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.

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!

CN_Skyline_2010-12-24_ChristmasEveService_1014Blessings to you in this season of darkness, where we light candles and are reminded once more:

The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

Yes, we live in a broken world.

 At the same time, through us all I experience the in -breaking of God’s love right here in our community.  I experience it in the wonder of children taking part in our Christmas pageant. I experience it in the outpouring of love from this community to the homeless shelter in East Oakland; to feeding the hungry here in Alameda County; to supporting the education of 400 children of Makomray, Sierra Leone; and to caring for the immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

We experience it when we see the face of Christ, in everyone!

Come and celebrate the wonder of God’s love on Christmas Eve with us, Wed Dec 24th at 7 pm!

Bring your friends! We have childcare! It’s a short – all ages friendly service!

I wish to share a photo of a mom and dad with their three month old son, Air; one of the many EOCP Gift Familyfamilies with children that we visited earlier this week.  His parents named him Air because he is as precious as every breath we take and is filled with the Spirit of life. I cannot help but be reminded of that Holy family thousands of years ago who sought shelter as refugees, who’s precious child was born in a stable because there was no room at the inn. (The family gave me permission to share with friends and members of Skyline)

I leave you with this poem by Howard Thurman about the ongoing healing of the world that we are called to bring forth in our lives.

Candles for Christmas

I will light Candles this Christmas,
Candles of joy despite all the sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,
Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all my living,
Candles that will burn all year long.
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,

The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.
Blessings,
Pastor Laurie

Pageant Mary Joseph angelsCome and experience the wonders of the ChristmasPageant 3 kings story!

Join us for a child/family friendly worship service of carols where everyone is invited to take place in the Christmas pageant!

Wear your favorite costume.  Be a shepherd, sheep, king, queen,angel, donkey!

Join us for fun, music and celebration!  Be part of the drama!  Friends, family, all are invited!

Christmas Pageant: Sunday, Dec. 21 at 10 AM!

Invite everyone you know with children or grandchildren!   We’ll see you there!

 

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 

2014-childrens-sabbathsMarion 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.”

Sunday, October 19, 10 AM Children’s Sabbath

A fun, interactive, child & teen-friendly service

GPC-logo

All Are Welcome  -

Children, Teens, and Children at Heart of All Ages

Enjoy

Drama, Music & Singing

Dancing and Laughter

Mr. Rogers Story-time

Community and Connections

Short presentation on child advocacy by Interfaith Worker Justice

Join the community for a delicious lunch and fellowship after the service

At the Church:  12540 Skyline Blvd, Oakland 94619

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

imgres.30Tuesday, October 7, 7PM at Skyline Church

The League of Women Voters will present a neutral overview of the pros and cons  of the propositions, both state and local, on this election’s ballot.  Be informed and have your say in the democratic process and civic responsibility!  Invite friends!    More information at http://www.lwvoakland.org/index.html  

Contact Nancy Taylor:  (ngtaylor94619@yahoo.com) or Lee Rutter: (leerutter@sbcglobal.net).

This week we celebrate World Communion Sunday, the Feast of St Francis, and join together to support Our Church’s wider mission.

It is a time to remember that God’s greatest hope is that we may learn to live together as one, one in spirit, & united in mutual support & encouragement.

At times we seem so far from that hope with so much war and hatred within this world.

At times the world we live in seems so Darwinian where the rule is survival of the fittest.

But can we really survive this way?

cooperation-billboardAshley Montagu, a 20th century anthropologist,psychologist, humanist, and author challenged the primacy of Darwin’s theory of  “survival of fittest” with the role of love in human evolution. In his book, “Growing Young”, he writes:

Heart“In the evolution of humanity, love has played in important role. Yet, the roles of love and cooperation in human evolution have been wholly neglected.  In an unloving and alienated world wracked by strife and violence, such an idea can seem ludicrous and unreal. Yet, there can be little doubt esp.  when one studies food gathering and anti violent peoples , that no group of human beings could have survived had it not been for the dominant role that love and cooperation have played in holding them together.

Indeed it is quite evident that human beings are designed as a consequence of their long and evolutionary history to grow and develop in cooperation and that the future development of humanity lies not with increasing conflict but with increasing love, extending it to all living creatures everywhere

It is, in a very real, & not in the least paradoxical sense even more necessary to love than it is to live, for without love there can be no healthy growth or development of real life. We must live as if love and life are one.”

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

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