See call script in the Faith and Immigration Calendar of Events and Actions
4) Letters of Support for PJ, Danny, and Joaquin
4) Letters of Support for PJ, Danny, and Joaquin
Last week, we focused upon the miraculous sacredness and the growing scarcity of rich fertile soil. In light of this perspective, Skyline’s Green team encourages your support in signing this petition: for decades, oil and gas drilling has devastated Creation and harmed some of the most vulnerable communities in our state – polluting our air and water, and sickening thousands of people. We encourage you to sign this letter to tell Governor Brown it’s time to phase out oil and gas drilling in California. Many thanks, Skyline Green Team!!
Also, we celebrated our 20th Annual Blessing of the Animals, honoring the Feast of St Francis. Please enjoy the photos at the end of this letter!
This week we focus on the sacredness and preciousness of water. Nobody thinks about water. Until there’s no more. Or, until-as is the case in the poor neighborhoods of Flint, Michigan-the tap water is poisoned. In that kind of crisis, we suddenly think a lot about water.
One of the deep spiritual truths that undergirds all of us is our connection with water. “Throughout human history, the quest for God has often been connected with a quest for fresh water,” Diana Butler Bass writes in her book, Grounded: Finding God in the World, A Spiritual Revolution.
It’s a truth in all world faiths, Bass tells us, and especially for Jews and Christians: The Bible begins with the deep, when God’s spirit sweeps over the waters. From wind and the seas comes all of creation. For Christians, the Bible also ends with water: “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city.” The final scene in the book of Revelation is the river of God, the water that heals and washes away all sorrow. … Water in the beginning, water at the end. God is the Alpha and Omega of the wells, rivers and seas.
What role does water play in your life? When you are seeking place of renewal , do you choose to go to a river or lake or stream or the ocean? Can you think of a time when water might’ve played at healing role in your life? For me, as a child of the Ocean State, as someone who grew up sailing on Narragansett Bay, as someone whose ancestors lived on the shores of Ireland, water is life. Being near the water is in my DNA, the waters sing to my soul.
Join us for a refreshing, life giving worship experience in which we honor the sacredness of water, and are reminded that, as we do, we are God’s beloved children: “I love you, I am well pleased in you”. Also, join us after worship for an extended conversation about the sermon and about the sacredness of water!
Blessings, Pastor Laurie
19th Annual Blessing of the Animals!
Special thanks to Becky Taylor for her leadership in promoting, recruiting for, and supporting our 19th Annual Blessing of the Animals! We were blessed with beautiful weather and wonderful visitors! Enjoy the photos!
Come and celebrate the animal companions in our lives on Sunday, October 14 at 3:00-4 PM!
This is our 19th annual special ceremony to honor our animal companions and acknowledge the blessings they bring to our lives. Bring your pet(s) or a picture of your pet (or even a stuffed animal).
This is is a family event! Refreshments provided for both pets & humans.
Afterwards, come and walk your pet through our unique labyrinth!
Watch a video from a previous blessing!
All over the world lively and sacred ceremonies to bless our animal companions and honor the blessings they bring to our lives are held in the fall. Churches of all denominations honor beloved pets around the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi (Oct 4) the patron saint of animals.
Reverend Laurie Manning and Rev. Sheryl Johnson of Skyline Community Church, affiliated with United Church of Christ, bless your dog, cat, goat, parakeet, fish, horse or whatever you bring (safely) with you. You can also bring photos of beloved pets who cannot make the journey or have passed on to receive a blessing.
Skyline Community Church 12540 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, Ca. 94619
(½ mile S. of Redwood)
Come one and all, with dogs, cats, hamsters, goats, parakeets, horses and more to celebrate and enjoy our animal companions.
Here’s a blessing of the animals flyer to share with your vet or pet store, if you wish – thanks!
SERMON SERIES: STAYING GROUNDED WHILE LIVING ON THE FAULT LINE
I’m back from sabbatical!
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday!
I invite you to join me in the spiritual revolution!
This spiritual revolution rests upon a simple insight: God is the ground, the grounding, that which grounds us. We experience this when we understand that the soil is holy, water gives life, the sky opens the imagination, my roots matter, home is a divine place, and our lives are linked with our neighbors and with those around the globe. This world, not heaven, is the sacred stage of our times. (from “Grounded”, By Diana Butler Bass)
Have your views of God evolved over time? Mine have! I “believe” less, but have more faith. I bet I’m not alone.
Do you find yourself seeking to stay grounded, while living on the fault line? Literally, as well as spiritually? Me too!
This fall, come believing as you do. Find God, not in a far- away heaven, but here and now, within, between, and everywhere, more present than you ever imagined.
Together, let’s open to the spirit of love and justice that shines within & around our sanctuary and radiates out into the world. Together, let’s co-create new things– new ways of talking about God, new ways of worshipping, new ways of connecting.
Come, be inspired, be uplifted, and share your inspiration with others. Your presence matters. Being together matters.
P.S. It’s Homecoming Sunday– time to reconnect, and enjoy a celebration lunch after the service!
We will meet at Skyline Church, 12540 Skyline Blvd. at 9:30am and car-pool to Bart.
The Climate, Justice and Jobs March is our voice for action before the Global Climate Summit in San Francisco, Sept.12 to 14th, led by Governor Jerry Brown.
We are marching with other East Bay UCC groups, starting at 11am in the Embarcadero Plaza to the Civic Center in San Francisco. Please wear bright yellow, red or orange. Signs will be provided that say, “Climate: the Moral Issue of Our Time” Bring water and food, dress for cool to warm weather. No signs are allowed that have wooden sticks.
Why Is Global Warming An Issue Of Faith?
People of faith realize that global warming and climate change are issues of environmental justice. For humans, those who are poor or unable to adjust will lose their homes to rising seas and be unable to grow food for their families.
For plants and animals, global warming means that many will not adjust in time and will become extinct, thus reducing the diversity and beauty of God’s natural creation, as well as causing permanent damage to the ecology of the earth.
“We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I am not sure that Dr.King was speaking about climate change, but the words from the great moral leader of our time are so relevant to our situation. If we are people who strive to follow the words and actions of Jesus we must act now to turn this around. How can we possibly justify not taking action? What would we say to future generations that could possibly justify our inaction? There are no good answers to that question.
The world has warmed more than one degree Celsius since the Industrial Revolution. The Paris Climate Agreement hoped to restrict warming to two degrees. The odds of succeeding, according to a recent study based on current emissions trends, are 1 in 20. The climate scientist James Hansen has called two-degree warming “a prescription for long-term disaster.” Long-term disaster is now the best -case scenario. 
The scientific predictions are that as ice melts on Antarctica and Greenland, sea levels will rise as much as four feet, thus displacing millions of persons who live and work and grow food near the coasts. Low-lying countries such as Bangladesh will lose most of their land mass, islands in the Pacific will disappear, and coastal marshes such as The Everglades in South Florida will be under sea water. The number of refugees will multiply rapidly.
Our Earth home is a finite and fragile planet like no other. Are we doing our best to be stewards of our Earth or are we the destroyers of our home? We are both. We need to be leaders in this struggle, as caring loving people of faith, and be truly stewards.
Catherine Kessler, Skyline Church Green Team Chair.
From the UCC Website, here is a list of practices for individual action:
Links and Resources
 NYTimes Magazine,Losing Earth:The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change, by Nathaniel Rich,August 1,2018.
Nueva Esperanza Preschool works to prepare immigrant and refugee children from the indigenous Guatemalan Mam culture, ages 3-5, to enter U.S. schools at the Kindergarten/First Grade level with at least average levels of expected knowledge that will enable them to receive and benefit from the curriculum in kindergarten. The school was awarded one of sixteen grants for $1000 each, sponsored by the UCC Humanitarian & Development Ministries (One Great Hour of Sharing) and the UCC Keep Families Together Campaign.
Mirtha Ninayahuar: “Thank you very much for awarding the grant for our Nueva Esperanza Sunday Preschool. It’s such a blessing to receive the grant. Here (at left) are some of our preschool students with their Easter bags that Skyline Church assembled for them. With the grant, the preschool volunteers will work with the children on the English language, early literacy concepts, early math concepts, and names of colors and shapes. Funds are used for healthful snacks, writing/coloring paper, toothbrush kits, books and book bags, and backpacks with school supplies for graduating children. The funds will also purchase learning toys such as playdough and puzzles, and project materials such as folders. Also as volunteers are always needed, we are considering a small stipend for church teens to help during the 2 hour class.”
Founding of the preschool: In 2015 the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity Rev. Deborah Lee, Skyline Co-chair of Justice & Witness Mirtha Ninayahuar, First Congregational Church of Berkley (FCCB) member Dr. Victoria Purcell- Gates, and Iglesia de Dios Pastor Adolfo Gomez started the preschool with a grant from the Rainin Foundation.
Volunteers come from the three establishing entities and the secular community. Currently the preschool has $947 available from FCCB Justice & Service Ministry grant. Volunteers sometimes donate snacks and class materials. Currently we have 5 volunteers who come at least twice/month and about 5 who come less regularly.
Rev. Dr. Mary Schaller Blaufuss, Team Leader,UCC Humanitarian & Development Ministries:
“Thank you so much for submitting the application for a UCC Keep Families Together grant. We are pleased to award this and are grateful that the wider church can have at least a small role in your vital ministries with the Nueva Esperanza Sunday Preschool. It sounds like you are engaged in ways that help children know they are loved and welcomed and that also provide leadership opportunities for your church teens. Thank you again for your important work.”