Last month Sandhya JhaSkyline welcomed Sandhya Jha from EBHO to speak on affordable housing.  Representatives from EBHO will be at the service this Sunday, May 1, the House Sabbath.

We’d like to celebrate a victory for Oakland residents with the passing on April 19 2016 of a a “new affordable housing impact fee, taking another step to address rapidly rising rents in the city. In the 18 months from August 2014 to March 2016, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Oakland increased 40 percent, from $1,600 to $2,250 a month, according to listing service Zumper.” (taken from KQED’s post about this)

While more needs to be done to address affordable housing for Oakland, this is a start!

May-day-photo-workers day 732fe3229d0294f506941cf07c7eb767This Sunday is May Day.. such a beautiful time of year here in the northern hemisphere, and especially now in Northern California after the badly needed rains.  May Day on May 1 is an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival in many cultures. Dances, singing, and cake are usually part of the celebrations.

But May Day is also a cry for help! It derives from the French “m’aidez”, pronounced “mayDAY,” and means literally “help me.”

In the late 19th century, May Day was chosen as the date for International Workers’ Day by the Socialists and Communists  to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago.  International Workers’ Day may also be referred to as “May Day”, but it is a different celebration from the traditional May Day.

So, this May Day we gather in this beautiful place to celebrate the beauty of spring, dance and sing and eat cake, and dance around the Maypole. 

This May Day we will also hear the cry of help, right here in Oakland, for more affordable housing.


What a wonderful celebration we had last Sunday at our Earth Day celebration near the labyrinth and in God’s green spring!

Special thanks to Catherine Kessler and the Green team for their vision of worshipping in the labyrinth; to the choir for singing a-cappella; to the many of you who took part in everything from the circle dances, to chanting, playing guitar, the dramatic reading about “No Coal in Oakland”; and above all, to God, our Creator, for life itself. 

Also, mark your calendars for Earth Day, Sunday April 24th:

  • 10 am worship: Teresa Jenkins will be preaching about her experience of God in all of creation. 
  • 5 – 7 pm: Join us for an Interfaith Earth Day Celebration with music, dance, and a potluck here at Skyline. 

God is the foundation for everythingredwood trunks

This God undertakes, God gives.

Such that nothing that is necessary for life is lacking.

Now humankind needs a body that at all times honors and praises God.

This body is supported in every way through the earth.

Thus the earth glorifies the power of God.

Hildegard of Bingen

Blessings, Pastor Laurie and the Green Team

4-3-16 view out window These next few weeks we will be honoring the earth and caring for our precious environment.

We are blessed to worship in such an incredibly beautiful setting, especially this time of year, and after the much needed rains.

The weather forecast for this Sunday, April 17th  is for perfect conditions, and so (weather permitting) we will plan to worship outdoors! Bring your friends who love nature, your musical instruments, sun visors, sun screen, an umbrella to block the sun, etc. and wear casual clothes. We will have tents & umbrellas for shade, and will assist anyone needing help.  We’ll have a shuttle to help people down the driveway to the labyrinth.  The flowers and plants are thriving there – it is beautiful.

Special thanks to Catherine Kessler and the Green team for their vision of worshipping in the labyrinth, to the choir for singing a-cappella, to many of you who will be taking part in the dramatic reading, to the set-up team, and above all, to God, our Creator, for life itself.

If you’d like to come and help set up early, please contact Catherine Kessler or Nancy Taylor  who will be setting up Saturday at 6PM.  (contact information at end of this article)

Also, mark your calendars for Earth Day, Sunday April 24th:

  • 10 am worship: Teresa Jenkins will be preaching about her experience of God in all of creation.
  • 5 – 7 pm: Join us for an Interfaith Earthday celebration with music, dance, potluck here at Skyline. (see the attached flyer)

Blessings, Pastor Laurie and the Green Team

Catherine Kessler (510-530-7688;
Nancy Taylor (510-530-0814)
(510) 421- 2646,

Skyline Community Church, United Church of Christ Invites Oakland Community to Attend Easter Services

Come celebrate the Spirit of Easter where we welcome ALL of God’s people. Experience fabulous music and an inspiring message with a spectacular view of the Oakland Hills.

CN_Skyline_2013-03-31_EasterSunrise&10am_0624Easter Sunrise Service: March 27, 7:00 AM:  Rise and shine to the uplifting music of the Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus!  Experience sunrise from our Sanctuary which rests on the summit of the Oakland hills and has windows spanning 30 feet high!  As you look out on a stunningly beautiful view listen to inspiring preaching, heavenly music and feel welcomed into the warmth of a loving progressive and inclusive faith community.

Rev. Laurie says, “The music in this service sings out about a God of love, of freedom, of liberation… and that the world is more wonderful with the great diversity of all of humanity. This is good news!”





Easter Sunday Traditional Service: March 27, 10 AM:  Skyline’s sanctuary windows overlook Redwood Park to Mt. Diablo   Here we have a traditional Easter Service as a loving progressive and inclusive faith community. Rev. Laurie Manning , the choir and orchestra (directed by Puja Soto) and the people fill the sanctuary with joy, celebration and love. Today’s service will have drama, singing, prayer, and a special honor garden for loved ones.  And to top it off, an Easter Egg Hunt (following service) for children of all ages: 11:30 AM.




Egg hunt in labyrinth CN_Skyline_2013-03-31_EasterSunrise&10am_0233


Easter Egg Hunt: March 27, 11:30 AM:  Skyline’s traditional Easter Egg Hunt is happening RAIN or SHINE. We welcome our neighborhood families and all who would love to come to join us!  Stay for refreshments and conversation following the hunt. We also welcome you to join our community Easter service at 10 AM before the hunt, if you wish.  We offer a children’s program for your little ones.




Skyline Church UCC is a community faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ.  We acknowledge the worth of all beings, regardless of ability, age, ancestry, family or economic status, gender, sexual orientation, spiritual path, cultural origin, or any other visible or invisible difference.  We invite all who wish to enter our Sanctuary and the full life of our church family.  Ours is a God of justice and compassion, and our church lives in covenant with God to do its utmost to pursue justice and compassion, as an Open and Affirming congregation.

For more information please contact our office at:

Skyline Community Church,
United Church of Christ
12540 Skyline Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619

Email Skyline Office


5-30-15 Catherine Work DayThis Sunday you are invited to rise and shine an hour earlier, put on your casualXmas Food Party clothes, and join us for a day of inspiration, gardening with the green team after church and good food… not only for lunch but also for Sunday Supper!  

As environmentalist and founder of the Sierra Club John Muir wrote, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul”.

Particularly now, with the greening of the earth, our beautiful sanctuary reminds us of God’s renewal of the earth and invites us deeper into our own renewal in body, mind and spirit.

Come join us to experience:

— the renewal of your body, mind and spirit.
–   the healing power of community, for all ages.
–  the joys of gardening in this beautiful setting, guided by our Green team.
–  a delicious and heathy Sunday Supper, hosted by Suzie Harris.

“The many great gardens of the world, of literature and poetry, of painting and music, of religion and architecture, all make the point as clear as possible:  The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden.  If you don’t want paradise, you are not human; and if you are not human, you don’t have a soul.”
–  Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, 1996, p. 101

Blessings upon your week, Pastor Laurie

Green Team Work Day!

This Sunday, March 13 after worship

Join Skyline’s dedicated Green Team and give our church grounds some tender, loving care for spring!

You can make our grounds beautiful with your loving hands, be outside in nature, and gently move your body!  What we’ll do:

  • prune shrubs to help encourage healthy growth and flowers;
  • hoe areas that have weeds growing; the hoeing is easy because the ground is damp and soft.
  • rake the weeds in our labyrinth;
  • plant trees, ferns and flowers that Catherine has ready and waiting.
  • spread topsoil to fertilize new growth.
  • pull weeds coming up in the pavers.

Thanks for your many hands!   Catherine Kessler;

Office phone 510-531-8212


Come celebrate the Spirit of Easter where we welcome ALL of God’s people. Experience fabulous music and an inspiring message with a spectacular view of the Oakland Hills.

Sunrise Service ~ 7:00 am

Featuring the Oakland/East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus

Easter Worship Service ~ 10:00 am

Celebratory Traditional Music with the Skyline Choir, Children’s Choir, and orchestra followed by
an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids!

Skyline’s traditional Easter Egg Hunt is happening RAIN or SHINE, starting at 11:30 am on Easter Sunday morning. We welcome our neighborhood families and any who care to come to join us!  Stay for refreshments and conversation following the hunt.

For more information please contact our office at:

Skyline Community Church,
United Church of Christ
12540 Skyline Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619

Email Skyline Office

2-16-16 coal laurie davidFrom Pastor Laurie:

News outlets from the New York Times to Mother Jones Magazine have praised the leadership of California at the November UN climate summit in Paris.  The LA Times portrayed Governor Jerry Brown’s active presence in Paris as representing not only the crafting of his “political legacy” but also his preoccupation with preventing “catastrophe.”

 Yet environmental lawyers, community activists, and faith leaders are increasingly bringing to the public’s awareness what has long been California’s dirty secret. In a state known for its environmentalism, environmental racism has remained a festering, unbridled sin. 

Environmental racism is the placement of low-income or minority communities in close proximity of environmentally hazardous or degraded environments such as toxic waste, pollution and urban decay.

Skyline Community Church UCC in Oakland has been active in struggles against environmental racism here in California, particularly with respect to fracking and the proposed coal terminal in Oakland.

In November, Nancy Taylor of our Green Team and I joined together with an interfaith coalition to deliver a letter to Brown that called for a halt to fracking.

On Tuesday, Feb 9, 2016, several members of our Green Team  joined me as I addressed an interfaith rally outside Oakland’s City Hall in seeking to delay consultant work that could bring the city closer to having a coal terminal.  Becky Taylor, a former Oakland Port Commissioner and a member of Skyline’s Green Team and I spoke at the City Council meeting against coal.   In my remarks, I spoke of the pride I feel about Governor Brown’s environmental leadership in Paris, but then asked, “Why would we want to be complicit in prolonging and accelerating this environmental and humanitarian health crisis?”  

The combined will, wisdom, voice and energy of the interfaith community of Oakland, its people, and prayers resulted in the City Council voting to delay the opening a coal terminal in Oakland!

Skyline is a small but mighty force for environmental justice here in Oakland! Thank you Skyline!! 

 Here are a few articles that reference our good work!

Feb 2016 Sierra Leone New PreschoolTo Skyline Community from Steve Kilgore:

I brought $3,630 (the balance of the Sierra Leone fund) with me to Sentho in Sierra Leone when I went in January. We made a trip to Makomray and met with the school and village leaders. The new 2 classroom building for the preschoolers is close to be being done. See photo. The floors still need to be cemented and furniture is needed for one of the classrooms (the youngest children can use mats).

The other classrooms have had an issue with bat guano spoiling the ceiling and many ceiling tiles will need to be replaced along with mitigation to prevent further bat problems. There is also a need to do repaint some of the classrooms. Sentho plans to return to the village soon and get input on what specifically the community wants done with the current $$. She’s holding it for now and will report back to us once the decisions are made on how the money is spent.

We showed up during a school day. It was encouraging that there were many students and the teachers and principal were present. Neither of us were impressed by the apparent level of order and education that was going on. It’s not like we did an evaluation, but from appearances it didn’t appear a lot of learning was happening. I’m afraid the level of training of the staff combined with adequate supplies makes for a challenging learning environment for all. Some of the supplies we’ve sent in the past were there and are really valuable in such a poor community.

Anyway, we’ll hear more detail from Sentho in the coming months.

Steve Kilgore

From Sentho:  Hello Everyone and greetings from Sierra Leone.

Yes, Steve gave me $3,640 and I still have the $$ (not yet exchanged to leones) with me.  Again,I want to say many thanks to all, but especially to Marilyn, Kay and Rhea, Andre, Steve and everyone who participated in various ways in making a difference in my village.  I will forever be grateful!!

The Head chief finally called last week and gave me an estimate of the materials (cement, cellotex, paint, boards, etc) needed for the work. It’s a lot more than I had expected and he himself said that, so I will have to reduce the quantity so there will be money left for the teachers and some school supplies.  I’ll send details later after delivering the items and paying the teachers.

I am planning to travel to the village to take the materials some time soon (before they start their farm work) or else they will not do the work.

Greetings, peace, and many thanks to all.


Bike Ride groupNote from Pastor Laurie:

Special thanks to Marilyn Shaw for the many years in which she organized bike ride fundraisers to help to fund this school and support the teachers.   Especially now, as Sierra Leone continues to recover from Ebola  we give thanks for Marilyn’s generous heart and commitment to the children of Makomray, and for the love and support of this community . 

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

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