Oakland church

Author Archive for Nancy Montier

Celebrate and Say Farewell to Chris and Lee Rutter

Next Sunday, Jan 28, 10 a.m. Reception, from 11 – 1 pm! 

Featuring: Chris & Lee who will be moving to Redding California to begin a new life! Next Sunday is their last Sunday before moving!  

  • Let’s celebrate them with food, drinks, stories, songs, poetry, and love!
  • You will have opportunities to share your affirmations in writing or in person with Chris and Lee 

To help food planning, please RSVP to Catherine – via the office at 510-531-8212; office@skylineucc.org.  But if you forget, please come – we want you there!

Planning team:

Catherine Kessler , Nancy Taylor, Tom Manley, Carolyn Noble, Pastor Laurie 

Skyline Votes on Becoming a Sanctuary Church

Congregational Meeting to Consider Sanctuary Movement Vote

Sun, Jan 21 • 11:30 am

When an immigrant resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the immigrant. The immigrant who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the immigrant as yourself, for you were an immigrant in the land of Egypt. (Jewish and Christian Tradition, Leviticus 19:33-34)

Dear Ones, 

The Church Council has called a meeting of the congregation on Sunday, Jan 21 at 11:30 am to formally establish Skyline Church, United Church of Christ as a Sanctuary Congregation.

I want to extend my deepest thanks to the leadership and dedication of Mirtha Ninayahuar, and Nancy Taylor. 

The meeting will take place in the Sanctuary immediately following the 10 am service. During the past year, the council and the congregation heard from members of the Planning Team for the Sanctuary Movement about what declaring itself as a “Sanctuary Congregation” would mean for Skyline. 
Evolving Definition of Sanctuary 

The Sanctuary Movement, which began in the 1980s, is experiencing a resurgence. But today it has a slightly different meaning. Originally it was a movement of churches and political activists to shelter Central American refugees fleeing civil conflict and trying to avoid deportation. It has since expanded to “a broader range of thinking by faith communities as to how they can be helpful to communities of undocumented persons.” See this description below, which includes the 4 categories of being a sanctuary.  Here are sanctuary activities Skyline is already involved in.


 Some churches are part of the movement by offering resources, such as food and supplies, while others will provide education and advocacy and accompaniment, and still others, rapid response, and still others, housing for undocumented persons. Any one or more of these 4 categories constitutes being a sanctuary church. We are involved in all areas except providing physical housing. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. Would we be breaking the law? “There is a law against bringing in and harboring persons not authorized to be in the U.S. (INA Sec.274). Some courts have interpreted harboring to require concealment of a person, when we declare Sanctuary for an individual we are bringing them into the light of the community, not concealing them in the dark of secrecy (U.S. V Costello, 66 F.3d 1040, 7th Cir. 2012). Other courts have interpreted harboring to be simple sheltering (U.S. V Acosta de Evans, 531 F.2d 428 (9th Cir. 1976)… To date no one has ever been arrested for offering Sanctuary.” – From the New Sanctuary Toolkit 
  2. What prevents ICE from entering a church to execute a deportation order? There is nothing that categorically prevents ICE from entering a church, however there is an existing Memo (https://www.ice.gov/doclib/ero-outreach/pdf/10029.2-policy.pdf) that advises officers and agents to avoid “sensitive locations” including schools, hospitals, churches, and the site of a public demonstration. 
  3. Why not just keep on doing service, why bother voting?   Voting offers political strength to the cities of Berkeley and Oakland, as well as to the state of California that have voted to become sanctuary. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/california-sanctuary-state_us_59ce7423e4b05f005d341453  Voting represents another form of spiritual courage and resistance to laws which punish hardworking civic minded people who are contributing to our cities and states. 
  4. Who are the members of the Sanctuary Movement Planning Team?
    Contact Mirtha Ninayahuar, Nancy Taylor, Rev Laurie Manning 
  5. What other faith congregations in the Bay area are sanctuary?  http://www.im4humanintegrity.org/sanctuary-map-northern-california/
  6. Other Resources?
    1. Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
    2. United Church of Christ Resources on Sanctuary
    3. National Sanctuary website and toolkit

 We look forward to your attendance at this important milestone in Skyline’s history on January 21 at 11:15 AM

Thank you,

Pastor Laurie



Sanctuary Activities Skyline is Involved In

Some of the Sanctuary Activities Skyline is Already Involved In – By Mirtha Ninayahuar)

Examples Accompaniment, Advocacy, and Rapid Response work


I have accompanied Guatemalan mother and daughter for the last 2 years. We’ve built a strong and caring relationship. I visit or contact the family monthly to see how they are. I assisted them with finding urgent dental care for daughter. I act as liaison between school teacher and non-English speaking mother. I drop off items needed such as a bed, groceries, school materials. We went on picnic with other accompaniment families. I took her to court appointment and found that she and her daughter had been granted asylum. 

I’m a volunteer for Court Accompaniment. Went to Immigration court in San Francisco with a mother and her toddler son and after we went to breakfast. I went to S.F. Immigration Court in support of a father separated from his pregnant wife and children, one of the children having special medical needs. Shared the experience with other volunteers so we can learn from one another on what to expect at the court.

I’ve been a volunteer Sunday  Nueva Esperanza preschool teacher for more than a year at Guatemalan Mam Church, with Nancy Taylor.

Skyline Church families decorated Easter bags and filled them with toys and healthful snacks. E’lijah, Skyline Youth Director, Pastor Laurie and Nancy Taylor delivered the bags to the Nueva Esperanza Preschool and visited with the children.

David G. and his daughter came to the Nueva Esperanza Preschool to do an art project with the children. David made animal themed hats for all the children, too.

Suzie H. volunteered as a preschool teacher at the Nueva Esperanza Preschool.

Skyline Church supports Sanctuary by donating food, toys, and clothes to immigrant/refugees in Oakland via Iglesias Presbyterian on High Street and Guatemalan Mam Church on Farnam Street in Fruitvale area.


Requested Skyline Church to vote on signing an electronic petition to denounce the holding of undocumented families in for-profit inhospitable detention centers. Congregation voted to approve signing petition. Congregations support is of more impact than an individual signing. Skyline hosted movie/potluck and to educate and discuss the root causes of migration from Central America.

I continue to sign electronic petitions in support of the immigrant community. Nancy Taylor and I joined caravan to Sacramento to lobby for Ca Sanctuary State Bill. Nancy collected signatures in support of bill.

For many months participated in the 120 Montgomery SF Immigration Court Vigils with placards to bring attention to the plight of the refugees. Also handed out stuffed toys and snacks to children entering the court building.

Participate in monthly interfaith vigils at West Count Detention Facility to support immigrant detainees. Recently I’ve been asked to welcome people visiting the detention facility and ask if they would join the vigil and if they have any prayer requests.

Participated in Holy Thursday/Passover Foot Washing Ceremony at Immigration Customs and Enforcement Building in San Francisco. Religious Leaders washed the feet of immigrants and children from local congregations/community organizations. Some shared testimony of their hardships getting here. The washing ritual symbolizes respect, humility, servanthood and the ways in which we are to treat our fellow human beings with respect and love, without prejudice as to where they come from. Clergy, religious leaders and lay leaders, immigrant janitors (diverse ethnic group) members of SEIU Local 87, immigrant domestic workers from Mujeres Unidas y Activas were some in attendance as well as media.

 Participated in the same foot washing ritual last year in front of SF City Hall.

Acted in skit for International Immigrants Day held a Fruitvale BART bringing attention to story of son forced to leave his family and country to help his family survive. Photos of missing immigrants posted for mothers’ in search of their children.

I participated in Vigil at Santa Rita Jail to pray and show support against the expansion of jail and to bring attention to lack of due process for undocumented detainees.

Networks of Protection & Rapid Response

Nancy Taylor and I have signed up to be in network made up of many organizations under Bay Resistance. (https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-up-for-updates-27) We are part of the mass text alert for when a presence of witnessing or public action may be needed to show support for those targeted by the new administration. Interfaith group has a public action scheduled in March as part of Resist Trump Tuesdays.


Inquirer’s Gathering

Sun, Jan 28, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

We hope that you are enjoying Skyline’s welcome! Are you interested in putting down some spiritual roots at Skyline? Are you considering becoming a member or official friend of the church? Come learn more about the United Church of Christ, , Skyline and how to get involved at this comfortable gathering. You will meet Pastor Laurie and others and have time to ask questions. Anyone interested in learning more about the church is encouraged to attend, whether or not you decide to join.

If you want to take the next step in your journey with Skyline, come enjoy lunch, conversation, and a presentation on who we are and how you might fit in.  Childcare will be provided.

Pastor Laurie (421-2646)   revlauriemanning@aol.com 

MLK Sunday – a Drum Major for Justice

50 yrs ago the Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr. preached his last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church before his assassination. It is a remarkable sermon. In it, he discusses his own death and how he wanted to be remembered. In addition, he skillfully used the “Drum Major Instinct” theme – “thinking that you are somebody big because you are white” – to offer a deep critique of contemporary culture and an inspired, practical vision for living the Gospel. Specifically, he critiqued the dangerous down-side of the drum major instinct. He addresses white supremacy, racism, economic injustice and war.

Like so many of his sermons, this one has incredible relevance for us today, the year after an election in which various forms of the drum major instinct are on parade all across our nation.  It is also what makes the message King brings home so poignant: the call of the Gospel to be a drum major for justice and peace, a drum major for serving humanity, that we may “make of this old world a new world.”

Join us this Sunday, as we listen to the prophetic voice of Dr King, 50 yrs later.

I share with you an excerpt from his sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church:

… And when we were in jail in Birmingham the other day, the white wardens and all enjoyed coming around the cell to talk about the race problem. And they were showing us where we were so wrong demonstrating. And they were showing us where segregation was so right. And they were showing us where intermarriage was so wrong. …And then we got down one day to the point—that was the second or third day—to talk about where they lived, and how much they were earning. And when those brothers told me what they were earning, I said, “Now, you know what? You ought to be marching with us. [laughter] You’re just as poor as Negroes.” And I said, “You are put in the position of supporting your oppressor, because through prejudice and blindness, you fail to see that the same forces that oppress Negroes in American society oppress poor white people. (Yes) And all you are living on is the satisfaction of your skin being white, and the drum major instinct of thinking that you are somebody big because you are white. And you’re so poor you can’t send your children to school. You ought to be out here marching with every one of us every time we have a march.”

Now that’s a fact. That the poor white has been put into this position, where through blindness and prejudice, (Make it plain) he is forced to support his oppressors. And the only thing he has going for him is the false feeling that he’s superior because his skin is white—and can’t hardly eat and make his ends meet week in and week out. (Amen)

Delivered February 4, 1968.  listen to the audio.

“Love After Love”

This Sunday, very much related to this theme of living waters, we renew our baptismal vows and connect deeply with  the truth that we are God’s beloved. Related to this theme, I offer you this poem, by Nobel Prize winner for literature, Derek Walcott, entitled “Love after Love”.

May the rains renew your souls this week.

Blessings, Pastor Laurie 

Love After Love by Derek Walcott
The time will come 
when, with elation 
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror 
and each will smile at the other’s welcome, 

and say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 
for another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 
peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit. Feast on your life.

Let This Be a Year of Greater Awe and Kindness

As a new year begins, we turn inward to reflect about the state of our lives:

  • What lessons have we learned in the past year and which new ones now call us forward?
  • To whom do we still owe an apology or expression of thanks?
  • And with whom must we draw fresh boundaries?

As we pause from our regular rhythms of rush-rush-rush, we open ourselves to new perspectives and possibilities. We give thanks for these moments and for the wisdom they afford us. May they help bring us together in the sacred dynamics of life so that we—as individuals and as members of this community—might reach our full potential.

As we step across this threshold, let this new year be a year of greater awe and gratitude, deeper kindness and acceptance, and more courageous acts of conviction.

For a kinder, more equitable and sustainable world is not only possible, she is on her way. And in the quietness of this sacred community, we can even hear her breathing.

Now Is the Season of Lights!

Lights are kindled in the long dark of the winter night, the same fires our forbearers lit in hope and faith that, in time, the sun would return to warm the earth.

Now is the season of lights—Diwali, Chanukah, Tazaungdaing, St. Lucia’s Day, Loi Krathong, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Yule, and Christmas. Every Sunday morning in worship we begin by lighting candles, symbols of our hope and our faith.  In this season of waiting we light more candles to remind us that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.  Across cultures fire signals divine power and knowledge, witness, sacrifice, purification & illumination,  courage, curiosity, and the quest for justice.

I encourage you this week, as we prepare a space within our hearts for the light of Christmas,  to take a quiet moment to simply behold

  • Behold the beauty of candlelight
  • Behold the wonder of the stars in the heavens at night
  • Behold the preciousness of love

Blessings and peace be with you,

Pastor Laurie

The season of Christmas is Upon Us!

It’s beginning to feel like the season of Christmas is upon us! 

This Sat, Dec 16th  from 10 – 12 noon, Mini- Workday! we will hold a mini-workday, co-sponsored by the Green team and Spiritual life, to put lights up on the buildings and to hoist the paper cut banner and prepare the communion table, luminary,  and candelabras for Christmas. Join us – get some exercise and have some fun!

Next Tuesday, December 19th, we deliver gifts from the church and the preschool to homeless children, as a reminder of the Christ child, born in a stable, the humblest of beginnings. Thank you to so many of you who have purchased a gift for a homeless child. We invite you to join us to deliver these gifts, share a meal, and sing holiday carols. 
It’s a wonderful experience for people of all ages, especially children. I welcome you to join me, Santa, Santa’s helper, and many others as we celebrate with these families! Meet at Skyline at 5:30 pm or join us at the Matilda Cleveland clinic on 8314 MacArthur Blvd at 6:30 pm to sing Christmas carols and share some dessert!!

On Wednesday, December 20th 7 – 8 pm, we host a special preschool holiday celebration  at Skyline. If you haven’t attended before, it’s heartwarming and inspiring!

And of course, on Sunday, December 24, we will hold two very different services: 

May the Spirit of hope, and new life, fill your hearts!

Blessings, Pastor Laurie 

Advent-2nd Sunday: Isaiah “…the glory of the Lord shall be revealed”

This week our Advent themes continue, echoing the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”.

On Saturday, December 9th from 4-5 pm, we remember all those killed and injured in mass shootings in this country in the 5 years since the Newtown, Connecticut school tragedy.  

On Sunday, Dec 10th, following worship Mirtha Ninayahuar will present highlights from her trip to the Arizona/Mexico border. She will share with us about the growing humanitarian crisis happening at our southern border.  More information is included below! 

Childcare is provided for both events, and all are welcome!

Blessings in this season of finding our way through the wilderness, to be reunited in love.