Oakland church

Author Archive for Nancy Montier

Connecting, Updates, Prayer and Palm/Passion Sunday

Here we are, in April, beginning  another month of sheltering in place. What a time we are living through! 

Even in the midst of this there are blessings. Among them has been the blessing of communicating with you through social media: worshiping, studying, praying and yes, even sharing birthday celebrations and happy hours together.

I am grateful to the virtual teams within our faith community, rising up to offer all kinds of support within and beyond us. I hope you were able to join the zoom crowd who worshiped online this week. If you missed it, you can find it here on our website.  Many of us are using zoom for the first time, and here’s a helpful tutorial to get started.  You can always call me on my cell phone! All of our computers are facing buffering challenges due to the overload on various platforms and the internet in general, please be patient.  

Last Sunday, the 29th of March, I lifted up the theme of grief, so I want to offer a helpful article for you to better understand your own experience of grief. 

Please continue to check our weekly email, our  Facebook  page, and our website for updates.    

This Sunday is Palm/Passion Sunday— please find a palm, or a leafy branch, or a symbol of gratitude for praising the heroes of our time, and bring it with you for our service.  And, before you sit down to participate in the Zoom service (here’s the link), please have ready nearby elements of food and drink to share in our agape meal, remembering Jesus and all those we love that we wish were here with us, and all those in need, especially during the pandemic.  Finally, David G. is leading a Zoom Children’s time at 11:30 – read more here.

Prayer for today:

You have been our strength, O God.
At the beginning of the day you brought us from darkness into light.
At the ending of the day you lead us from busyness into stillness.
In earth’s cycles and seasons you offer us new life and fresh beginnings.
Be our strength this day and the strength of new beginnings in our world.
Be our help, O God, and the help of those who cry out in need.
~ by John Philip Newell, excerpt from Celtic Treasure: Daily Scriptures and Prayer

Prayer in music & videos:

Inspiration

 

 

 

 

 

 

Humor

 

Palm Sunday Children’s Time with Donkey Odie

This Sunday, Children’s Time has its own Zoom meeting!

We’ll meet Donkey Odie as he tells the story of Palm Sunday from his perspective. Grab a clean pair of socks as we all use our ‘palms’ to bring the story to life through sock puppets! We’ll also have a time of brain teasers, sharing and prayer. 

Here’s a couple of coloring pages for parents and guardians to print. Children, can you color or decorate your picture and make it a work of art? Share it with us at the meeting!

Children’s Time Zoom Meeting Sunday, April 5 at 11:30 a.m. (PST)

https://zoom.us/j/241524878

Questions? Contact Pastor Laurie (revlauriemanning@aol.com) or David G. (cardinalis7@gmail.com)

Leader:  David G.

Easter at Skyline – Virtual Services 2020

Palm Sunday Virtual Service:  April 5, 10:00 – 11:00 AM

Reverend Laurie Manning is preaching at this service, with inspiring music by Ken Medema, Gabrielle Lochard and Benjamin Mertz.  Hear the stories of Jesus’s journey to Jerusalem, listen to music of God’s love.

Meeting ID: 716 026 467
Dial in by phone 1-669-900-9128

Good Friday Virtual Service: April 10, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM

Reverend Laurie Manning and our Music Director, Gabrielle Lochard, lead an empowering, spiritually expansive lesson, meditation and musical Good Friday service. We are joined by professional musicians Ken Medema and Benjamin Mertz. Let the words and music open your heart and feed your soul in this shelter in place time. We invite you to shelter in the presence of God. All are welcome.

Zoom Meeting Link:  https://zoom.us/j/716026467
Meeting ID: 716 026 467
One tap mobile +16699009128
phone # +13462487799

Easter Sunday Virtual Service: April 12, 10:00-11:15 AM

There is nothing traditional about a zoom Easter Service, but we have a beautiful service planned for our expanded, loving progressive and inclusive faith community meeting via zoom. Rev. Laurie Manning, Music Director Gabrielle Lochard, Ken Medema, and Benjamin Mertz will be leading the service from their homes.  We are creating a special experience.  

Meeting ID: 716 026 467
Dial in by phone 1-669-900-9128
 

The Pandemic and Our Personal and Global Economy

From Pastor Laurie: Financial worries on top of it all. 

The Global Economy

One of the areas of worry the pandemic is creating is about the economy. Unemployment claims in California have jumped to over 1 million  according to a March 25 article in the LA times.   I’ve talked with numerous friends who are worried about their jobs and others who are filing for unemployment. Here’s what you need to know according to an article in the NY Times on March 25.  The stock market has plummeted for four plus weeks. Worries about incomes is causing activists and politicians to call for a moratorium on evictions and shutting off utilities.  None of this is news to you.

Our Personal Economy

My concern is about how you are doing in the midst of this economic news. Some of us, in our faith community and extended communities and families, will be laid off or losing work hours. Some retired people in our congregation rely on investments for their incomes. If you are within one of these categories, you may want to reassess your giving to the church, at least for the time being, and adjust it downward.

If you have a salary that is going to continue as you work (from home or at your workplace), or if you have a reliable pension, please reassess your giving to the church, too. Only you might want to increase your giving, knowing that there are members of our church who need to reduce their giving.

Ways to Give to the Church if you are Able

If you’re wondering how to give to the church in these days when we do not have an offering plate to pass around, here’s your answer – from lowest tech to the latest app:

  • You can write a check and mail it to the church. The church’s mailing address is 12540 Skyline Blvd, Oakland CA, 94619
  • If you do online banking, you can set up the church as a payee.
  • We have just finished signing up for a smartphone app (that also works on tablets) called Quiks to accept bank to bank donations. To get started donating, click here!  It’s very intuitive. I set it up and made my first donation with it. If you need more help, here’s a tutorial on how to set it up.

Finally, stay in touch!  Dealing with the pandemic is stressful enough. If you are having financial stress on top of that, don’t face them alone. Let me know and we’ll do what we can together. 

Peace, Pastor Laurie

Video Recordings of Past Services

March 15 – recorded at the church by Tom
March 22 – wonderful interactive zoom service. Ken, Benjamin, Gabrielle and Pastor Laurie.
March 29  – Topic is grief, Ken, Benjamin, Gabrielle and Pastor Laurie.

 

 

Praying in Crisis, Holding Back Nothing from God

Dear Ones,

We are in the season of praying in crisis, holding back nothing from the God who invites us to come, naked and vulnerable, just as we are, holding nothing back from the One who loves and knows us better than we know ourselves  Be encouraged in your time of prayer in the days ahead. I encourage you to join us for 1 PM contemplative prayer on Friday: Zoom Meeting, Meeting ID: 910 815 155, or just call me!

There is a beautiful poem, which captures the essence of intimate, naked vulnerability before God in prayer, entitled the Guest House, by the Sufi poet, Rumi, 

I leave you with Rumi’s words:

Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

“Be the Loving Embrace of God to our Neighbors”

I’d like to share with you a beautiful centering prayer for these times:
Prayer for a Pandemic
By Cameron Bellm
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.
Amen.
 
     Let us choose love, 
Pastor Laurie

Shelter-in-Place Resources

 

Updates from Government and Medical Leaders

  1. PDF: Order of the State Public Health Officer regarding all of California to shelter-in-place.
  2. Click Here to Learn More About the Order
  3. Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California   COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.  We’re all in this together. We are working rapidly to keep our state healthy.

Resources for Parents

Here are some helpful resources for talking with your children about the coronavirus and things to do with them.
Resources for Shopping Hours, Pharmacies for Seniors
 
Susan J. with the support of the wellness team, compiled a list of  resources that will help seniors/pregnant and the immune compromised community know which stores they can shop at exclusively during certain times or using special lines.  Anyone can access this resource list in view only mode.  If you  have difficulty opening this link in google docs for the first time, here’s some help.   To open the links that are in the resource spreadsheet, hover your mouse arrow over the link.  A little box will open with a symbol in the right hand corner with an arrow pointing upwards to the right.  Click on that symbol and you’ll be taken to the url’s website.

More Resources on the Virus – Anxiety, Disinfecting, Social Distancing…

 
 

Shelter-in-Place Virtual Worship Services and Gatherings

Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash

Virtual Worship, Bible Study and Prayer

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven… Now is the time for “shelter in place” here in the greater Bay Area. It is a time to refrain from embracing, i.e. physical distancing. And more than ever, it is a time for social and emotional connection.

Skyline is utilizing Zoom.us for our virtual worship services and weekly gatherings. Zoom links and numbers are listed below for accessing the events on your computer, your smart phone, or a regular phone call.

  1. Sunday Services are being delivered by Zoom Meeting at 10 AM.   (You will access all Sunday Zoom calls at this link or number)
    Sundays, 10:00 – 11:00am
    https://zoom.us/j/716026467
    Meeting ID: 716 026 467
    Dial in by phone 1-669-900-9128
    Dial in by phone: 1-346-248-7799
    Video of past services will be available.  
    Here is a video of our Sunday, March 15 worship, recorded and edited by our very own Tom Manley!

  2. Pastor Laurie’s virtual bible study, Weekly on Tuesdays.  10:30 – 11:30 am.
    First meeting – Tuesday, March 24⋅10:30 – 11:30 am
    https://zoom.us/j/901784352
    Meeting ID: 901 784 352 One tap mobile
    Dial in by phone 1-669-900-9128
    Dial in by phone: 1-346-248-7799

  3. Pastor Laurie’s Prayer, Care, and Share time, every Friday from ⋅1:00 – 2:00 pm.    Join us for a time of praying, caring, and sharing!   If you’re at home, you’re invited to light your own candle, so we’ll all have our candles together.  We’ll gather with a little meditative music, then spend some time lifting up our prayers together.  In this stressful and uncertain moment, perhaps we need to turn to prayer even more than usual.  Join us, breathe deep, and trust that the Spirit will be with us wherever we are.  Whenever two or three are gathered in the name of God, even gathered digitally, the Spirit is in the space between, connecting our hearts and strengthening us.  Hope to see you for our collective prayer:
    https://zoom.us/j/910815155
    Meeting ID: 910 815 155
    Dial in by phone 1-669-900-9128
    Dial in by phone: 1-346-248-7799 

  4. Palm Sunday Service:  April 5, 10:00 – 11:00 AM …Read More

    Zoom link:  https://zoom.us/j/716026467 
    Meeting ID: 716 026 467
    Dial in by phone 1-669-900-9128

  5. Good Friday Service: April 10, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM …Read More

    Zoom Meeting Link:  https://zoom.us/j/716026467
    Meeting ID: 716 026 467
    One tap mobile +16699009128
    phone # +13462487799

  6. Easter Sunday Service: April 12, 10:00-11:15 AM …Read More

    Zoom link:  https://zoom.us/j/716026467 
    Meeting ID: 716 026 467
    Dial in by phone 1-669-900-9128

 
 

Practical and Spiritual Care for Ourselves and Our Community in this Unprecedented Time

We are living in a time of high anxiety. The COVID-19 outbreak has many of us on edge,  uncertain about what information to trust, and how to be responsible without being alarmist. Here’s some helpful advice from our Happiness and Wellness team about caring for ourselves, each other and the wider community in this time. 

Here is an excerpt from the Alameda County Public Health Department. Please review this valuable and timely information!

One of the advantages of being a smaller congregation in a large beautiful sanctuary, is that we can spread out! We’re also practicing elbow greetings, and making sure that we have plenty of tissue boxes on hand, and signs reminding one another to wash our hands for 20 seconds!!  However, If you are sick, or at risk, (see the link above)  I love you, and I want you to stay home. We will be recording the services (probably should have been doing this for years now, and will post on next week’s email as a link).

I invite each one of us to continue to practice gratitude for all the blessings we do have; to pray for the most vulnerable in the community; to pray for wisdom for our leaders at the national, regional and local levels; to take time to breathe deeply and to remember that the power of love casts out fear; to value the preciousness of life; to remember that you are not alone and that you have a faith community loving you and praying for you.

The psalmist left us these timeless words:  

God is our refuge and strength,
   a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
   though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
   though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
      

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
   the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
   God will help it when the morning dawns.

 ‘Be still, and know that I am God

And lastly, since ‘wash your hands” has become the clarion call these days, here is an excerpt about turning the washing of hands into a spiritual practice:

Photo by Curology on Unsplash

We are humans relearning to wash our hands.
Washing our hands is an act of love
Washing our hands is an act of care
Washing our hands is an act that puts the hyper-vigilant body at ease 
Washing our hands helps us return to ourselves by washing away what does not serve.
Wash your hands like you are washing the only teacup left that your great grandmother carried across the ocean, like this water is poured from a jug your best friend just carried for three miles from the spring they had to climb a mountain to reach.
Like water is a precious resource made from time and miracle. (Dori Midnight)

May the peace that passes all understanding keep your hearts and mind centered on love.