SpringFling.5.2.16

This Sunday we are celebrating Pentecost! 

Early in the service, to honor the diversity of people from all over the world I will invite people to greet each other, speaking  in various “tongues” besides English.  Please, come and open us to new ways of saying, “Good morning!” “How are you?”

We are also celebrating what we love about our congregation… what it means to be a green congregation, an open and affirming congregation, a jubilee congregation, a congregation blessed to be located in such a beautiful setting, a love puddle, or whatever it is; we’ll invite audience members to come forward to express your gratitude during our thank offering. 

In anticipation of the power of this Sunday, I am reminded of the words of William Blake: 

 Unless the eye catch fire, God will not be seen.Heart and flames

 Unless the ear catch fire, God will not be heard.

 Unless the tongue catch fire, God will not be named.

 Unless the heart catch fire, God will not be loved.

 Unless the mind catch fire, God will not be known.

May we all be kindled in the fire of God’s love!

Blessings and see you this Sunday! With love, Pastor Laurie

Learn How Your Generosity Has Impacted Skyline This Year

Click here to see the 2015 narrative of accomplishments and activities.

4-17-16 Earth Circle in courtyard

Why pledge?

A Pledge is a spiritual commitment to giving of our time, talent and treasure, and it is based on our belief that we give because we receive. Pledging gives us a chance to assess our priorities in a planned and thoughtful way, and allows us to align our giving with our values.

A Pledge is a voluntary statement of your annual financial commitment upon which our church bases its expenditures, makes its plans and builds programs around our three fundamental priorities: (1) voice for progressive Christianity, (2) dedication to social justice and outreach and (3) deepening understanding and growing beloved community.

How much should I pledge?

Giving is a spiritual practice. The first step is to ask God in prayer: How much am I being called to give? How am I being asked to respond to spirit’s call in my life? Many pledgers begin with an estimated percentage of their incomes, which seems significant and responsible for the year, and later embark upon the spiritual discipline of gradually increasing that percentage over time.

How do I pledge?

In order to accept your pledge at  Skyline, we need to obtain or create a record of the pledge. There are a number of ways that you can do this:

Online:  Fill out a survey.

By Hand: Fill out a printed form of the survey – pick it up at church or download, print, and fill out Stewardship Survey 2016.

Stewardship Sunday is May 22nd. Please give generously.

2-16-16 coal - ministers in front of city hallSkyline takes an active role in environmental issues affecting our local and global communities.

Our Green Team and Pastor Laurie are currently involved with “No Coal in Oakland” to keep this fossil fuel in the ground.

Here’s an excerpt from the website: “No Coal in Oakland is  grassroot organization campaigning to stop the threat of coal being transported by rail into Oakland for export overseas.  Despite the City Council, the Mayor, and numerous other politicians saying they don’t want coal passing through Oakland, the proposal to build a massive coal terminal south of the Bay Bridge on the Oakland waterfront remains on the table.”

Please go to the website to take action – donate or contact representatives by sending an email and / or calling.  Thank you!

This Sunday, in the spirit of living the Resurrection, we are pleased to have with us the Rev. Sandhya Jha.  She serves as founder and director of the Oakland Peace Center, a collective of 40 organizations creating access, equity and dignity for all in Oakland and the Bay Area, and as Director of Interfaith Programs for East Bay Housing Organizations, where she organizes faith communities to advocate for housing as a human right and spiritual mandate throughout California’s Bay Area.  She has a Master of Public Policy,  Master of Divinity, and Bachelor of Arts.

Join us as we come together to learn more about how we can ensure affordable housing, peace and justice here in Oakland. 

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We are many but You O God, are One; your multi-faceted unity makes our unity possible.

WE CALL TO YOU BY MANY NAMES: Jesus, Allah, Elohim, Great Creator, Father, Mother, Breath of Life;

WE CALL OUT FOR TRUE JUSTICE, invoking the memory of the powerful prophets and teachers in whose broad footsteps we walk, knowing that we can only truly keep our balance when traveling together.

WE STAND TOGETHER in the belief that every human being has the right to a safe, healthy and truly affordable place to live, a personal sanctuary, a place they can call home without fear of displacement. 

IT IS OUR SACRED INTENTION to witness one another lovingly; to notice the collective enlightenment evidenced by hearing one another’s stories; to experience the power of sharing our experiences in the public realm. 

IT IS OUR SACRED TASK to use the knowledge we gain wisely; and to apply our shared wisdom through skillful action, both collectively and as individuals. 

WE PRAY TOGETHER:

  • That the homelessness that plagues far too many of our sisters and brothers come to an end – in Oakland, in Alameda County, in the Bay Area, in California and throughout the world; 
  • That powerful people whose hearts have been hardened by the demands of their office or scarred by their own need for healing will have their hearts softened to the needs of the poor and the vulnerable; 
  • That we feel the movement in our own hearts;
  • That courage, compassion and unwavering faith prevail when we feel most vulnerable;
  • That we are able to spread good in the world;
  • That the seniors at St. Mary’s shelter find housing; 
  • That ministers and faith leaders understand their own role in being good stewards over their property;
  • May these prayers and those still in our hearts be heard. 
  • May every person have a place to call home.
  • May our longing for justice be fulfilled.

AMEN.

Skyline Community Church is an active member of the Jubilee USA Network.  From their website, “Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations, 550 faith communities and 50 Jubilee global partners. Jubilee is building an economy that serves, protects and promotes participation of the most vulnerable. Jubilee has won critical global financial reforms and more than $130 billion in debt relief for the world’s poorest people.”

This week (first week of April, 2016), Congress released a draft bill that included both strong and troubling provisions. We have two weeks to shape this bill before it is formally introduced and the most important thing we can do now is ensure that the bill reduces child poverty in Puerto Rico.  Please read on to learn more, and sign the petition on or before April 14.  Thank you!

Please invite your friends and family on social media to join you.  Thank you!

Letter from Jubilee USA:

Dear Friend,

I wanted to update you on Congressional action on Puerto Rico. This week, Congress released a draft bill that included both strong and troubling provisions. We have two weeks to shape this bill before it is formally introduced and the most important thing we can do now is ensure that the bill reduces child poverty in Puerto Rico.

Sign our petition today calling on Congress to include clear language in its bill to reduce child poverty, prevent austerity and respect local democracy in Puerto Rico. Your support is critical as we are in continuous meetings and negotiations with members of Congress over the next fifteen days.

A new report released just this week by Child Trends highlights the struggles Puerto Rico’s children face. The island’s only children’s hospital cut its budget by 14% over a two year period and doesn’t even have an MRI machine. Over half of the children living in Puerto Rico are in households where no parent holds a steady job.

This is not just a debate about economic policy. This is a question of how well we protect some of the most vulnerable kids in the United States.

Act today. Please sign our petition and spread the word on social media and in your networks and tell Congress that Puerto Rico’s children need our support.

I am so thankful for your partnership. I will keep you updated as the situation develops.

Gratefully,

Andrew Hanauer
Campaigns Director
Jubilee USA Network
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

News is spreading of another ISIS terrorist attack, this time in Brussels.  

And, it’s Holy week – the time in which we remember all that Jesus did to bring love, justice, peace and compassion for all people; calling us to love, even our enemies.

Violence and hope, juxtaposed like Good Friday and Easter Sunday, in this sacred time, in the midst of Holy Week.

 As Pope Francis suggested, “in the face of such madness, let us adopt the courageous attitude of Mary, who remained at the foot of the cross in silence.”

Let us pray for all those who died and who were injured and for for the pain of their loved ones. Let us pray for all those providing assistance, and let us pray for the leaders of the world’s countries and religions, that we may all learn to forgive one another, transform our swords into plowshares, and live together as one beloved community.  Our sanctuary will be open from 12 – 1 on Good Friday, March 25th, for a time of prayer and remembrance.  

May we, in the words of St Francis, be ever more instruments of God’s peace. Join us in our prayers, and in hope, in the promise of new life, even in the face of violence and death, which Easter brings.   

Here’s a message from UCC’s General Minister and President the Rev. John Dorhauer.

CN_Skyline_2013-03-31_EasterSunrise&10am_1466sMusic calms the soul, heals the spirit. I can’t tell you how many days I go to rehearsal feeling tired, frustrated, sometimes depressed. Then after rehearsal I find I’m smiling and laughing. Music has a way of changing our overall state of being. Each song we sing is a present waiting to be opened and the gift is getting to know the beauty and meaning of the song.

Music is good for your health. From Time Magazine, “When you sing, musical vibrations move through you, altering your physical and emotional landscape. Group singing, for those who have done it, is the most exhilarating and transformative of all. It takes something incredibly intimate, a sound that begins inside you, shares it with a roomful of people and it comes back as something even more thrilling: harmony.” Singers have lower levels of cortisol, heart rates sync up creating a group meditation effect, and singing has been found to lower anxiety and contribute to your overall quality of life.

We have several rehearsals scheduled for your convenience. Throughout the month of March there are several rehearsals scheduled to prepare for Easter. We rehearse each Sunday starting at 8:30am (our regular rehearsal time), we will rehearse each Sunday after church for about 1 hour (after a 15 minute break for fellowship). We also have 3 Saturday rehearsals scheduled from 10:00 am – 12 noon. The Saturday rehearsals will take place on March 5, 12 and 26. We also have mp3’s and pdf’s of the music to help you learn your part at home.

We will sing with a small orchestra (for extra fun). We will be singing with a small, yet highly talented orchestra comprised of some of our own congregation members and a few guests. (Orchestra currently consists of Violin, Cello, Flute, 2 additional Woodwinds, Percussion, Guitar and Piano).

We have fun. Don’t you need that? We have enough pressure all week, how about do something just for fun?

WHO CAN JOIN? Anyone with a desire to make music with others. All ages are welcome – we have a special children;s number planned for Easter. Also, there is no age restriction (going either direction) on singing with the regular Sunday choir. If you are still in Elementary, Junior High or High School and have a desire to sing or play, we can make that happen. If you are in your golden years and haven’t performed for a while, come sing as you are able! If you play an instrument, we will put your talents to use.
CONTACT Puja Soto, Music Director, via the church office at 510-531-8212 or office@skylineucc.org.

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! 

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

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