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Poor People’s Campaign Mass Meeting

Poor People’s Campaign Mass Meeting
Saturday, April 21, 5-7 PM

As the new Poor People’s Campaign spreads across the country, we invite you and your networks to the Poor People’s Campaign’s East Bay Mass Meeting! The Poor People’s Campaign is dedicated to ending systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality, and is co-chaired by Rev. Dr. William Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis. 

Join us for the East Bay Mass Meeting at Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church (1188 12th Street, Oakland)  We will…
  • LEARN from our neighbors affected by unjust policies
  • GEAR UP for 40 Days of Action
  • CONNECT with other activists, people of faith, and all those who care about justice
Pastor Eddie Anderson, McCarty Memorial Christian Church, will deliver the keynote. The Rev. Lynice Pinkard will emcee.
We hope to see you there! You may RSVP on Eventbrite: www.bit.ly/ppc-eastbay or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1739363892807808
In peace,
Erin Burns (Pacific School of Religion) and David Brazil (Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy)

Resurrection “comes in a million different ways…”

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash

We continue in the season of spring time and in the spirit of Easter, celebrating the promise of new lives for ourselves and for all of creation. This coming Sunday we continue with resurrection and explore the experience of resurrection in our own lives.

Death is universal. We recognize it immediately because it looks the same for all of us.  When it’s over, it’s over.  When a body breathes its last.  When a door closes for good.  When the choice can’t be unmade and the marriage can’t be salvaged and the words can’t be unsaid.  When a home is burned to the ground and the machines are turned off and the pastor sprinkles the dirt over the casket, ashes to ashes. Done. Gone. Finished.   

Death feels heavy, cold and final, 

it tastes like salty tears, 

and sounds like wailing, or the emptiness of a silent house. 

Death is unmistakable. Death is universal.


But resurrection? That’s personal.  

And it comes a million different ways and looks like a million different things because it happens for all of us differently.  The way we each need it.

Resurrection is your story now, and mine.  

~Kara Root~

Remembering Dr. King, 50 Years Later

Let Freedom Ring from the Hills of Oakland!

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018 at 5:30 pm
Skyline Community Church, 12540 Skyline Boulevard, Oakland CA

A time of song, readings, a brief reflection, and bell ringing, led by Pastor Laurie & Music Director Benjamin Mertz.

6:01 PM Bell Toll – Bells ring 39 times at Skyline church, joining together with places of worship, college campuses and institutions across the nation to honor the number of years Dr. King dwelled on this earth and to pay homage to his legacy.

Laurie’s Message after Easter & MLK Event

What a beautiful experience of Holy Week we created together, from the journey of Palm/Passion Sunday, through Good Friday, and rising at sunrise with the Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus, continuing on with our glorious 10 am service, and finishing up with an “egg-stravagant” Easter egg hunt! Thank you to every single one of you for sharing your gifts as musicians, artists, readers, dramatists, chefs, greeters, ushers, and organizers to create such a radically inclusive welcome to the wider community! Please enjoy the photos below!!
Today, Wednesday April 4th, we flash backwards in time to a Good Friday of sorts, remembering the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, in the hope of uniting together to keep the dream alive in our time. 
It’s tempting to stay stuck in “Good Friday”, back to life as usual, one week after Easter. Back to our personal challenges, layered on top of the challenges facing our city, our country, and the world.  It’s easy to become overwhelmed and afraid, and want to hide from the world.  Which is why we take consolation in these timeless stories, and in sharing them together.
Join us on Sunday as we explore the timeless story of Doubting Thomas, and specifically how our doubt, our questions, and our seeking understanding is not a lack of faith, but an integral part of faith. Explore with us the wisdom of Thomas from the Gnostic gospels.  
After worship, you are invited to join us for a conversation about Sarah Miles’ bestseller, “Take this Bread”, https://www.npr.org/books/titles/138296674/take-this-bread-a-radical-conversion and an experience of communion together.
           Blessings, Pastor Laurie  

Holy Week Begins

Well, here we go. It’s Palm Sunday. And so Holy Week begins.

Palm Sunday used to be just Palm Sunday in many progressive churches. But now it’s Palm/Passion Sunday. People weren’t showing up for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. They were going from the triumphant “Hosanna” of Palm Sunday to the glorious “He is Risen” of Easter Sunday without going through the horrifying “Crucify him!” of Good Friday. Sure, it was kind of sneaky. But we had to do something!

I understand the impulse. Who doesn’t want to go from glory to glory and just skip the frightening, painful, anguishing, condemning stuff in the middle?  But we can’t. It’s part of life. And how much better to go through it together; and go through it aware of God’s presence through it all.

See you this Sunday! With love, Pastor Laurie

Cantori Performs Benefit Concert: Thank You for Your Love

Sunday, March 18, we were blessed by the uplifting voices of the Pacific BoyChoir Academy’s Cantori, in a service of worship to advocate for the record breaking numbers of homeless people in Oakland. We raised over $1300 to support the charity and advocacy work of St Vincent de Paul and St Mary’s.

Beyond the fund raising, we raised awareness. One of Cantori’s choir members has asked me to serve as his mentor for a school project at Bentley advocating for the homeless. Another choir member asked me if he could join us to make sandwiches this Sunday for the homeless. Blase Bova, the Executive Director of St Vincent De Paul for Alameda County, shared with me, “I was so moved and impressed by the warmth and kindness of your congregation, and by your inclusive, uplifting, and affirming message. It was my first visit to your church but I’m sure it won’t be my last. Thanks again on behalf of St. Vincent de Paul and those we serve”.

I extend my deepest appreciation and thanks to the following people/groups:

Charles Holmes, for being the catalyst for this event.

Aiden Elenteny, his mom Adrienne

, and his grandmother Barbara, for supporting Aiden as a dedicated member of Cantori.

For the team of volunteers handing out carnations and welcoming people.

For the support of our partner organizations, St Vincent de Paul, St Mary’s, and the Interfaith Council of Alameda County.

For our “Good Samaritan” drama team!

For our amazing staff team effort, CYF director, Sheryl, organizing the drama group, Office Manager, Nancy Montier, for her publicity and outreach efforts, and Music Director Benjamin Mertz, for the joy of his amazing musical gifts, for our ushers, greeters, counters, and food preparers.

Enjoy the photos and videos below! with love, Pastor Laurie

Singing Jesus Loves the Little Children

Memorial for Don Grove

Dear Ones,
I wanted to let you know that our dear Don Grove passed away on earlier this month.

I visited with Don on Sunday after church, at the Mercy Center. He was in good spirits, joking even then, that he felt that a 600 pound gorilla had been sitting on his chest, and he was relieved that it was only a 200 pound gorilla now.  I had a chance to thank him, on behalf of all of us, for his kindness, and dedication to us at Skyline, as a loving member,  and as a talented member of our Green team. 

Don was calm, and at peace. He had just seen a grandson that had been estranged from the family for 10 years. My sense is that Don was ready.  My sense is also that his family, while sad, were prepared for his passing, and are at peace. 

Don and his family shared a “sweet tooth.”   I shared Bee Frank’s cookies from Sunday hospitality with him and his daughter and granddaughter, who in turn shared these with the care team at the Mercy Center. It was a bit like communion. 

Don was an extraordinarily kind, intelligent, curious, hardworking,  fun loving, authentic, and loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, friend and human being. 

I give thanks to God for his life, and for the gift of having him in our lives. On a personal note,  I will always love him. 

Cards may be sent to his daughter Barbara Grove at 353 Crestmont Drive, Oakland CA 94619. 

We will be celebrating his life here at Skyline, Saturday, April 7 at 2 PM.

with love, Pastor Laurie 

High School Children Take a Stand for Safety

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Today, Wednesday, at 10 am local time across the US, students are pouring out of their classrooms into the streets for 17 minutes, holding assemblies, writing, performing and more to take a stand against gun violence. No longer will they remain silent. No longer will they wait for the adults to “do something”. Thirty thousand people a year are killed through gun violence in this country, through mass shootings, domestic violence, accidents, suicides, and other senseless violence. They know that more could be done to end the senseless violence if there were simply the moral will to do so.

I am inspired by their prophetic witness, their courage, and their brilliant organizing. May we, too, be inspired to strengthen our own resolve to work for justice.

Related to inspiration, this Sunday, March 18, we are thrilled to have with us the boy’s choir, Cantori.  Cantori is the advanced, after school choir from the award winning Pacific Boychoir Academy. They will sing beautiful selections of music in a child friendly service.  Proceeds from the service will support advocacy for homeless people in Oakland.

A friend of mine shared a poem,“School Prayer” by Diane Ackerman, with me last week and I offer to you in the spirit of our youth and of hope for our future.

                 With love, Pastor Laurie 


Faith in the Promise of New Life

This Sunday we spring forward into daylight savings time! Rise and shine! 

I’m grateful for the gentle rains, and the deep green hills, which I promise never to take for granted.   May the miraculous growth of this season inspire us in our journeys, to never lose hope in the promise of new life   This Sunday in worship we focus on the essence of this faith, love, and hope.  Enjoy this beautiful seasonal poem entitled “A Prayer for the World”, by Rabbi Harold Kushner.

with love, Pastor Laurie 

A Prayer for the World

Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations
Let the rain wash away
the memory of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out
and fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog
so that we can see each other clearly.
Let the warmth and brightness of the sun
melt our selfishness.
And let the light of the sun be so strong
that we will see all people as our neighbors.
Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven. Amen.

—Rabbi Harold S. Kushner

Movie: “Berta Didn’t Die, She Multiplied” 3-2 at 5 PM

The Center for Latin American Studies, U C Berkeley presents:

The legacy of a slain activist 

Join CLAS for a screening of a documentary on the legacy of Berta Cáceres, the indigenous Honduran environmental activist whose defense of her people’s lands successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam at the Río Gualcarque. After winning the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015, she was assassinated on March 3, 2016. 

Contact Mirtha – she can take 3 in her car, or meet at Kroeber Hall.

After the screening, there will be a discussion featuring:

· Silvio Carillo, a filmmaker, producer, and the nephew of Berta Cáceres, and

· Roxana Altholz, an international human rights lawyer, and author of the recent Dam Violence: The Plan That Killed Berta Cáceres.

All CLAS screenings are free and open to the public. No ticket required.

Friday, March 2, 5:00 pm

160 Kroeber Hall