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Palm Sunday Children’s Time with Donkey Odie

This Sunday, Children’s Time has its own Zoom meeting!

We’ll meet Donkey Odie as he tells the story of Palm Sunday from his perspective. Grab a clean pair of socks as we all use our ‘palms’ to bring the story to life through sock puppets! We’ll also have a time of brain teasers, sharing and prayer. 

Here’s a couple of coloring pages for parents and guardians to print. Children, can you color or decorate your picture and make it a work of art? Share it with us at the meeting!

Children’s Time Zoom Meeting Sunday, April 5 at 11:30 a.m. (PST)


Questions? Contact Pastor Laurie (revlauriemanning@aol.com) or David G. (cardinalis7@gmail.com)

Leader:  David G.

Easter at Skyline – Virtual Services 2020

Palm Sunday Virtual Service:  April 5, 10:00 – 11:00 AM

Reverend Laurie Manning is preaching at this service, with inspiring music by Ken Medema, Gabrielle Lochard and Benjamin Mertz.  Hear the stories of Jesus’s journey to Jerusalem, listen to music of God’s love.

Meeting ID: 716 026 467
Dial in by phone 1-669-900-9128

Good Friday Virtual Service: April 10, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM

Reverend Laurie Manning and our Music Director, Gabrielle Lochard, lead an empowering, spiritually expansive lesson, meditation and musical Good Friday service. We are joined by professional musicians Ken Medema and Benjamin Mertz. Let the words and music open your heart and feed your soul in this shelter in place time. We invite you to shelter in the presence of God. All are welcome.

Zoom Meeting Link:  https://zoom.us/j/716026467
Meeting ID: 716 026 467
One tap mobile +16699009128
phone # +13462487799

Easter Sunday Virtual Service: April 12, 10:00-11:15 AM

There is nothing traditional about a zoom Easter Service, but we have a beautiful service planned for our expanded, loving progressive and inclusive faith community meeting via zoom. Rev. Laurie Manning, Music Director Gabrielle Lochard, Ken Medema, and Benjamin Mertz will be leading the service from their homes.  We are creating a special experience.  

Meeting ID: 716 026 467
Dial in by phone 1-669-900-9128

The Pandemic and Our Personal and Global Economy

From Pastor Laurie: Financial worries on top of it all. 

The Global Economy

One of the areas of worry the pandemic is creating is about the economy. Unemployment claims in California have jumped to over 1 million  according to a March 25 article in the LA times.   I’ve talked with numerous friends who are worried about their jobs and others who are filing for unemployment. Here’s what you need to know according to an article in the NY Times on March 25.  The stock market has plummeted for four plus weeks. Worries about incomes is causing activists and politicians to call for a moratorium on evictions and shutting off utilities.  None of this is news to you.

Our Personal Economy

My concern is about how you are doing in the midst of this economic news. Some of us, in our faith community and extended communities and families, will be laid off or losing work hours. Some retired people in our congregation rely on investments for their incomes. If you are within one of these categories, you may want to reassess your giving to the church, at least for the time being, and adjust it downward.

If you have a salary that is going to continue as you work (from home or at your workplace), or if you have a reliable pension, please reassess your giving to the church, too. Only you might want to increase your giving, knowing that there are members of our church who need to reduce their giving.

Ways to Give to the Church if you are Able

If you’re wondering how to give to the church in these days when we do not have an offering plate to pass around, here’s your answer – from lowest tech to the latest app:

  • You can write a check and mail it to the church. The church’s mailing address is 12540 Skyline Blvd, Oakland CA, 94619
  • If you do online banking, you can set up the church as a payee.
  • We have just finished signing up for a smartphone app (that also works on tablets) called Quiks to accept bank to bank donations. To get started donating, click here!  It’s very intuitive. I set it up and made my first donation with it. If you need more help, here’s a tutorial on how to set it up.

Finally, stay in touch!  Dealing with the pandemic is stressful enough. If you are having financial stress on top of that, don’t face them alone. Let me know and we’ll do what we can together. 

Peace, Pastor Laurie

Video Recordings of Past Services

March 15 – recorded at the church by Tom
March 22 – wonderful interactive zoom service. Ken, Benjamin, Gabrielle and Pastor Laurie.
March 29  – Topic is grief, Ken, Benjamin, Gabrielle and Pastor Laurie.



Shelter-in-Place Resources


Updates from Government and Medical Leaders

  1. PDF: Order of the State Public Health Officer regarding all of California to shelter-in-place.
  2. Click Here to Learn More About the Order
  3. Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California   COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.  We’re all in this together. We are working rapidly to keep our state healthy.

Resources for Parents

Here are some helpful resources for talking with your children about the coronavirus and things to do with them.

More Resources on the Virus – Anxiety, Disinfecting, Social Distancing…


Practical and Spiritual Care for Ourselves and Our Community in this Unprecedented Time

We are living in a time of high anxiety. The COVID-19 outbreak has many of us on edge,  uncertain about what information to trust, and how to be responsible without being alarmist. Here’s some helpful advice from our Happiness and Wellness team about caring for ourselves, each other and the wider community in this time. 

Here is an excerpt from the Alameda County Public Health Department. Please review this valuable and timely information!

One of the advantages of being a smaller congregation in a large beautiful sanctuary, is that we can spread out! We’re also practicing elbow greetings, and making sure that we have plenty of tissue boxes on hand, and signs reminding one another to wash our hands for 20 seconds!!  However, If you are sick, or at risk, (see the link above)  I love you, and I want you to stay home. We will be recording the services (probably should have been doing this for years now, and will post on next week’s email as a link).

I invite each one of us to continue to practice gratitude for all the blessings we do have; to pray for the most vulnerable in the community; to pray for wisdom for our leaders at the national, regional and local levels; to take time to breathe deeply and to remember that the power of love casts out fear; to value the preciousness of life; to remember that you are not alone and that you have a faith community loving you and praying for you.

The psalmist left us these timeless words:  

God is our refuge and strength,
   a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
   though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
   though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
   the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
   God will help it when the morning dawns.

 ‘Be still, and know that I am God

And lastly, since ‘wash your hands” has become the clarion call these days, here is an excerpt about turning the washing of hands into a spiritual practice:

Photo by Curology on Unsplash

We are humans relearning to wash our hands.
Washing our hands is an act of love
Washing our hands is an act of care
Washing our hands is an act that puts the hyper-vigilant body at ease 
Washing our hands helps us return to ourselves by washing away what does not serve.
Wash your hands like you are washing the only teacup left that your great grandmother carried across the ocean, like this water is poured from a jug your best friend just carried for three miles from the spring they had to climb a mountain to reach.
Like water is a precious resource made from time and miracle. (Dori Midnight)

May the peace that passes all understanding keep your hearts and mind centered on love.



A Celebration of Love, Music and Poetry – Valentine’s Sunday: Feb 16, 2020

Join Skyline Community Church in worship on Sunday, Feb 16 in a celebration of love, music and poetry!

We’ll have Special Music during the 10 AM worship service and a 30 minute set at 11:30 after fellowship with Rachel Garcia and Thu Tran, known as  The Singer and the Songwriter.

from their website:  Rachel Garcia and Thu Tran create music as vibrant and diverse as their multiracial backgrounds. Rachel’s rich, nuanced vocal delivery and Thu’s dynamic guitar arrangements provide the backbone for the duo’s eclectic and heartfelt songs that tell emotionally honest and compelling stories. 

Their identities as mixed-race-Mexican-American and first-generation-Vietnamese-American (respectively) subtly inform the inclusionary, modernist perspective of their lyrics, which provide “smart commentary on social attitudes” (Pasadena Weekly), while their music and melodies cut across decades of classic American song forms, bending and blending genres to produce a unique sound with a fresh, clever and distinct approach to the classic traditions of American jazz, folk and blues.



Do You Love poetry? Please share your love poems with us for Valentines Day 

Submit Feb 11; Poetry Collection available Feb 16

Why?  Because, at the dawn of this new decade, we need love, we need poetry, we need your voice!  So, let’s have a poetry sharing on the theme of love! It can be a poem that you wrote, or one of your favorites!

Why would you want to take part? For many reasons!! 

  • it’s safe – it can be anonymous
  • poetry is alive, and personal
  • we need your voice of love 
  • special prizes – donated by Charlie Holmes, to be raffled off among participants!

 How Do I Write a Poem?   https://www.poetrynation.com/article-categories/improving-your-poetry/

Please submit your entries by Tuesday, Feb 11th, noon to to office@skylineucc.org , where we will compile them.  Contact Pastor Laurie with questions.  Enjoy your poetry experience!
Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash


Ash Wednesday Service

Ash Wednesday Service

Wednesday, Feb 26, 7-8 PM
Music, Prayer, Meditation, Candlelight, Silence, and Labyrinth Walking

Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent for many in the Christian church. The forty days begins with the imposition of ashes on the foreheads of the faithful. For many, it is deeply moving to reclaim this powerful ancient ceremony.
Leaders for the Evening:
Rev Laurie Manning and Music Director Gabrielle Lochard
You are welcome, whoever you are and wherever you are on your life’s journey

Black History Month Events, Feb 2020

Racists Anonymous, Rev. Laurie Manning and Nancy Taylor

Today, Discussion 12-1 PM, after Fellowship (more discussion to follow)

Earlier this week I spoke with, my colleague, UCC minister, Rev Ron Buford, who started a program , entitled Racists Anonymous. (Racists Anonymous is a support group, based on the 12 step model. Ron, who is an African American gay man, created the program over his frustration with typical attempts to deal with race issues which merely either left him feeling angry, or white participates leaving feeling guilty. The first meeting was held in 2015 following various police shootings and the Dylann Roof mass murder.  Since this time, the program has been adopted in four countries. A basic dictum of the organization is that all people are racist to varying degrees, and that it is impossible not to be racist if raised in American culture, and that one can engage in self-improvement, as opposed to “fixing” oneself.  Particularly given the current climate of rising institutionalized, implicit and explicit racism in our country, we are more impacted than we are conscious of. All are welcome to this exploratory session. Pastor Laurie at (421-2646) revlauriemanning@aol.com.  http://rainternational.org/

Justice Jam and Homelessness

Wednesday, Feb 5, 6:30-8 pm

Join Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church to hear about the intersections of homelessness, housing insecurity, affordable housing and housing values. Find out how to get involved in addressing the Bay Area housing crisis. Doors will open at 6pm. Light Refreshments will be served before the meeting.  PastorLaurie (421-2646) revlauriemanning@gmail.com

Location: 3534 Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610

I Am Not Your Negro, Potluck and Movie

Friday, February 21,  potluck 6:30, movie 7:30.  

The film,  “I Am Not Your Negro”, is from James Baldwin’s unfinished book on the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.  It’s narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, beautifully done with photos, footage and music of the Civil Rights Movement era.  Contact Nancy T via the office.

Here are some reviews:

Here’s the trailer: 

Cry the Beloved Country, Potluck and Movie

Jim Schubert & Pastor Laurie invite you to join us for movie and potluck evening here at Skyline to watch and discuss the classic film,  Cry the Beloved County”.  Bring a friend and some food to share! Most importantly, bring your passion for ending white supremacy within our culture by learning from the history of Apartheid in South Africa. 

Proclaimed “a monument to the future” by no less a figure than Nelson Mandela, the movie, directed by Darrell James Roodt, is an exercise in solemn uplift that is touching despite an atmosphere that at moments becomes stiflingly reverential.

Why risky? Because movies have become so invested in the unleashing of violent emotion and the escalation of hostility, that expressions of restraint, reconciliation and forgiveness can easily be read as corny cop-outs. “Cry, the Beloved Country” is not corny, and it doesn’t cop out.
Here are some reviews of the film:  



Dawn of a New Decade: I Resolve to…..

Here we are, in the dawn of a fresh new decade. 

What does this new year and new decade hold for us? Hope or despair? New life, or destruction?  How can we avert war with Iran? How can we restore representative government in our country? How can we save our planet from the unfolding climate crisis? 

We are in new territory as a civilization, living in a world that would have been considered wildly imaginative science fiction just a few decades ago—with revolutionary new technologies and global interconnections through the internet and global threats of nuclear war, threats to the environment and a global refugee crisis, to name only some of the changes.

At the same time an increasing percentage of our society has given up on institutionalized religion’s ability to  help us find our way through the new landscape of our lives. 

Yet we have as much reason to hope as any generation ever had. The prophetic words of  Isaiah echo through the ages:

“Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness…. See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare.”

Where do we begin, in the face of the enormity of these events, at the dawn of this new decade?  It begins by taking a new journey, of rebirth, beginning with our own souls, and recognizing that we are all connected. It means choosing  the road of hope tied to action. I resolve to live myself into hope, into a better year. 

What does that look like? For me, it starts within my own soul and a conscious commitment to really see people beyond the societal labels assigned to them. It means I am determined to work for equity and justice believing I can make a difference. It means more kindness in each interaction and more listening to those whose views are different than my own. It means not letting bitterness or cynicism take root in me. It means turning my anger into the power of radical love. It means believing that every single one of us is called by name, as God’s beloved.