Oakland church

Archive for Our Church

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
    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
    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:
    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


“i carry your heart with me”

Welcoming Oakland ChurchMother’s day is coming up, and with it, a mountain of expectations about what our experience “should” be. But what’s the truth about motherhood? There is no perfect mother.

One of my favorite poems by ee cummings  is entitled “I carry your heart with me”. I like to think of it as God’s love poem to each one of us, filling that existential void within us all, to be carried forever in perfect  love. I also think of it as a poem that describes our calling individually and collectively, as people of faith, to love with all of our hearts as fully as we can, not just our immediate families and friends, but especially those Jesus described as “ the least of these”. I am sharing a few photos of us as a faith community, embodying this love in action. 

Join us this Sunday,  in honoring the life changing, life giving power of love.

              Blessings, Pastor Laurie 

 ee cummings..  [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in

my heart) i am never without it (anywhere

i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

                                                      i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you


here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart


i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)


Pastor Laurie’s and Skyline’s 10 Year Anniversary Together

img_4583Dear Skyline..

Thank you so much, everyone, for celebrating our 10 years together; with me in all my Laurie Manning-ness, serving as your pastor here at Skyline. I must confess that I had some trepidation about this celebration, imagining that it would be a roast since you certainly have a lot of material to draw from! My sisters also offered to provide additional information for the roast, but I assured them that you had more than enough stories to draw from. 

Instead, I was showered with love, affirmation, celebration, and even a mayoral decree – that Oct 23rd 2016, is “Rev Laurie J Manning Day, in the City of Oakland.  I now have one helluva feast day! I share it with James of Jerusalem.  Not bad!img_4588

Special thanks to the organizers of this celebration – Marilyn Shaw, Susie Harris, Nancy Taylor, Becky Taylor (not sisters), and our office manager, Nancy Montier! 

Thank you each & everyone of you, because without you, & without your love, I couldn’t do this!

10 years…our diamond anniversary.  As you know, diamonds begin as rough ugly pieces of coal forged by heat & pressure deep within the earth. We’ve been through a lot of heat & pressure together: the challenges of the great recession, and the wind & fire of the ever reforming Great Holy Spirit to name just a couple!  And what is emerging is a uniquely precious & brilliant gem, Skyline,  that radiates such beautiful color & light.

I’m remembering so well the lofty language of our covenant together when you  called me as your pastor…

“We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, inspired to run with perseverance the race that is set before us, guided by the Holy Spirit… You called me as your pastor and teacher, in this covenantal relationship, in a mutual ministry, to serve with diligence, faithfulness, & courage…”

Together we ran, through the many challenges of ministry:

  • Together we solved the great mysteries… mysteries like why ARE we losing so much water here at Skyline?  Together, guided by the keen analysis of our green team, we discovered, one Friday evening, that hose draped over the preschool fence, that led down, down, down, into the ravine, & over to a stream, & deeper into the forest to the pot farm, watering 1800 thirsty marijuana plants!
  • Together we performed miracles, surviving 10 Christmas & Easter services, with an organ that had been put on the Do Not Resuscitate list many years ago.

I have so many memories with you:

  • Of very challenging times:  Doing all we could to keep our little boat afloat in the great recession
  • Of sad & painful times: Memories of loved ones who have moved, & memories of loved ones who have died, & who are forever with us in spirit.

img_4593And I have some hysterically funny memories. of what can happen when a Pastor forgets to turn off the microphone  before the end of a service… as happened to me one fateful Sunday:

Just after I had finished the solemn Passion Sunday service, finishing in silence with the words, “and they laid him in his tomb, and rolled the stone in front of the tomb”..

.. ever so quietly I carried the Christ candle out of the sanctuary.. leaving the congregation in utter silence, inviting the congregation to meditate on these words in the sanctuary of their hearts and minds.. … when suddenly, as I stepped outside, & looked into the courtyard, there I spotted Steve, the dove guy, who had recently suffered a concussion, with his many cages with 20 squawking homing pigeons, there a week early, ready to release them for Easter Sunday. .. but it’s Passion week..

Over the mike, the congregation overhead my voice… ..

OMG… what are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be here.. Quick.. hide.. before anyone sees you! come on … hurry up! We want this to be a surprise!

Immediately, several choir members, come running out, saying, “Pastor Laurie, shut off your mike”.. and I look down, still holding the Christ candle, and a lock of my long hair, touches the flame, & is set ablaze by the Christ candle..  and I exclaimed a few words to Jesus that I’m glad that no one heard over the PA system!

But above all, I remember and cherish the love and respect & positive difference we make, in so many ways, in the world.

Happy anniversary, to my dear sisters and brothers on the journey. I love you.

We’re a love puddle.. a small but mighty love puddle…The countless, daily miracles of love….from the banquet of delicious food prepared each Sunday by one of us, to visits to those who are in grief or recovering from surgeries,  to being part of saving 33 yr old mother, Elizabeth Hobbie’s life.

A love puddle..  a small but mighty love puddle… that pours out beyond the walls of our sanctuary into Oakland.. Much like the parable of the multiplication of the loaves & fishes, we transformed  a generous gift from the Jim Manley/Bruce Kahn fund, into a corporate matching challenge, w/ACCFB, amassing $75K for the food bank, & with their purchasing power, provided over $500K in fresh healthy food for local families in need.

A love puddle.. seeking to save our precious planet.. a powerful voice in seeking to end climate change, from embodying best practices here at Skyline in our grounds management, to our leadership in banning fracking and keeping coal out of the port of Oakland.

A love puddle in partnerships:  partnering in fellowship & justice with our preschool families, we sing carols to elderly seniors, & bring gifts to homeless children at EOCP.  And partnering with OEBGMC to rise & shine each Easter sunrise.

Our little love puddle has stood as powerful voice for LGBTQ people through Prop 8, through Marriage equality, & more recently, through our fabulous Parade contingent as part of Oakland Pride, through Coming out Sunday, and through a vigil for the victims of the Orlando massacre.

Our little  love puddle has spanned the oceans… Rebuilding hope in the hometown village of Sentho Kilgore, in Makrommray, Sierra Leone, after the destruction as a result of the civil war in that country. We built a school and a library, and every year we helped to fund 5-6 school teachers for over 400 children through our yearly bike fundraisers led by Marilyn Shaw.

Co-leading the movement w/in our denomination’s NCNCUCC conference to become a Jubilee conference to fight for global debt relief for the world’s poorest countries, and to reform unjust banking and tax laws.

How we have loved one another, in this love puddle, called Skyline Community Church, where all are welcome, ALL God’s creatures.. right Rhea??

  • I give thanks to God for each one of you.. your diligence, faithfulness and courage
  • Your sense of humor for all that we have learned together
  • For the positive difference we have made in the world.

So let us go forth, yes, in this time and place, & open ourselves to the transforming power of heavenly love,  that we may continue to let our light shine brightly..

Happy anniversary, to my dear sisters and brothers on the journey.. I love you.

Blessings, Pastor Laurie

Connecting Through Stories: Rev. Diane Weible

rev diane weible 400xNov 15th… “Welcoming Our Conference Minister”

This Sunday our new Conference Minister, Rev. Diane Weible, will be visiting our church as our guest preacher.  I look forward to this chance for all of us to connect with our wider faith community and beyond. Diane is interested in sharing stories – stories from the people who make up the churches of our Northern California and Nevada Conference. 

Following the service all are welcome to a time of fellowship and conversation about building deeper connections within the conference.  

Rev. Diane is also interested in facilitating deeper connections between people and between church communities, both through face to face contact as well as through social media.

Not only will her visit be a great opportunity for us to tell her our stories but it will also be an opportunity to listen to her stories about what is going on in our Conference as well as her hopes and vision for our future. Here’s a glimpse of what’s happened recently, and what’s planned.

If you’d like to sign up for the weekly NCNC newsletter, please click here.

In addition, on Nov 15th we honor Jubilee Sunday, with the theme, “Let There be Light”, urging transparency in our financial institutions, and the IMF in particular. 

Blessings, Pastor Laurie 

September Highlights and High Light!

It’s Homecoming Sunday! Our choir begins, worship will be wonderful, and afterwards we’re joining together for a BBQ featuring a Bounce House for the children and young at heart! Bring your friends, your family, and your appetites!

pride2015-Boyd photo everyone by car smallIn addition, our contingent who proudly represented Skyline at Oakland’s Pride Parade this past Sunday, will be bringing the parade home to us this week in songs, stories, and pictures including more like the ones in this email!

Those of you with a passion for the planet, please mark your calendars for:

* Wednesday, Sept 23,  6:30 am & 6:30 pm  for our interfaith climate change vigils, on the eve of the Pope’s historic visit to the US Congress, and on the eve of Yom Kippur, a time to atone for our injury of the earth, and to join together in its healing.  Our Green team is sponsoring this special event in partnership with California Interfaith Power and Light and the newly formed Alameda County Interfaith action group who spent the summer reading the Pope’s encyclical. If you’d like to learn more, or get involved, join us for our planning session this Wednesday at 7 pm or contact Pastor Laurie.

* Sunday, Sept 27th 3 pm Blessing of the Animals, featuring talks from Oakland Zoo giraffe specialist and Veterinarian Dr Jenny Taylor. If you’d like to learn more, or get involved, please review the attached press release, and contact Pastor Laurie.

Those of you with a passion for Skyline, and want to learn more:  * Mark your calendars for Sunday Sept 27th  from 11:30 – 12:30 for our Inquirer’s Session. A chance to meet with pastor Laurie and others to explore who we are, and what we’re seeking on our spiritual journeys.

In addition, I encourage you to read on about these urgent justice issues.


Pastor Lauire

Skyline Annual Meeting Highlights

We had an inspiring annual meeting last Sunday, June 28.  We thanked last year’s officers, celebrated our many accomplishments, and covenanted with this year’s newly elected council members and officers.

6-29-15 Walter Jones 6-29-15 new council 2
6-29-15 old council with certificatesSpecial thanks to our dedicated council members for their many contributions, and let’s welcome our new officers!

Our next council meeting is Thursday, July 16th at 7 pm, and all are welcome!

For more information about annual meeting, please click here: http://w ww.skylineucc.org/community/church-members/6-29-15 annual meeting slide 

Here’s the new Skyline Community Church Council and Service Team Chairs!

 6-29-15 counting votes

How is Skyline Community Church Run?

Find out more at our Annual Meeting! Sunday, June 28th

Each year on the last Sunday in June Skyline Community Church holds its Annual Meeting. The community gathers for worship at 10 am and then has lunch afterwards. Officers and committee members are elected, accomplishments and goals are highlighted, the budget is voted upon, and we celebrate the transition of leadership and changes in the congregation.

Prior to the meeting, we encourage you to come prepared by reviewing our proposed budget, our narrative budget and our slideshow. They provide a good orientation to the church and gives a wide view of the activities of the church. This information is available on our members section of the website. https://skylineucc.org/community/church-members/ (password is in the newsletter or contact Pastor Laurie or the Office (510-531-8212))

“Congregational Polity”

In the United Church of Christ (UCC), congregations have a high degree of authority to make basic decisions about that way they run themselves. This is referred to as “congregational polity.” Congregations manage their own financial affairs and hire clergy and other staff. Congregations are in “covenantal” relationships with the other settings of church organization. The church is part of an “association” (in Skyline’s case, the Bay Association), which when combined together are “conferences”(Northern California Nevada Conference). The national setting of the UCC is located primarily in Cleveland, Ohio.

The relationships between Skyline Church and the other settings of the denomination are cooperative and mutually beneficial. While our church gets to choose our ministerial staff, it is the association that has the power to ordain clergy, and the conference partners with local churches in the process of supporting and developing church leadership.

The national setting of the church provides leadership and services and organizes a national meeting called General Synod every two years, where church members from throughout the denomination gather for worship, education, debate and action.

The church supports the conference and the national setting financially as well.


The church, like many organizations is governed under a set of bylaws, which are available on the members page of our website.  https://skylineucc.org/community/church-members/.

Church Council

Skyline has an elected Church Council who serve on the council along with the church officers (Moderator, Vice Moderator, Treasurer and Scribe) and At-Large members. Several members of staff, including our Pastor, meet with the Council with voice without vote. Members of the Council are raised up by the Nominating Committee of Involvement and elected by the congregation at the Annual Meeting in June. For details about last year’s council and this year’s proposed council, please see the powerpoint slides listed in the members page of our website.  https://skylineucc.org/community/church-members/

 See you this Sunday!


Current Volunteer Schedule

Current Volunteer Schedule January – July 2020, last updated 3-12-20

Thank You for your time and talents!



Pastor Laurie at Northern Ca Nv Conference Annual Meeting

Hi, Friends,

In the spirit true congregationalism, from Thursday the 11th- Sunday the 14th , I will be meeting with over 300 delegates at our UCC Northern California Nevada Conference Annual Meeting in Sonoma.

Among the highlights, in addition to being in wine country, we will hear from PSR’s new president, David Vasquez-Levy, and Diane Weible, our new conference minister.

In addition, we will vote upon resolutions to be considered by our national denomination next month.

Among the topics we will be addressing are justice issues, and I will be presenting a resolution to strengthen our relationship with Jubilee USA.

To learn more, please see UCC’s justice programs and Jubilee USA.

Blessings and Peace, and see you next week!
Pastor Laurie


Skyline is Spiritual but not Religious

A Christian evangelical social research company recently surveyed young adult non-Christians on their attitudes toward Christianity.

  • 91%  said Christians are anti-gayboy meditating and sun
  • 87 % said Christians are judgmental
  • 85%, said they’re hypocritical
  • 78 % said they’re old fashioned
  • 72% said they’re out of touch with reality
  • 70% said they’re insensitive to others
  • 75% said Christians are too involved in politics, but the politics they’re talking about are not the politics of peacemaking or justice-making.  They’re talking about the anti-politics: anti-abortion, anti-gay-rights, anti-science.

No wonder people are spiritual but not religious!

Presbyterian pastor and social worker N. Graham Standish observes that the spiritual but not religious—he calls them SBNR for short—share several attributes: 

  1. they are “skeptical of hard and fast theological constructs about God.”  …they “tend to be post-modern, and thus are extremely suspicious of any ultimate truth claims.”
  2. the SBNR are willing to listen to all sides . . . “they want to consider religious and theological beliefs from a variety of perspectives.”
  3. they want to experience what’s true rather than be told what is true. . . . “they want to learn truth by touching it, smelling it, and tasting it.” 
  4. “SBNR folks tend to be sensitive to any form of hypocrisy, especially moralizing hypocrisy. When they see priest or pastor scandals in the face of the church’s obsession with homosexuality, they get turned off.”
  5. they are cautious about being identified too much with a religion. They see the “practice of religion as inhibiting the pursuit of the spiritual . . . .”

Do you know anybody who fits this SBNR description? Sounds like us! Come join us, as the power of the Holy Spirit continues transforming us in the ways of life! 

Also, Sunday June 7th – we celebrate our grads of all ages, including a procession to pomp and circumstance! Let us know who you are! 

Anyone up for a summer barbecue and family picnic on an upcoming Sunday after church? Let me know!! 

       Peace, Pastor Laurie