In honor of Black History Month I am sharing with you the timeless, prophetic voices of black civil rights leaders in this country.

I give thanks for the faith and courage of these great leaders, who’s voices echo the voices of the prophets, who stand with us forever on the mountaintop of  God, their eyes fixed upon the vision of the promised land. 

May we open ourselves to realize that we are standing with them, on Holy Ground. 

I encourage you to join us for the upcoming movies, outings, and discussions and  review the many resources and links listed below. 

   Blessings, Pastor Laurie 

Frederick Douglasshttp://www.azquotes.com/author/4104-Frederick_Douglass

http://www.azquotes.com/author/4104-Frederick_Douglass

mlk-marchonwashington-bannerThis weekend we celebrate the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,  his prophetic words and actions for our lives today, and the difference between what is and the vision of how things could be. 

Many of us find ourselves standing in a place of tension. Some may have experienced this tension in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement. The Rev. Dr. William Barber II implicitly evoked this tension in speaking recently of the prophetic grief and lament provoked by recent acts of violence and the decision not to bring charges against the police officers who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice. In response to this present reality, Barber cites Isaiah’s call to be “the repairers of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.”

Commentators like Van Jones have recognized that environmental racism also relates to the Black Lives Matter movement. Some acts of violence are not of the kind that can be videotaped and shared on social media, but they nevertheless have a devastating impact on communities of color. The severe, and at times, deadly reality of environmental racism can be seen in relation to toxic dumpscoal plants and terminalsoil plants and refineriesfracked wells, and lead poisoning. There is much that necessitates a prophetic response.


To inspire the courage needed to speak out and to demonstrate how one can pull others closer to a vision of what could be, Dr. King’s oral and written works continue to be an invaluable resource. The UCC has developed a webpage to assist in exploring overlooked and under-appreciated sermons, speeches, and writings by Dr. King. Too often, the more radical messages of King become muted or silenced on his own holiday. Like the great prophets, however, King must be heard. His words are still vital and relevant today. They still possess the power to challenge and uplift. 

Join us this Sunday as we remember him.

dreamstime_s_47580200I love these rainy days, as the thirsty earth drinks deeply of the waters of renewal.

It seems to me that Christmas, like such rainy days, is a time of renewal, transformation and rebirth. The timeless story echoes throughout history, from stories like “Christmas in the Trenches”, to Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” and yes, even to “How the Grinch stole Christmas.”

I encourage you, on rainy days like these, to pull out these timeless stories and listen for the voice of resurrection speaking in them. Words like:

Maybe Christmas,” the Grinch thought, “doesn’t come from a store.” Dr. Seuss,  “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. Scrooge, on Christmas day, from Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol”

Christmas is a fine season for joy to think of those we love. Molere

And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time. Jesus Christ

I leave you with a beautiful poem by Madeline L’Engle:

The Risk of Birth, Christmas

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour & truth were trampled by scorn–
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.

When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn–
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.

Blessings and love, Pastor Laurie

The days grow shorter, and yet, we know that the light will return. 

So too, in our lives, we wait and participate in hope. 

This Sunday we welcome you, your families and friends to join us in the lovely re-telling of the Christmas story, in our child – led Christmas pageant. We have costumes for everyone, or bring your own, because everyone is welcome to come and see baby Jesus! 

I leave you with a prayer of peace for this season: 

Holy Mystery, Sacred Wonder,child and curious innocent
you came to us as a child–
pure, innocent, vulnerable–

this was the Word you spoke
into your world, into our world. 

speak again, please. 

Come this Christmas to the
child we once were,
the child that lives within
each of us.

We long to touch that child that is still
a part of us, where innocence is still alive. 

Come to the manger of our hearts, that place
before we knew fear or shame; come to the child in us
who remains free of cynicism, who has not yet made
friends with disillusionment. 

 Blessings, Pastor Laurie 

EOCP Gift gathering 1Every year we coordinate with local Oakland shelters through East Oakland Community Project.  We ask for a wish list, invite members of the congregation to select one or more names, purchase their wish, and wrapt it.  We deliver them with a great amount of joy, carols, and fun.

This year we’ll be delivering Christmas Gifts to Homeless Shelters on:
Sunday, December 20th after church, and Tuesday, December 22, 6:30 PM

We will be delivering gifts to the Crossroads shelter on December 20th after church.  Please join us!

If you wish to hop on Santa’s sleigh and caravan to Matilda Cleveland Shelter on Tuesday evening, December 22nd, please join us!  We will leave the church at approx. 6:30 p.m., and we will deliver the gifts to the children there.  We are invited for dessert at 7 pm and for the Christmas party!

Friends, family and co-workers are welcome to both events! Call Nancy Taylor at 510-325-4957, or email her at ngtaylor94619@yahoo.com for questions/more info.

Christmas party 2014 singing 12 DaysChristmas Party 2014 SingerPlease join in the celebration of Christmas at Skyline’s annual potluck Christmas party on Sunday, December 6, 2013 from 5-8: PM in the sanctuary.

You’ll enjoy singing traditional carols and Christmas hymns.  The children (and the child in you) will be thrilled to hear the ho ho ho and feel the love love love of Santa.  We’ll share the Christmas story together.  And there will be delicious food and desserts, tea and partying!

If you have questions, would like to help out or have suggestions please contact Rev. Laurie at 510-531-8212 or email her at revlauriemanning@gmail.com.

CN_Skyline_2010-12-24_ChristmasEveService_0956This Christmas Eve, come experience the wonder of our candlelight service celebrating the birth of Jesus with carols, anthems, scripture lessons, a Christmas Rhapsody, children’s choir and instrumental music.

The service will be followed by delicious Christmas treats, hot apple cider, and fellowship.

This is a beautiful way to celebrate the season with your entire family. ALL are welcome!

December 24th at 7:00 pm

For more information please contact the office at 510.531.8212

starCome 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, fireman, donkey!

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

Christmas Pageant: Sunday, Dec. 20 at 10 AM!  

(Practice on Sunday, Dec 13 at 11:30 AM after service).

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

 

dreamstimefree_251476I was born and raised in the land of the Wampanaugs in what eventually became known to us as “New England”. On this Thanksgiving, in particular in the wake of recent terrorist attacks and in the face of crushing backlash against refugees, let us remember with gratitude the kindness and hospitality provided by the indigenous people to English refugees seeking a better life.  

Let us pray to be healed from our pride and greed; and above all, our fear of, and violence against, those who are different from us. May we see the Spirit of God within all people. I leave you with a prayer from the Ojibwa people in gratitude for life and for harmony with all people. 

    Blessings, and peace, Pastor Laurie  

                        Ojibwa Prayer

Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds

and whose breath gives life to everyone,

Hear me.

I come to you as one of your many children;

I am weak I am small I need your wisdom and your strength.

Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever

behold the red and purple sunsets.

Make my hands respect the things you have made,

and make my ears sharp so I may hear your voice.

Make me wise, so that I may understand what you

have taught my people and

The lessons you have hidden in each leaf

and each rock.

I ask for wisdom and strength,

Not to be superior to my brothers, but to be able

to fight my greatest enemy, myself.

Make me ever ready to come before you with

clean hands and a straight eye,

So as life fades away as a fading sunset,

My spirit may come to you without shame.

Photo: © Kmitu | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Looking out over the water at Terra Nova Park Richmond, BC Canada

Looking out over the water at Terra Nova Park
Richmond, BC Canada

For many of us, this time of year can be wrought with worry and anxiety, and filled with expectations about the upcoming holidays; yet underneath also can be saddened by the chill in the air, the shortened daylight, and missing all those we love who are no longer with us. 

Being a New Englander, I am reminded of how cold and bleak this season can become, and how much it can unsettle our souls. 

So, I offer to you a poem, a meditation, to cultivate peace within you.. 

Keeping Quiet  By: Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language,
let’s stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves
with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead in winter
and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

Blessings, Pastor Laurie
Photo: © Craig Ikegami | Dreamstime Stock Photos

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Skyline UCC
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12540 Skyline Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619
(510) 531-8212

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