Oakland church

Archive for Easter

Hear the Sounds of the Eternal; Holy Week Appreciations

May you hear the sounds of the eternal in this season of spring, even as we are sheltering in place. 

That your glory rises in the morning sun
and sparkles off flowing waters,
that the glory of the everlasting world
shines in this world
growing from the ground
and issuing forth in every creature,
that glory can be handled, seen and known
in the matter of earth and human relationships
and the most ordinary matters of daily life,
assure us again this day, O God,
assure us again this day.
 
~ by John Philip Newell, excerpt from Sounds of the Eternal: A Celtic Psalter

Holy week and Easter reflections: 
 
It was wonderful to be with so many of you during Holy Week, and Easter, especially this year. My deepest gratitude to each one of you, participating from as far away as Philadelphia, Washington DC, and yes, even Cartagena Colombia! Deepest appreciation for our virtual worship team, of Tom Manley, Ken Medema, Benjamin Mertz, Gabrielle Lochard, for our teamwork and innovation in this transformation process. Special thanks to David Guerra for working with me to create a new virtual worship story time for children. Last week we had 15 families taking part! And deepest thanks to YOU for being with us! 
 
Here are the video services from Holy week as well as previous services.

Here are our online programs – Sunday mornings, Tuesday Bible study, Friday prayer and care.

This Sunday, and for the rest of our shelter in place time, join us as we continue with our uplifting worship services, featuring our extraordinary virtual worship team! 
 

Children’s Time Easter Sunday 11:30 AM

Come along for an adventure with David G and Pastor Laurie!   Zoom Link    Here’s what’s in store: 

  • Story Time: Have you ever had a friend who went away? Best friends Enriquita Kittycat and Edmund Caterpillar have a story to show you! Discover the meaning of friendship and reunions as we watch the tale unfold.  

  • Brain Teasers: Get ready to put on your thinking cap!

  • Art Sharing Time: Parents, print off these coloring pages for kids to color or decorate, or kids can create their own art. We will share our art at the meeting!

  • After Service Family Chat: We’ll have a time of sharing to catch up and connect with children and families.

Zoom Link 

Meet Edmund and Enriquita here!

Easter at Skyline – Virtual Services 2020

Palm Sunday Virtual Service:  April 5, 10:00 – 11:00 AM

Our virtual service: a readers theater, journeying from the entrance into Jerusalem, into the Garden of Gethsemane, with the inspiring music of Ken Medema, Gabrielle Lochard and Benjamin Mertz.  Hear the stories of Jesus’s journey to Jerusalem, listen to music of God’s love, peace, grace, sorrow and beauty.

Meeting ID: 716 026 467
Dial in by phone 1-669-900-9128

Maundy Thursday Virtual Service:  April 9, 12:30 PM

Worship with the United Church of Christ. The leaders from across the life of the denomination will be leading a streamed worship service.  Register for the webinar here.  Click here for more details.  Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash
 

Good Friday Virtual Service: April 10, 2:00-3:00 PM  **Note time change**

On the most somber day of the Christian year, we gather in prayer and song to hear the Seven Last Words of Jesus, and mourn the death that changed the world.  Our talented musical team, Ken Medema, Benjamin Mertz, Gabrielle Lochard, join with Pastor Laurie and others in this solemn and beautiful service. All are welcome.

Zoom Meeting Link:  https://zoom.us/j/716026467
Meeting ID: 716 026 467
One tap mobile +16699009128
phone # +13462487799

Easter Sunday Virtual Service: April 12, 10:00-11:15 AM

The promise of the resurrection is proclaimed, even in the midst of  pandemic.There is nothing traditional about a zoom Easter Service, but we have a beautiful service planned for our expanded, loving progressive and inclusive faith community meeting via zoom. Rev. Laurie Manning, and our talented musical team of  Ken Medema,  Benjamin Mertz, and Gabrielle Lochard will be leading the service from their homes.  We are creating a special experience.  

Meeting ID: 716 026 467
Dial in by phone 1-669-900-9128

Children’s Time Easter Sunday 11:30 AM

Come along for an adventure with David G and Pastor Laurie! Here’s what’s in store: 

  • Story Time:  Have you ever had a friend who went away? Best friends Enriquita Kittycat and Edmund Caterpillar have a story to show you! Discover the meaning of friendship and reunions as we watch the tale unfold.  

  • Brain Teasers: Get ready to put on your thinking cap!

  • Art Sharing Time: Parents, print off these coloring pages for kids to color or decorate, or kids can create their own art. We will share our art at the meeting!

  • After Service Family Chat: We’ll have a time of sharing to catch up and connect with children and families.

Zoom Link 

 

The Cathedral, Jesus, and the People

Like many of you this week, I watched along with the world as the footage of flames enveloping the Cathedral of Notre Dame went viral over the internet.  At first, the images of the grand spire collapsing echoed memories of 9/11.  I couldn’t help but ask why?  Why did this happen to this Cathedral, that so embodies the confluence of beauty, majesty, faith, art, history, and human expression?  Why, on the eve of Holy week? Was it a sign? 

On the one hand, it is so heartwarming to see the universal outpouring of support and money from the world, to rebuild this church. But on the other hand, it raises more questions: 

Where is the lament,  the media attention, and the universal outpouring of support to rebuild the communities of poor people of color in this world,  whose lives are on fire? Where is the outpouring of support for the millions of black and brown people living as refugees throughout the world?  And for the millions who are being held in detention centers and prisons in this country?  And right here in Oakland, for the thousands living in tents on the streets of our cities, here, in one of the wealthiest areas in the world.  

Would there be such an outpouring of sadness, if we were remembering a young man of color, in an orange jumpsuit,  arrested for being an insurrectionist, a disturber of the peace? Whose church was not a building, but the people whom he loved and healed and to whom he brought hope: the sick, the poor, the women and children, the people of color, the outcasts, and those in prison.   A man who’s church was the ecclesia, the people, who gathered to be inspired by the stories of the prophets.  Who was executed on death row, by the military, industrial, superpower of his time?

Because this is the story of Jesus, and the Spirit of justice. It’s helpful to me to remember who and what it was that so inspired people hundreds of years ago to build such a cathedral.

On the eve of Holy Week, we remember the brutal public execution of a Palestinian Rabbi, who so embodied such beauty, majesty, faith, love and compassion for the poor and marginalized that many believed that he was the son of God. We remember a man whose life and stories, a thousand years later, inspired people to build Notre Dame Cathedral. Whose stories,  two thousand years later,  give us hope now. 

What do we do, in the face of such unanswerable questions? We remember him. We join together, and stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers, out in the streets, near the prisons, and in the homeless encampments  to pray, sing and support one another through the power of these Spirit inspired stories, to rebuild our lives and our world, bringing good news for all people. It’s what humans do, and have always done. It’s called the ecclesia, the gathered community of faith, the church. 

We invite the same Spirit that gave birth to Jesus,  inspired Jesus, and resurrected Jesus to inspire us now into the new life that God is bringing to us, and to all of Creation. Join us as we pray and sing together in this Holy Week, and as we open ourselves to the new life that God is inviting us to, even in the midst of destruction and death. 

I’m inspired that  #NotreDame has already raised almost $1 billion in pledges toward reconstruction.  I’m even more inspired to support churches  less equipped to rebuild, like the 3 Black Baptist churches destroyed by arson earlier this month.  Join me in making a donation to these congregations, today (if you haven’t already). They need to raise $1.9 million to rebuild, and so far they’ve reached just $70k.  Click here for their gofundme site. Thank you!

Family Easter Services, 2019, 12:00

Skyline Invites the Oakland Community to Attend Family Easter Services

Come celebrate the Spirit of Easter where we welcome ALL of God’s people. Join families from our church and the neighborhood for a fun hour of learning and celebrating! Families of all configurations (we are an LGBTQ+ affirming church!) are invited!

April 21, 12:00 PM

We’ll gather at noon in the sanctuary to sing Easter songs, learn a bit about the Easter story (and how eggs are connected to it!), do some art, and participate in a service project for Nueva Esperanza, a preschool for immigrant children that our church helps to support.

Kids will also be invited (by age group) to participate in a (small) Easter egg hunt. Please bring your own basket/bag!

We also welcome you to join our community Easter service at 10 AM before the hunt, if you wish. We offer a children’s program for your little ones.

Come celebrate Easter with your family, neighbors, and friends in our beautiful sanctuary on the hill with a stunning view of Mt. Diablo and the Oakland Hills.

Power of Love in the Midst of Destruction

The prophet Isaiah, thousands of years ago, described God’s creative power – bringing forth new life in the midst of destruction, within and all around us:

Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters,
who brings out chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people,
the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.
Isaiah 43:16-21 

Join us this Sunday, as we awaken to this power of love within, and all around us. 

Photo by ardito-ryan-harrisna-1194309-unsplash

Easter at Skyline, 2019

Skyline Community Church, United Church of Christ
Invites Oakland Community to Attend Easter Services

Come celebrate the Spirit of Easter where we welcome ALL of God’s people. Experience fabulous music and an
inspiring message with a spectacular view of the Oakland Hills.

Good Friday Service: Friday, April 19, 7:00 PM

Our Music Director, Benjamin Mertz, and Reverend Laurie Manning lead an empowering, spiritually expansive candlelight, meditation and music service, in the Taize tradition.  During the service, we will listen to and join in singing Taize chants, a form of meditative chant and silence, to quiet the mind, open the heart and feed the soul… time of quiet and solitude in the presence of God. A few words sung over and over again reinforce the meditative quality of prayer.  All are welcome.

Easter Sunrise Service: April 21, 6:30 AM with OEBGMC

Rise and shine to the uplifting music of the Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus! Experience sunrise from our Sanctuary which rests on the summit of the Oakland hills and has windows spanning 30 feet high! As you look out on a stunningly beautiful view listen to inspiring preaching, heavenly music and feel welcomed into the warmth of a loving progressive and inclusive faith community.

Rev. Laurie says, “The music in this service sings out about a God of love, of freedom, of liberation… and that the world is more wonderful with the great diversity of all of humanity. This is good news!”

Easter Sunday Traditional Service: April 21, 10 AM

Skyline’s sanctuary windows overlook Redwood Park to Mt. Diablo Here we have a traditional Easter Service as a loving progressive and inclusive faith community. Rev. Laurie Manning , the choir and orchestra (directed by Benjamin Mertz) and the people fill the sanctuary with joy, celebration and love. Today’s service will have drama, singing, prayer, and a special honor garden for loved ones. And to top it off, all are welcome (especially families) to a family service that includes an Easter egg hunt for children of all ages: 12:00 noon.

Family Easter Egg Hunt: April 1, 12:00PM

Join families from our church and the neighborhood for a fun hour of learning and celebrating! Families of all configurations (we are an LGBTQ+ affirming church!) are invited!

We’ll gather at noon in the sanctuary to sing Easter songs, learn a bit about the Easter story (and how eggs are connected to it!), do some art, and participate in a service project for Nueva Esperanza, a preschool for immigrant children that our church helps to support.

Kids will also be invited (by age group) to participate in a (small) Easter egg hunt. Please bring your own basket/bag!

We also welcome you to join our community Easter service at 10 AM before the hunt, if you wish. We offer a children’s program for your little ones.

_____________________________________________________

Skyline Church UCC is a community faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ. We acknowledge the worth of all beings, regardless of ability, age, ancestry, family or economic status, gender, sexual orientation, spiritual path, cultural origin, or any other visible or invisible difference. We invite all who wish to enter our Sanctuary and the full life of our church family. Ours is a God of justice and compassion, and our church lives in covenant with God to do its utmost to pursue justice and compassion, as an Open and Affirming congregation.

For more information please contact our office at:

Skyline Community Church,
United Church of Christ
12540 Skyline Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619
510.531.8212

Email Skyline Office

Ash Wednesday Taize Service

Music, Prayer, Meditation, Candlelight, Silence, and Labyrinth Walking

Wednesday,  March 6, 7 – 8 pm

Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent for many in the Christian church. The forty days begins with the imposition of ashes on the foreheads of the faithful. For many, it is deeply moving to reclaim this powerful ancient ceremony.

During the service, we will listen to and join in singing Taize chants, a form of meditative chant and silence, to quiet the mind, open the heart and feed the soul… time of quiet and solitude in the presence of God. A few words sung over and over again reinforce the meditative quality of prayer.

Leaders for the Evening:

Rev Laurie Manning and Music Director Benjamin Mertz

You are welcome, whoever you are and wherever you are on your life’s journey

Easter Renewal

After last week’s rain drenched, cloudy days it’s been a joy to hike in the Oakland hills; breathing in the fragrances of pine and eucalyptus, and to behold the vibrant orange California poppies contrasted with the fresh green grassy fields. We enter the season of celebrating fertility, new life, and hope that follows the season of darkness and death. May we hold onto the paradox of this season, and enter into the beauty of its mysteries. 

Join us for a beautiful Good Friday service this Friday at 7 pm, of candlelight, music, and readings, drawing parallels between the seven last words of Jesus and those of the Rev. Dr. MLK Junior, honoring the 50th anniversary of the assassination of this great prophet of our times. 

Join us also to celebrate Easter at 6:30 am for a sunrise service with the Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus.  Or come to our 10 am Easter service with drama and our amazing choir, guest percussionist and alto sax player.  Right afterwards is our annual Easter egg hunt.

Enjoy this beautiful poem by Mary Oliver, entitled Mysteries, Yes.

love, Pastor Laurie 

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the

mouths of the lambs.

How rivers and stones are forever

in allegiance with gravity

while we ourselves dream of rising.

How two hands touch and the bonds

will never be broken.

How people come, from delight or the

scars of damage,

to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those

who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.