Yesterday the rain drenched heavens and earth could not dampen the hope of the tens of thousands of people in Johannesburg, South Africa, or the hundreds of millions throughout the world who paused to honor the life of Nelson Mandela.
Not only did Mandela lead the world in his vision of race reconciliation but he also worked tirelessly to fight AIDS, bring peace to warring nations, and promote respect for LGBT rights (South Africa became the 5th country in the world to legalize gay marriage).
So, yes, a mighty figure may have died at the age of 95. But travel around Africa & the world, and you see his imprint, his legacy, and his spirit. Mandela lives… kindled by the eternal flame..the light.. that so inspired Isaiah, inspired John, inspired Jesus, and inspires us now. Inspired by his vision and his perseverance and his capacity for forgiveness and reconciliation, even through the 27 long years in prison, may we never lose hope for what is possible in our lives, or in the world. May it begin with each one of us.
I close with Mandela’s words from his inauguration that speak to our greatest needs today.
“Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.
The time for the healing of the wounds has come.
The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.
The time to build is upon us.
We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom.
We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.
We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.
Let there be justice for all.
Let there be peace for all.
Let there be work, bread, water & salt for all.
Let each know that for each the body, the mind & the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.
Playing For Change Concert Benefit Saturday, September 17th, 7 pm Bay Area Sound Healers & Artists Unite to Play for Change Donation for participation
Children Benefitting from Playing for Change
This is a nonprofit fundraiser and all proceeds will be donated to the Playing For Change foundation (http://playingforchangeday.org/). The Goal is to raise money to build music schools around the world helping preserve the music and cultures of communities and giving kids a positive outlet for there energy.
There will be live music, dancing, a video about the organization, a raffle drawing with prizes for a lucky few, and snacks and refreshments. This event is one of hundreds of synchronized events going on around the world on September 17th to raise money for Playing For Change!
This is a free event, no one will be turned away for lack of funds, however it is greatly appreciated when you contribute even just 5-10 dollars.
Please join us and feel free to bring your family and friends!
Welcome to Skyline Community Church’s first annual community art show! It is so appropriate in so many ways that Skyline created this event — bringing together community — and art, as we know, is a window to the soul…
We commend the artists who participated in this special show, revealing more of themselves to us and the public, and further uplifting and enhancing our sanctuary with their beautiful work. Our artists in this show are quite diverse — ranging from a college student’s usage of recycled materials; an architect; a photographer who is also an ordained minister; to teachers and healthcare providers who are also artists.
Please enjoy this collection of photos (taken by Chris Nelson) of those in attendance at our opening reception, which was held on a beautiful afternoon Saturday, February 6th.
A Community Gathered– Art Show featuring the talents of several local artists.
The show will run from January 30th through February 27th and will displayed in the beautiful Skyline Sanctuary. Works of art will be for sale as well as for exhibit only. The room will be open to the public on Sundays from 11 am to 1pm and by request during the week. You are also welcome to join us for our 10am worship service.
Please join us for the Artists’ Reception on Saturday, February 6th at 3pm.
Wine and cheese reception, $10 optional donation.
All proceeds from the reception will go to support local youth art.
Come enjoy our beautiful photographs, paintings, and textures!
Delightful images lifting the spirit and bringing memory & pleasure.
Official Sunday Show Exhibit Dates:
01/30, 2/07, 2/14, 2/21, & 2/27
11 AM – 1 PM
(Or join us first for Sunday service at 10 am.)
For more information please contact the Skyline office at 510-531-8212. We hope to see you there!
Warriors of Peace – Inaugural Gathering
Monday, December 7th 6:30 – 8 pm
Donation Basis (see FAQ)
Please Bring your own Mat (a few extras will be available)
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
WHAT IS THE INTENTION BEHIND WARRIORS OF PEACE?
The intention for Warriors of Peace is to create a community focused on:
training in yoga, mindfulness meditation and loving-kindness meditation
offering financial support to organizations that promote safety, health, happiness and peace to local communities in need
An underlying premise of Warriors of Peace is the recognition that creating a more peaceful and compassionate world starts with creating more peace and compassion within ourselves. Participants are people like you who share the intention of creating peace in the world through cultivating a more open and loving heart.
WHAT DO WARRIORS OF PEACE DO?
Warriors of Peace meet monthly (first Mondays) to practice yoga, mindfulness meditation and loving-kindness meditation. You do NOT need to be familiar with these practices prior to join one of the classes. Easy-to-follow instructions will be provided.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO PARTICIPATE?
The class is donation-based – you contribute whatever you would like to contribute. 95% of these donations* will go directly to support communities in need. For example in December we focus on hunger, and all the proceeds will go to support the Alameda County Food Bank. Another month might focus on domestic violence, with the proceeds benefitting a local women’s shelter. There are many ways our class collection can be used to improve the lives of people in our community. *The remaining 5% of the collection will support the administration needs of the group, including maintaining this website, as well as paying for liability insurance for participants during practice.
This past year, one of my students (Reverend Laurie Manning) asked me if I’d lead a donation-based yoga class at her church to help fundraise for the AIDS Benefit Ride. I was eager to help, especially given my past participation in an AIDS Ride.
The benefit class was well attended and enjoyed by all. The venue was also quite inspiring! Skyline Community Church overlooks the beautiful mountain-scape of Redwood Regional Park. Rev. Laurie invited me to consider holding a regular class at Skyline. With this open invitation, the idea for Warriors of Peace was borne!
Skyline’s 2009 Blessing of the Animals event attracted 60 people along with 33 dogs, 9 cats, and two horses. Lee Rutter and Julie Duff brought their “minis”— these little horses were a big hit with everyone! The tiny horses were in perfect proportion to the little girls and boys who gathered around them. One of the dogs, a mastiff, was equal in size with the horses. Several of the dogs were tiny Chihuahuas. We all enjoyed the varied sizes, breeds and coloring of the dogs as well as the much more quiet and sedate cats.
The Oakland Tribune sent a photographer and the pictures were on the front page of the Monday, October 5, Metro Section. Publicity included notices in the Bay Woof newspaper and the Contra Costa Times, flyers in veterinarians’ offices, signs at crossing areas, and flyers along the paths and at the Equestrian Center. There had been considerable concern about having the event time changed from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. Of the 60 attendees, 36 were from Skyline Church. The excellent attendance of our own members validates the change. So, mark Sunday, October 3, 2010 for the next Blessing of the Animals at Skyline!
Special thanks to Jean Siciliano, Lee and Chris Rutter, Laureen Sheldon, Beth Rogers, Rhea Babbitt, Suzie Harris, Pastor Laurie Manning, Rachel, Ken and Kate Hoeim, Kayla Bonewell, Vangie Castro, Rev. Sally Juarez and others.
Have some fun and help the kids in Sierra Leone rebuild their lives after the destruction of the Civil War which claimed many lives as well as schools.
Come participate in a bike ride to paradise on Saturday October 31st to benefit the school. Your contribution will provide teachers, school supplies and other materials for the children who need your help!
BIKE RIDE – Meet at 8:30 a.m. at Skyline Church to carpool for shorter ride or begin advanced ride.
Advanced Ride – Begins at Skyline UCC and goes to Cull Canyon Road in Castro Valley out and back is 30 miles.
Beginner Ride – Meet at the corner of Cull Canyon Road and Crow Canyon Road in Castro Valley. Out and back is slightly up hill 8 miles and back is down hill 8 miles.
Toddler Ride – Biking around the courtyard (child care offered for riders with kids)
Riders may choose to do only part of the ride as they are able out of Cull Canyon Road and back. Water and snack stop at Rancho de los Amigos, Cull Canyon Rd.
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. – Brunch/Lunch after ride at SCC
$10.00 donation or more – 100% of proceeds go to directly to Sierra Leone
Make your tax deductable check payable to Skyline Community Church and mark in the reference area – Sierra Leone fundraiser.
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! RSVP or questions? – contact Marilyn Shaw at marilyn_shaw@SBCglobal.net or 510-531-3353
My dear Family, Friends, Colleagues, and Spiritual & Financial Supporters,
I survived the amazing biking journey of AIDS LifeCycle 8! You were with me all the way, from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Thank you so very much for your steady encouragement and support. I also want to thank you again for the gift of the new bike – scaling me up from my 20-year-old Bianci, (which would have been like peddling down the coast on a tricycle!) The new Sequoia made a huge difference! Together, we accomplished this for the well-being of others, those with HIV/AIDS.
Let me tell you about the ride itself and about my experience of it.
Here’s a You Tube video for those more visually inclined:
AIDS LifeCycle 2009
Largely due to the state of the economy, the cyclist population was slightly lower this year. There were 2,150 riders, along with the usual crew of over 500 amazing roadies who often worked far harder than the cyclists. But happily, we were still able to raise $10.5 million for the work of the SFAIDS Foundation. Through me, you personally donated about $6,000. Thank you! Each evening during the ride, we saw videotapes of various donee agency clients, telling us how much the services they receive mean to them.
It’s quite significant, given this greed-induced recession and the injustice of budget cuts funding programs for those most vulnerable (for those at risk for/or living with HIV/AIDS – potentially $80 million in California).
Personally, for me, the ride was humbling and transformative. I learned a lot – about my limits, and my strengths, and my need for others. The ride opened me to seeing myself more clearly: I’m more realistic about my age, my relative cluelessness about camping, and all that it takes to prepare for a ride like this..the truth is, I wasn’t prepared!
As most of you know, I was concerned about some injuries before the ride and went to see some doctors. They cautioned me to rest and be careful, but ultimately said, “the decision is up to you.” (I was tempted to put the words in their mouths, “Don’t go!” but they didn’t, even with my prompting!) So I went, and I rode very, very carefully, aware of my limits and always paying attention. My goal was to honor my commitment to the cause and do the ride, as well as saving face and avoiding painful questions about reimbursing friends’ donations. At the same time, I needed to balance these goals with being responsible for my own (and others’) safety.
Thus, I had to discern some bad advice on the ride such as “Ride through the pain,” “It’s a race, not a ride,” and “a torn ALC is like a badge of honor, like a war wound.” I had to listen to the voice within and pay attention to my own limits. So when I was hurting, I got off the bike and volunteered at the med tent. I hung out with sports medicine, chiropractic, and massage teams. I became a fixture…as a minister, I could have installed there!
While I was there, I learned a lot about preventing injuries, saw lots of people with injuries I could have easily incurred (like torn ALC and IT bands, and very swollen knees). I became tight with folks not only in the med tent, but also with those who were riding (especially with my job as ice bagger for people w/swollen knees!), I thought a lot about the wisdom of 11-year-old Xolani Nkosi Johnson, a South African orphan who was born with the HIV infection and for whom doctors gave 9 months to live. He outlasted their predictions by eleven years and become an inspiring international symbol. When he finally surrendered to AIDS in Jan 2001, heads of state paid homage. His personal mantra:
Do what you can
In the time that you have
With what you have
Where you are.
To me, this is what wisdom and courage is all about..
Ironically, there was a great gift for me in becoming completely exhausted on the ride (from back and knee pain, lots of fear for the riders who fell and injured themselves, the hassles of camping in the rain, and my newly discovered allergies to Southern California pollen). I was wiped out, in body and mind, shaken and stripped down to the foundations, like a house trembling in a 6.0 earthquake. I was broken down, near the bottom of Maslow’s needs hierarchy. At times, I was focused largely on my own safety and security and my need for help. In the midst of this experience, however, I discovered the most amazing and beautiful thing…At various times, so was almost everyone else!
Somehow, something changed within me, and I believe in others too. Perceptions began to change. We started seeing ourselves and each other less through the predefined categories like age, job, gender, sexual orientation, race, HIV status, and more though qualities like kindness, trust worthiness, compassion, fairness, humor, competence, joy.
Many people on the ride, whether they were self-described religious or not, began to wonder what the world would be like if we all cared for one another and for those in need, the way the ride community does … if we were genuinely and continually dedicated to a better world. The kingdom of heaven, right here on earth.
I believe that God, or whatever name you might have for the source of life and consciousness, is hidden within each one of us. This new voice—our authentic selves—leads us, mysteriously, not only deeper and deeper into ourselves, but at the same time, paradoxically leads us deeper into the world and closer to one another.
May we have the courage to hear, and to follow this voice within, transforming us from the inside out, bringing forth the abundant harvest, the reign of peace, the new heaven, here on earth. May it be so within each one of us. Amen.
Oakland Public Conservatory of Music Presents:
The OPC Youth Symphony and The OPC Chamber Orchestra
May 31, 2009 ~ 5 PM at Skyline
Works by Aaron Copland, William Grant Still, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor,
Florence Price, Amy Beach, Modest Mussorgsky.
Free Admission (Donations Accepted)
Oakland’s diverse communities will make and hear music everywhere. Everyone experiences healing, harmony, non-violence and safe streets through learning and playing music together. Our music and educational process resonates with the aspirations of our communities and our native artists by reclaiming spirit and culture, illuminating ancestral authenticity. OPC PURPOSE
OPCMusic opens the world of music to all through access to quality instruction in a nurturing environment. We provide economical study in a variety of musical arts. We value rigor, innovation and scholarship in our quest to preserve the musical traditions of Oakland.