Oakland church

Archive for Dr. Martin Luther King

Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse Story by Steve Beck 

First, that was a wonderful Black Moon Eclipse gathering on Sunday evening at Church.
Bless you Catherine and Michael for bringing the delicious Rustica pizza and fine wines.
To go with my cup cakes!
While the skies looked dismal at first, it was cold and raining and cloudy, we waited patiently.
And eventually our patience and faith paid off big time!
We first gathered in the Fellowship Hall, watching the live video stream of the Moon from the Griffith Planetarium and Observatory in Los Angeles.
High up on Mulholland Drive – they had a great moon camera view….we had clouds and rain at Church at that time!
But that didn’t last for long……..
Then we viewed together the moving and powerful “I Have a Dream” poetic, emotional speech by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Still so very relevant today as it was in March of 1963 when he gave it on the Mall in Washington DC.
It was great, specially after Pastor Laurie’s children’s time. 
She taught me how he came to have the name Martin Luther, among other things.
Then the clouds began to part, I was out doing Moon Watch patrol at the labyrinth.
First a few bright stars appeared, and then Ms. Moon!
We saw her gradually become covered from the bottom edge by Mother Earth’s shadow.
Clouds kept coming and going, making for a most dramatic viewing experience.
Pastor Laurie arrived and a few others, and we got to see totality begin!
I had to play some of my Black Moon Etudes on the Sanctuary piano – that seemed to encourage the clouds to part again.
We had all moved into the Sanctuary in almost complete darkness – it was awesome.
But then we moved back to the Labyrinth together.
Chilly it was, but worth it!
Then a large stratus cloud layer moved in, and it appeared that we were done seeing much after that.
So most everyone departed, but I stayed.
And then the stratus clouds vanished to the east.
And a totally clear sky was there for all of the totality phase.
Many major constellations became crystal clear.
The Pleades, Taurus the Bull with Aldebaran his bright orange eye.
Orion in all his glory, with his trusty hunting dog Canis Major!
His nose, eyes, and ears were so clearly visible, with the brightest star Sirius glowing pure white!
Over to Gemini with the twin stars Castor and Pollux super clear.
Even Cassiopea on her throne was revealed, along with the Big Dipper and Polaris, the north star.
It was one of the best 10 clear view nights I ever saw around this large urban area of Oakland/Berkeley.
It was totally dark at the Church, but then a voice called out around 10 PM – it was Mimi Chan from HEIA!
She is the Board Chair for HEIA.
I had set up my 90mm Meade telescope so we got some great views of Ms. Moon in totality.
By 10:30 totality had cleared and the light edge of the Moon was coming in from the left side, not the bottom!
So I decided to pack up my gear and head to home, 1/2 mile away.
Could view the Moon there because now she was high enough in the sky.
But then it started to rain again! HAH!
It was very nice and quiet and dark up on Skyline at that late, wet hour of a Sunday night.
Pastor Laurie texted me from her home about how clear the skies had become!
She was viewing Ms. Moon there – Thanks!
And I replied that I was still up at Church.
She replied “All alone?”
I replied “Not Really alone, here with The Goddess and it’s beautiful. She’s Divine”
So to those who came (Carolyn, Rod, Mirtha and Johann, Nancy, my wife Candice, Pastor Laurie, Jim Schubert & family) it was very special to share this unique and blessed experience together with you.
And it worked out great to see so much of the eclipse from such a special location and together!
I may well host other “Astro Nights” in the coming months at Skyline Community Church when special events occur.
Meteor showers, more full moons rising in the east, star and constellation tours – stay tuned!
Or if there is just plain great “seeing” nights – dry, clear, crisp skies – but it’s often on the chilly side for that.
Cheers, peace, blessings, Steve Beck
(C)Copyright 2019 Steve Beck

This MLK Day We Honor the Radical Dr. King

mlk-marchonwashington-bannerThis weekend we celebrate the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,  his prophetic words and actions for our lives today, and the difference between what is and the vision of how things could be. 

Many of us find ourselves standing in a place of tension. Some may have experienced this tension in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement. The Rev. Dr. William Barber II implicitly evoked this tension in speaking recently of the prophetic grief and lament provoked by recent acts of violence and the decision not to bring charges against the police officers who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice. In response to this present reality, Barber cites Isaiah’s call to be “the repairers of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.”

Commentators like Van Jones have recognized that environmental racism also relates to the Black Lives Matter movement. Some acts of violence are not of the kind that can be videotaped and shared on social media, but they nevertheless have a devastating impact on communities of color. The severe, and at times, deadly reality of environmental racism can be seen in relation to toxic dumpscoal plants and terminalsoil plants and refineriesfracked wells, and lead poisoning. There is much that necessitates a prophetic response.

To inspire the courage needed to speak out and to demonstrate how one can pull others closer to a vision of what could be, Dr. King’s oral and written works continue to be an invaluable resource. The UCC has developed a webpage to assist in exploring overlooked and under-appreciated sermons, speeches, and writings by Dr. King. Too often, the more radical messages of King become muted or silenced on his own holiday. Like the great prophets, however, King must be heard. His words are still vital and relevant today. They still possess the power to challenge and uplift. 

Join us this Sunday as we remember him.

Celebrating Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

US civil rights leader Martin Luther King,Jr. (C)For Skyline’s church service on Sunday, January 18th at 10 am, we will honor the memory of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., his sense of God’s calling in his life, and the larger civil rights movement to which he gave his life.  We will also take seriously our call in this time, to participate in the civil rights movement of our times for greater economic justice, particularly within our country.  Together, one day, we shall overcome!

Our choir director, Joshua Feltman, with the choir will teach the children the song, “The Dream of Martin Luther King”.  It will be lovely!

Please bring with you friends who would be drawn to this celebration.  Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss ways that you’d like to take part at revlauriemanning@aol.com.

Blessings, Pastor Laurie