leaf and rainI had almost forgotten the sounds, fragrances, and touch of the rains and their power to transform the hills into a lush, verdant paradise.

The rains remind me of Shakespeare’s words, “the quality of mercy is unrestrained, it droppeth from the heavens like the gentle rains.”   The rains when they fall are indiscriminate and abundant, a reflection of God’s love.

This week as the rains continue to fall, let us consider the transformative power of love- much like the gentle rains- to bring forth new life.

Join us this Sunday as we explore and experience the transformative power of love.

Photo: ID: 95069 © Ryan Pike | Dreamstime Stock Photos

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!


Sunday, November 15 is Skyline’s Jubilee Action Sunday, as a part of Jubilee’s “Let There Be Light” project.  For more information, click here:  Jubilee_Weekend_2015_Action_Handbook

rev diane weible 400xNov 15th… “Welcoming Our Conference Minister”

This Sunday our new Conference Minister, Rev. Diane Weible, will be visiting our church as our guest preacher.  I look forward to this chance for all of us to connect with our wider faith community and beyond. Diane is interested in sharing stories – stories from the people who make up the churches of our Northern California and Nevada Conference. 

Following the service all are welcome to a time of fellowship and conversation about building deeper connections within the conference.  

Rev. Diane is also interested in facilitating deeper connections between people and between church communities, both through face to face contact as well as through social media.

Not only will her visit be a great opportunity for us to tell her our stories but it will also be an opportunity to listen to her stories about what is going on in our Conference as well as her hopes and vision for our future. Here’s a glimpse of what’s happened recently, and what’s planned.

If you’d like to sign up for the weekly NCNC newsletter, please click here.

In addition, on Nov 15th we honor Jubilee Sunday, with the theme, “Let There be Light”, urging transparency in our financial institutions, and the IMF in particular. 

Blessings, Pastor Laurie 

Gathering of Saints-690x832 Elizabeth Wang T-00042A-OL Copyright Radiant LIghtThis Sunday, Nov 1st, marks a very special day… not only is it the day after Halloween, not only is it the start of daylight savings time (so you get to sleep in an extra hour – which is especially nice for families with young children who’ve had too much candy and excitement the night before), it is also the feast of All Saints and All Souls day.

On this day, when the sun sets an hour earlier, we are powerfully reminded of the passage of time and the coming of winter, nature’s way of reminding us of the brevity of our lives. It is a time to remember all those we love; and to value, even more, the preciousness of each day of our lives.

Join us this Sunday as we celebrate saints and souls, past and present.  (Children, wear your costumes!)

(Photo credit:Elizabeth Wang T-00042A-OL Copyright Radiant Light)

For many, last Monday  – Columbus Day,  is a day that celebrates the European discovery of the Americas.  Too often it is forgotten that the land was neither empty nor undiscovered, and the bounty of resources and space upon which the American way of life is built came as a blessing to many, but at a great cost and tragedy for those who were already here – the Native Americans.

This Sunday, Oct. 18th, we open ourselves to the full story of colonization, the theology of Manifest Destiny, the taking of indigenous peoples’ lands, and the impact through the years which continues even today. We join together to find ways of justice, alleviation of suffering,  and healing between white and Native peoples in this country and the native nations today.

In 2014, The 29th General Synod of the United Church of Christ approved a Resolution of Witness calling for the UCC to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, which authorized the genocide of native people & the theft of native lands (http://uccfiles.com/pdf/gs29minutes.pdf).  In that Resolution we recognize the complicity of the Churches, including the UCC, in the perpetration of these injustices.

Join us, in the spirit of the still speaking God, in a new understanding of our relationship with God and with one another, especially our indigenous sisters and brothers.

I leave you with some quotes of wisdom:

Treat all people alike. Give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. All people were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers and sisters. The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.  Chief Joseph (Nez Perce)
I had rather live one day and enjoy the privileges of citizenship to which I am entitled than live a thousand years and be denied them.  Henry Berry Lowry (Lumbee)
There is one God looking down on us all. We are all the children of one God. The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we have to say.  Geronimo (Apache)

This weekend we celebrate two significant themes, both of which relate to the story of Moses and the burning bush. We know the story by heart: God hears the cries of the oppressed, & raises up Moses to lead them into freedom.  Today, in honor of the long journey from oppression into the freedom of marriage equality, we celebrate Coming Out Sunday.

But, the story continues. Moses leads the people out of captivity to the promised land. Sounds great, but the land happens to be occupied by the Canaanites.  Doesn’t God also care about the Canaanites? Fast forward to Columbus leading the way to the Americas – doesn’t God also care about the Native Americans? How can we re-interpret this story beyond Manifest Destiny to one of living together in harmony? Today we remember the Native Americans, the people who lived on this continent long before Columbus “discovered” it. Today we celebrate Indigenous People’s Day.

native American b&wIndigenous Peoples’ Day, Monday Oct. 12, began as a counter-celebration to Columbus Day. The purpose of the day is to promote Native American culture and commemorate the history of Native American peoples. The celebration began in Berkeley, California in 1992 to protest the historical conquest of North America by Europeans, and to call attention to the demise of Native American people and culture through disease, warfare, massacre, and forced assimilation.

pride2015-Boyd's photo Rhea WaveNational Coming Out Day, Sunday, Oct. 11, began 27 years ago on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.  We first observed this day as a reminder that one of our most basic tools is the power of coming out. One out of every 2 Americans has someone close to them who is gay or lesbian. For transgender people, that number is only 1 in 10.


Coming out – whether it is as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or allied – STILL MATTERS. When people know someone who is LGBTQ, they are far more likely to support equality under the law. Beyond that, our stories and our support are powerful to each other.

Come join us this Sunday at 10 AM for coming out stories and support, and to re-interpret the story of Moses, Columbus and the native peoples.


We’re in the season of graduation, but not just for high school graduates venturing forth to college, but for all of us in this lifelong process of growth, evolution, and change. 

Throughout our lives we search for meaning, our vocation, and our life’s purpose.   

David Brooks, NY TImes journalist, writes:

So I’ve been thinking about the difference between the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the ones you put on your résumé, which are the skills you bring to the marketplace.The eulogy virtues are the ones that get mentioned in the eulogy, which are deeper: who are you, in your depth, what is the nature of your relationships, are you bold, loving, dependable, consistent? And most of us, including me, would say that the eulogy virtues are the more important of the virtues. But at least in my case, are they the ones that I think about the most? And the answer is no.”  Click here for his Ted Talk

Reinhold Niebuhr summed up the confrontation:

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by that final form of love, which is forgiveness.

Come and join us after the service for a conversation about how to live in this world, but not of this world, connected deeply with our deepest values. 

    Blessings, Laurie 

This Sunday we honor the power of the Holy Spirit to empower us, to fill us with vision, and to transform our fear into love.

We also honor the power of the Holy Spirit which calls forth our unique gifts and our desire to use them for the greater good.

I leave you with this reflection:


CN_Skyline Mt DiabloSpring has arrived, Easter has passed, and Earth Day is upon us. We are invited to open ourselves with wonder and reflect upon our relationship and responsibility as part of nature.

Join us this Sunday, as we celebrate Earth Day with our amazing Green team! Catherine K. invites you to think about what you do, have seen, and want to change to bring about a healthier environment for all people and animals. We’ll share these ideas in an open discussion on Sunday.

In honor of Earth Day, I  share with you a poem of gratitude by e.e. cummings.


i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
e.e. cummings

Love, Pastor Laurie

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

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