Author Archive for ben – Page 2

Reimagining Money: Restoring God’s Economy

Many of our beliefs and behaviors are rooted in stories—narratives that are personal, familial, societal, cultural and religious. We unconsciously absorb and actively construct many money stories.

This sermon series invites us to tease apart these overlapping narratives, to claim and recreate our stories considering the stories we find in scripture.

Throughout our series, we hope you experience:

  • A shift in your personal narrative around money.
  • Clarity regarding the areas of your money story that hold tension or heaviness.
  • Release that sparks a reimagined life which more fully reflects your theological beliefs about giving, justice, and restoration of relationship in God’s economy.
  • Delight in the experience of giving as receiving.

Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour

Join the free, on-line Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour!  Tune in on any or all four Sundays to tour 25 lush East Bay native plant gardens, hear inspiring Doug Tallamy explain why natives in our gardens are key to supporting local wildlife, and ask garden hosts and experts all your questions! Plus, session on plant selection, garden design, and more.

Four Sundays, 10 am-3 pm: April 25 and May 2, 16 and 23

For the schedule, and to register, visit

Companion event:
Green Home Tour   Sundays, June 6 & 13, 10:00 – 2:00, Free

Join us on the virtual Green Home Tour and learn how you can save money and time, and improve your health while combating climate change by ditching natural gas, generating clean electricity from your own home, and installing energy-efficient (and health-protecting) induction stoves and heat pumps.  A potpourri of other “green home” features will also be showcased. Register here.

ReMatriating the Land with Special Guest Corinna Gould – Sunday, April 18, 10 am

Special thanks to our Green team chair, Catherine Kessler as we prepare to honor Earth Day on Sunday, 4/18, by remembering that we are occupying the land of the Ohlone people. We have invited Corrina Gould,  the tribal spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan/Ohlone, and  a Co-Founder/Co-Director of the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, an urban Indigenous women-led land trust based in the San Francisco Bay Area that facilitates the return of Indigenous land to Indigenous people.

This worship service, on 4/18,   will be a different kind of service, in that Corrina will be speaking for extended length of time, about the Lisjan/Ohlone people, their history in the Bay Area, their mission, various projects, and ways to partner with them, in Rematriating the land, for their community. We are hoping to partner with them, for some use of our land. In addition, this is part of a broader commitment from our UCC Northern California Nevada Conference which passed a resolution to make amends to indigenous peoples, with this intention. Here are the details.

Prior to this special Sunday, we encourage you to learn more about the history, mission, projects, and various ways to engage. Here is one place to start.

RSVP to the Facebook Event:

Youth Spirit Artworks Opening Day – A Really Good Friday, 4/2/21!

Special thanks to SCC for our commitment to Youth Spirit Artworks( YSA), and to our vice moderator Shaun Bernhardt for his leadership. Many of us came out to join us for the official opening of YSA and had a great time! Check out the photos below! We met some of the residents who are already using the kitchen that we contributed to! Please contact Shaun, Pastor Laurie, or Sally Hindman if you’d like to get more involved and plan to help out as a group at the build site as more young people prepare to move into these tiny homes. Thank you for being a part of this incredible mission.

The Space Between: The Liminal Space Between Good Friday & Easter

Saturday, April 3, 7 pm

An evening of meditative songs & prayers. On the eve before Easter, rest in a moment of slow, beautiful calm, touch the center. There will be readings, prayers, music, and silence. Lead by Ken Medema (, Gabrielle Lochard, and Pastor Laurie Manning. Join us for this journey from darkness to light.

Tiny House Empowerment Village Grand Opening!


A 2019 study on homelessness in Alameda County found that unhoused young people have a harder time accessing services including shelter, medical care and employment due to stigma and a lack of knowledge about available resources.
Of the 8,022 people experiencing homelessness in Alameda County, 1 in 10, are transition-age youth, 18-24 years old, according to the 2019 point-in-time count. That number has dramatically increased in 2020 due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city of Oakland has pioneered tiny houses as a solution to homelessness in the past, with two other sites that use Tuff Sheds as transitional homes, we’ve been working on with ICAC. These tiny home communities prioritize those who have been living at nearby encampments for the longest period of time and therefore do not often house young people.
The Tiny House Empowerment Village (on Hegenberger Road just south of the Oakland Coliseum) will operate as a transitional housing center for young people ages 18-25 in 26 tiny houses.
Youth Spirit Artworks, a Berkeley-based nonprofit arts and job training program for low-income youth, spearheaded the tiny house project since planning began in 2017. Artists, activists and over 2,000 volunteers from the community and faith-based organizations built the village over two years.
SCC church council voted to donate $10K to support construction of the communal kitchen as part of the Tiny House Empowerment Village.
Exciting news! 📣 The grand opening for our Tiny House Empowerment Village is scheduled for April 2nd, from 11:00am to 12:00pm, taking place in-person at the village and on Zoom. There will be food, drinks, music, and youth art for sale ‼️ Come celebrate the conclusion of this 6-year long project with us!


From Pastor Laurie, March 17, 2021

Yellow FlowersThe fresh green baby grass, and the blossoming sun- kissed daffodils awaken our senses to the coming of springtime.

 This week, these springtime celebrations include, St. Patrick’s day, and  the Vernal Equinox.

As I’ve learned from my Irish ancestors, the Celts were adventurers. They sailed off into unknown lands, sometimes sailing without a rudder, trusting that God would bring them to their place of resurrection, their place of wholeness and vocation. Each day was greeted as an adventure, filled with danger and possibility.

Aware of the challenges of life, and beauty and tragedy around every corner, Celtic travelers often drew a circle around themselves as they began each journey. The circle (or “caim”) reminded them that they were always encircled by God’s care. In the spirit of Psalm 139, they trusted that if they ascended to the heavens, God would be with them.

Spring Flowers

 If they descended to the depths, God would also be their companion.

Legend has it that a local chieftain was out to get Patrick. The chieftain sent his men to kill Patrick as he traveled along a lonely wooded road. As they closed in on Patrick, his pursuers discovered that somehow he disappeared. All they saw was a deer bounding across the road. From that adventure, legend has it that the Prayer of St. Patrick (the “Lorica” or “Breastplate”) emerged.  I leave you with these words and invite you to imagine Patrick drawing a circle around himself as he rotated in a clockwise manner. May we be reminded of God’s encircling care for us.

With Love,
Pastor Laurie

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.
I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
far and near,
Alone or in a multitude.
Christ shield me today
Against wounding.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.