Oakland church

Heaven on Earth – Look Around You!

Oh, the splendor of summer days where we revel in the beauty of sunlight sparkling on water, in fields of tall wheat like grass, and in the Oakland hills with feasting herds of goats. I imagine seeing through the eyes of Jesus thousands of years ago, and how he perceived heaven here on earth within such images. 

Join us this Sunday as we immerse in these timeless parables, that we may perceive the heaven at hand here in our midst. 

I leave you with a quote from St. Augustine of Hippo, 5th Century: 

“Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book, the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Note it. Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead God set before your eyes the things that God had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?”

A time to Dream and Awaken to God’s Calling

© Maksim Shmeljov ID 2452913 | Dreamstime

It’s summer… the season of vacations, rest, and recreation.

  • A time for doing less, and for be-ing more.  
  • A time of sabbath, of sanctuary. 
  • A time to dream. 
  • A time to awaken to God’s calling within our unconsciousness. 

Join us this Sunday as we listen to the powerful stories of dreams that illuminate our lives. 

 I leave you with these beautiful quotes: 

Blessings upon your week! 

Pastor Laurie 

C.G. Jung, 20th century:  “Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” 

Pico Iyer, Falling Off the Map: Some Lonely Places of The World, 21st century:  “Finding a sanctuary, a place apart from time, is not so different from finding a faith.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th century:  “People only see what they are prepared to see.”

Rachel Naomi Remen, 21st century:  “Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us, not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence. It is hard to find. In its presence we can remember something beyond the moment, a strength on which to build a life. Silence is a place of great power and healing.”

“I Would Rather Be Ashes than Dust”

© Steve Baroch ID 960131 | Dreamstime

Our congregation is full of amazingly talented and multifaceted individuals. One of them, Rod Repke, known to many as “Brother Rod”, recently shared with me a beautiful tribute that he wrote in honor of a beloved friend Fred, who recently died. With Rod’s permission, I am sharing an excerpt of his reflections, because they have universal meaning for all of us about how we live our lives and how we consciously use our precious time.

Blessings and see you on Sunday! Pastor Laurie  
You know folks…

If you go down to Jack London Square, there is a life size bronze statue of Jack London there down near the water, just across from Scott’s.  It’s a very dynamic statue—right hand in the air—necktie flapping—he’s almost jumping off the pedestal!  And if you stand in the right spot, his eyes will directly connect with yours  almost as tho’ he’s looking into your soul—or maybe you are looking into his…\
On the base of this statue are the words :

I would rather be ashes than dust.
 I would rather that my spark should burn out 
    in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
 I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom 
    of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
 The function of man is to live, not to exist.
 I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.

Well…I wouldn’t call Fred a “superb meteor”  but  he always kept active irrespective of his medical problems.  He did a lot of stuff that would never even cross my mind—like kayaking on the upper Sacramento once—or more recently snorkeling somewhere in the Caribbean Sea where, as fate would have it, his meteor splashed down—you might say “He died with his boots on”.

Yes indeed…I would rather be ashes than dust


I’ve known Fred and Kathy for a long time—maybe 30 years?  I think we both came to work for Cal/OSHA about 1980 or so.  Sometimes we worked together—other times we worked in different units in Cal/OSHA.  We never went on trips or anything like that together but we’ve spent many a pleasant evening at that old Victorian on Yosemite Street or going to dinner on Piedmont Avenue or someplace—or Freight & Salvage for Bluegrass—and Golden Gate Park once I remember—and of course the occasional office party…

Fred wasn’t born in Colorado but he was raised there and considered it his home turf:

Like Paradise upon this Earth 
Its Wonders to behold…
A  Gateway to the Wilderness
Where all my Dreams unfold…
The changing of its colors
As the clouds go floating by…
Above the Rocky Mountains in 
The Colorado Sky.

The mighty river flowing 
In The Valley of the Pine…
The Shooting Star in meadows on
A summer’s day so fine…
The Forest is alive with Song—
I watch the Bluebirds fly, 
Above the rugged landscape in 
The Colorado Sky.

The seasons change so quickly 
Yet its precious soul remains
As Wind does bring the Snowfalls there
Upon the mighty Plains…
To see the Snow-capped Mountains
With their peaks that reach so high,
Beneath the Fiery Sunsets in
The Colorado Sky.

Good Morning Fred, wherever you are…

UCC Approves Resolution on Climate Change

The United Church of Christ General Synod 2017 has just overwhelmingly approved the Climate Resolution calling on clergy and congregations across the denomination to take action to protect the environment, and churches are lining up to stand behind it publicly.

 Thank you to  Skyline, to our  NCNCUCC conference,  and to our UCC General Synod, for their  full support for this resolution. We stand with the rest of the world and commit ourselves to protect and defend the earth for the generations to come, because we are called to be lovers of creation.

Rev. Laurie  Manning  is  the NCNCUCC  conference rep for climate justice,  and a member of the UCC Council on Climate Justice.  She has already planted a sign in front of her church in support of the resolution and the Paris Climate Accord. “This sign expresses who we are now and how we pledge to live.”

Churches interested in the sign can download it here.

Barack Obama Prayer for Unity, Compassion, Justice

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

“There is a Crack”

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!

From Laurie and Siri

I’m actually dictating by Siri my weekly email to you because I broke two fingers in my right hand last Saturday!

Whether or not God preplanned this, it has been a wonderful opportunity to be reminded of the gift of both hands and the gift of the helping hands of others, and the gift of asking and receiving support. Over the past few days I have experienced such love and support from friends and neighbors and family and from you, Skyline!

This weekend I will be traveling to Sonoma to present a resolution on climate justice which hopefully is headed to our General Synod. Joining me are skylines delegates Cheryl Coleman and Nancy Taylor.

This weekend I am thrilled to have the Rev. Sandhya Jha here at Skyline preaching. See her information later in this newsletter.

Our prayers for traveling mercies for all those attending our NCNCC Annual Meeting, all those traveling on vacations, and all those traveling to be with family and friends.

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

Skyline  Environmental Resolution Vote on 6/25

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.

Skyline Council

Holy Spirit Power!

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. 

Be Kindled in the Fire of Holy Love this Sunday!





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

Pastor Laurie