Oakland church



Reverend Laurie Manning

The Reverend Laurie J. Manning joined Skyline Church in 2006. She holds respective Master’s degrees from Union Theological Seminary (Columbia U), Harvard University, and the University of Michigan. Prior to serving Skyline church, Laurie also served on the staffs of:

  • Hillcrest Congregational Church
  • First Congregational Church in Berkeley
  • Riverside Church in New York City

Laurie has also served on the University Religious Council of Churches at UC/Berkeley to foster greater support and understanding of religious differences within the student and faculty body. This position included Christianity in dialogue with other faith traditions, such as Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and other faiths.

Prior to her ordination, Laurie worked in various management capacities for Hewlett Packard’s Medical Products division, and then as a consultant with high technology and medical clients. Laurie brings a solid understanding of the psychological and organizational complexities of living as a Christian in today’s pluralistic and scientific world.

Rev. Laurie Manning, Church Pastor


Music Director

Benjamin Mertz, Music Director

Benjamin is a native of New Jersey, where he grew up in the music of a multicultural church in the city of Paterson.  Steeped in a culture of jazz, rhythm & blues, and gospel music, he also studied classical piano and began directing choirs at age seventeen.

By twenty he moved to California, became more deeply involved in church music, musical theater, and performance.  He has showcased everything from Bach to Stevie Wonder, and over the last decade has made a particular study of the Negro Spiritual.  His children Isaiah and Sammy are six and three years old, and their mother Alison is a lifelong social worker and currently an MSW student at UC Berkeley.

Benjamin joins us at Skyline following six years of teaching music at the high school level.  As a choir director, Benjamin is interested in creating a fun, safe environment for choristers.  He invites singers between the ages of ten and one hundred to join our choir, regardless of musical background or expertise.  Music in a church setting is about helping us connect to God and one another.  Excellence in music is created through passion, joy, and commitment, not with sight reading or music theory. More about our music program.

Feel free to join the choir during rehearsal at 8:30am every Sunday morning.


Children, Youth, & Family Director

Eli’jah Carroll, Children / Youth / Family Director

Elijah Carroll studied music and theatre at U Wisconsin, Oshkosh, and also studied liberal arts at the U of St. Thomas in Texas. He received his Masters degree in Divinity in 2016 from Pacific School of Religion. He brings with him a wealth of experience as a church school teacher, a youth leader, musician, a worship leader, and is currently a Member-In-Discernment with the Northern California and Nevada Conference (NCNC) of the UCC.

In his own words:

I am committed to fostering faith development for children and youth that encourage intergenerational experiences for championing all ages to learn from one another about God’s expansive and exhaustive Love for all of creation. Embodying our beliefs is at the heart of all spiritual development.  This is especially true for our youth.

More about our Children / Youth and Family program.


Children, Youth, & Family Assistants

Banna Esaias, Child / Youth / Family Assistant

Hello all, my name is Banna Esaias. I am 19 years old and attend Merritt Community College. I like to do things such as swim, workout, eat good food, relax, and hangout with friends. I have been part of the Skyline Community Church for around 4 years now and I love it. It is such a caring and warm environment to be in. All of the kids have such creative minds that will definitely excel in the future and I like that I can play a role in that.  If you need to reach me contact the church at 510-531-8212.

Selina Esaias, Child / Youth / Family Assistant

My name is Selina Esaias and I work with the children during play time! I really enjoy playing with the kids and reading to them. Skyline Community Church is one of the best Churches I have ever been too because of how close we all are and we all feel like family!

Keith Evans, Child / Youth / Family Assistant


Office Manager

Nancy Montier

(510) 531-8212


Nancy is a certified life coach who’s lived in the East Bay for 30 years.  She loves bike riding, gardening, Qi Gong, yoga, swimming, walking in nature, great vegan food, and spending time with her family – Bill, Bill IV and Andrea.  She is a member of Unity of Tri-Valley church, and enjoys progressive spirituality.  Her passion is for people to find their true gifts and the ideal ways to express them.


Lay Leadership