Saturday & Sunday, August 15th & 16th 9 am – 3 PM
404 Cornell Ave. Albany
There will be many beautiful plants, some pretty garden/landscape greeting cards, jars of local honey, a representative from Planting Justice who will speak about the organization. All proceeds go to Planting Justice, and the sponsors are setting it up to be a careful as we can around social distancing. Masks required. It’s an outdoor event.
Planting Justice is a grassroots organization with a mission to empower people impacted by mass incarceration and other social inequities, with the skills and resources to cultivate food sovereignty, economic justice, and community healing.
Since 2009 Planting Justice has built over 450 edible permaculture gardens in the San Francisco Bay Area, worked with five high-schools to develop food justice curricula and created 40 green jobs in the food justice movement for folks transitioning from prison
The Skyline Church Justice and Witness Team invites you to the August 28th Bay Area World Without Walls event—A conversation with Angela Davis and Jamal Juma’ moderated by Kristian Davis Bailey. The conversation will be an international discussion of the connections between Black Lives Matter calls to defund the police and abolish the prison industrial complex, and Palestinian calls to tear down all apartheid walls and work for Palestinian human rights. Join these iconic grassroots organizers for an important reflection on the nature of global struggle in this precarious moment of history.
For more details and for webinar registration, please go to the Facebook event page HERE.
If you don’t use Facebook, register for Zoom event HERE.
This Sunday, I am going to talk about the Canaanite woman’s encounter with Jesus. I remember hearing it for the first time when I was a kid. In the middle of church, I wanted to turn to my parents and say, “Did Jesus just call her a dog?” I didn’t dare, of course, because silence was the order of the day for kids in my very formal faith upbringing.
Do you remember your first experience hearing this story? How do you hear it now? How does it speak to you about change, growth, new vision, new life, love?
Brian McLaren, in his book, the Great Spiritual Migration, describes these parables as “bottomless wells of meaning”, springing up within us, like living water, like love, like a new day. We will continue with our journey and book study after worship this Sunday.
For a new day to dawn, WE must be open to hearing and seeing new things, even when the road is long and dark, and we are so far from home.
As a teenager living in Rhode Island, one of my greatest joys was the experience of taking the sunfish sailboat out on hot and humid late summer afternoons on Narragansett Bay, and experiencing the refreshing power of the wind filling the sail and the waves crashing over the deck, as we surfed the white caps.
I’ve also experienced some terrifying times on the ocean, lost at night in the fog, and the importance of maintaining peace within, to make it home.
Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh suggests that one person with peace in their heart can act to calm an entire boatload of people. In his book “Being Peace”, he writes:“I like to use the example of a small boat crossing the Gulf of Siam. In Vietnam, there are many people, called boat people, who leave the country in small boats. Often the boats are caught in rough seas or storms, the people may panic, and boats can sink. But if even one person aboard can remain calm, lucid, knowing what to do and what not to do, he or she can help the boat survive. His or her expression – face, voice – communicates clarity and calmness, and people have trust in that person. They will listen to what he or she says. One such person can save the lives of many. Our world is something like that small boat. Compared with the cosmos, our planet is a very small boat. We’re about to panic because our situation is no better than the situation of the small boat in the sea.
He continued, “We need people who can sit still and be able to smile, who can walk peacefully. We need people like that in order to save us. Mahayana Buddhism says that you are that person, that each of you is that person.”
He’s right… you are that person, each of you is that person.
Join us this Sunday as we learn more about being peace within the storms of our lives.
As we experience heightened awareness of racism and White Supremacy in our country – and in our community – especially since the killing of George Floyd; and as we consider how we can become involved with one another in this movement for racial justice, our first meeting in a series will start from the the desire that we connect more deeply with one another. To that end, we will share our “stories” – who we are, our beginnings, what are the things in our lives that have shaped our world views. All are invited! Please join us!
For questions, contact Nancy Taylor via the office at 510-531-8212, email@example.com. (during shelter in place email is best)
Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/901784352 Meeting ID: 901 784 352 One tap mobile +16699009128,,901784352# US (San Jose) +13462487799,,901784352# US (Houston)
Last Friday we bid farewell to two Great Titans in the civil rights movement in this country: Congressman John Lewis and the Rev CT Vivian, two men who dedicated their lives to freedom, equality and basic human rights.
Across two generations, beginning in 1960, John Lewis and the Rev. C.T. Vivian battled for justice and equality. They fought together for civil rights for 60 years and died on the same day in 2020. In honor of their memory, we must pause to remember and reflect on their resilience, their commitment to nonviolence, their understanding of the centrality of the vote, and, perhaps, just as important, their personal humility. Here’s a Smithsonian article about John Lewis.
Walter Jones recently shared this with me: In memory of John Lewis, I reminisce about his leadership role as Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; a key organization in the Civil Rights Movement and in the Freedom Riders, during the summer of 1961.
Walter continued, Remembering Rev. John Lewis and his alma mater, Fisk University, last Sunday in our zoom discussion took me back to the protest period during my college years. John Lewis was a student and graduate of Fisk University, Nashville TN, and was trained by Rev James Lawson in nonviolent resistance.
James Lawson made a critical contribution to the civil rights movement. In his 1968 speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” Martin Luther King spoke of Lawson as one of the “noble men” who had influenced the black freedom struggle: “He’s been going to jail for struggling; he’s been kicked out of Vanderbilt University for this struggling; but he’s still going on, fighting for the rights of his people”.
Fisk University, was among a number of outstanding academic institutions, complemented by rich spiritual and religious orientation, founded by agents of the American Missionary Association (the AMA), in partnership with abolitionist Congregationalists, out of which our denomination, the United Church of Christ (UCC), emerged. The overt intentions of the religious founders were to provide African-Americans with an outstanding academic education that would be complemented by an equally rich spiritual and religious orientation. The AMA and it’s assets were given to the UCC which continued to annually fund several HBCU’s.
Walter added, I am so proud of our small but mighty denomination, the United Church of Christ, in supporting the education that produced such leaders as John Lewis. Walter also added, I am so proud of our little church on the hill, Skyline UCC, for our leadership in the civil rights movement that is continuing now, right here in Alameda County.
After eight decades braving taunts and threats and bruises and broken bones, trying to make the world that could be out the world that was, this very good troublemaker has slipped from here to hereafter—and he has departed, he has bequeathed something to us:
He has left us America.
It is our unearned inheritance, entrusted to us to fully steward in these days that he can no longer, whether we feel capable of or qualified for or ready to.
You and I awake today with a fragile, fractured nation in our hands, and the eyes of a world upon us waiting to see what we’ll do with it.
May we be faithful servants of our better selves.
May we be steadfast in making the America that could be.
May we be worthy caretakers of the struggle.
May we be the good troublemakers now.
Blessings, thanks, and love to each one of you, f continuing our part in being good troublemakers!
We are thrilled to invite YOU into a virtual (via zoom) open, creative sharing about how you are considering, dreaming, engaging, and employing alternatives to policing systems when you face threats to your security and safety.
While we have been learning and building together in the Bay Area, a national Black–led movement and uprising for the abolition of white supremacist policing systems is forcing a national conversation and shift in practice about how we will invest in community, neighborhood, and personal systems of community solidarity, mutual aid, and safety – rather than relying on violent and white supremacist policing systems when we are afraid, or need help. What amazing times, and openings! Such appreciation for courageous Black youth, in particular.
Alongside this powerful movement, we seek to continue to support one another in the East Bay, especially those of us in largely/majority white communities and institutions, to develop our tools, resources, and practices for engaging alternatives to policing systems when we face fear and crises. Let’s help each other not become #karens and #kens, while building a supportive and robust, caring network that holds our concerns. Please join us for a series of loving and courageous conversations in July to learn more, and to share our ideas and resources for community investments and alternatives to policing systems.
1) Please join with the “Alternatives to Policing Coalition” and community to listen and participate in this Town Hall on investments needed for community safety, hosted by the Anti Police-Terror Project and Defund OPD Coalition. Please RSVP and join here to listen and learn together:
2) Please BRING two friends from one of your communities (because we can’t do this work alone) for a follow up conversation, especially for those of us in white communities (neighborhoods, friends, organizations, faith communities). In this conversation, we will exchange ideas on who to call, and how to engage, and who to be so that we can rely on each other and community resources for help, rather than policing systems. This will be a creative, open source, small group & big group sharing and conversation
Last weekend, wanting to linger with John Lewis for a bit after his death, I watched an old interview of him by Jon Batiste, the bandleader of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Batiste asked him for his best pearls of wisdom. Lewis answered simply, according to the same religion he has followed since he was a child, “Sometimes someone says something hostile to me and I say ‘You don’t believe that. Your mother didn’t teach you that.’” He told a story about a Klan member who visited his office at the Capitol with his son, 50 years after beating Lewis bloody during the Freedom Rides, to apologize. The Klan member wept, his son wept, and Lewis forgave him, hugged him and started crying himself. “Hate is too heavy a burden to bear. Love is a better way,” he told Batiste.
This Sunday, we are once again blessed by guest preacher, Rev. Lynice Pinkard, who will continue to bring us wisdom from Jesus’ parables about the power of believing and acting in faith, that there is enough for us all, in the face of overwhelming need.
Rev. Lynice Pinkard Rev. Lynice is a writer, speaker, UCC minister, chaplain and public intellectual operating at the intersection of Christianity, economics, and social change. She is a graduate of Pacific School of Religion with both an MA and MDiv and is the former pastor at First Congregational Church of Oakland.
As a result of her rich heritage growing up in the African Methodist Episcopal church and the witness of her parents’ commitment to social justice, Rev. Lynice developed an early and keen sensitivity to the ways in which disparities of power and forms of oppression affect the quality of the lives of people around the world.
In recent years, Rev. Pinkard has co-founded several ministry-focused, community-based non-profits: Share First Oakland (addressing issues of hunger and structural food insecurity); Urban Sanctuary (building therapeutic collaborations between West Oakland activists and neighborhood residents, e.g., community gardeners and recyclers, artists and restorative justice advocates, marriage equality advocates and formerly incarcerated African American men in West Oakland neighborhoods); and Seminary of the Street (forming and training West Oakland neighborhood residents for faith-based critical justice work). Read more about Rev. Lynice HERE.
Rev. Lynice will preach from the lectionary; from Matthew’s gospel about the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven in contrast to the Kingdom of Ceaser and the Empire, then and now.
This Sunday, July 19th, we are blessed to have with us my friend and colleague, Rev Davena Jones, Associate Conference Minister for the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ. Here’s a 44 second hello video Rev. Davena made for Skyline.
So much is being revealed to us in this great disruption, if we have the eyes to see it.
May we have the courage to see what has always been there before us, including what lies within us. Please join us on Monday July 20 as part of the Poor People’s Campaign in a nation-wide, Strike for our Lives (see info below)
The world’s sacred texts describe the journey of enlightenment as the development our capacities for seeing and hearing anew, especially those who are different from us.
I’d like to share with you a quote from Thich Nhat Hahn, Vietnamese Buddhist monk, who was nominated in 1967 for the Nobel peace prize by the Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr. This quote is about to developing the capacity to see all that lies within us, entitled, “Please Call Me by My True Names”. Here is a context for his reflection.
Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow—even today I am still arriving.
Look deeply: every second I am arrivingto be a bud on a Spring branch,to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,learning to sing in my new nest,to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,to fear and to hope.The rhythm of my heart is the birth and deathof all that is alive.
I am a mayfly metamorphosingon the surface of the river.And I am the birdthat swoops down to swallow the mayfly.
I am a frog swimming happilyin the clear water of a pond.And I am the grass-snakethat silently feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.And I am the arms merchant,selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl,refugee on a small boat,who throws herself into the oceanafter being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am also the pirate,my heart not yet capableof seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo,with plenty of power in my hands.And I am the man who has to payhis “debt of blood” to my peopledying slowly in a forced-labor camp.
My joy is like Spring, so warmit makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.My pain is like a river of tears,so vast it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names,so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names,so I can wake upand the door of my heartcould be left open,the door of compassion.
This gives me endless hope. Together, we help each other see our way through to a better, more beautiful world.
I have so much gratitude for our faith community, particularly now, in these challenging times. This community is so vitally needed, especially now, to bring forth greater equity and inclusion.
On Sunday, July 5th, in the spirit of freedom and the inherent worth and dignity of us all, we joined together for part 2 of our virtual Annual Meeting.
Thank you all for an engaging discussion about our ministries!
My deepest thanks to the team of organizers: Carolyn Noble, Jane Medema, Nancy Taylor, Catherine Kessler, Philippa Pegram, David Guerra, and Mirtha Ninayauer.
It is our hope that this becomes on ongoing conversation, not only among the service team leaders, but among us all as we continue in the spirit of this great spiritual migration together. For those of you who were unable to attend, we encourage you to review the slides, to learn more about our accomplishments and goals together.
Even more we encourage you to share with us, what do you hope for? Where do you see yourself? What are your priorities for our wider, external mission, in this time and place?
This Sunday and the week ahead:
Towards that end, join us for worship this Sunday where we will explore the need and value of Jubilee. It was a practice within ancient Judaism, held every fiftieth year, designed by God for the people to have a full stop, a complete re-set to restore one another; time to restore families, time to eliminate debt, time to forgive, time to reset. I believe that is what we are in right now, not only in our 50th year worshiping at Skyline sanctuary, but more importantly in the world. I believe that circumstances are making it clear that it’s time for a full stop. Specifically, it’s time to stop trying to make things work that are broken at the core. We will focus on the need for a Jubilee from debt and wealth inequality, for people of color, of rest for the earth and a jubilee from the religion of what Cornell West calls, “gangster religion”.
After worship this Sunday, July 12, at 11:30, Jane Medema (scholar, teacher, ordained minister, and counselor), will facilitate a virtual discussion via Zoom based on Brian McLaren’s book, The Great Spiritual Migration. In the discussion she will draw forth our universal values as an evolving faith community on a spiritual, theological, and missional migration journey. Please review appendix 2 prior to our meeting or just join us!
Then, next Tuesday, July 14, at 10:30 am, you’re invited to join us by Zoom or phone for a conversation, led by Charles Holmes, an author, poet, seeker, a scholar, and a wise and caring man, entitled, ‘COOL THOUGHTS FOR OLDER FOLKS” Last week (July 7) , we focused on the themes of mental conditioning, stress, best self, understanding and caring, drawing from various sources, including poetry, quotes, and a time of reflection and sharing on the themes of growing in wisdom. On Tuesday, July 21 at 10:30, we will focus on the theme of centurions reflecting upon the secret to their longevity.
May this be a time of reflection, creativity and renewal for us all,
At Skyline, we’re committed to nurturing the spiritual development of children and youth by equipping them with the tools they need to discover faith-filled answers… for themselves.
God has no hands but your hands, no feet but your feet, no face but your face. Join us in cultivating a more just and compassionate world, working together to understand and meet the real needs of our local community (Food Bank) and beyond (Sierra Leone School).
At Skyline, we’re committed to nurturing the spiritual development of children and youth by equipping them with the tools they need to discover faith-filled answers… for themselves.
We recognize the fragility of the earth and our own capacity to do harm. It is urgent that, as earth’s stewards, we make a commitment to our children and future generations to minimize our impact on the earth. We are working locally and globally in these efforts.