Oakland church

Inquirer’s Gathering

Sun, Jan 28, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

We hope that you are enjoying Skyline’s welcome! Are you interested in putting down some spiritual roots at Skyline? Are you considering becoming a member or official friend of the church? Come learn more about the United Church of Christ, , Skyline and how to get involved at this comfortable gathering. You will meet Pastor Laurie and others and have time to ask questions. Anyone interested in learning more about the church is encouraged to attend, whether or not you decide to join.

If you want to take the next step in your journey with Skyline, come enjoy lunch, conversation, and a presentation on who we are and how you might fit in.  Childcare will be provided.

Pastor Laurie (421-2646)   revlauriemanning@aol.com 

MLK Sunday – a Drum Major for Justice

50 yrs ago the Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr. preached his last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church before his assassination. It is a remarkable sermon. In it, he discusses his own death and how he wanted to be remembered. In addition, he skillfully used the “Drum Major Instinct” theme – “thinking that you are somebody big because you are white” – to offer a deep critique of contemporary culture and an inspired, practical vision for living the Gospel. Specifically, he critiqued the dangerous down-side of the drum major instinct. He addresses white supremacy, racism, economic injustice and war.

Like so many of his sermons, this one has incredible relevance for us today, the year after an election in which various forms of the drum major instinct are on parade all across our nation.  It is also what makes the message King brings home so poignant: the call of the Gospel to be a drum major for justice and peace, a drum major for serving humanity, that we may “make of this old world a new world.”

Join us this Sunday, as we listen to the prophetic voice of Dr King, 50 yrs later.

I share with you an excerpt from his sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church:

… And when we were in jail in Birmingham the other day, the white wardens and all enjoyed coming around the cell to talk about the race problem. And they were showing us where we were so wrong demonstrating. And they were showing us where segregation was so right. And they were showing us where intermarriage was so wrong. …And then we got down one day to the point—that was the second or third day—to talk about where they lived, and how much they were earning. And when those brothers told me what they were earning, I said, “Now, you know what? You ought to be marching with us. [laughter] You’re just as poor as Negroes.” And I said, “You are put in the position of supporting your oppressor, because through prejudice and blindness, you fail to see that the same forces that oppress Negroes in American society oppress poor white people. (Yes) And all you are living on is the satisfaction of your skin being white, and the drum major instinct of thinking that you are somebody big because you are white. And you’re so poor you can’t send your children to school. You ought to be out here marching with every one of us every time we have a march.”

Now that’s a fact. That the poor white has been put into this position, where through blindness and prejudice, (Make it plain) he is forced to support his oppressors. And the only thing he has going for him is the false feeling that he’s superior because his skin is white—and can’t hardly eat and make his ends meet week in and week out. (Amen)

Delivered February 4, 1968.  listen to the audio.

“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.

Now Is the Season of Lights!

Lights are kindled in the long dark of the winter night, the same fires our forbearers lit in hope and faith that, in time, the sun would return to warm the earth.

Now is the season of lights—Diwali, Chanukah, Tazaungdaing, St. Lucia’s Day, Loi Krathong, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Yule, and Christmas. Every Sunday morning in worship we begin by lighting candles, symbols of our hope and our faith.  In this season of waiting we light more candles to remind us that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.  Across cultures fire signals divine power and knowledge, witness, sacrifice, purification & illumination,  courage, curiosity, and the quest for justice.

I encourage you this week, as we prepare a space within our hearts for the light of Christmas,  to take a quiet moment to simply behold

  • Behold the beauty of candlelight
  • Behold the wonder of the stars in the heavens at night
  • Behold the preciousness of love

Blessings and peace be with you,

Pastor Laurie

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 

Advent-2nd Sunday: Isaiah “…the glory of the Lord shall be revealed”

This week our Advent themes continue, echoing the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”.

On Saturday, December 9th from 4-5 pm, we remember all those killed and injured in mass shootings in this country in the 5 years since the Newtown, Connecticut school tragedy.  

On Sunday, Dec 10th, following worship Mirtha Ninayahuar will present highlights from her trip to the Arizona/Mexico border. She will share with us about the growing humanitarian crisis happening at our southern border.  More information is included below! 

Childcare is provided for both events, and all are welcome!

Blessings in this season of finding our way through the wilderness, to be reunited in love. 

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.