Oakland church

Ministry Team Film Night – “RBG” (Ruth Bader Ginsberg)

Friday, March 19
6 – 7:45 pm, movie time
7:45- 8:30 pm, discussion time
https://zoom.us/j/716026467
Meeting ID: 716 026 467

Theme: Women’s History

“Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.” -RBG

Rent for $0.99 on Amazon Prime

Watch the Trailer

Welcome Ben McKnight

Ben McKnightWelcome Ben McKnight! Ben is our new part time, temporary communications specialist working remotely from Madison, Wisconsin. He also works for our sister UCC church, First Church Berkeley UCC, and enjoys reading, PC gaming, hiking, traveling, and yoga. He will be working with us, 7-10 hours a week, supporting us in our email newsletters, social media, and bulletins. He can be reached at communications@skylineucc.org.

Celebrating International Women’s Month

Dear Ones,

Blessings to you, as we celebrate International Women’s Month!

Happy Women's Day

#InternationalWomensDay #HerStory #WomensHistoryMonth

Here are a few quotes that I’d like to share with you. I’d love for you to share yours on our facebook page:

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”  -Maya Angelou

Jesus protected women.
Empowered women.
Honored women publicly.
Released the voice of women.
Confided in women.
Was funded by women.
Celebrated women by name.
Learned from women.
Respected women.
And spoke of women as examples to follow.
Our turn.
Karyn L. Wiseman

Our NCNCUCC conference is holding a special Business Meeting, as voted upon during last year’s Annual Meeting, this  Saturday, March 13th, from 10 am – 1 pm.

Representation is critical since we’re determining our conference budget and discerning the future of Camp Cazadero.

The decision has critical implications for:

  • our conference staff, and their ability to support local churches like ours.
  • the future of the camping program at Camp Caz

I am planning to attend, and ideally, we would have 3 member delegates, including me, from Skyline.

I have been working with the conference council, on discernment for the camp, based on my role with the national CB&LF, and regional mission interpreters who have shared their experiences with maintaining their camping program throughout the UCC.

Let me know if you’re interested and available to attend, if you’d like to discuss, or if you have suggestions about other members who’d be ideal for this discussion.

For more info, including source documents, and registration, please go here:
https://ncncucc.org/annual-gathering/

peace, Laurie

Skyline’s New Climate Action Group

What is it? What are we doing? 

The Climate Crisis is an Environmental and Social Justice, Moral issue of our time.

WE must respond to this with action, even on a small scale.  We were motivated by our own Pastor Laurie’s call to action and by our guest UCC Pastor Jim Antal, who spoke November 15, 2020. 

Meeting about every other Wednesday at 3:30pm, we started working as a group on our own local environmental problems that we may be able to change.

We feel horrified by the amount of Styrofoam particles on our shorelines as well as the plastic in the ocean.  We have learned about the toxic life-cycle of plastic: Fossil fuel extraction, cancer in people who live where plastic is created, to the end of use microparticles in aquatic life, in our waterways, and in us! While we are trying to make wise food purchases we find it inevitable that we are buying foods packaged in Styrofoam and other non-compostable and likely non-recyclable plastic.

Therefore we are working on a campaign to encourage or convince local big food chains to use alternatives, starting with Costco.  We are also partnering with CalPIRG (California Public Interest Research Group) and EnronmentAmerica, on their campaign to reduce single use plastic at Whole Foods. Please click here to sign and submit their petition:

We have an excellent team of Skyline folks who are engaged in the scientific aspects of the harm from chemicals in plastic and polystyrofoam, and how we can encourage businesses to change their packaging practices.

If this topic interests you, please join us!  Send an email to cath.kessler@comcast.net to get on the email list for meeting dates and agendas.

For more information:  the local group As You Sow has graded many businesses on their packaging practices. Click here to see the reports.  And also from Greenpeace: click here to learn more about what Greenpeace is finding.

You will see that Whole Foods has a sustainability grade of F and Costco of D-

Add your voice to the action!

May God Bless you with Discomfort

According to John’s gospel, Jesus begins his ministry by showing more than telling.
In the temple, Jesus disrupts and overturns the systems of corruption and profiteering taking place, but ultimately points us to the promise of restoration.

It is a message for our times.

Related to this theme, I am sharing with you, a Franciscan Prayer of Blessing for this week:

Prayer for the Week:

May God bless you with discomfort,
At easy answers, half-truths,
And superficial relationships
So that you may live
Deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression,
And exploitation of people,
So that you may work for
Justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears,
To shed for those who suffer pain,
Rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand
To comfort them and
To turn their pain to joy

And may God bless you
With enough foolishness
To believe that you can
Make a difference in the world,
So that you can do
What others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness
To all our children and the poor.

Amen.

 Lent 2021 Day by Day: the Journey to Love

Lent reminds us that, day by day, suffering and brokenness find us.

Day by day, we doubt again, we lament , we mess up. Day by day, the story of Jesus on the cross repeats—every time lives are taken unjustly, every time we choose corruption, greed, violence, and indifference, every time we remain silent in the face of systemic racism, sexism, and homophobia, every time we forget how to love.

We cry out, How long, O God?”

And yet, amid the chaos of our lives, God responds “I choose you, I love you, I will lead you to repair.” Day by Day, God breaks the cycle and offers us a fresh way forward.

Agape Love  is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love. It is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible. This Greek word, agápē (pronounced uh-GAH-pay), and variations of it appear often throughout the New Testament. Love invites us on the journey now. 

Even while worshiping apart, we come to God day by day, with our prayers, our dreams, our hopes, and our doubts. Even if from a distance, we will continue to be community to one another—especially when it’s hard—by choosing each other day by day. We will continue to love God with the same persistence God chooses and claims us.

Our sub- theme is strengthening spiritual muscle- in body, mind, soul, and spirit – to develop and strengthen our endurance and our capacity for love. It takes practice! It takes teamwork! It takes discipline to be a disciple. Let’s do it together. For love’s sake!

Embodied practice builds muscle memory. Repetition helps retrain our neural pathways. We need the 46 days of Lent because this season shapes us into more faithful disciples. Join us this Lent as day by day, we bring all of who we are to God and trust that God will meet us, day by day, along the way.

 

February 17 – Ash Wednesday

Day by day, we’re invited in

Matthew 6:1-16, 16-21 | Isaiah 58:1-12

As Lent begins, we’re invited in—, to our own spiritual journey, to  our own transformation. We’re on this journey together, but we’re invited to turn inward. We are reminded that performative acts (of piety and justice) are not the way.

 

February 21 – 1st Sunday in Lent

Day by day, God meets us

Mark 1:9-15 | Genesis 9:8-17

God meets Jesus at the water before he is tempted in the wilderness— this is vital. Above all, God claims us. God meets us in the liminal space, at the water’s edge, at the threshold of something new, and names us Beloved. God’s covenant with all of creation reminds us that God meets us where we are—in the midst of our reluctance, doubt, eagerness, or weariness—and proclaims we are good.

 

February 28 – 2nd Sunday in Lent

Day by day, we’re called to listen

Mark 8:31-9:8¹ | Psalm 22:23-31

 Like the disciples, we are often stuck in the pattern of messing up repeatedly. We cling to power, we climb the ladder, we remember Christ’s teachings rather than embodying them. So many forces, such as shame, guilt, ignorance, pride, and  inaction can block us from seeing and hearing. It requires humility for transformation. Day by day,  loves beckons to listen—to God and to others.

 

March 7 – 3rd Sunday in Lent

Day by day, we are shown the way

 John 2:13-22  1 Corinthians 1:18-25

According to John, Jesus begins his ministry by showing more than telling. In the temple, Jesus disrupts and overturns the systems of corruption and profiteering taking place, but ultimately points us to the promise of restoration. Paul reminds the Corinthians (and us) that God’s wisdom is more expansive than we can imagine. We are shown the way, even if God’s “way” feels foolish, counter-cultural, disruptive, or uncomfortable

 

March 14 – 4th Sunday in Lent

Day by day, God loves first

John 3:14-21 | Ephesians 2:1-10

After inviting Nicodemus to be born anew, Jesus tells him in John 3 that God so loved the world that God sent his son to restore it. Therefore, when we read John 3:16, we remember that Jesus is speaking in metaphor and poetry. Ultimately, love is where God begins and ends. This love, like grace, is a gift we do nothing to deserve. Day by day, love is our refrain. Before we act, think, or believe, can love be first for us too?

 

March 21 – 5th Sunday in Lent

Day by day, we are reformed

John 12:20-33 | Jeremiah 31:31-34

We desire for God to write on our hearts so that God’s law can re-shape and re-form us from the inside out. Reformation is a journey of letting the old fall away for something new to emerge, of returning to God’s words over and over, of being drawn into the heart of God. This is the process of justification and sanctification; transformation must be internal and communal.

 

March 28 – 6th  Sunday in Lent

Day by day, we draw upon courage

John 12:1-19²

On Palm Passion Sunday, we remember that Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was not a risk-free, palm party. It was a protest parade—a protest against those in power, a parade to prepare the way for a different kind of king. And this was all happening with plots to kill Lazarus (and Jesus) building in the background. We’re reminded that the crowds were brave to show up that day, and that Jesus drew on courage to face his journey to the cross. The root of courage is cour, meaning “heart.” Courage is deep within us; we often find it when we most need it, when everything else has been stripped away.

 

April 1   – Maundy Thursday

Day by day, we are drawn together

 John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Foot washing is a practice of radical vulnerability, of being seen and known. Jesus loved the disciples “to the end.” In this act, we remember that God holds all of our pain, vulnerability, doubts, and sufferings. As we venture toward the cross, we can lean into God’s everlasting arms, knowing we are held.

 

April 2 – Good Friday

Day by day, we find ourselves here

 John 19:1-30

Day by day, we find ourselves at the foot of the cross, at the pit of despair, in the face of death, in the grip of state-sanctioned violence. “Here” is an emotional place. “Here” is grief. “Here” is the reality of sin and brokenness. On Good Friday, we are called to sit in the silence of death, knowing that God is here.

 

April 4 – Easter Sunday

Day by day, the sun rises

 Mark 16:1-8

According to Mark, on the first day of the week, the women rise with the sun and buy spices to anoint Jesus’ body. They are shocked to find the tomb empty, and leave in fear and terror. Mark’s resurrection story is less triumphant than the other Gospel testimonies (as scholars believe the rest of Mark’s gospel was a later addition). Mark’s version, reminds us that Easter comes to us, day by day, even if we don’t know what to make of God’s resurrection ways. Day by day, the sun rises. And some days, that is enough.

Quarterly Meeting Update: Skyline is Healthy!

Thank you to all who joined the Quarterly Meeting on January 31st!  These one-hour meetings are a great opportunity to learn more about all that is happening at Skyline UCC.  It is also an opportunity to reflect on how you can become more involved in the activities of the Church.  All teams welcome new members. If you are interested in a Service Team or if you have ideas of your own, please reach out to one of the Chairs or let me or Pastor Laurie know.

This quarter, my personal goals are continued focus and support on safety (members, staff, preschool teachers, children and families). I am also facilitating the ad hoc group (Nancy Taylor, Becky Taylor and Pastor Laurie) who is developing the office manager position requirements and assisting Pastor Laurie with hiring Nancy Montier’s replacement. Lastly I plan to work with Council and volunteers on developing our long-term goals.

At the Quarterly Meetings, members and guests heard from Service Team Leaders:

Jane Medema for the Spiritual Life Team
janiemedema@comcast.net 510-263-9798,
Nancy Taylor for the Justice & Witness Team
ngtaylor94619@yahoo.com  510-325-4957, and
Catherine Kessler for the Green Team
cath.kessler@comcast.net  510-499-8114)

Spiritual Life has several activities planned to help guide us through the Lenten period.  Justice & Witness has planned several events (including a movie night) in recognition of Black History Month  Green Team has been busy maintaining and beautifying our facilities and grounds.

Tom Manley provided the update on the church finances.  The good news is that we are doing much better than originally budgeted primarily due to the preschool enrollment being steady and the preschool remaining open since March. We recently received notice that the first PPP Loan has been forgiven.  That update will be shared at the next Quarterly Meeting in April.

We announced the retirement of Nancy Montier who has been our Office Manager for 8 years. Everyone will miss Nancy! Her kindness, creativity, commitment and flexibility to the evolving requirements of the position will be hard to replace.

We hope you are finding these quarterly updates valuable and informative.  There is always a lot happening at Skyline UCC (please reference your weekly emails for details).  I welcome any suggestions or recommendations of what you would like to hear at the next quarterly meeting.

Your Moderator, Carolyn Noble

Lent Begins Ash Wednesday

Lent Begins Ash Wednesday, February 17

Join the Spiritual Life Team after the service on Sunday, Feb 14th @ 11:15am, for a discussion about Spiritual practices during Lent, to strengthen our spiritual muscle.
.
At the heart of Christian faith is the wonderful, powerful, mystical story of the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. His story has become our story, our Easter… promising new life and new beginnings when we may least expect it.

The traditional season of Lent offers us an opportunity to reflect on the meaning
of Easter in our personal lives and in our community. Our church will join others
around the world in observing this season of devotion, reflection, and preparation for Easter.

Only you know what your heart and mind need to grow and thrive spiritually. The Spiritual Life Team is suggesting some Lenten practices that may be meaningful to you and may help you to strengthen and deepen your faith and service; ‘build spiritual muscle’ so to speak. You are invited to choose a practice, or as many as you feel called to take on. Of course, you may choose to adapt our ideas or discover others that will serve you. After worship on Feb. 14, we will have an opportunity to share our choices, and to schedule time to share our experiences of Lenten devotional practice with one another.

BUILDING SPIRITUAL MUSCLE…Some Options

• Focus on the traditional practices of prayer and almsgiving
• Begin a season of withdrawal or abstinence (from online media, for ex.)
• Subscribe to Recipiscence: An online devotional guide for dismantling White
Supremacy
• PracticeYoga, walking, and/or dance as meditations
• Form a short term support group to share and process stress or depression
• Put together a journal or picture album that is meaningful to you
• Experiment with a new kind of art expression (like clay, or even an adult
coloring book)
• Organize a Lenten book club
• Connecting, reaching out to one another

Skyline Celebrates Black History Month

Here are just a few opportunities to join us throughout February

#1 – Join us after church Sunday, February 7th @11:15am
for discussions on Rev. William Barber’s sermons:

NC’s Rev. Barber at Biden’s inaugural prayer service: The nation must ‘repair the breach’

Is There a Word in the Wilderness? | A Sermon by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II
Click on the image to view Rev. Barber’s sermon below: 34:00 – 1:16:30
Please view these beforehand, and join us this Sunday!
11:15AM
via Special Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83384891002
Rev. William Barber is terrific!

Nancy Taylor, The Justice & Witness Team



#2 – Please mark your calendars for

Ministry Teams Film Night – Friday, February 26, 7pm
(NOTE: This was previously announced for the preceding Friday but has moved to this day/time)

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing


This is a a well-done adaptation of Maya Angelou’s book of the same name,
starring Diahann Caroll & Ruby Dee. We will be viewing this movie together via
zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/716026467
Discussion will follow at approx. 8:30pm
If you wish to watch the movie on your own, then join us afterwards for the discussion,
here’s the link to the movie

Nancy Taylor, The Justice & Witness Team



#3 – Some suggestions for your own viewing enjoyment:

One Night in Miami (2020) – IMDb
This is an excellent movie on Amazon Prime that is receiving acclaim.

A fictional account of one incredible night where icons
Muhammad AliMalcolm XSam Cooke, and Jim Brown
gathered discussing their roles in the Civil Rights Movement
and cultural upheaval of the 60s.

Directed by Regina King. With Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge

Nancy Taylor, The Justice & Witness Ministry Team



#4 – You may also enjoy these activities presented on the theme of Black History Month
“The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity”
(click the link or image below to learn more)

Nancy Taylor, The Justice & Witness Ministry Team



#5 – It’s happening!

Join us this Sunday, Feb 7 @ 4pm PST, for the 1st in this series!
via Special Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83384891002

Benjamin Mertz will be leading a
Black History Month Series the entire month of February
All 4 Sundays in February, starting Feb 7th
Sponsored by the Joyful Noise! Gospel Singers

Feb 7th at 4pm – The Underground Railroad, Music of Freedom and Escape:
profiles on Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass

Feb 14th at 4pm – The Harlem Renaissance, the Fisk Jubilee Singers,
and the poetry of James Weldon Johnson and Langston Hughes

Feb 21st  at 4pm – Jim Crow, Work Songs, and the Blues:
profiles on Fannie Lou Hamer and Bessie Smith

Feb 28th  at 4pm – the Civil Rights Movement – Freedom Songs,
profiles on Bernice Johnson Reagon and Harry Belafonte

Special Zoom Link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83384891002

Nancy Taylor, The Justice & Witness Team

Thank You, Leadership, for Blessing Skyline Church

Thank you for our inspiring experiences on Sunday, both in worship and at our 2nd virtual quarterly meeting! I’d like to extend my deepest thanks to each one of you, for all that we’ve accomplished together, in our 50th year, and during the year of Covid.

I am so blessed to partner in leadership with so many of you, in areas such as:

Our evolving Site Protection Plan (SPP) team to ensure the safety of our site and all those on our campus.

Our Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) loan and forgiveness team to cover the 3 month closure of our pre-school, and the reduced revenue because of the need for fewer students and more staff.

Our Personnel & finance teams creating evolving plan for the preschool to remain open and adequately staffed in response to evolving county health guidelines.

Our Council members, meeting every month to vote upon critical decisions.

Our Worship team (Tom, Gabrielle, Ken), and to our choir, to adapt to virtual worship, through the wonders of zoom and the internet.
We’ve also endured the challenges of keeping our Spirits up, with the blessings of our various service teams:  Spiritual Life, Justice & Witness, Green team, and our ever – emerging groups: Care and Concern, Invitation Welcome and Fellowship, Wellness, Climate Justice, Poetry Lovers, and more to come!
We’ve survived, and continued to be a church, and that is a huge accomplishment.
Thanks be to God and to each one of you!