Green Team Meeting

Thurs, Dec 22, 7:00 PM; Message from Catherine:

I want to keep things rolling, and even if this time of year is busy, I am calling a meeting this week for those who are available; dinner is provided.  Meet at my house on Brookpark Rd. Email the office for the address and to RSVP unless you already have my contact info.  It’ll be a short meeting, and for those who can stay, we’ll watch the film, “Time to Choose”  See info below.

All are welcome!  Agenda:

  1. Opening: environmental news:
    1. Climate change/temp.increase happening at a faster rate than predicted
    2. Global efforts to eliminate hydrofluorocarbons (refrigerant) which are more powerful greenhouse gases than C02
    3. Fema withdraws $ to remove eucalyptus trees in EBay hills
    4. Other news: bring issues to the group to educate us all
  2. Plans drafted for new preschool modular bldgs and new play area at SCC (will include solar collectors for whole campus)
  3. New website: Green Team has a spot for updates and information about our site
  4. Skyline Trail plans
  5. Wrap-up from showing of film, This Changes Everything;  we have donation $, how to use?
  6. What do you want to see at Skyline next year?

Time to Choose   Award-winning documentary filmmaker Charles Ferguson turns his lens to address worldwide climate change challenges and solutions in “Time to Choose”. Featuring narration by award-winning actor Oscar Isaac, this film leaves audiences understanding not only what is wrong, but what can to be done to fix this global threat. Ferguson explores the comprehensive scope of the climate change crisis and examines the power of solutions already available. Through interviews with world-renowned entrepreneurs, innovators, thought leaders and brave individuals living on the front lines of climate change, Ferguson takes an in-depth look at the remarkable people working to save our planet.

Catherine Kessler (510-531-8212;

this-changes-everything_final-2Friday, October 7,

6:30 Dinner – Vegetarian – RSVP, see below

7:30 Movie & Discussion * Paul Rockwell, local journalist will be facilitating our discussion.*

All are Welcome.

Our Green Team is hosting this film based on Naomi Klein’s book of the same title. From the website: “Filmed over 211 shoot days in nine countries and five continents over four years, [the film] is an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change. Klein builds to her most controversial and exciting idea: that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better. “

Skyline will provide the main course including beer and wine,suggested donation $10 or bring salad, dessert, appetizer to share. PLEASE RSVP to Catherine Kessler for dinner by Oct 5!  Thank you! (510-531-8212;

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,

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

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!

2-16-16 ministers in front of city hall 2

Statement by Rev. Laurie Manning, pastor of Skyline Church UCC-Oakland Hills, and UCC Northern California representative for Environmental Justice at the no-coal-in-Oakland press conference outside City Hall Tues, Feb 16, 2016:

We’re all familiar with “the Golden Rule.” It’s a universal principal, an ethic of reciprocity that teaches: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It teaches us to care about our neighbors.  Who doesn’t care about the kid down the street, or down the hill breathing dirty air?

As Flint Michigan reminds us, environmental toxins particularly impact poor children of color, globally, & locally. West Oakland has many parallels to Flint. (%90 black & Latino, where residents already experience high rates of poverty and unemployment).2-16-16 Coal Nancy Laurie David

This is a local health issue. The children of West Oakland are already contending with fumes & noise from the Port. We need to ask ourselves, what if it were our own children?  

Now the proponents of the coal partnership in Oakland argue that it is bringing a $52 million investment and will bring almost $3 mill in annual property taxes and 2300 jobs.

But at what cost? What cost to the environment: excavating coal in Utah, transporting it here by rail, & shipping it by ocean to be burned in China? What cost to human lives in every step of the coal production process:  the health risks to those most vulnerable; the miners in Utah; the residents of West Oakland; and those who breathe the air in China? 

I’m so proud of Governor Brown, and his global leadership in environmental justice. Speaking out in Paris, and at 2-16-16 Becky? at CouncilVatican, Governor Brown echoed the global scientific community’s unanimous pleas to leave 90% of fossil fuels in ground. Why would we want to be complicit in prolonging and accelerating this environmental and humanitarian health crisis?

Furthermore, besides the moral argument, there’s an economic argument.  It’s a bad investment for Oakland. The demand for coal and the coal industry are rapidly failing. Why would Oakland want to invest, even in the short term, as major coal companies are going bankrupt? As Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize economist, has recently noted, “fossil fuels 2-16-16 Laurie at Councilare the way of past, renewables are way in the future – if we care about the future, we care about switching.”

Finally, there’s the voice of the people. According to the recent Sierra Club survey, 76% of Oakland residents are against coal in the port. 

Surely, there are healthier and safer long term sources of jobs and revenue that will benefit all of the people of Oakland.

2-16-16 ministers in front of city hall 2On Tuesday evening members and friends of Skyline’s Green Team joined hundreds of others to take part in Oakland City Hall’s ongoing discussions about approving a coal distribution center in the port. There will be an interfaith vigil, and undoubtedly, a long evening of discussions. 

I lift up thanks to the great collective sense of civic responsibility involved in these meetings, and even more, in our collective efforts to transition to renewable energy sources.  

The outcome of Tuesday’s meeting is that the City Council did delay the vote on taking the next step to bring coal through Oakland.Here’s a video of Laurie speaking at the press conference Here’s CBS Bay Area’s news report from last night.

I’d like to share with you some quotes on the UCC’s stand and long history involved in the environmental justice movement. 

This Sunday, Rev Deborah Lee will be joining us to share stories about the refugees from Central America and Dleeways in which faith communities, including ours, are offering support to refugees and their families.  After worship she and her colleague, Daniel Pinell, will share stories about the underlying causes. 

Thank you, Skyline for your compassionate hearts and voices!

dreamstime_Coal trainThere will be a press conference sponsored by several faith and environmental groups at 4:30.   Then the vigil will be held from  5:00 – 6:00 pm at Oakland City Hall (Frank Ogawa Plaza). The Oakland City Council needs to hear from people of faith about our deep concern about the negative impacts on the health of our brothers and sisters in West Oakland if this proposed project proceeds. (See below for City Council members you can contact). For more information contact Rev Laurie Manning,

Pastor Laurie’s statement on coal in Oakland.

Some organizations supporting this:

Article in New York Times


Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza, in front of

Oakland City Hall. (1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza)


City council members really need to know how the people that they represent feel about Coal so that they may take action and stop this disastrous plan. You can;

1.     Sign the MoveOn petition to tell the city Council to stop Big Coal

2.    Copy this email and send it to your neighborhood listserv if you live in Oakland. Otherwise, forward it to everyone you know in Oakland

3.     Call and write Oakland city council members.   Email is easy to ignore, a phone call isn’t.  It doesn’t hurt to do both

Below is a brief script for calling and the text of a sample email. Feel free to personalize them.

To find your council district click here:

District 1 Dan Kalb   


District 5 Noel Gallo

238- 7005    

District 2 Abel Guillen


District 6 Delsey Brooks


District 3 Lynette Gibson McElhaney


District 7 Larry E. Reid 


District 4 Annie Campbell Washington


At Large Rebecca Kaplan



Mayor Libby Schaaf 



“Hi, My name is _____________ and I live and vote in your Council district. I’m concerned that the city of Oakland could become a terminal for shipping coal. West Oakland does not deserve the negative health and toxic environmental impacts of mile-long coal trains shedding coal dust. Coal must be prohibited from the new export terminal. I call on you as my city council representative to pass an ordinance banning coal on health and safety grounds.”

Thank you


Subject:   Coal trains

Dear Mr./Ms./ council member,

My name is _____________ and I live and vote in your Council district. I’m concerned that the city of Oakland could become a terminal for shipping coal. West Oakland does not deserve the negative health and toxic environmental impacts of mile-long coal trains shedding coal dust. Coal must be prohibited from the new export terminal. I feel strongly that it would be a terrible mistake to expose our community to this toxic commodity.  I call on you as my city council representative to pass an ordinance banning coal on health and safety grounds.”

Thank you 

  This action section was prepared by Heather MacLeod, Alameda Interfaith Climate Action Network (A-ICAN)

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

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