In honor of July 4 weekend, I want to lift up an excerpt of a presentation given by former President Barack Obama at the 2016 national prayer breakfast. It is a prayer for our country that I believe is particularly relevant now.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. I pray that by His grace, we all find the courage to set such examples in our own lives — not just in the public piety that we profess, but in those smaller moments when it’s difficult, when we’re challenged, when we’re angry, when we’re confronted with someone who doesn’t agree with us, when no one is watching. I pray, that our differences ultimately are bridged; that the God that is in each of us comes together, and we don’t divide.
I pray that our leaders will always act with humility and generosity. I pray that my failings are forgiven. I pray that we will uphold our obligation to be good stewards of God’s creation — this beautiful planet. I pray that we will see every single child as our own, each worthy of our love and of our compassion. And I pray we answer Scripture’s call to lift up the vulnerable, and to stand up for justice, and ensure that every human being lives in dignity.
Blessings to all who love you, on this weekend when we’ll remember who we are called to be; as individuals and as a nation, at our best.
with love, Pastor Laurie
Leonard Cohen, the legendary 82-year-old Canadian poet and singer, is well-known for a set of powerful lyrics from his song “Anthem”. The message of hope in darkness is particularly striking for many: in our personal lives, as communities of faith, and in the months following the US election:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
This Sunday we will reflect on the transformative and healing power of Divine love and the gift of being broken open so that the light can get in. Join us for an inspiring worship service, an engaging interactive annual meeting, and a delicious lunch; all within the context of allowing the Light to guide our way.
Our denomination’s Northern California Nevada conference, otherwise known as NCNCUCC unanimously passed Skyline’s emergency resolution on climate justice, which was written in response to Donald Trump pulling out of the Paris Accord. The resolution was presented by Pastor Laurie, the environmental justice rep for our conference.
We will share more details this Sunday! Special thanks to our church Council, and to our Green team!
Last week President Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords. In response, the UCC President, Rev. John C. Dorhauer, asked Rev Jim Antol, Massachusetts conference minister and environmental justice advocate, to write an emergency resolution, “The Earth is the Lord’s Not Ours to Wreck” , to take a stand as the UCC denomination.
The resolution was the topic at the monthly National Environmental Justice conference call June 7 (that Pastor Laurie attended as the NCNCC Rep). Laurie was inspired by her role as the Environmental Justice Rep to bring this resolution to the NCNCC Regional Conference next weekend so Northern California could take an active, grass roots role in support of it at General Synod. In order to submit a resolution to a conference a church can sponsor it, so she sent her idea to Skyline’s Council this week, proposing that Skyline Church sponsor the resolution at the NCNCC Conference. Since there’s not time for a congregational vote before the NCNCC Regional Conference, the church Council leaders voted to support the resolution and that we ratify this “after the fact” by a congregational vote at our annual meeting on 6/25. It does not ask for any financial commitment.
Thank you Skyline, for your leadership in environmental justice.
Thank goodness for the Holy Spirit, who’s power works in everyone, including YOU!. YOU are enough, right now, for the Holy Spirit to work through. You have the power TODAY to speak bold truth today in a world that desperately needs to hear it.
Last Sunday, inspired by the Holy Spirit, we celebrated Pentecost. We heard a powerful scripture reading by Lucy Manley and felt winds from the heavens. We were blessed with hand imitations of tongues of fire over people’s heads and with people speaking numerous languages. We also shared a powerful laying on of hands as we sent forth Elijah Carroll to begin his new ministry as Director of Faith Formation at Mayflower UCC in Minnesota.
As part of the celebrating Pentecost, we also read a passage written by Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, The prayer calls on the Holy Spirit to work in each of us:
Wash what is unclean.
Water what is parched.
Heal what is diseased.
Bend what is rigid.
Warm what is cold.
Straighten what is crooked.
There is a LOT that is bleak & broken in our world today, a LOT that is unclean, parched, diseased, rigid, cold, and crooked.
But none of these things can withstand the power of God working through us. Join us this Sunday, as together we listen for the wind, and look to the heavens for the doves.
Together, let us bravely proclaim, in words and especially in our actions, this good news for all people.
Come catch fire this Sunday, June 4th
A Poem for Pentecost
Unless the eye catch fire,
The God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire
The God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire
The God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire,
The God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire,
The God will not be known.
William Blake (1757-1827) from Pentecost
Sunday, May 7
Walter Jones and Nancy Taylor will be attending this year’s Tour after church on
Sunday, May 7th and invite you to join them. You can register at http://www.bringingbackthenatives.net/
The self-guided tour is free. Contact Nancy to coordinate.
April 29, 11 AM, Lake Merritt Amphitheater, Lake Merritt Blvd.
Join the Skyline contingent going to the Oakland March under the People’s Climate March on Saturday, 4/29. We will meet at Lincoln Square in front of the liquor store at 10:00 am and carpool to Lake Merritt. Contact Catherine Kessler for more info and Nancy Taylor and click here for the full schedule of 4/29 in Oakland.
From the website:
On the 100th Day of the Trump Administration, we will be in the streets of Washington D.C. to show the world and our leaders that we will resist attacks on our people, our communities and our planet.
We will come together from across the United States to strengthen our movement. We will demonstrate our power and resistance at the gates of the White House. We will bring our solutions to the climate crisis, the problems that affect our communities and the threats to peace to our leaders in Congress to demand action.
We invite you to join the Peoples Climate Movement on Saturday, April 29th as we march to:
- Advance solutions to the climate crisis rooted in racial, social and economic justice, and committed to protecting front-line communities and workers.
- Protect our right to clean air, water, land, healthy communities and a world at peace.
- Immediately stop attacks on immigrants, communities of color, indigenous and tribal people and lands and workers.
- Ensure public funds and investments create good paying jobs that provide a family-sustaining wage and benefits and preserve workers’ rights, including the right to unionize.
- Fund investments in our communities, people and environment to transition to a new clean and renewable energy economy that works for all, not an economy that feeds the machinery of war.
- Protect our basic rights to a free press, protest and free speech.
March with us on April 29th as we come together to resist and march for our families, our communities and our planet.