I hope that you are doing well, what a time to be alive, and advocating for the rights of undocumented people! As you are well aware, the ongoing plight of immigrants at the border, especially children is heartbreaking and sickening, and is growing worse. Then there’s also the upcoming ICE raids planned in a few weeks. We want to do something, and wanting to pool together ideas, resources, and responses. You’ve probably seen this: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/24/opinion/border-kids-immigration-help.html
What’s the Center for Human Integrity’s response, and how can we be of support, locally?
Here is our eblast where we are trying to direct people to act. It would be good for congregations to get together – hold an event – to discuss and learn more, watch a film. What is happening is not new, but is being exploited to an all new level. Good for people to think about what they can do longterm – like support housing needs, creatively in the parking lot or congregations, or congregation members homes.
Also Donations are needed locally- as we are constantly getting requests for new arrivals – and have our emergency housing fund. Once they are able to move out of the terrible camps at the border. They are coming to cities like ours across the country with little or no help and infrastructure.
We are all concerned about the deplorable detention of children, and the President’s threat of immigration raids. Once again, he has created a hostage crisis. Now threatening to resume immigration raids in two weeks unless Congress approves a spending bill of $4.5 billion that would worsen the crisis he has created. The harm is felt across our communities, so we invite you to breathe and remember the power and strength we’ve been building in the local community. This violence is not isolated only to immigrants, but it is also practiced on other communities by recent policies: Muslims, Jews, Women of Color, Transgendered folks, Indigenous, African American, and more.
We invite you to join us in acts that lift up our faith values:
We must practice collective responsibility by addressing the root causes of social problems.
We are interconnected and accountable for one another.
CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS
Congress is in the midst of negotiating the two versions of the spending bill. It is critical that you contact your U.S. Congressperson’s office immediately. Click here to find your congress representative.
They need to hear your faith values that upholds the sanctity of all!
No more funding for ICE, detention, and enforcement.
Divest from all programs that criminalize and incarcerate immigrants.
Release all those detained to their families and communities.
Invest in alternatives that focus on integration of immigrants.
End contracts with private corporations.
JOIN UPCOMING EVENTS at IM4H
In addition to participating in local actions to express outrage and concern; we invite you to join us over the next few weeks to strengthen your faith, deepen our connection to each other, and mend the past, in order to transform our future!
August 10th, 7pm, Faith Reflection on Reparations: Led by Kehilla Community Synagogue, Chochmat HaLev, and IM4HI. More details to come.
TURNING OUR ANGER AND FEAR INTO ACTION
With the announcement last week, that several major U.S. cities would be terrorized by the cruel machine known as ICE, our family was once again forced to imagine what it would be like if we were separated and what our plan of action would be if this actually happened. READ FULL ARTICLE HERE
For resources about detention and deportation please click here
When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:33-34
May is here. May 1st marks, for many people of the world, International Workers Day, also known as Labor Day, a time of honoring and advocating for laborers and working class people. Relatedly, May 6th is Immigrant Rights Day to champion the rights and contributions of immigrants as a vital part of our country, especially here in California and in Oakland.
Celebrations on May 1 have long had two, seemingly contradictory meanings. On one hand, May Day is known for maypoles, flowers and welcoming the spring. On the other hand, it’s a day of worker solidarity and protest. Though the U.S. observes its official Labor Day in September, many countries will celebrate Labor Day on Wednesday. I’d like to share with you an article that reflects on the bloody history of this day.
Come and learn more about how we can become better friends and advocates as a sanctuary congregation and a justice faith community. For example, supporting the children of Guatemala and their families through the Nueva Esperanza preschool; advocating for those held in detention centers and for children separated from their parents at the borders; and advocating for living wages, affordable housing, education and healthcare for all people.
Teaching stories of faith to our children! Volunteer Opportunity!
Rev. Sheryl Johnson will be leaving Skyline for a much larger children, youth director position at the San Mateo UCC Church in late May. She is very grateful for her time at Skyline and will miss the Skyline community a lot!
Her last Sunday will be Sunday, May 19th and we will be celebrating her in worship.
We are currently looking for volunteers to lead the sessions (with the amazing support of Alegra in the multi-age group and Lucy helping out with pre-school aged kids) on May 26 and June 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30. Curriculum materials, lesson plans, and training/support will be provided. If you have never tried this before, this could be a great opportunity for you – it’s a great chance to get to know the kids and for the kids to get to know you!
We will also be providing a short orientation for both new and experienced volunteers on Sunday, May 19th after fellowship time, from 11:45 – 12:30 pm, to show you how to lead a typical session, how to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of this multi-age group, to learn more about what Allegra and Lucy’s roles are, and to share ideas on best practices.
Looking for Board Members- Alameda Health System Homeless Clinic Many of you know I am a Director of Nursing at Alameda Health System (Highland Hospital and clinics). We provide many services to the homeless population of Alameda County. As part of our role in the county and with the federal government, we are required to have a board that specifically addresses the needs of the homeless. It is a volunteer position with a three year term. If you are interested or have further questions, please let me know. Steve Kilgore, MSN, RN, contact through office 510-531-8212, firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Nursing, Ambulatory Alameda Health System
Volunteer to manage the donations basket in Friendship Room Skyline has a large drop-off basket for clothing donations from church & preschool in the Friendship Room. J&W team is seeking a volunteer to monitor it and take donations periodically to East Oakland Switchboard, BACS, or other worthy recipient(s). Contact Nancy Taylor: Michael Armijo, through office 510-531-8212, email@example.com
Support Immigrants, Refugees, Detainees The Skyline Justice and Witness Team invites you to volunteer to support these groups and organizations.
A Su Lado/ By Your Side is a one-day volunteer opportunity to accompany immigrants in need of community support at their immigration court hearings in San Francisco. Email Hugo at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Become a Sponsor for an Immigrant in a Detention Center Interested in helping release an immigrant from ICE detention that has recently arrived with a caravan? Please consider being a sponsor. Contact Samantha Vazquez for more information: email@example.com.
LGBTQ+ Sponsors: There’s a great need for sponsorship of LGBTQ+ individuals currently in ICE detention. Email Elaina Vermeulen, Transgender Detention Release Specialist for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friends Afuera (Outside) Join our Friends Afuera letter-writing program to write to those in detention at ICE facilities and donate to their commissary account once a month. Email us at: email@example.com
Compassion has no Walls Interfaith Immigration Vigils: Join our monthly vigils every 2nd Friday at ICE building, 630 Sansome Street, San Francisco from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm. Sponsored by Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity.
Urgent Need for Sponsors for Detained Transgender Asylum Seekers The Santa Fe Dreamer’s Project and collaborators seek parole sponsors for detained transgender women seeking asylum in the US. A sponsor provides financial support, space in home, help to obtain services, clothing etc., and community support. Find out how to sign up at http://tinyurl.com/skytransdetain. Contact Elaina Vermeulen, Transgender Detention Release Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org. J&W contacts: Mirtha Langewis-Ninayahuar and Nancy Taylor: contact through office 510-531-8212, email@example.com
Skyline Community Church, United Church of Christ Invites Oakland Community to Attend Easter Services
Come celebrate the Spirit of Easter where we welcome ALL of God’s people. Experience fabulous music and an inspiring message with a spectacular view of the Oakland Hills.
Good Friday Service: Friday, April 19, 7:00 PM
Our Music Director, Benjamin Mertz, and Reverend Laurie Manning lead an empowering, spiritually expansive candlelight, meditation and music service, in the Taize tradition. During the service, we will listen to and join in singing Taize chants, a form of meditative chant and silence, to quiet the mind, open the heart and feed the soul… time of quiet and solitude in the presence of God. A few words sung over and over again reinforce the meditative quality of prayer. All are welcome.
Easter Sunrise Service: April 21, 6:30 AM with OEBGMC
Rise and shine to the uplifting music of the Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus! Experience sunrise from our Sanctuary which rests on the summit of the Oakland hills and has windows spanning 30 feet high! As you look out on a stunningly beautiful view listen to inspiring preaching, heavenly music and feel welcomed into the warmth of a loving progressive and inclusive faith community.
Rev. Laurie says, “The music in this service sings out about a God of love, of freedom, of liberation… and that the world is more wonderful with the great diversity of all of humanity. This is good news!”
Easter Sunday Traditional Service: April 21, 10 AM
Skyline’s sanctuary windows overlook Redwood Park to Mt. Diablo Here we have a traditional Easter Service as a loving progressive and inclusive faith community. Rev. Laurie Manning , the choir and orchestra (directed by Benjamin Mertz) and the people fill the sanctuary with joy, celebration and love. Today’s service will have drama, singing, prayer, and a special honor garden for loved ones. And to top it off, all are welcome (especially families) to a family service that includes an Easter egg hunt for children of all ages: 12:00 noon.
Family Easter Egg Hunt: April 1, 12:00PM
Join families from our church and the neighborhood for a fun hour of learning and celebrating! Families of all configurations (we are an LGBTQ+ affirming church!) are invited!
We’ll gather at noon in the sanctuary to sing Easter songs, learn a bit about the Easter story (and how eggs are connected to it!), do some art, and participate in a service project for Nueva Esperanza, a preschool for immigrant children that our church helps to support.
Kids will also be invited (by age group) to participate in a (small) Easter egg hunt. Please bring your own basket/bag!
We also welcome you to join our community Easter service at 10 AM before the hunt, if you wish. We offer a children’s program for your little ones.
Skyline Church UCC is a community faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ. We acknowledge the worth of all beings, regardless of ability, age, ancestry, family or economic status, gender, sexual orientation, spiritual path, cultural origin, or any other visible or invisible difference. We invite all who wish to enter our Sanctuary and the full life of our church family. Ours is a God of justice and compassion, and our church lives in covenant with God to do its utmost to pursue justice and compassion, as an Open and Affirming congregation.
For more information please contact our office at:
Skyline Community Church, United Church of Christ 12540 Skyline Boulevard Oakland, CA 94619 510.531.8212
Lately, I hear myself thinking, “The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer”, especially when I read some of the insights from the Poor People’s campaign, a revival of Dr King’s vision, from 50 years ago: https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/demands/. (The Justice and Witness Team shares this event – A Poor People’s Hearing – contact Nancy Taylor about going),
Did you know that while the U.S. economy has grown 18-fold in the past 50 years, wealth inequality has expanded, the costs of living have increased, and social programs have been restructured and cut dramatically? It’s tempting to think that’s the way things are doomed to be.
I take comfort in our sacred scriptures that remind us of the way that God wants things to be, and why God gave ancient Israel laws about how the poor are to be treated: “These rights and obligations are also rooted in the goodness and justice of the created order”.
Well, we look around, and things often don’t resemble that beautiful created order much at all.
We are called to participate in the co-creation of a heavenly banquet, where everyone has a place at the table; where everyone has a roof over their head, to live more fully, more intentionally, in the “already” part of “already but not yet” nature of the Reign of God. “The shape of God’s future must shape our present.”
Members Tim Carter and David Guerra will present a fun, creative puppet drama this Sunday. It features several Martians visiting planet earth trying to understand what Thanksgiving and gratitude are. They discover it includes not only “abundance,” “food,” “pumpkin pie,” “cranberry sauce”, “pilgrim,” and “Indian,” but also…“turkey!!!”
They encounter a very upset giant turkey (Mr Tim Turkey), who helps them understand the deeper meaning of giving thanks!
Join us as we explore the deeper meaning of gratitude and Thanksgiving as an inter-generational community.
Bring your children and friends and your appetite for fun!
Also, at the service we are collecting pies for the Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless and non-perishable food donations to Alameda County Community Food Bank, so please share whatever abundance you can. Thank you!
Oakland Pride March, Sunday, September 9, 2018, 10:00 am: March Line-Up: 14th Street and Clay Street, Downtown Oakland
Pride Service, Sunday September 16, 2018, 10:00 am, Church Sanctuary, 12540 Skyline Boulevard, Oakland
Many of us have felt discouraged and uneasy due to the words and actions of the current White House Administration. Those of us in the LGBTQ communities, along with our allies, have particularly experienced concern about the increasingly divisive, bigoted, partisan rhetoric we hear on a daily basis.
The Pride season offers up an opportunity to feel connected, supported, energized and uplifted.
On September 9th, join us at 14th Street and Clay in Downtown Oakland, as we unite with our friends from the various United Church of Christ congregations in the Bay Area, for the 2018 Oakland Pride March. Families, children, pets, those of differing abilities, races, religions and statuses…. all are encouraged and welcome at this event.
On September 16th, make your way up the hill to our sanctuary at 12540 Skyline Boulevard for our annual Pride Sunday Service. We will celebrate the history of the resilient rainbow spirit and the unique gifts of the LGBTQ community and beyond, with special music and artistry from throughout our community.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world [or Oakland]. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Several months ago, challenged by the question, what more can Skyline church do about homelessness crisis in Oakland, we hosted the Pacific Boys Academy in a worship service/concert to benefit the homeless here in Oakland. We raised over $1300, and split the proceeds between St. Vincent de Paul and St. Mary’s. But even more, we raised awareness! Far more than we imagined!
One of the choir members, William, who’s also a 6th grader at Bentley school, was hugely inspired by this service. In particular, he was moved by the video I created, based on the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and set to the song, “What if God was One of Us?” William asked me that day to be his mentor on a Passion project for the homeless entitled, I See You. I said yes. So, the following Saturday, a group of us made sandwiches, visited the encampment at 12th and E 23rd and had conversations with some of the folks living there.
I remember one conversation in particular. We met a woman in her 60‘s, in a wheel chair because of her debilitating arthritis. She shared her story with us. She was a cancer survivor, had a daughter, who was a drug user, with four kids. With all the rains this past winter she came down with pneumonia and was hospitalized at Highland Hospital. She had been living in a tent with her husband for about a year. She and her husband became recipients of the first TuffShed on that encampment that very day.
Here’s what William is doing with his talents to help us to see this woman, and so many other men, women & children, here in Oakland.
He would like to have our support in investing wisely to support these families and in coordinating future visits to the encampment. Let me know if you’re interested in getting involved.
Thank you to William and his family, to the Bentley school, to Pacific Boy’s Academy, to Charlie and Aiden, and to Skyline, for recognizing our common humanity.
with love, Pastor Laurie
Here’s his email to me, which includes his Passion Project, video concert and request for support.
Hi Reverend Manning!
I wanted to let you know that my Passion Project for the homeless, “I See You!” is complete and went very well. Although I did not spend as much time as I wanted with you (totally my fault), you had a VERY BIG impact on my project. Seeing your presentation, sharing your videos and research with me, making sandwiches, and going to the homeless camp were all things that helped shape my project.
Attached is the actual PowerPoint presentation I gave to an audience of 100 people (I was very nervous!). Below is the “virtual concert” email I used to solicit funds for my project. I raised over $1,300 in cash and another $285 in gift cards to buy food and supplies for the homeless!
I promised those who gave me money that I would spend every dollar raised on food and supplies for the homeless. Can you help me identify/confirm a date and organize a delivery of food to the place we went before? I don’t think I can just show up with food 🤔. I also don’t think I can spend all of the money on one meal, so do you know of other homeless places that need food or supplies, or can I go back a few times?
Thank you so much again! I really appreciate your help and look forward to seeing you at church soon. We are coming back. When we were doing research to make my PowerPoint presentation, my Mom saw that you used to be at Riverside Church in New York. That is her old church and she is pretty sure she remembers your time there. That made her very happy 😊.
Here’s his fundraiser:
Dear Friends and Family,
I am working on a passion project entitled, “I SEE YOU”. As part of our middle school curriculum, we are encouraged to explore issues that we are passionate about, and brainstorm ways that we can make a difference. I am passionate about music, and I care about the homeless. Even as a kindergartener, when visiting places with my parents, I wanted to stop and talk to the people I would see laying on the street or sitting outside of restaurants with their children or pets. When I did this, they would smile.
Sometimes a problem seems so big that we can’t imagine we can do anything about it. But we can. There is one thing that every person can do, and it doesn’t cost anything. If you don’t have a dollar to give, or food and clothes to donate, or time to volunteer, you can do the one thing that is completely within your power, but is so often overlooked. You can refuse to let homeless people be invisible to you.
Homeless people have become so commonplace that we don’t even see them. Every day people walk by them without even acknowledging their existence. To not acknowledge another human being is inhumane. We need to be reminded that the homeless are like us—human—and could even be us. Maybe they lost their job, had serious medical bills they couldn’t pay, experienced stress or mental illness as a veteran — all things that could happen in our families. Sometimes what they need most is the very thing we have to give; a warm smile, a hello, a greeting, a gesture that says, “I SEE YOU!”
I am using my love of music to raise funds, via a virtual concert, for two purposes:
1) To donate a meal to the homeless camp at 12th and 24th in Oakland that I identified with the help of my mentor, Reverend Laurie Manning;
2) To purchase the “I See You” bands that I created and will share freely with my friends and family to remind us all to be kind to the homeless people we see on the streets.
I do not have a “not for profit,” (hopefully one day I will!) so your donation is NOT tax deductible, but 100% of the proceeds will go to the meal for the homeless (the more money, the more food!) and the “I SEE YOU” bands.
Sunday, March 25, 12-1 PM: Sandwich making for homeless people in Oakland. Join Pastor Laurie, Shaun Bernhardt, music director Benjamin & his boys here at Skyline in the preschool classroom area for sandwich making for people who are hungry. A group of us will deliver these to a local encampment from 1 – 2 pm. All ages & all are welcome to join us for one or both activities. Bring your sandwich making supplies! Contact Pastor Laurie.
Good afternoon! I’m writing to invite you to join us for the Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy’s annual retreat, scheduled for Thursday, March 1, 9am to 12noon at Skyline UCC (12540 Skyline Blvd in Oakland).
We welcome our extended family of faith leaders to this morning session, whose featured speakers will focus on where we stand a year into the present national crisis, and what lies ahead in our work for 2018 and beyond.
This session will also be an opportunity to learn about FAME’s work in collaboration with the national Poor Peoples’ Campaign (PPC) called for by Rev. Dr. William Barber, and how you and your communities can connect with the Campaign’s call for Forty Days of Direct Action beginning in May.
We also encourage you to bring colleagues, congregants and friends to this morning session, so that we can continue to share more broadly the crucial connections between our faith traditions and the call to economic and racial justice.
Please RSVP directly to me, David Brazil, so we can be sure and include you in the count for lunch! And of course please let me know if you have any questions.
With blessings and best wishes — David
David Brazil, Program Coordinator, Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy
At Skyline, we’re committed to nurturing the spiritual development of children and youth by equipping them with the tools they need to discover faith-filled answers… for themselves.
God has no hands but your hands, no feet but your feet, no face but your face. Join us in cultivating a more just and compassionate world, working together to understand and meet the real needs of our local community (Food Bank) and beyond (Sierra Leone School).
At Skyline, we’re committed to nurturing the spiritual development of children and youth by equipping them with the tools they need to discover faith-filled answers… for themselves.
We recognize the fragility of the earth and our own capacity to do harm. It is urgent that, as earth’s stewards, we make a commitment to our children and future generations to minimize our impact on the earth. We are working locally and globally in these efforts.