Oakland church

Graduation Sunday 2019

May and June are the seasons for graduation, and so this Sunday we honor our graduates including our Children’s program director Sheryl on her last Sunday with us. 
It’s a day of sending forth, a day of mixed emotions, of joy and sadness, of holding on & letting go. A  day of recognizing, as in the beautiful words of Kahlil Gibran,   “your children are not your children, they are the sons and daughter’s of life’s longing for itself.”  http://www.katsandogz.com/onchildren.html
At the same time, it’s a recognition of the tremendous pressures on children these days, in our culture, and how it truly takes a village to raise our children.   https://rightforeducation.org/2016/07/it-takes-a-whole-village/
I give thanks to this faith community, for sharing in making these dreams a reality. 
Join us this Sunday, as we celebrate honor and support our graduates, of all ages, from our preschoolers, to our PHD students!  Bring your graduates! 
peace, Pastor Laurie 

Spring Fling Preschool Dinner and Fundraiser 2019

The Skyline Preschool Fundraiser is this coming Saturday, May 18th. There are so many great prizes this year that we are raffling off to raise funds for the school’s scholarship fund as well as general improvements to the school. Below is a listing of the prizes we have so far. 
Grand Prize # 1: Seven(7) Nights in Hawaii ($10 Blue Tickets):
Grand Prize # 2: $3,500 Disney Gift Card ($10 Red Tickets):
Grand Prize # 3: Weekend Stay in Sea Ranch ($10 Green Tickets):
In addition to the grand prize drawings, there will be several other raffle ticket items ($5 Yellow Tickets):
  • Dinner for a party of six (6) at MarketBar in San Francisco ($350 Value)
  • Dinner for a part of four (4) at Florio Bar & Cafe in San Francisco ($250 Value)
  • Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary “Cedar Enzyme Bath for Two” Gift Certificate ($178 Value)
  • Gilroy Gardens – Two (2) Single Day Admissions ($116 value)
  • Viscera Private Shopping Appointment & $100 Gift Card
  • Tutu School – One (1) Month of Classes ($100 Value)
  • AMC Movie Theater $100 Gift Card
  • Family Day Pass to the Oakland Zoo ($98 Value)
  • Trader Joes Bag of Nut-Free Snacks ($50 Value)
  • Custom Encaustic Painting by Jenn Leighton Parker ($ Value TBD)
  • Hipline Dance Classes ($ Value TBD)
  • Leather Suspenders ($ Value TBD)
  • Essential Oils Gift Basket ($ Value TBD)
  • Knudsen’s Ice Creamery $20 Gift Card
  • MOD Pizza $50 Gift Card

You’ve Been Like a Mother to Me

One of the most memorable Mother’s Day cards I’ve ever seen was one that my brother Steve gave to my mother, when he was in his early teens.  The card had a beautiful rose on the outside, and on the inside was printed these words,   “You’ve been like a mother to me”. We all laughed, especially my mother, saying, “well that’s good to know Steven, because I AM your mother”.. It’s easy to retell this story as an example of the confused thinking of a young teenager,  but I think that Steve was on to something profound..

You’ve been like a mother to me.  In other words, you’ve made space and time for me, you carry me in your heart, and you have never abandoned me. I believe in you. I trust in your love. 

Mother’s Day is complicated for so many reasons. We’ve all had, and have, such uniquely different experiences of our own mothers. And, women have all had such uniquely different experiences of being a mother, or not being a mother. Times have changed so much with respect to the roles of women, and also with respect to the understanding of what it means to “be fruitful and multiply”. Mother’s Day has become so commercialized.  And we lose sight of the amazing, life changing processes in nature that bring forth new life.  Processes  that so many of the world’s religions draw upon as a metaphor when trying to describe the experience of God creating new life within all of us. 

So this Sunday we will honor “You’ve Been Like a Mother to Me” Day.  We will seek to honor the life giving love that we’ve all experienced, and God’s creative loving energies working within all of us. 

Ee cummings writes a poem about this love, which I interpret as God’s love poem to each one of us:  

Ee cummings..  [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/i-carry-your-heart-with-me-by-ee-cummings

Labor Day and Immigrant Rights Day as a Sanctuary Community

When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:33-34

May is here. May 1st marks, for many people of the world, International Workers Day, also known as Labor Day, a time of honoring and advocating for laborers and working class people.  Relatedly, May 6th is Immigrant Rights Day to champion the rights and contributions of immigrants as a vital part of our country, especially here in California and in Oakland.  

Celebrations on May 1 have long had two, seemingly contradictory meanings. On one hand, May Day is known for maypoles, flowers and welcoming the spring. On the other hand, it’s a day of worker solidarity and protest. Though the U.S. observes its official Labor Day in September, many countries will celebrate Labor Day on Wednesday.   I’d like to share with you an article that reflects on the bloody history of this day.
Come and learn more about how we can become better friends and advocates as a sanctuary congregation and a justice faith community.  For example, supporting the children of Guatemala and their families through the Nueva Esperanza preschool; advocating for those held in detention centers and for children separated from their parents at the borders; and advocating for living wages, affordable housing, education and healthcare for all people.
with love, Pastor Laurie 

Court Hearing Tagami Lawsuit- No Coal in Oakland

Thursday, April 25 at 3pm
Wear your No Coal in Oakland t-shirt and join us at next Thursday’s court hearing in developer Phil Tagami’s second lawsuit against the City.  

Where:  Alameda County Courthouse,  Department 18, 1221 Oak Street, Oakland. Click here for more inforation about the hearing to keep coal out of Oakland.
In November 2018, the City of Oakland terminated Tagami’s lease because he failed to meet critical deadlines for beginning construction of the rail-to-ship terminal at the former Oakland Army Base. In December, Tagami filed a second lawsuit in state court against the City asking the court to reinstate his lease, given him a two-year extension to fulfill his obligations, and for hundreds of millions in damages.  The City moved to dismiss his lawsuit and the hearing on the motion is set for Thursday, April 25 before Judge Jo-Lynne Q. Lee in Alameda Superior Court.
Please join us in the courtroom to show support for the City.  Wear your  t-shirt.  Come 15 minutes early to ensure you have a seat.  Please RSVP if you can join us.
For more information about the lawsuit, go to https://nocoalinoakland.info/tagami-sues-again/ 
or contact Catherine via the office (510-531-8212   office@skylineucc.org).

peace, Skyline Green team 

Green New Deal Support

With the unanimous support of our SCC Church Council and our UCC National Climate Justice Council, we are sharing with you a Resolution to support the Green New Deal.  It will be voted on during our NCNCC Annual Meeting in June,  with plans to send it to the UCC General Synod. The text of this Resolution can be found here.
Climate Change is a compelling moral and faith issue. The Green New Deal Resolution calls on multiple levels of our denomination to both advocate and take concrete action within and beyond our congregations for the sake of all Creation. You can read the FAQ’s for the General Synod Resolution here.
I am proud that our “brave little” church has an opportunity to be a proponent in something that matters so much. I urge you to read this resolution before church this Sunday.
We will have an opportunity to express our opinions about this after worship on Sunday, April 28th, and to discuss it after refreshments.  Please let me know right away if you would be interested in representing our congregation at the NCNCC Annual Meeting to vote on this resolution. 
Thank you!
Grace and peace,
Pastor Laurie, Skyline’s Green Team and Church Council!

Earth Day – “I come into the peace of wild things…”

It’s Monday, Earth Day, and it’s a glorious spring afternoon. I am sitting in the Garden of Eden which exists in my back yard; as the warm sun kisses my shoulders through the shade of graceful redwood and bay trees, and my senses are filled with the fragrance of roses and trees.

It was Wendell Berry who wrote: 

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

All of us who know that all is not as it should be in the world, and it is easy for despair to grow-yet today, Earth Day, we remember our interconnection with Earth and with one another, while pledging to make a difference in how we live, work, and worship.

I give thanks that I am part of a faith community and a denomination that embraces God’s calling to us as active participants in caring for this Garden of Eden.

Join us this Sunday as we are blessed by the music of the Pacific Boychoir Academy, and learn more about how we are advocating for the Green New Deal!

Volunteering Spring Summer 2019

Volunteers – St. Mary’s Center;  Learn more here

Teaching stories of faith to our children! Volunteer Opportunity! 

Rev. Sheryl Johnson will be leaving Skyline for a much larger children, youth director position at the San Mateo UCC Church in late May. She is very grateful for her time at Skyline and will miss the Skyline community a lot! 
Her last Sunday will be Sunday, May 19th and we will be celebrating her in worship. 
We are currently looking for volunteers to lead the sessions (with the amazing support of Alegra in the multi-age group and Lucy helping out with pre-school aged kids) on May 26 and June 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30. Curriculum materials, lesson plans, and training/support will be provided. If you have never tried this before, this could be a great opportunity for you – it’s a great chance to get to know the kids and for the kids to get to know you! 
We will also be providing a short orientation for both new and experienced volunteers on Sunday, May 19th after fellowship time, from 11:45 – 12:30 pm, to show you how to lead a typical session, how to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of this multi-age group, to learn more about what Allegra and Lucy’s roles are, and to share ideas on best practices. 
For more info, Please contact Sheryl,  cyf.skyline@gmail.com or Pastor Laurie  office@skylineucc.org.

Volunteer Opportunities

Looking for Board Members- Alameda Health System Homeless Clinic
Many of you know I am a Director of Nursing at Alameda Health System (Highland Hospital and clinics). We provide many services to the homeless population of Alameda County. As part of our role in the county and with the federal government, we are required to have a board that specifically addresses the needs of the homeless. It is a volunteer position with a three year term.  If you are interested or have further questions, please let me know.
Steve Kilgore, MSN, RN, contact through office 510-531-8212,   office@skylineucc.org
Director of Nursing, Ambulatory
Alameda Health System

Volunteer to manage  the donations basket in Friendship Room
Skyline has a large drop-off basket for clothing donations from church & preschool in the Friendship Room.  J&W team is seeking a volunteer to monitor it and take donations periodically to East Oakland Switchboard, BACS, or other worthy recipient(s).  Contact Nancy Taylor:   Michael Armijo, through office 510-531-8212,   office@skylineucc.org

Support Immigrants, Refugees, Detainees
The Skyline Justice and Witness Team invites you to volunteer to support these groups and organizations. 

A Su Lado/ By Your Side is a one-day volunteer opportunity to accompany immigrants in need of community support at their immigration court hearings in San Francisco. Email Hugo at hlopez@im4humanintegrity.org to sign up.
Become a Sponsor for an Immigrant in a Detention Center
Interested in helping release an immigrant from ICE detention that has recently arrived with a caravan? Please consider being a sponsor. Contact Samantha Vazquez for more information: svazquez@im4humanintegrity.org.
LGBTQ+ Sponsors:  There’s a great need for sponsorship of LGBTQ+ individuals currently in ICE detention. Email Elaina Vermeulen, Transgender Detention Release Specialist for more information: elainavermeulen@gmail.com.
Friends Afuera (Outside)
Join our Friends Afuera letter-writing program to write to those in detention at ICE facilities and donate to their commissary account once a month. Email us at: friendsafuera@im4humanintegrity.org
Compassion has no Walls Interfaith Immigration Vigils: Join our monthly vigils every 2nd Friday at ICE building, 630 Sansome Street, San Francisco from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm.  Sponsored by Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity.

Urgent Need for Sponsors for Detained Transgender Asylum Seekers
The Santa Fe Dreamer’s Project and collaborators seek parole sponsors for detained transgender women seeking asylum in the US.  A sponsor provides financial support, space in home, help to obtain services, clothing etc., and community support.  Find out how to sign up at http://tinyurl.com/skytransdetain.  Contact Elaina Vermeulen, Transgender Detention Release Specialist, at elainavermeulen@gmail.com.
J&W contacts: Mirtha Langewis-Ninayahuar and Nancy Taylor: contact through office 510-531-8212,   office@skylineucc.org

The Cathedral, Jesus, and the People

Like many of you this week, I watched along with the world as the footage of flames enveloping the Cathedral of Notre Dame went viral over the internet.  At first, the images of the grand spire collapsing echoed memories of 9/11.  I couldn’t help but ask why?  Why did this happen to this Cathedral, that so embodies the confluence of beauty, majesty, faith, art, history, and human expression?  Why, on the eve of Holy week? Was it a sign? 

On the one hand, it is so heartwarming to see the universal outpouring of support and money from the world, to rebuild this church. But on the other hand, it raises more questions: 

Where is the lament,  the media attention, and the universal outpouring of support to rebuild the communities of poor people of color in this world,  whose lives are on fire? Where is the outpouring of support for the millions of black and brown people living as refugees throughout the world?  And for the millions who are being held in detention centers and prisons in this country?  And right here in Oakland, for the thousands living in tents on the streets of our cities, here, in one of the wealthiest areas in the world.  

Would there be such an outpouring of sadness, if we were remembering a young man of color, in an orange jumpsuit,  arrested for being an insurrectionist, a disturber of the peace? Whose church was not a building, but the people whom he loved and healed and to whom he brought hope: the sick, the poor, the women and children, the people of color, the outcasts, and those in prison.   A man who’s church was the ecclesia, the people, who gathered to be inspired by the stories of the prophets.  Who was executed on death row, by the military, industrial, superpower of his time?

Because this is the story of Jesus, and the Spirit of justice. It’s helpful to me to remember who and what it was that so inspired people hundreds of years ago to build such a cathedral.

On the eve of Holy Week, we remember the brutal public execution of a Palestinian Rabbi, who so embodied such beauty, majesty, faith, love and compassion for the poor and marginalized that many believed that he was the son of God. We remember a man whose life and stories, a thousand years later, inspired people to build Notre Dame Cathedral. Whose stories,  two thousand years later,  give us hope now. 

What do we do, in the face of such unanswerable questions? We remember him. We join together, and stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers, out in the streets, near the prisons, and in the homeless encampments  to pray, sing and support one another through the power of these Spirit inspired stories, to rebuild our lives and our world, bringing good news for all people. It’s what humans do, and have always done. It’s called the ecclesia, the gathered community of faith, the church. 

We invite the same Spirit that gave birth to Jesus,  inspired Jesus, and resurrected Jesus to inspire us now into the new life that God is bringing to us, and to all of Creation. Join us as we pray and sing together in this Holy Week, and as we open ourselves to the new life that God is inviting us to, even in the midst of destruction and death. 

I’m inspired that  #NotreDame has already raised almost $1 billion in pledges toward reconstruction.  I’m even more inspired to support churches  less equipped to rebuild, like the 3 Black Baptist churches destroyed by arson earlier this month.  Join me in making a donation to these congregations, today (if you haven’t already). They need to raise $1.9 million to rebuild, and so far they’ve reached just $70k.  Click here for their gofundme site. Thank you!

What Makes Your Heart Sing? All Church Retreat

Saturday May 4  10 AM – 3PM

Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church
3534 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

rsvp by 4/28 with Tom Manley @  manley.tom@gmail.com so that we can plan ahead to order lunch.
Cost: Free!

What makes your heart sing? What makes you know?
That you’re in a space where you can flourish and grow?
Even if things are bad you know, it’s not really a bad thing
If you’re in a place where your heart can sing!  
(song created by Ken Medema)
click here for welcome video 
What makes our heart sing?   Scripture teaches about spiritual gifts. Discovering spiritual gifts includes creating a place, a space within and among us, where all that we are can flourish and grow.  Where each of us can be the all that we were created to be, and also be a great blessing to our community of faith, and to the world.
Internationally renowned singer songwriters Rev Dr Jim Manley, UCC pastor
and Ken Medema, founder of Brier Patch Music.
Rev. Laurie Manning, Pastor Skyline Community UCC Church
Sponsored By:
Ken Medema, The Interlude Foundation and Skyline UCC Spiritual Life Team