altar flowers Sun 7-28-13This week we focus on the indiscriminate nature of love. I’d like to share two beautiful quotes with you.

One, about our purpose in life and as a faith community.

The other about the nature of God’s love.

Parker Palmer
[T]he mission of the church is not to enlarge its membership, not to bring outsiders to accept its terms, but simply to love the world in every possible way – to love the world as God did and does.…If we are able to love the world, that will be the best demonstration of the truth which the church has been given.”

Marilynne Robinson, When I Was a Child I Read Books
“I experience religious dread whenever I find myself thinking that I know the limits of God’s grace, since I am utterly certain it exceeds any imagination a human being might have of it. God does, after all, so love the world.”

Blessings upon your week! 

boy meditating and sunThis Sunday at Skyline we begin a new year together. 

I encourage you in this “in between” time to take time to listen to the small, still voice within; guiding you in new life-giving directions. 

I’d like to share with you some inspiring reflections to guide you in this process:

Goals for the New Year… 

“Make New Year’s goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you’re interested in fully living life in the year to come. 

Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level. Goals give our life direction.

What would you like to have happen in your life this year? What would you like to do, to accomplish? What good would you like to attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you? What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed?

What would you like to attain? Little things and big things? Where would you like to go? What would you like to have happen in friendship and love? What would you like to have happen in your family life?

What problems would you like to see solved? What decisions would you like to make? What would you like to happen in your career?

Write it down. Take a piece of paper, a few hours of your time, and write it all down – as an affirmation of you, your life, and your ability to choose. Then let it go. 

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” 

― Melody BeattieThe Language of Letting Go

Please download and print this form, fill it out and return it with your donation during the service or to the office at 12540 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, 94619.

Advent & Christmas Memorial Garden Form

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

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.

201010-w-pies-aromaEach 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.

Sincerely,

Paula Byrens

BP_CA_SkylineChurch_2012-04-08_EasterSunriseService_0057“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.

WHEN:

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.

WHERE:

Skyline United Church of Christ

12540 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619

510-531-8212

www.skylineucc.org

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.

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.

“The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
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
was terrible.
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.

With Joy,

Nancy Montier, Office Manager

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

pope francis and st francisSeveral 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

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

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