Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Thursday, November 12, Pastor Laurie and members of the Skyline Green Team are traveling to Sacramento to support “Faith Against Fracking” as they deliver a letter from over 100 faith leaders to Gov. Jerry Brown to stop fracking. We hosted David Braun last Sunday – we viewed the two films – “Faith Against Fracking” and “Backyard”. We believe that caring for our earth and the ones affected by climate change is an important part of our ministry, and part of a progressive Christian faith.
Posted: Monday, October 26, 2015
Each year, the day before Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving Day, folks from all over the Oakland community gather to serve the homeless, elderly, and those in need at Lake Merritt U.M. Church in downtown Oakland.
We at Skyline have been asked, once again, to help provide pies! We are the pie experts!
- All pies are welcome – (hopefully not all pumpkin). They can be homemade, purchased frozen and cooked, purchased ready to serve, etc. (We can’t use frozen, uncooked pies as all the ovens are in use for preparing the rest of the dinner.)
- The U.M. Church is hoping for 60 pies from Skyline (which we usually provide).
- As usual, I’ll pick up pies on Thanksgiving morning (Nov. 26th) by 10:00 AM and take them to Lake Merritt.
- Folks can leave them in the Friendship Room (office hours are 9-2 M-F – contact Nancy M at 510-531-8212) or meet me at the church that morning.
- If you don’t have time to bake, I will buy pies for you (make checks to Skyline UCC) and any funds not used are given to Lake Merritt to help with the expense of buying turkeys.
- There will be a sign-up sheet which I will have each Sunday beginning November 8th. Thank you so much for agreeing to aid this project!
Most food for this feast is donated: turkeys (no frozen ones the week of Thanksgiving), potatoes, beans, rolls, salad, and pies – some is purchased from the Alameda County Food Bank, the rest is either by donation of items or money. Last year they purchased $1300 worth of turkeys and served close to 800 meals, including take-home, and anticipate the need will be greater this year.
Volunteers are also welcomed – check with them or me about an age limit for children. They need to know ahead of time so they can monitor the flow and use of volunteers. Anyone wishing to help cook the turkeys- that is done beginning at 7:30 a.m. On Wednesday, Nov. 25th, at the church.
Any questions, people can call me at work – 510-452-3224.
Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2015
“After the Pope, now what?” How do we repair and preserve our wounded planet?”
Come join your Oakland community in an Interfaith Worship Service for the Climate led by Rabbi Michael Lerner , Cat Zavis, and Rev Laurie Manning; followed by a discussion of the Environmental & Social Responsibility Amendment (ESRA) and the Network of Spiritual Progressives.
In the weeks after Pope Francis’s visit to the US in which he called upon leaders to take serious steps to address climate change, and before the November Paris Climate Change summit, interfaith conversations are taking place across the country about how to liberate government from excessive moneyed influence and restore more representative governments to protect and preserve the environment and those who are most vulnerable to environmental degradation. Join us for conversations about what we can do, globally and locally. Learn more about the ESRA, the Global Marshall Plan, and the Network of Spiritual Progressives.
10 am – 11:30 am worship
11:30 – 1 discussion with Rabbi Lerner & Cat Zavis about Environmental & Social Responsibility Amendment (ESRA), the Global Marshall Plan, and the Network of Spiritual Progressives.
Skyline United Church of Christ
12540 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619
Skyline UCC’s distinctly beautiful sanctuary will be the setting for prayers, meditation and music giving thanks for our common home, our Earth. We will renew our collective commitment to address climate change and repair our broken world as a moral issue.
Rabbi Michael Lerner is co-chair with Vandana Shiva of the interfaith and secular-humanist welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives, editor of Tikkun magazine, and author of 11 books including with Cornel West: Jews and Blacks: A Dialogue on Race, Religion and Culture in America; Jewish Renwal:A Path to Healing and Transformation; The Left Hand of God: Taking Back our Country from the Religious Right; and Embracing Israel/Palestine: A strategy for Middle East peace.
Cat Zavis is the Executive Director of the Network of Spiritual Progressives (NSP) and a collaborative divorce attorney, mediator and trainer in conflict resolution and empathic communication. Her spiritual practices are grounded in the prophetic voices of Judaism. These voices and values infuse her efforts with the NSP to build a movement of love and justice – one that actually embodies these values not only in the goals and outcomes it strives to achieve but also in the movement itself.
Reverend Laurie J. Manning is pastor at Skyline Church UCC. She holds respective Master’s degrees from Union Theological Seminary (Columbia U), Harvard University, and the University of Michigan. Laurie has also served on the University Religious Council of Churches at UC/Berkeley to foster greater support and understanding of religious differences within the student and faculty body. This position included Christianity in dialogue with other faith traditions, such as Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and other faiths. Prior to her ordination, Laurie worked in various management capacities for Hewlett Packard’s Medical Products division, and then as a consultant with high technology and medical clients. Laurie brings a solid understanding of the psychological and organizational complexities of living as a Christian in today’s pluralistic and scientific world.
Skyline Church UCC is a community faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ. We acknowledge the worth of all beings. We invite all who wish to enter our Sanctuary and the full life of our church family. Ours is a God of justice and compassion, and our church lives in covenant with God to do its utmost to pursue justice and compassion, as an Open and Affirming congregation.
Additional information may be found at www.skylineucc.org.
Posted: Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Dr. Rev. Laura Barnes included this poem in her ideas for her talk on Aug 9. It’s one of my favorite poems, and I’m delighted to share it with you. As you read, consider a journey you are on – a change in relationship, a new job, leaving home for the first time, choosing a spiritual path, etc. and see if Mary Oliver’s words inspire or reflect your experience.
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.”
― Mary Oliver
Dr. Rev. Laura Barnes and Rev. Nancy McKay will be preaching while Pastor Laurie is on vacation.
Nancy Montier, Office Manager
Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Since the Charleston shootings at least eight southern churches with mostly African-American congregations have burned – a wave of anti-black terrorism that’s been met with a confounding silence from mainstream media. But several Muslim groups, citing “our intertwined histories and convergent present”, have noticed and acted. Arguing that “all houses of worship are sanctuaries” they have been fundraising to rebuild churches and “help our sisters and brothers in faith”.
I’d like to share with you this inspiring story about forgiveness, blessed rebuilding, and solidarity.
Peace, Pastor Laurie
Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Several weeks ago, Pope Francis published his encyclical, “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. This Sunday in worship we lift up the Wisdom of St. Francis and Pope Francis, and the universal wisdom about our sacred connection with all of life. Join us as we celebrate the great diversity of life and the beauty of music, and nature, and one another.
In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.
This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail”. We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.
Nothing in this world is indifferent to us.
Here is Pope Francis’s Encyclical Faith Climate Action Kit from Interfaith Power and Light.
Blessings, Pastor Laurie
Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2015
We had an inspiring annual meeting last Sunday, June 28. We thanked last year’s officers, celebrated our many accomplishments, and covenanted with this year’s newly elected council members and officers.
Special thanks to our dedicated council members for their many contributions, and let’s welcome our new officers!
Our next council meeting is Thursday, July 16th at 7 pm, and all are welcome!
For more information about annual meeting, please click here: http://w ww.skylineucc.org/community/church-members/
Here’s the new Skyline Community Church Council and Service Team Chairs!
Posted: Friday, June 19, 2015
May our hearts be broken open with care and prayers the people of Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Violence is a tragedy anywhere, but to have it happen within a church while people are gathered to pray and study the bible is horrifying. And to know that this historic African American church was targeted because of it’s racial composition should cause us all to fall to our knees and pray, God have mercy on our nation. We may not see ourselves as being actively responsible for such a crime, however we do have to acknowledge that we participate in a culture that has created a climate where racism, hatred and the means to do violence are everywhere present.
The apostle Paul describes the church as the Body of Christ. As a body we are connected. When one part suffers, we all suffer. Already grieved by the news of the nine who lost their lives, I later found out that one of the people who died is a relative of our UCC National Minister for Youth Advocacy and Leadership, Rev. Waltrina Middleton. Below is her letter to her UCC church family which includes us. Let us hold Rev. Middleton and her family and all the people who lost loves ones and are directly affected by this terrible tragedy in our love and in our prayers. And let us commit ourselves to doing our part to be the change we wish to see in the world.
A Letter from Rev. Waltrina Middleton
18 June 2015
Dear Sisters and Brothers: My heart experienced the unimaginable late last night as the sun began to set in some places, and before the moon could peak through weary cloud-cast skies in others.
The very thing I fight and organize against-a deeply masked and far reaching culture of violence in our society has descended upon the steps of my family and matriculated its way into the sanctuary of the church. Last night during bible study and prayer service, a gunman entered the historical Mother Emmanuel AME church of Charleston, SC and opened fire on the 11 persons gathered there. There were only two survivors. With deep sorrow, I write to share that my beloved first cousin was among the 9 fatalities. Her death was confirmed this morning and the unspeakable grief of this loss has knocked me and my family off kilter.
C.S. Lewis wrote that “it is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box…” But suppose your life depended on that invisible rope that is your faith? Today, the weight of that invisible rope tugs at my trembling heart and such invisible faith is tested as we walk through the valleys of the shadows of death all around us. We are reassured to fear not evil, but to trust in the rod and the staff for comfort, protection, guidance and perhaps understanding when the morning comes. Please keep my family, Mother Emmanuel congregation, and all those impacted by this rampant culture of violence in the center of your prayers. Let us come together for such a time as this to the sacred clearing-no matter our faith or practice, and be on one accord in the spirit of love, hope, and healing to seek justice and peace for these and other victims of hatred and violence.
Let us put our faith to action and be more than empty drums that have long lost their melodies or arrangements. Let us remove our instruments from the poplar trees and call the people, the public officials, and yes, the church to action to address the festering sores of racism, classism and militarism-as they intersect this culture of violence. How can we begin to eradicate this evil without acknowledging the realities of racialized policing, hate crimes, and the disproportionate acts of violence against Black and Brown bodies?
Alas, it is morning and tear filled dew drops fall fresh upon my face, with eyes watching God and a soulful lament. Our hearts are troubled, but our faith remains steadfast, trusting and believing in the reconciling power of God for the brokenhearted and the oppressed.
Yours in faith & justice,
Rev. Waltrina Middleton, United Church of Christ National Minister for Youth Advocacy and Leadership
I would also like to share the following prayer lifted up from the National Office of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio:
Dear God of many Names, we come to you in our time of grief. Help us dear God to understand how such tragedy occurs in the midst of your beloved family. Because you have made us One Body, help us dear God to reach across the lines which divide us. At this time, we ask for special prayers for our beloved family in Charleston, South Carolina and all who connect to them in life and spirit. Keep them close to your heart dear One and protect them with power of your Holy Spirit. We pray all this in the blessed name of Jesus the Christ, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen
Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Last weekend I joined with over 350 UCC church delegates from Northern California and Nevada to take part in our UCC Conference Annual Meeting, held at Sonoma State University.
The highlights for me included:
- Welcoming our new conference minister, Diane Weible, who most recently served with Skyline’s very own Rev Charles Buck in the Hawaii Conference, and prior to that in Japan with her husband as a missionary.
- Being inspired by the keynote address from the Pacific School of Religion’s new president, David Velaquez- Levy, on the theme of living as immigrants, a theme of particular relevance to faith communities especially in the Bay Area.
- Enjoying Taiko women drummers and Samoan dancers in worship.
- Sharing the weekend with some of my favorite clergy friends.
- Leading two workshops.
- Passing the resolution to become a Jubilee Conference and join a bi-partisan, interfaith, global alliance to reduce the global debt crisis particularly in the world’s poorest nations.
For more information about the annual meeting, please click here:
For more information on Jubilee, and our latest letter writing campaign, to support debt relief for Nepal, please click here:
Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Father’s Day and the summer solstice are upon us.
In thinking of both Father’s Day and the great diversity and beauty of creation, I am reminded of the poem, “Pied Beauty” by Gerard Manley Hopkins.
You might be wondering, what exactly is “Pied Beauty?”… is it an altered state of consciousness, brought about by gazing at your favorite homemade pie?
“Pied”, in fact, means that which is odd, quirky, unique, eccentric, different.
The poem celebrates God, the creator of all, and in particular all that is uniquely beautiful… which includes you and me!
I leave you with these words from the poet and Jesuit priest, Gerard Manley Hopkins:
Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Photo:© Kutt Niinepuu | Dreamstime Stock Photos