MAK_Poster Making a KillingWill you join your fellow Californians to learn more about what you can do to fight for gun safety in our state?

Pastor Laurie is hosting a viewing of “Making a Killing”:

Wednesday, October 26, 7:00 PM

652 Woodland Ave
San Leandro, CA 94577

Welcome…please visit my home at 7 pm on Wed Oct 26 to view “Making a Killing”, and to support passing Prop 63 on Nov 8. We will have light refreshments and pizza. Feel free to bring food to share. Show time starts at 7 pm. There’s plenty of street parking on a nice, quiet road.

Making a Killing is a new film by Brave New Films and Robert Greenwald. It reveals how the NRA made billions off of guns and gun-related tragedies. The screenings are intended to help educate voters on how we can stop gun violence from plaguing our country by passing Proposition 63 — the Safety for All initiative. If Prop 63 passes, California can help set the gold standard for meaningful reforms to stop gun violence and create a model that could be applied nationwide. But we can’t do this alone. Even if we are already supportive of limiting gun access, we all have a lot to learn about how to disarm the NRA and the powerful gun industry.

Click here to host your own viewing – especially before Nov 8 election day.


diamondThis weekend we celebrate our 10th anniversary together with me serving as your pastor and laurie-close-upteacher!

It’s traditionally considered a tin or aluminum anniversary, but in modern times it’s considered a diamond anniversary. For many reasons, I prefer the diamond image.  🙂

The name diamond is derived from the ancient Greek αδάμας (adámas), which means “proper”, “unalterable”, “unbreakable”, “untamed”. Diamonds are forged within the crucible of high temperature and pressure in the deep darkness of the earth. What emerges is a uniquely precious and brilliant gem that radiates a spectrum of beautiful colors.

We’ve been through a lot together over these past ten years. We’ve been forged through the challenges of the great recession and through the great ongoing reformation of Christianity in this ever increasingly pluralistic world, this new Spirit –led emergence.

I give thanks to all that I have learned and witnessed of our love, respect, diligence, faithfulness, joy and courage on this journey together. It is a time to reflect upon and to celebrate all that we have accomplished together through the grace of God. I am so grateful to so many of you.

I look forward to celebrating this weekend, and even more to open ourselves to the Spirit so that our light may shine ever more brightly.



© Mira Janacek | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Over the past few weeks, especially in my conversations with newcomers, the topic of prayer has come up.

So, the next few Sundays in worship we will be talking about prayer, as understood throughout all the world’s religions, and through psychology and science. What it is, how effective it is, how to pray, individually as well as collectively, with or without words, with music, with our bodies as well as our minds.

In these days of lingering summer even now, in October, I leave you with a poem about prayer, from one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver.

THE SUMMER DAY, By Poet Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

imgres.30Our Justice and Witness team has gathered information on State Measures from California Church Impact, League of Women Voters, and Ella Baker Center, and on Local measures by Oakland Community Organizations and League of Women Voters.  Below are links to these organizations and their recommendations.

Attend the voter forum at Kehila Community Synagogue 

Here is a BALLOT MEASURE GUIDE that summarizes the suggestions from the organizations below.  Please share this with your friends and colleagues and VOTE on 11/8!

Note: As a church we cannot support any candidate over another, but we can offer education and recommendations about ballot initiatives.

This Sunday we are celebrating “Coming Out Sunday” and Indigenous people’s weekend.  As part of the service two of our friends, David Guerra and David Styers, will share stories about their experience of coming out and the liberating power of love and the support of their faith communities in supporting them on the journey.

Mark your calendars for Sunday Oct 16th which is not only the first Sunday with our new CYF director, Elijah Carroll (see story below) but it is also a time when we will hear the results of the 2016 Capital Improvement feasibility plan, immediately after worship.  Lunch and childcare provided. (See article below from our moderator, Dave Byrens and our treasurer, Chris Rutter).

  Drawing from our origins from Judaism, I leave you with a prayer from Rosh Hashanah,

Sh’ma Yisra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.
Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One 

In an undertone:

Barukh sheim k’vod malkhuto l’olam va’ed.
Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever.

V’ahav’ta eit Adonai Elohekha b’khol l’vav’kha uv’khol naf’sh’kha uv’khol m’odekha.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Fall-Thanksgiving-Maple-Leaf-sun-orange-300x235This Wednesday marks the Autumnal equinox.

How many of you caught a glimpse at the glorious harvest moon with it’s crimson beauty aflame last Friday, while the moon was still close to the horizon? It’s easy to miss it with the busy-ness of our lives.

How many of you have taken a moment to walk in silence in the parks and notice the subtle reminders in light and color of the changing seasons and the preciousness of now? The beauty of nature around us compels us to stop, to breathe, and to notice.

I offer to you the wisdom of Mary Oliver and her poem entitled Fall Song:

Fall Song

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries – roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time’s measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay – how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.

photoLooking for an exciting way to make a difference?

Come join us at Skyline Church, United Church of Christ!

Skyline Community Church is a progressive, open and affirming, justice-oriented congregation of the United Church of Christ. We are blessed with a beautiful sanctuary, a diverse and talented faith community, and a wonderful preschool.

We are looking for

– a part-time program coordinator/leader for our children, youth and family programs of the church

– an energetic individual who is passionate about children, youth, and families.

– an outstanding individual to become an important part of our dedicated staff.

We offer a welcoming community, meaningful purpose, and a competitive salary.

To apply send a resume and cover letter.

This person will work closely with the pastor to organize and with members of the congregation to create and implement engaging faith building programs for children, youth and families, in all areas of church life and in the world.

The position will be 10-15 hours per week and starts at $20 per hour.

Go to to learn more about the church and its ministries.More information about this position is available upon request.

Functions of position:img_5270-copy

I. Coordination of Children’s programs:

– Build and nurture children, youth and family programs, including Sunday morning church school and childcare programs

– Recruit, train, hire, and support nursery care and church school teachers

– Select & order curriculum, with input from parents.

– Provide quarterly teacher training, teach classes as needed.

– Keep in touch with children and families

– Coordinate childcare for special events

– Be involved in creating special children and families programs, coordinating with the preschool such as preschool Sunday, Earth day, Halloween.

– Orient visitors and new member families

– Coordinate seasonal activities for children and youth, and families.

II. Coordination and facilitation of youth ministries

– Empower youth through increasing their knowledge and experience of the Christian faith

– Facilitate Youth Group meetings, retreats and outreach activities, such as ski trips, swim parties, overnighters.

– Develop and lead confirmation programs for candidates.

– Coordinate opportunities for children and youth to be involved in worship, mission, and the life of the church

– Consult and work with Pastor regarding pastoral care issues that may arise as in relation to the children, youth and their families.

III.General staff responsibilitiesimg_6878

– Communicate info in monthly newsletter

– Facilitate involvement of youth in worship

– Meet regularly for supervision with pastor

– Function as a member of the staff

– Consult and work with Pastor regarding pastoral care issues that may arise as in relation to the children, youth and their families.

Minimum requirements

– Must be available most Sunday mornings, 9 am – 1pm

– Understanding of developmental psychology and age appropriate lesson planning 

– Experience working with children and youth in a church setting

– Good interpersonal communication skills

– Ability to work collaboratively and cooperatively as part of a ministry team

– Be a person of faith with background in basics of Christianity, seminary experience a plus

– Be able to develop a program that promotes fellowship, service, and Christian community within a context that is fun, respectful, and worshipful

– Have a valid driver’s license

– Willingness to complete a background check

Desired Qualifications

– A person of faith with a lifestyle that provides a healthy, faithful role model for young adults

– Energetic, active and community oriented.

– Experience in ministry — as a teacher, leader, event planner, etc.

– Demonstrated passion for God and for social justice and bias prevention

– An effective communicator and team-builder

– Creative capacity in music, drama and the arts is a plus!!

– Willingness to undergo complete background and reference checks is a must

– Weekday schedule is very flexible; ability to work with volunteers, Volunteer coordination experience helpful;

– Computer proficiency including comfort with Microsoft Word and Email, searching the internet; strong interpersonal communications skills and good writing skills.

More information about this position is available upon request. 

Email your resume, cover letter, and a list of four references to, attention Nancy Montier, Office Manager.  Thank you.

Salary: $20.00 /hour


Dear Ones,

This weekend, many of us will be attending family gatherings, getting children ready for school and finalizing neglected summer projects,
Aside from the occasional Labor Day parade, few Labor Day activities seem to have anything to do with honoring labor. This Sunday, we will take a moment to lift up the values of work and reflect on our spiritual teachings on labor.

I’d like to share with you, a great resource about the sometimes all too hidden history of Labor Day in this country:
In addition, I’d like to share with you, resources from organizations that we are partnering with locally, as part of our ongoing commitment to worker justice. I invite you to read on and join us in our ongoing efforts, to bring about affordable housing, affordable wages, and quality of life for all people.

Pastor Laurie,   (421-2646)

tree with heartsHere’s a short and simple poem that reminds me that nothing new can grow between us when we speak to each other from “the place where we are right.”

The poem leads me to ask: How might things change if we began our political conversations not from our certainties, but from our “doubts and loves”?

Many of us who differ politically love the same things — our children and grandchildren, our country, the natural world. Many of us who differ politically harbor the same doubts — that what’s being done (or not done) to care for the things we love is the best or the right thing to do.

Yes, we differ on what ought to be done. But what if instead of starting by arguing over solutions — over “the place where we are right” — we began by sharing our loves and doubts? I suspect that our conversations would be much more productive because they would proceed from common ground.

Hey, it’s worth a try!

Yehuda Amichai is widely regarded as Israel’s greatest modern poet. If you read “The Place Where We Are Right” while remembering the political context in which it was written, the poem’s power multiplies.

The Place Where We Are Right

by Yehuda Amichai

From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow
in the Spring.

The place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard.

But doubts and loves
dig up the world
like a mole, a plough.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined
house once stood.

Dear Ones,Fall-Thanksgiving-Maple-Leaf-sun-orange-300x235

One might expect that my vacation to Cartagena Colombia,  on the sparkling blue waters of the Caribbean coast, would be a relaxing fairy-tale romantic experience. However, the truth was, it was a sad, complex, and meaningful experience of saying farewell to someone I love.

This Sunday, I want to invite us into a deeper conversation, an important conversation about the end of life. Not only for our aging parents and grandparents, but for ourselves.

As part of this conversation, I’d like to lift up these resources.  First, the outstanding  NY Times best seller, entitled, Being Mortal“, written by author and surgeon,  Dr Atul Gawande. The book explores the practice of caring for the dying, and shows how doctors — himself included — are often remarkably untrained, ill-suited and uncomfortable talking about chronic illness and death with their patients.

Second, in 2015, Frontline created a documentary, exploring the importance of having conversations about end of life decisions before facing a critical illness. Here’s a link:

Next,  attached is a link to the website, Family Caregiving Alliance, entitled, holding on and letting go, with helpful resources and questions:

Finally, I leave you with a beautiful poem about holding on and letting by Mary Oliver, entitled “Blackwater Woods”

I look forward to sharing in these conversations with you this Sunday.

Pastor Laurie
In Blackwater Woods

by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
to let it go.

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10 a.m. Sunday Services

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

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