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“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.
Amen.

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 

Christmas Eve Service, Dec 24, 7:00 PM

This Christmas Eve, come experience the wonder of our candlelight service celebrating the birth of Jesus with carols, anthems, scripture lessons, a Christmas choir performance, children’s choir and instrumental music.

The service will be followed by delicious Christmas treats, hot apple cider, and fellowship.

This is a beautiful way to celebrate the season with your entire family. ALL are welcome!

Sunday, December 24th at 7:00 pm

For more information please contact the office at 510.531.8212

Delivering Christmas Gifts and Toys 2017

Every year we coordinate with local Oakland shelters through East Oakland Community Project.  We ask for a wish list, invite members of the congregation and our preschool parents to select one or more names, purchase their wish, and wrapt it.  We deliver them with a great amount of joy, carols, and fun.

This year we’ll be delivering Christmas Gifts to Homeless Shelters on:
Tuesday,  December 19 from 6-8 pm

Please join us!

Friends, family and co-workers are welcome to come! Call Nancy Taylor through the church office (office@skylineucc.org) for more information.  

Pilgrimage to the Arizona/Mexico Border and Immigration Reform by Mirtha L.

Join us for Mirtha’s story of her pilgrimage to the Nogales Arizona/Mexico Border as part of School of the Americas Watch Border Encuentro.  Mirtha was one of nine women in the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity journey lead by Rev. Deborah Lee, Miriam Noriega and Hilda Cruz.

Goals of the Journey:

1. Listen and meet with grassroots and religious partners in Central America to more deeply understand the regional root causes of migration (e.g. economic, drug, military, border and immigration policy).

2. Hear the recommendations and root solutions coming out of Central American partners.

3. Shift the narrative by engaging in advocacy and education in the US and Canada, calling for addressing the root causes of Central American migration and the protection of migrants.

Mirtha:  “I feel tremendous gratitude to have experienced so much love and solidarity during our journey, especially at the protest at Eloy Detention Center and our march to the border wall led by U.S. veterans. It was difficult to hear of the inhumane ways immigrants are treated…”

Come and hear more.

Annual Children’s Christmas Pageant 2017

Come and experience the wonders of the Christmas Story!

Join us for a child/family friendly worship service of carols where everyone is invited to take place in the Christmas pageant!  Wear your favorite costume.  Be a shepherd, sheep, king, queen,angel, fireman, donkey! Join us for fun, music and celebration!  Be part of the drama!  Friends, family, all are invited!

Pageant 3 kings

Invite everyone you know with children or grandchildren!   We’ll see you there!

Sunday, December 24 at 10 AM for just about an hour.  Childcare provided, and enjoy a light lunch afterwards.

  Contact  Sheryl Johnson, cyf.skyline@gmail.com.

Greening of the Sanctuary

Sunday, December 3 after the service.  

Come one and all -families, children, grown-ups are welcome to be part of the fun and festivities! Come to church in clothes that you can help in!  We’ll have a beautiful tree to decorate thanks to Dorothy, and holiday cheer to spread around the sanctuary.   If you have evergreens in your yard and can spare some branches, please bring them!  Contact Pastor Laurie with ideas, suggestions!   

Uncovering: Season of Advent

It’s getting awfully cold and dark, isn’t it? For some of us, cold and dark bring forth the deep grief of sickness, of loneliness, of endings, or of death. Why, then, is this the season where we begin the new liturgical year? Because we need the hope of new beginnings, especially now. 

Whatever losses and hardships we have endured personally this year, in addition to these,  2017 has been quite a year!… Inaugurations, investigations, mass protests and counter-protests. Hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires.  Muslim travel bans, transgender rights rollbacks, open assault on the poorest and sickest people in America through cruel legislation. Two of the largest mass shootings our country has ever seen.  White supremacists openly on parade, with torches, and without masks. Nuclear holocaust nightmares, redux.

Yet, It’s also been the year of: the largest single-day protest (the Women’s March on Jan 20). The annulment of much of that cruel legislation by an engaged electorate.  The takedown of wealthy and powerful sexual predators, and the unmasking of sexual harassment and assault nationwide by women on the political left and the right. White people awakening to their privilege and showing up in greater numbers to protest white supremacy.  And, soon, the seating of newly elected trans folks, women, and people of color in political office throughout the land.

This is the season of Advent… not just about the coming of baby Jesus in the manger, but the season of Apocalypse.  Which means, not only the second coming of of the adult Jesus (look busy!) in judgment, but also, uncovering.  It brings to mind the uncovering of the snow in the deep of winter, that with the sun’s love, in the spring, becomes the rose blossoming into the fullness of life. May it be so, in our lives, individually, and collectively. 

I leave you with the hopeful words from Bette Midler’s beloved song, the Rose, https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bettemidler/therose.html

Interfaith Vigil for Victims of Gun Violence on the 5th Anniversary of Newtown

Saturday, December 9, 4-5 PM  Skyline Church, 12540 Skyline Blvd, Oakland CA

Skyline will host an Interfaith Vigil  in remembrance of all those killed and injured in all of the mass shootings in this country on the 5th anniversary since the Newtown,  Connecticut shootings.  It is on Saturday, Dec 9th at 4 pm. This is a service of candlelight, labyrinth walking, music, prayers, community, sharing and healing with love.

Our interfaith vigil is aligned with UCC’s national vigil and with Newtown Foundation’s 5th Annual National Vigil since the Newtown shootings. It is also an official ICAC (Interfaith Council of Alameda County) event. 

When gun violence and hate crimes destroy innocent lives, when homophobia, racism, and islamophobia plague our world, we are reminded to come together, to grieve, and to re-dedicate ourselves to love, inclusivity, non-violence and peace.

Skyline Community Church invites you to gather in a vigil to end gun violence and to honor the lives that have been sacrificed, to mourn and share our grief, and to stand together in solace, solidarity, and strength.

 

Pastor Laurie

(Interfaith Council of Alameda County) event.