving thanks for the life of Ginger Grove, a beloved member of this faith community.

This time of year with the shortening hours of day light, the anticipated stress of the holidays, and remembering those we love who have died can be a time of sadness.

May our sadness awaken with us an ever deepening appreciation for the present moment, and an increased urgency to share our love with one another… with those we love and with those we have yet to love.

Here is a poem from the beloved philosopher, theologian, priest, and writer John O’Donohue, entitled “Celebrating and Sending Love”, from his book on Celtic wisdom, “Anam Cara“, in the chapter entitled “Wounded Love” .

A person should always offer a prayer of graciousness for the love that has awakened in them. When you feel love for your beloved and his or her love for you, now and again you should offer the warmth of your love as a blessing for those who are damaged and unloved. Send that love out into the world to people who are desperate; to those who are starving; to those who are trapped in prison; in hospitals and all the brutal terrains of bleak and tormented lives. When you send that love out from the bountifulness of your own love, it reaches other people. This love is the deepest power of prayer.

Published in the Northern California Nevada Conference UCC Listserve:

prison_032911-thumb-640xauto-2730Dear Colleagues,

Last week, we represented the UCC clergy of California, taking part in a delegation of clergy leaders of all faiths, at a conference to discuss our broken and overwhelmingly overcrowded prison system. The conference was sponsored by the California Endowment and the PICO national faith based community network.

The conference continued to open our eyes to the racism reflected by our criminal justice system. Consider just a few facts:

* Incarceration has exploded in growth within the US: From 300,000 in 1980 to over 2,000,000 in prison & more than 7,000,000 today-1 in 31 adults-behind bars, on probation, or on parole.

* Here in California, from 1982 to 2000, we built 23 new prisons, at a cost of $300,000,000 each (and built only 1 public university).

* Nationwide two-third of those imprisoned are black & Hispanic.

* Nationwide two-third of those imprisoned are black & Hispanic.

* Nationwide, although most drug users & dealers are white, three-fourth of those imprisoned on drug charges are black or Latino.

* We spend $62,000 a year per prisoner.

We committed ourselves, along with clergy from across the state, to stand in solidarity with the movement to end mass incarceration of people of color, nationally, and here in California. We urge you to join us and vote yes on Proposition 47 in the upcoming election.

Our denomination, the United Church Christ, has been in the forefront of civil rights issues, and we passionately believe that ending the system of mass incarceration, so racially based, is the civil rights movement of our day and that we must do our part with the fierce urgency of now. There are many reasons to support Prop 47, but for us the primary reason is ending our current system of mass incarcerarion.

Over 50 years ago, in the crucible of the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed, The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”. There’s much more bending to do. Bending the bars that imprison so many people in this country: the largest incarceration in human history, especially men of color.

We encourage you to raise the awareness with your congregation of the racism of our current system of mass incarceration. Let us join together in ending the cradle to prison pipeline in our country, and in our state, by activating the vote and lifting up the prophetic voices of our times. The Spirit of the Lord is upon US all! Now is the time!

Laurie Manning Pastor: Skyline Community Church    http://www.skylineucc.org   510-531-8212 www.ccsm-ucc.org

Penny Nixon  Sr. Minister, Congregational Church of San Mateo   www.ccsm-ucc.org     650-343-3694 x2  http://www.piconetwork.org/issues/let-my-people-vote

Michelle Alexander: The New Jim Crow. http://youtu.be/Gln1JwDUI64 

The act of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”.  

The Rev Dr Martin Luther King wrote these prophetic words to sustain the people on the long civil rights journey.

How true they are!

In 1972 The Golden Gate Association of our denomination, the United Church of Christ, ordained Bill Johnson, the first openly gay man.

Here we are, over 40 years later, witnessing the arc of the universe bending a bit more, with the recent civil rights ruling on same sex marriage.

But we cannot rest on our historic legacy.. there is much more bending to be done..

prison_032911-thumb-640xauto-2730Perhaps you’ve read the recent article in last Sunday’s New York Times about our broken prison system, here in California?

 If not, I’ve attached the article here:   California Voters to Decide on Sending Fewer Criminals to Prison – NYTimes.com.

As we reflect upon the tragic killing of Michael Brown and the pain, anger, and action that have marked recent weeks in Ferguson Missouri and around the country, we are called to think, pray, and act together to end the dehumanization and mass incarceration of boys and men of color in this country.

On Wednesday October 8, I am joining with a delegation of clergy leaders from around the state and across faith traditions in Los Angeles to explore how we can ignite an awakening of faith to proclaim a message of hope, healing, and restoration in California.

Our hope is to change both the public debate and the public policy that criminalizes boys and men of color, separates families, and robs young people and communities of opportunities by investing in prison systems over education, healthcare, and treatment.

Thank you for your prayers,

 Blessings, Pastor Laurie

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Skyline UCC
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12540 Skyline Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619
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