Archive for Christmas

May Our Souls Magnify God’s Love

Those of us who take the Bible seriously but not necessarily literally may wonder what Mary really said when the angel told her that she was about to become an unwed teenage mother.

This could not possibly have been good news for Mary, a poor peasant girl among an illiterate people who never heard of a thing called “virgin birth.”

“I’m what? Pregnant?”

“And you want me to tell people what?”

“You know that in the eyes of all my neighbors, he will always be regarded as a . . . you know what they will call my baby.”

And yet the truth of this text is profoundly present in Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, whose birth will so change the world that the years on earth will be measured as being before and after Jesus’ birth. And Mary’s prophecy in this text is still coming true. People of the light still believe and work for it to this day.

It is Mary who utters these radical words, who says this about God:
“He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.”
Who says that God sides with the poor?

And we will still work for justice as God’s partners, until the poorest and most vulnerable on the earth realize God’s mercy as present “for those who fear God from generation to generation.” God’s strength has and will continue to bring down powerful despots on thrones; God will continue lifting up the lowly and filling the hungry on the earth, filling them with good things.

No matter what actually happened, I know this text is true.

God is still magnifying the souls of those who say, yes.

May our souls magnify this love.

Amen, Pastor Laurie

Enjoy these video replays from the Magnificat service and the Longest Night Vespers! (Passcode: 3Q+54v9P)  Simply click on the title to watch the video. “My Soul Magnifies the Light” starts at about 44 minutes into the Magnificat.

     
Magnificat    (video)              Longest Night Vespers  
 Passcode: 3Q+54v9P

Special thanks to our musicians: Ken Medema, Gabrielle Lochard, the choir ensemble. 

Join us for this Thursday evening’s Christmas Eve service!! Learn more at this link: https://skylineucc.org/christmas-eve/

With Love, Pastor Laurie

(421-2646)  revlauriemanning@aol.com

Image: “Magnificat,” by Thomas Mainardi (2018)

Christmas Eve – Virtual Gathering

 

Join us on Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec 24 at 6PM, for a traditional lesson and carols service, featuring music by the talented Gabrielle Lochard, Ken Medema, and our Skyline choir ensemble.   Led by Pastor Laurie.

Zoom Link:  https://zoom.us/j/716026467
Meeting ID: 716 026 467

Longest Night Vespers on the Solstice

Longest Night Vespers on the Solstice
Dec 21 7PM

Continuing our recent series of interfaith vespers services, join us for an evening of music, readings, and contemplation. If you are lonely, grieving, depressed and/or just want to give full attention to the shadow side of the season, join us.  We will meditate on the moment and center down on the longest night of the year. We will remember that God created light and dark, day and night, and said both were good. 

   

An evening of meditative songs & prayers.
In this present moment, on the eve of the Longest Night, rest in a time of slow, beautiful calm, and touch the center.

An hour of interfaith readings, prayers, music, and silence.

Featuring music by the talented Gabrielle Lochard and Ken Medema, with reflections from Pastor Laurie

   
 

Magnificat Sunday

Magnificat Sunday, Dec 20 10AM

Join us for Sunday worship on the 4th Sunday in Advent – Magnificat Sunday – Love, Magnifying the Light into the World as we explore Mary’s ecstatic and mystical expression of the divine, featuring a premier of “My Soul Magnifies the Light” by composer and vocalist Sarah Grace Graves. In this new setting of the Magnificat, commissioned and written for Skyline’s virtual choir, Sarah offers an interpretation of these words woven in meditative sonorities and ecstatic, expressive improvisations for the voice.

She writes, “I love the Magnificat. Mary’s words are so charged with feeling and energy. […] Mary’s song resonates with me at the time of my writing this because the world is, like it was then, completely upside down, and I don’t know what will happen. I can accept not knowing. […] But in moments like these, I want to hope, and the hope and awe of her words inspire me to face the future with courage and grace.”

Featuring music by the talented Gabrielle Lochard, Ken Medema, our Skyline choir ensemble, and our sermon from Pastor Laurie.

Zoom Link:  https://zoom.us/j/716026467
Meeting ID: 716 026 467

Virtual Christmas Party

Join us this Sunday, December 13, for our Virtual Christmas Party!

Sunday Service 10AM – 3rd Sunday in Advent – Joy, Young at Heart
Zechariah (Luke 1:5-25) 

Jane Medema guest preacher in worship

*Stay tuned – At 11:30AM after worship for our Virtual Christmas Party
with lunch, lessons, and carols. Bring your lunch, download the Carol Sing hymnal, and let’s join in singing. Feel free to share your own celebration ideas with Pastor Laurie & David Guerra! So far we have – the 12 days of Christmas, your earliest Christmas memories, your own experiences of being young at heart, brainstorming together about the good news about virtual Christmas parties!

Zoom Link:  https://zoom.us/j/716026467
Meeting ID: 716 026 467

Gifts For The Children

ANNOUNCEMENT:
December Gift Giving!
Gifts for the Unhoused Children of East Oakland Community Project

Once again, Skyline Church and Preschool have an opportunity for gift-giving to the homeless children of the East Oakland Community Project.

In 2019, Alameda County reported the biggest increase of 43% since its last tally in 2017, with a total of 8,022 sheltered and unsheltered homeless people counted during a single day.  Deaths in Alameda County’s unhoused communities increased 40% during the first nine months of 2020, compared to the same period the previous year. 

We are grateful for our planned generosity to EOCP.

This year, because of COVID, we will be signing up to give gift cards rather than wrapped presents. The Church is taking 27 names and the Preschool is taking 26 names of the total 53 children in the EOCP programs.

Because we don’t have the list of children’s names yet, we ask that you sign up anyhow – with a name to be assigned later.

We’re recommending that you purchase a gift card with a value of $30 from either Target or Walmart, and place the card inside an envelope with a Christmas card, with the child’s name on the outside of the envelope (if we get names by 12/15), signed with your name(s) on the inside.  Please do not seal the envelope.  We haven’t received a date to deliver the cards yet; but please plan on dropping these off at the Preschool, no later than December 15.  A box will be provided at the bottom of the stairs during school hours for this purpose. As an alternative, feel free to drop at Nancy Taylor’s: 4207 Knoll Ave., Oakland 94619.  Finally, if you are unable to go out and purchase a gift card, you may write a check made out to Skyline Church with “EOCP” in the note field, mail it to the church.  Nancy T will use the funds to purchase gift cards and Christmas cards and sign for you.

To sign up, please email Nancy Montier 510-531-8212  office@skylineucc.org

Photo by olia danilevich from Pexels

Advent Reading Party: Moving Towards the Light

Monday, Nov. 16, 7PM by Zoom

What a joy it will be to receive the timeless gift of Christmas in this strange and troubling year.  With so many distractions, we are going to need to give careful attention to the things that matter; that nourish and restore our hearts and minds.

You are invited to a heart-warming Skyline online party.  No sermons, no lessons, no liturgy, no music. Just reading aloud to one another and chatting about the beautiful words of Old and New Testaments that have graced every Advent  and Christmas season….just because they are dear to us, and we love the sound of them. 

Bring a cup of tea and a Bible, and a heart ready to hear once again.

 

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

A light has dawned. For unto us a child is born…

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;  on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 

For unto us a child is born. 

Unto us,  love is born.  

The highest truth of the human soul is love.

Let us remember love. 

Let us remember this all-powerful force being born in a humble child in an impoverished and oppressed setting.

Let us  remember how this force was at work, guiding and empowering his mother and father.

Let us remember how it has brought about good news to the poor, freedom to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and is ultimately more powerful than empires. 

Together, let us bear witness to how love is still is at work in the world, and within every one of us. 

I give thanks to God for each one of you, in the world and in my life! 

Here are some videos of our beautiful Christmas Eve service, for all of you to experience! 

This Sunday, join us, as we experience the beautiful music of Gabrielle and Ken Medema, and the powerful preaching of Rev Jerri Handy! 

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

Come experience the wonder of our candlelight service and celebrate the birth of Jesus with

Carols and Singing
Scripture readings
Beautiful music performed by the Christmas Choir

The service will be followed by delicious Christmas treats, hot apple cider, and fellowship.

This is a beautiful way to celebrate the season with your entire family. ALL are welcome!

Skyline Community Church UCC
12540 Skyline Blvd, Oakland

For more information please contact the office at 510.531.8212, office@skylineucc.org

What are you waiting for?

The words “breath,” “wind,” and “spirit” are used interchangeably to remind us that God is always coming to us.  Become aware of your breath. Notice how breathing more deeply calms you. Notice how long you can hold your breath to remember how essential it is for your life. The Living God, or the God of Life, seeks to come to dwell within us and to give new life to us and through us. 

 Advent calls us to pay attention and to anticipate what “the God who comes to us” wants to do within us and through us. So, we wait in hope of what yet may be.  This process of waiting in hope, is active, not passive. 

 
Join us this Sunday as we continue to awaken to the new life full of hope, peace, joy, and love that God is calling each one of us, by name, into. 
 
What are you waiting for? 

Blessings,  Pastor Laurie