Kim Bobo StoryLabor Day is about laborers! It a day to take time, as a faith community, to consider the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and the importance of advocating for fair treatment of all people.

This Sunday, at 10 am worship:

We are pleased to have Kim Bobo, Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice preaching on minimum wage, the plight of undocumented workers, wage theft, and most importantly what we can do locally to advocate for workers rights.  http://www.iwj.org/

Join us here at Skyline Community Church, 12540 Skyline Boulevard in Oakland,  or email office@skylineucc.org or call 510-531-8212

Kim was named one of 14 faith leaders to watch in 2014 by the Center for American Progress, and one of Utne Reader‘s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” in 2009. Kim helped coin the phrase “wage theft.” Her book Wage Theft in America helped get the issue on the national radar. Prior to founding IWJ, Kim was a trainer for the Midwest Academy and Director of Organizing for Bread for the World. She is co-author of Organizing for Social Change, the best-selling organizing manual in the country. A music lover, Kim directs the choir at her UCC church. She also enjoys visiting with her twin sons, Eric and Benjamin, who are away at college.

Additional articles:
How HR can Prevent Wage Theft 
Kim Bobo: Labor and the Lord’s Work
Book Review: Wage Theft in America

This Sunday as part of our Oakland Pride worship service we will  hold a prayer vigil  for the people of Ferguson, Missouri, and prayers for our country. 

We will pray for the healing of all those affected by this continuing tragedy, and healing in our race relations from Ferguson to Oakland. 

In the immortal words of the Rev Dr MLK Jr, who wrote, while imprisoned in a jail in Birmingham Alabama, “Why We Can’t Wait”:

But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Was not Paul an extremist: “ I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist? “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.” And John Bunyan: “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” And Abraham Lincoln: “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” And Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal…” So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice, or for the extension of justice?

Blessings, Pastor Laurie 

This Sunday, August 24th is our own Oakland Pride Sunday service. Come celebrate with us at 10 AM! Bring your friends! Hear testimonials from several members of our congregation!

All are welcome here!

  • When the UCC, Golden Gate Association in 1972, ordained Bill Johnson as the first openly gay minister in an historical Protestant denomination, we were extremists for love. All are welcome!
  • When the UCC, on July 4, 2005 overwhelming voted as the first mainline denomination to support same gender marriage equality;
  • when, in 2008, at the height of the debate over same-sex marriage in California during Prop 8 this congregation hung a banner in front of the church entrance, proclaiming to every passerby “Support Marriage Equality. We do”;
  • when your pastor blessed same sex couples for many years before it was a legal right, and urged all heterosexual couples she married to stand in solidarity with them until the day that marriage became a legal right for all people, we were standing on the side of love.

All are welcome here!

By the way, did you hear that the states that allow same sex marriage have lower divorce rates? In states where same-sex marriages are legally recognized, the divorce rate is 20 percent lower than in states that only allow marriages between a man and a woman. Rachel Maddow says “It turns out gay marriage is a Defense of Marriage Act.” Who knew?

Standing on the side of love doesn’t require power. It requires courage. Because courage is power. Join us as we celebrate the liberating empowering good news!

Here’s a 1 minute all-are-welcome video called The Bouncer!

Blessings,
Pastor Laurie

Child refugee posterFor weeks now, we’ve learned about the growing humanitarian crisis of 57,000 unaccompanied children who have crossed the U.S. border this year… the story of refugees making the long and dangerous journey, with little but hope and the love of their parents far away to sustain them. It echoes the birth narrative of Jesus, born as a refugee. A tiny child, born into poverty, a precious, yet hidden treasure.

These children make the long and dangerous journey to escape the far greater danger of poverty and violence in their own countries; especially Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.  As people of faith, we are called to notice them, imagine them as our own children, and to protect them.

In addition, as people of faith, we are called to address the vicious cycles of violence and poverty that are spurring the children to flee their countries of origin.

We are pleased to invite this Sunday at 10 am, Rev Deborah Lee, Director of the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrants Rights, http://revdeblee.blogspot.com/.  The Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights for the past 20 years has sought to call forth people of faith to promote the fair treatment and dignity of all immigrants so that all may be welcome and fully participate in our nation.  Deborah is here to deepen our understanding of how we together can protect these children, inform people about the dangers of such a journey, promote development in their countries of origin, and influence new forms of legal and secure migration.

Here is a link to an article in the SF Chronicle last week- explaining the situation where we are.

Blessings, Pastor Laurie 

On Pentecost we celebrated the inspiring power of the Holy Spirit as we welcomed five new members into our faith community!

Welcome everyone!

This Sunday we celebrate Father’s Day, and remember how Jesus, in prayer, referred to God in an utterly new way as “abba”, “daddy in heaven”.

As part of honoring our fathers, I invite you this Sunday to bring a photo along with memories to describe the qualities you most love in your father.

It’s Earth Day! It’s spring!
The season of Re-Creation!

earth day logo

Join us for our child friendly Earth Day celebration!

Sunday, April 27th at 10 am.

Parents, the service will focus on our earth with music, prayers, and talk centered on earth day themes.

Children’s Sunday School will have:

  • Music
  • Games
  • Crafts
  • Discoveries about how to heal our wounded planet.

We’ll be teaching our children to care for the earth and for one another.  A local ranger will bring plants and items for the children to learn about.

Please join us with your children for this enriching morning for the whole family!

Skyline’s traditional Easter Egg Hunt is happening RAIN or SHINE, starting at 11:30 am on Easter Sunday morning, April 20th. 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.  Also, we have a special Easter Sunrise Service with the Oakland/East Bay Gay Men’s Choir if you can slip out nice and early that morning!

For more information please contact our office at:

Skyline Community Church,
United Church of Christ

12540 Skyline Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619
510.531.8212

 

This Sunday as we continue to explore the unconventional wisdom of the Beatitudes, and discover how, through our acts of mercy, compassion, and justice, we pass on, and shine forth, the love that we have received.

Join us as we continue to support the poor, right here in Oakland, with our “Stop Shivering Sunday” collection of clothes with those in need in Alameda County!

For your further reflection I am sharing with you one of my favorite quotes entitled, “Our Deepest Fear”:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

—-from A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson.

Peace,

Pastor Laurie

This past Sunday we had a very inspirational service celebrating the life changing power of walking in the universal ways of Jesus. Following the service, we had a lively discussion about who we are, (the state of our union in a sense) and about God’s unfolding and life giving vision for us, as Progressive Christians, living in this exciting and changing era of Post Christendom. 

Join us this Sunday as we explore and discuss the unconventional wisdom of the Beatitudes, and celebrate a different kind of “Souper” Bowl, to share our food with those in need in Alameda County!

As a wisdom teacher, Jesus taught his disciples with puzzling parables, pithy aphorisms, and challenging questions, inviting them to discover a new way of living by engaging his many questions. When the young lawyer asked what he had to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus did not recite the law, but answered Semitic-style with yet another question, and proceeded to lead the lawyer through more questioning into his story of the Good Samaritan. The story turned upside-down the conventional wisdom of the day about the limits of neighbor love, inviting the lawyer and all of us listeners ever since to expand our own capacity for compassion.

Conventional wisdom also gets turned upside-down in the beatitudes by Jesus daring to name the poor, the meek, and the mournful as the blessed ones. What could be blessed about poverty or grief? Is this simply the promise of a better day by-and-by, when we die? Do the beatitudes describe some future reward for suffering now?  If blessing is a good thing, it would seem that common sense, and the economic and political norms of first-century Palestine (and twenty-first-century America) tell us that the wealthy bear the signs of blessing, and the powerful, not the meek, own the earth today and will keep it tomorrow. So what kind of blessing is there, and who are the poor in spirit? What is Jesus talking about? Let’s talk about it this Sunday!  

Thanks for making this a happening, welcoming and vibrant place!

Peace,

Laurie

 

This week we honor the prophetic witness of Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr, and his profound influence upon this country and the world.

About fifty years ago, on August 28, 1963, MLK stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and delivered his prophetic and patriotic speech, “I have a Dream.”

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

Just a few months later, president John F Kennedy was assassinated, and Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson was sworn in as the new president. Influenced by King’s prophetic witness, LBJ began the New Year,  declaring the “War on Poverty.”

It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won. The richest Nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it. One thousand dollars invested in salvaging an unemployable youth today can return $40,000 or more in his lifetime.

Poverty is a national problem, requiring improved national organization and support. But this attack, to be effective, must also be organized at the State and the local level and must be supported and directed by State and local efforts.

For the war against poverty will not be won here in Washington. It must be won in the field, in every private home, in every public office, from the courthouse to the White House.

Fifty years later, the war on poverty, racism and violence continues, and so must the dream. It must live on, in us.

Join us, as we consider how we are called manifest that beloved community that MLK spoke of, the kingdom of heaven that Jesus manifested, and that we are called to embody!

 

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

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