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When I’ve been under pressure reading too much news and too many theological journals, and spending way too much time indoors during these rainy days, and it’s all beginning to get to me, I know it’s time.  It’s time to get my boots, my pack, a bag of raisins, and drive west to the land of the Great Spirit to climb the great west hill, the sleeping maiden as the Miwok’s called her, or as we affectionately refer to her here in the Bay Area as Mt Tam. I need to head for a summit where the wind and the light and the view are waiting to welcome the lonely walker who has no other purpose than to be there for an hour or two. I imagine in this sense I’m not so different from you, or from Jesus for that matter. We all need to take time away, to get a new perspective, to listen for the voice of the Holy. 

Climb up the mountain to Skyline this Sunday, to share in some peak experiences with us!

Friday Night, February 3rd, Oakland Museum of California

We will enjoy the food trucks, music, family activities, and see the exhibit:  ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE: BLACK PANTHERS AT 50.  Coinciding with the Black Panther Party’s 50th anniversary in October 2016, this exhibit presents a contemporary view on the legacy of this visionary group, told from multiple perspectives. Meet at the museum, or carpool.  Coordinate with Nancy Taylor 510-325-4957 or ngtaylor94619@yahoo.com.

Friday Night, February 10th: Movie – Hidden Figures,  We’re going to the Grand Lake Theater to see the Academy Award nominated movie HIDDEN FIGURES.  Show starts at 7:00 pm.  Contact Nancy Taylor to carpool or meet at theater. Film synopsis: This true story, which takes place in the early 1960s, as the U.S. seeks to surpass the Soviet Union in the space race, three mathematically and technologically gifted African-American women must cope with racism and sexism while performing vital tasks at NASA’s segregated Virginia facilities.

Weds, Feb 22, 7:30-9:30 PM:  “Defamation”
Valley Center for the Performing Arts, 3500 Mountain Blvd., Oakland, CA

MORE THAN A PLAY  Contact Nancy Taylor.

The Play explores the highly charged issues of race, religion, gender, class and the law with a twist: the audience is the jury. The premise is a civil suit: A South Side African-American woman sues a Jewish North Shore real estate developer for defamation. The legal issue is whether or not she was falsely accused of stealing his watch and causing her financial harm. Through deliberations and post-show discussions, audiences engage in civil discourse that challenges pre-conceived notions and ultimately delivers the verdict. Free to the public, seating is limited.

Sunday, February 26th, JAZZ at Scott’s.  Enjoy brunch while listening to Tony Pegram on drums with the jazz combo.  Lunch/Brunch at Scott’s in Jack London Square.  Contact Philippia Pegram or Nancy Taylor.

Tuesday, February 28th, We will gather for an afternoon matinee  to see the documentary movie “I Am Not Your Negro”, on the works of James Baldwin, and then have dinner afterward to discuss the film.  Time and place to be announced as the date draws nearer.  See Laurie’s blog post on this film.  Nancy Taylor.

After worship at approximately 11:30 AM on Feb 5 three of us from the bay area will speak about sanctuary.

Pastor Laurie’s friend & colleague, Bob Lane – a steering committee member of Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy (FAME), will speak about sanctuary advocacy work and the process that his UUA congregation has been involved in.

Also, we are so pleased to welcome Mirtha Ninayahuar and the family from Guatemala she’s been working with over the past few years.

Pastor Laurie will join Bob and Mirtha sharing videos, stories, resources and answering questions.

Childcare will be provided.

We are living in historic times as we witness the peaceful transition of power taking place from the administration of President Barack Obama to that of incoming President-elect Donald Trump.

The arc of the moral universe seems longer than ever right now.  The arc of U.S. history is on full display this week.

Tensions are high.. and more than ever we need hope, we need courage, we need community, we need prophetic witness. We have much to learn from the prophetic and revolutionary teachings of Jesus and the great crowds of witnesses who followed him, especially Dr King.

We, as a country, have “separation of church & state” that serves to honor freedom of religion, and to ensure that we will not be run as a theocracy. As faith based communities,  the law prohibits us from endorsing a political candidate or party, but does not prohibit us from speaking about, and advocating for policies and programs that are consistent with our faith beliefs. Dr. King spoke, “But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.”  On this day we remember, with gratitude, Dr King with a vision, courage, and faith so strong that it was not only a vision worth living for, but even dying for.

Each of us must find our way to respond to fear and hatred with love:

  • To move from indifference to engagement
  • To move from despair to hope
  • To move from a sense of powerlessness to a sense of power in these times.

This week many of us, myself included, will be engaged in rallies, marches, and protests to advocate for policies that protect  those most vulnerable in our country and in the world.  My prayer is that we conduct ourselves with courage, with love, and with peace in our words and in our actions.

Blessings, Pastor Laurie

Are you looking for some inspiring Christmas music to listen to, or to give to your loved ones?

Skyline’s music director, Benjamin Mertz, has just released his first Christmas carol album, entitled, “Christmas at the Crossroads”, under his Benjasoul project.

Benjamin is a gospel choir director, jazz pianist, flutist, and music educator. BenjaSoul is his R&B/hip-hop project and is dedicated to moral, socially conscious, intelligent, compassionate, challenging art & music.

To hear and to order some of his music, click here.

Here are some of his reflections about this project:

What began as a simple Christmas album became a deep journey into my roots as a black, bi-racial man in America – and as I recorded these songs, the sounds and emotions of Africa continued to pull on me. At first I resisted, but then slowly let each song become what it needed to be.

This humble offering is a flawed, paradoxical, emotional album. It is Christmas and it is jazz, and it is African and New Age. It is meditational and it is ecstatic. In its way, it is the sum of my life, my race, my history, my yearnings, my weaknesses, my prayers for the world, and my deep Christian faith.
Contact Benjamin Mertz: bwmertz@gmail.com.

thanksgiving-images-free-768x432Last Sunday we gave thanks for the glorious diversity not only of the world but also of our  faith community, as we welcomed five new members!

Please extend a special welcome to Anna Quandt, Becky Taylor, Bee Franks-Walker, David Guerra & David McGuinness! 

If you haven’t had a chance to get to know these five unique, brilliant, authentic, compassionate, fair-minded, creative, amazing human beings, please be sure to say hi!  

We invite you to join us this Saturday from 10 am – 12 noon to prepare the advent wreaths, and to decorate the Christmas trees for advent. Pastor Laurie will be providing delicious chicken soup, bread and hot apple cider and festive advent music!  

During this season of giving thanks for the abundance of our lives, we remember  all of those who do not have enough, who are afraid, who are lonely, and who suffer. We wish for the abundance of this world to be shared, for fear to become love, for the lonely to feel welcomed, and for the suffering to know rest and joy. 

I leave you with a Thanksgiving prayer, by Walter  Rauchenbach..

O God, we thank you for the beauty of this earth, our home;

For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

gingerbread-houseThe children of Skyline church and preschool are invited to come together for a play date while parents take a few hours off to rest, shop, or use the time in any way you like!  If you have older siblings under ten they are welcome as well.

  • Eli’jah Carroll, Children Youth and Families Director
  • 920-650-1225

You’re invited to write cards that will be attached to the gifts that we purchase for the children at the East Oakland Community Project, a homeless shelter.  Please RSVP to this very special opportunity to connect to our greater Oakland community.

This Christmas Eve, come experience the wonder of our candlelight service celebrating the birth of Jesus with carols, anthems, scripture lessons, a Christmas choir performance, 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!

Saturday, December 24th at 7:00 pm

For more information please contact the office at 510.531.8212

This holiday season will see us greening and decorating our beautiful sanctuary on Saturday, Nov 26 from 10 AM to noon.  We’ll have a beautiful tree to decorate thanks to Dorothy, and holiday cheer to spread around the sanctuary.  Families, children, grown-ups are welcome to be part of the fun and festivities!  If you have evergreens in your yard and can spare some branches, please bring them!  Contact Pastor Laurie with ideas, suggestions!

11-28-15-decorating-3 11-28-15-decorating-6 img_3294 img_3302

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

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