Oakland church

Archive for Holiday – Page 2

Thanksgiving Message

thanksgiving-images-free-768x432Last Sunday we gave thanks for the glorious diversity not only of the world but also of our  faith community, as we welcomed five new members!

Please extend a special welcome to Anna Quandt, Becky Taylor, Bee Franks-Walker, David Guerra & David McGuinness! 

If you haven’t had a chance to get to know these five unique, brilliant, authentic, compassionate, fair-minded, creative, amazing human beings, please be sure to say hi!  

We invite you to join us this Saturday from 10 am – 12 noon to prepare the advent wreaths, and to decorate the Christmas trees for advent. Pastor Laurie will be providing delicious chicken soup, bread and hot apple cider and festive advent music!  

During this season of giving thanks for the abundance of our lives, we remember  all of those who do not have enough, who are afraid, who are lonely, and who suffer. We wish for the abundance of this world to be shared, for fear to become love, for the lonely to feel welcomed, and for the suffering to know rest and joy. 

I leave you with a Thanksgiving prayer, by Walter  Rauchenbach..

O God, we thank you for the beauty of this earth, our home;

For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

For Oakland: Public Candlelight, Interfaith Prayer & Taize Vigil

cn_oakland_2015-12-24_skylinechrismassservice_0002Skyline Church in Oakland is holding an interfaith candlelight music and prayer vigil on Wednesday night following the deadly warehouse fire in our city.

The public vigil will be held from 7-8 pm at Skyline Church, 12540 Skyline Blvd, Oakland CA.

This is a devastating loss to our community and our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected, victims, survivors, families, Oakland’s Fire and Police depts., and the Alameda County’s Sheriff’s office. Our prayers remain with the loved ones of the victims and the Oakland arts community.

Voluntary donations will go to support the relief efforts for those impacted by the fire. Taizé Prayer is simply sung prayer, CN_Oakland_2014-04-20_SkylineEasterService Labyrnth in fogconsisting of the repetition of simple chants. The experience of singing these chants can take us to that deep inner place that longs for communion with God. The service is comprised of meditative chanting, Scripture, spoken prayers, and silence.

Leading the event is Rev. Laurie Manning, Pastor of Skyline and Benjamin Mertz, Music director of Skyline.

All are invited to come together to share in God’s loving guidance.

At Jesus’s Table All Are Welcome

As Thanksgiving approaches consider that we are not, after all, only what we eat. We are also with whom we eat.  In Jesus’s kingdom and at his table everyone, especially all those considered “the least of these”,  is welcome. This social healing was as profound and transformative as any medical miracle Jesus was said to have performed. It challenged the prevailing social order then and now. The gentle shepherd, the Prince of Peace, it turns out, was and still is a troublemaker and a revolutionary. He is working through us to bring forth the new kingdom, the heavenly realm here on earth.  He is working through us when we realize that Caesar is not our Lord, that Pharaoh is not our father, that CEOs and military leaders are not our ultimate guide. God is passionately in love with us, with all of us, and more than anything is yearning for us to live as sisters and brothers, united in love.  

This Sunday, we welcome everyone to the table! Join us as we welcome our newest members, as we share from our abundance with the local food pantries of ACCFB, and we honor Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Here’s UCC’s Pastoral Letter to a United Church in a Divided Country.

Blessings, Pastor Laurie

Cultivate Peace this Memorial Day

holding-hands-heart-shaped-earthBlessings to you on this Memorial Day weekend!

When I was a child growing up in the small town of Barrington, RI in the 1960’s, it seemed like everyone in town would gather at the war memorial in the center of town for Memorial day ceremonies. We school children would always have a part, having rehearsed in school our lines of patriotic glorification often originating from the Bible. There would be patriotic and religious songs sung and prayers by the local minister and perhaps by a teacher or government official.

Memorial Day is an example of what sociologist Robert Bellah has called “civil religion”, where government adapts a kind of generic religiosity that often refers to God and Country as somehow connected to our government and secular political leaders and their actions, especially in wartime.

We could as easily call it the American mythology which we are always helping to shape and co-create, especially on Memorial Day and perhaps the Forth of July.  These two sacred, civil, religious, patriotic days always seem to blend religion and state in what I want to call a troublesome way; a way that I believe we must outgrow to become more of what Jesus taught us: to love one another, that we may all be one, in a more universal love.

Join us Sunday morning (10 AM) for a time of re-imagining what it means to transform our swords into plowshares and cultivate peace within the world, beginning within ourselves.

Art from https://peaceartsite.com  Peace Sign Graphics

Palm Sunday-Love and Mercy of God

palm Sunday and cross“A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.” – Matthew 21: 8

When I was young, Palm Sunday was simply Palm Sunday. Palms, hosannas, joyous music – a sort of mini-Easter.

Somewhere along the way Palm Sunday became Palm/ Passion Sunday. This meant that we began with the palms, hosanna and cheerful songs about the children singing to Jesus, but before long we were into the betrayal and Christ’s death on the cross.

That made Palm Sunday seem like a Trojan Horse. It looked like fun and games until you unpacked it. When you did, the upbeat party soon became a downbeat prelude to a memorial as the music changed from major to minor key.  Instead of being part of the cheering crowd that was comfortably on Jesus’ side — “Go Jesus! Ride ’em!” — we found ourselves part of the crowd that shouted, “Crucify him, Crucify him.”

This was confusing.

But it was something besides confusing. It was true. We aren’t just the good guys, innocently cheering Jesus on. We have a part in the mess, in the awful that happens.

But seeing that painful truth — our part in the mess and owning it — can help us have eyes for something else besides — that God’s mercy and forgiveness are poured out for us, poured out all over us. When the hosannas of Palm Sunday have faded, praise for the deep love and mercy of God to us is the song that keeps on singing.

Celebrate Easter with Skyline Church on March 27

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.

CN_Skyline_2013-03-31_EasterSunrise&10am_0624Easter Sunrise Service: March 27, 7:00 AM:  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!”

 

 

CN_Skyline_2009-04-12_Easter10AM_61

 

Easter Sunday Traditional Service: March 27, 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 Puja Soto) 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, an Easter Egg Hunt (following service) for children of all ages: 11:30 AM.

 

 

 

Egg hunt in labyrinth CN_Skyline_2013-03-31_EasterSunrise&10am_0233

 

Easter Egg Hunt: March 27, 11:30 AM:  Skyline’s traditional Easter Egg Hunt is happening RAIN or SHINE. We welcome our neighborhood families and all who would love to come to join us!  Stay for refreshments and conversation following the hunt. 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

Email Skyline Office

 

Celebrate Easter Sunday March 27

cn_skyline_2007-04-08_eastersunrise_011.jpg

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.

Sunrise Service ~ 7:00 am

Featuring the Oakland/East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus

Easter Worship Service ~ 10:00 am

Celebratory Traditional Music with the Skyline Choir, Children’s Choir, and orchestra followed by
an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids!

Skyline’s traditional Easter Egg Hunt is happening RAIN or SHINE, starting at 11:30 am on Easter Sunday morning. We welcome our neighborhood families and any who care to come to join us!  Stay for refreshments and conversation following the hunt.

For more information please contact our office at:

Skyline Community Church,
United Church of Christ
12540 Skyline Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619
510.531.8212

Email Skyline Office

Prophetic Voices of Black Civil Rights Leaders

In honor of Black History Month I am sharing with you the timeless, prophetic voices of black civil rights leaders in this country.

I give thanks for the faith and courage of these great leaders, who’s voices echo the voices of the prophets, who stand with us forever on the mountaintop of  God, their eyes fixed upon the vision of the promised land. 

May we open ourselves to realize that we are standing with them, on Holy Ground. 

I encourage you to join us for the upcoming movies, outings, and discussions and  review the many resources and links listed below. 

   Blessings, Pastor Laurie 

Frederick Douglasshttp://www.azquotes.com/author/4104-Frederick_Douglass

http://www.azquotes.com/author/4104-Frederick_Douglass

This MLK Day We Honor the Radical Dr. King

mlk-marchonwashington-bannerThis weekend we celebrate the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,  his prophetic words and actions for our lives today, and the difference between what is and the vision of how things could be. 

Many of us find ourselves standing in a place of tension. Some may have experienced this tension in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement. The Rev. Dr. William Barber II implicitly evoked this tension in speaking recently of the prophetic grief and lament provoked by recent acts of violence and the decision not to bring charges against the police officers who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice. In response to this present reality, Barber cites Isaiah’s call to be “the repairers of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.”

Commentators like Van Jones have recognized that environmental racism also relates to the Black Lives Matter movement. Some acts of violence are not of the kind that can be videotaped and shared on social media, but they nevertheless have a devastating impact on communities of color. The severe, and at times, deadly reality of environmental racism can be seen in relation to toxic dumpscoal plants and terminalsoil plants and refineriesfracked wells, and lead poisoning. There is much that necessitates a prophetic response.


To inspire the courage needed to speak out and to demonstrate how one can pull others closer to a vision of what could be, Dr. King’s oral and written works continue to be an invaluable resource. The UCC has developed a webpage to assist in exploring overlooked and under-appreciated sermons, speeches, and writings by Dr. King. Too often, the more radical messages of King become muted or silenced on his own holiday. Like the great prophets, however, King must be heard. His words are still vital and relevant today. They still possess the power to challenge and uplift. 

Join us this Sunday as we remember him.

Rainy Day Reflection on the Birth of Christ

dreamstime_s_47580200I love these rainy days, as the thirsty earth drinks deeply of the waters of renewal.

It seems to me that Christmas, like such rainy days, is a time of renewal, transformation and rebirth. The timeless story echoes throughout history, from stories like “Christmas in the Trenches”, to Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” and yes, even to “How the Grinch stole Christmas.”

I encourage you, on rainy days like these, to pull out these timeless stories and listen for the voice of resurrection speaking in them. Words like:

Maybe Christmas,” the Grinch thought, “doesn’t come from a store.” Dr. Seuss,  “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. Scrooge, on Christmas day, from Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol”

Christmas is a fine season for joy to think of those we love. Molere

And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time. Jesus Christ

I leave you with a beautiful poem by Madeline L’Engle:

The Risk of Birth, Christmas

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour & truth were trampled by scorn–
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.

When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn–
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.

Blessings and love, Pastor Laurie