Oakland church

Invitation to Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy’s Retreat at Skyline

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Collaborators,

Good afternoon!  I’m writing to invite you to join us for the Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy’s annual retreat, scheduled for Thursday, March 1, 9am to 12noon at Skyline UCC (12540 Skyline Blvd in Oakland).

We welcome our extended family of faith leaders to this morning session, whose featured speakers will focus on where we stand a year into the present national crisis, and what lies ahead in our work for 2018 and beyond.

This session will also be an opportunity to learn about FAME’s work in collaboration with the national Poor Peoples’ Campaign (PPC) called for by Rev. Dr. William Barber, and how you and your communities can connect with the Campaign’s call for Forty Days of Direct Action beginning in May.

We also encourage you to bring colleagues, congregants and friends to this morning session, so that we can continue to share more broadly the crucial connections between our faith traditions and the call to economic and racial justice.

Please RSVP directly to me, David Brazil, so we can be sure and include you in the count for lunch!  And of course please let me know if you have any questions.

With blessings and best wishes — David

David Brazil,  Program Coordinator, Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy

office : 510.893.7106, extension 315

cell: 510.508.7104

email: david@workingeastbay.org


One Great Hour of Sharing

One Great Hour of Sharing supports partners in countries with ministries that fund health, education and agricultural development, emergency relief, refugee ministries and both international and domestic disaster response, administered by Wider Church Ministries, Global Sharing of Resources.

This offering is received on the Fourth Sunday of Lent – March 11, 2018.

Benefit Concert to Support Oakland’s Homeless

Featuring: Cantori, a an acclaimed after-school training choir for the Grammy Award winning Pacific Boychoir Academy Troubadours –http://www.pacificboychoir.org/choir.


Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 10 a.m. 

At Skyline Community Church, UCC

Come to listen to these young people’s beautiful music with a soaring view of the Oakland Hills to Mt. Diablo as a backdrop. The concert is in the midst of and following a special abbreviated service. Chocolate protein bars given to singers and the first 20 children in attendance. The first 80 adults receive a novelty mini-carnation.  

Would you let a friend know about this?

Free will offering to support the homeless in Oakland, including St Vincent de Paul & St Mary’s.

Co- sponsored by the Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC)

If you can help by donating food or money, please contact the office (510-531-8212   office@skylineucc.org)

See you there and bring a friend!

Donors:  Trader Joe’s,  Skyline Church UCC

Doubt is not the Opposite of Faith

We live in time,  where, if you’re paying attention it is easy to become cynical. What’s needed in these messy, empty and unsettling times; beyond reason, beyond doubt, beyond fear; is faith.  Join us as we walk together, not in certainty, but in faith. 

Blaise Pascal, 17th century
“It is the heart which perceives God and not the reason. That is what faith is: God perceived by the heart, not by the reason.”
Khalil Gibran, 20th century
“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.”
Anne Lamott, 21st century
“I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me–that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.
Augustine, 5th century
“Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.”

Day of Service /Do Justice: Sat, 2/24

Sat, 2/24: Day of Service / Do Justice 9 AM – 12 PM!

Let’s invest in the community we live in! With a few hours of sweat and service, support the community organizations that contribute to the betterment of our communities in partnership with congregations and 500 volunteers across the East Bay.

  • Register for one of 16 East Bay sites.  Mirtha registered to volunteer at Harbor House Oakland and she can take anyone who is interested in volunteering at this site. http://hhministries.org/
  • Watch a video on what Project Peace East Bay does.
  • Invite your congregation, friends, colleagues, and neighbors to participate on Facebook!

These locations are looking for volunteers:

  • Ruby Bridges Elementary
  • Knitting at First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley (Knitting skills required.)
  • Marshall Elementary in Castro Valley
  • Oakland Leadership Center

Contact Mirtha or Nancy T.


Ash Wednesday, “Create in us a clean heart, oh, God”

This year, Lent begins on Valentine’s day, inviting us to consider the relationship between love and our own mortality.   I believe that facing our own impermanence brings with it the gift of awareness of how precious everyone and everything is, and the urgency to love now.    Join us this Wednesday (yes Valentine’s day) for a short and beautiful beginning to our spiritual journey of Lent, to strengthen our soul’s capacity to love.  And,  join us this Sunday as we enter the wilderness together. 

In the words of the Hebrew scripture’s Psalmist, “Create in us, a clean heart oh God”,  I leave you with the beautiful words of the poet, Mary Oliver, and the Psalmist from the Hebrew scriptures.

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement.
“There are a hundred paths through the world that are easier than loving. But, who wants easier?” 
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?” 
“to live in this world
you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go” 

Taking Action as a Sanctuary Church

Two Opportunities to Take Action

by Mirtha Ninayahuar

Work Opportunities
Opportunity to Help Asylum Seeker by Offering Odd Jobs: Caregiving, gardening, handyman services, and more. Mount Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church’s immigrant accompaniment team is assisting a young Nigerian man, Justin, who recently fled his country to escape violence against his family. He has applied for asylum and is awaiting his verdict. Meanwhile, we are soliciting offers for temporary work or odd jobs to help him support himself. Raised on a farm and holding an Australian nursing degree (experienced with the elderly as well as disabled adults/kids), he could provide caregiving, babysitting, pet sitting, gardening, and handyman services. Please contact: MDUUC accompaniment team member Will Dow at 925-639- 2708, willdow12@gmail.com.

Immigrant Preschool Needs Volunteers
The Nueva Esperanza Preschool for the Mam-speaking families from Guatemala at the Iglesia de Dios Church, 3315 Farnam Street, in the Fruitvale area is looking for volunteers. The preschool meets each Sunday from 3–5 pm. Volunteers should be able to commit at least one Sunday a month to help in interacting with the children, organizing the snack time and setting up and breaking down the items associated with the preschool. The children speak both Mam and Spanish and some speak some English. English-only speaking volunteers are welcome as well as Spanish speakers (at any level).
Please let Mirtha Ninayahuar if you are interested or would like more information via the office at 510-531-8212   office@skylineucc.org.

Ash Wednesday Service: Create in Me a Clean Heart

Dust and Ashes 

Create in me, a clean heart, that I may live, aware of the gift.

Feb 14th at 7 – 7:30 pm @skylineucc.org

A brief service with Pastor Laurie and Music Director Benjamin Mertz.




 The Gift of Mortality






Meditation, Taize music, prayers, ashes, candlelight


Black History Month Events 2018

Sun, 2/11: Discussion/Conversation with Pastor Laurie:  Dr. King’s Last Sermon
In the sanctuary from 11:30 – 12 noon  Join Pastor Laurie for a discussion after worship about Dr King’s last sermon the night before he was assassinated.  Did he know? How did he provide comfort and vision and reassurance for the movement? Where do we go from here, 50 years later? 

Sun, 2/11: Where Do We Go From Here: Dr. Barber & the Poor Peoples Campaign,  Sunday, February 11, 4:30 to 6:30 at City of Refuge UCC.  Following Rev. Dr. William Barber’s visit to the Bay Area, join us for a community conversation on local struggles for racial and economic justice!  All are welcome to this FREE event. The Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy is honored to co-present this event with City of Refuge UCC.  RSVP: david@workingeastbay.org.  

Sat, 2/17:  Skyline folks will be going to AAMLO (African American Museum and Library) on Saturday, February 17, 2 pm, to hear a presentation by a National Park Service Ranger on the subject of “Buffalo Soldiers at the Presidio.”   This is in keeping with the Black History Month theme this year of “African Americans in Times of War.”  This is a chance to see one of the more beautiful historic buildings of Oakland, as well as an interesting and informative presentation.  If timing is right, we can go together for a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants. Contact Nancy T.

Sun, 2/18:  Rev Robert Wilkins preaching 10 AM; see bio below. 

Fri, 2/23, Time to Be Determined:  Black Panther Movie:  Join us on Friday night, February 23rd at Grand Lake Theatre for evening showing of “Black Panther” the Marvel superhero action movie.  Contact Nancy Taylor.  Black Panther touches on black identity and the fantasy of a people unburdened.  There is an interesting argument with Blaxploitation films. The movies, predominantly made during the 1970s, are usually characterized by having a predominantly African-American cast, with the lead character having to deal with some endemic problem affecting their community, while also having to fight “The Man,” who’s in the form of corrupt cops, corrupt city officials, corrupt business officials, or any other aspect of society associated with white assholes…..”  Read More of this review.

Here are a few reviews: “Black Panther Poised to Shatter Hollywood Myth“;      “‘Black Panther’ Shakes Up the Marvel Universe”

Review: ‘Black Panther’ Shakes Up the Marvel Universe

Sun, 2/25:  Join Nancy Taylor to carpool to City of Refuge UCC after church to attend their 1 pm service.  

See the display on bulletin board in Friendship Room 

Rev Robert Wilkins:  Rev. Wilkins is the Managing Director of Encounter Alliance, a consulting firm which advises churches and faith-inspired organizations on all aspects of organizational development and mission fulfillment. Wilkins serves a host of community and professional organizations including the One Pacific Coast Foundation (Board of Directors), the Lake Merritt Uptown District Association (Corporate Secretary), the California YMCA State Alliance (Public Policy Committee), American Baptist Seminary of the West (Trustee) and the Graduate Theological Union (Trustee, Library Committee Chair) among others.  

Rev. Wilkins is a graduate of the University of Southern California (Religion – Biblical Studies) and earned Master of Divinity degrees from both Fuller Theological Seminary and American Baptist Seminary of the West. He has completed class studies in the Doctor of Ministry program at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Rev. Wilkins is a graduate of the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and is an alumnus Fellow at the Center for Social Innovation (also at Stanford). Wilkins holds a Certificate in Strategic Marketing from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.

Transfiguration: The Indescribable Mystery

Transfiguration …the indescribable mystery and beauty of standing upon the mountaintop, in radiant glory,  and seeing for one brief moment the place where heaven meets earth, God incarnate.  Savor the words of Pulitzer prize winning poet Mary Oliver that speaks of our desire to behold Jesus in the flesh.  Join us this Sunday as we seek to experience Transfiguration as well. Also, join us for a conversation after the service to explore Transfiguration more deeply together. Childcare is provided, if needed. 

The Vast Ocean Begins Just Outside Our Church: The Eucharist – by Mary Oliver

Something has happened
To the bread
And the wine.

They have been blessed.
What now?
The body leans forward

To receive the gift
From the priest’s hand,
Then the chalice.

They are something else now
From what they were
Before this began.

I want
To see Jesus,
Maybe in the clouds

Or on the shore,
Just walking,
Beautiful man

And clearly
Someone else

On the hard days
I ask myself
If I ever will.

Also there are times
My body whispers to me
That I have.