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Pride Sunday – Welcome Home!

Last weekend Oakland celebrated LGBTQ+ Pride  in a tastefully, over -the -top way!

This Sunday, September 15th, we will bring LGBTQ+ Pride  to Skyline, in worship!

We will celebrate Pride with a family friendly service, featuring the Parable of the Dancing Queen, written by our very own Tim Carter, former Senior Producer at Sesame Street and winner of 14 Emmy awards!! Also featured are puppetry and costuming, from our very own David G. and Alegra Figeroid, artists extraordinaire!

After all, it’s a big year!  Fifty years ago, the Pride movement began in the US. on  June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in NYC. Just think of it….Skyline and Pride were both born out of the liberation and justice movements fifty years ago, as part of the evolving understanding of the equal rights of women, people of color, LGBTQ people, indigenous people, and the ecumenical interfaith movement, as well as the wisdom that with our evolving understanding of science and human development, so too must our faith evolve. Ours is a still speaking God! 

Have you ever felt left out? Excluded? Singled out for being different? How did you feel? Did you ever want to run away from home, from school, from church, your country, from it all? Have you ever yearned to find other people who really saw you and understood you and loved you for who you are? Have you ever yearned to be free to sing, dance, and  just be yourself?  I think of Jesus’s parable for this Sunday,  of the  lost and found coins, sheep, and people; and God’s love for each and every one of us: seeking, finding, loving, and welcoming us home, just as we are. 

When the UCC, Golden Gate Association in 1972, ordained Bill Johnson as the first openly gay minister in an historical protestant denomination and to become the first denomination to support equal marriage rights for same sex couples, we were saying welcome home! You are part of the family.

When, in 2008, at the height of the debate over the Prop 8 same-sex marriage legislation in California, Skyline hung a banner in front of the church entrance, proclaiming to every passerby “Support Marriage Equality. We do.” we were saying welcome home! You are part of the family.

And when I, Skyline’s pastor Laurie, blessed same sex couples for many years before it was a legal right, and urged all heterosexual couples I married to stand in solidarity with them, until the day that this became a legal right for all people, we were saying welcome home! You are part of the family.

Read more about UCC’s LGBTQ actions and programs.

Welcome home! It’s Pride Sunday! Children are especially welcome!!

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.

Pride at Skyline: Parade and Sunday Service

Lift Your Spirits with Us at Pride 2018

Oakland Pride March, Sunday, September 9, 2018, 10:00 am:  March Line-Up:  14th Street and Clay Street, Downtown Oakland

Pride Service, Sunday September 16, 2018, 10:00 am, Church Sanctuary, 12540 Skyline Boulevard, Oakland 

Many of us have felt discouraged and uneasy due to the words and actions of the current White House Administration.  Those of us in the LGBTQ communities, along with our allies, have particularly experienced concern about the increasingly divisive, bigoted, partisan rhetoric we hear on a daily basis. 

The Pride season offers up an opportunity to feel connected, supported, energized and uplifted. 

On September 9th, join us at 14th Street and Clay in Downtown Oakland, as we unite with our friends from the various United Church of Christ congregations in the Bay Area, for the 2018 Oakland Pride March.  Families, children, pets, those of differing abilities, races, religions and statuses…. all are encouraged and welcome at this event.

On September 16th, make your way up the hill to our sanctuary at 12540 Skyline Boulevard for our annual Pride Sunday Service.  We will celebrate the history of the resilient rainbow spirit and the unique gifts of the LGBTQ community and beyond, with special music and artistry from throughout our community. 

All are appreciated and welcome!

Inclusivity: Coming Out, Indigenous People’s Day, Rosh Hashanah

This Sunday we are celebrating “Coming Out Sunday” and Indigenous people’s weekend.  As part of the service two of our friends, David Guerra and David Styers, will share stories about their experience of coming out and the liberating power of love and the support of their faith communities in supporting them on the journey.

Mark your calendars for Sunday Oct 16th which is not only the first Sunday with our new CYF director, Elijah Carroll (see story below) but it is also a time when we will hear the results of the 2016 Capital Improvement feasibility plan, immediately after worship.  Lunch and childcare provided. (See article below from our moderator, Dave Byrens and our treasurer, Chris Rutter).

  Drawing from our origins from Judaism, I leave you with a prayer from Rosh Hashanah,

Sh’ma Yisra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.
Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One 

In an undertone:

Barukh sheim k’vod malkhuto l’olam va’ed.
Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever.

V’ahav’ta eit Adonai Elohekha b’khol l’vav’kha uv’khol naf’sh’kha uv’khol m’odekha.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Skyline at Oakland Pride Parade and Festival 9-11-16

pride2015-Boyd photo everyone by car smallVisit Skyline’s Oakland Pride Booth Sunday, September 11: 11 am – 4 pm

We  have a booth, and will march in the parade!  Suzie will drive her car again, carrying Skyline’s own “Queen Rhea”! David G. has created huge butterfly wings!  We have many members and friends taking part, so come visit!  The excitement is starting to build!

Enter at these locations:

Main Entrance: Broadway & 20th Street (exit 19th St BART Station)

Webster Entrance: Webster & 21st Street

17th St Entrance: 17th Street & Franklin

Parade –  begins 10:30 AM at Broadway & 14th Street and goes to Broadway & matthew banna at pride booth
20th.  

There is almost NO PARKING at the event. It is recommended that you take BART in. You may drive (carpooling is good, too) to Rockridge BART or another BART station,  park your car there, and BART to the 19th ST. BART station the festival is right there as you exit BART.  BART back out when you leave.  BART parking is free on weekends.   A round-trip fare from Rockridge (or Fruitvale) to 19th St. is $3.70.  Most lines go through the 19th St. station. Check a map if you’re not sure which train to take to get you to 19th St. BART station: http://www.bart.gov/tickets/calculator

Talking to Your Children about the Orlando Tragedy

A father holding the hand of his daughter.If your child is aware of the events in Orlando…

  • Provide a safe space so your child can express his/her feelings…and be sure to seek out support from other adults for your feelings as well.
  • Talk with your child about how you can honor those affected by this event. Suggestions include: lighting a candle, saying a prayer, sending blessings of love and healing, attending the vigil with their parents, etc.
  • Talk with your child about how you can show the power of love, not hate, in your daily actions. Suggestions include: speaking up for a child who is being bullied, inviting a child over to play whose family is different from yours, etc.

Thanks for helping to raise children who care. Together, we contribute to a human family based on love.

Let us pause in silence for a moment to lament

5-22-16 flowersDear Skyline Family and Friends,

Let us pause in silence for a moment to lament.

To lament that our nation has experienced another mass shooting without a single piece of legislation passed since the last mass shooting to even attempt to prevent this one.

To lament the tragic loss of 50 lives that dared to display joy in what they deemed as safe space.

To lament that LGBTQ pride month has been interrupted by heinous homophobic mass murder.

To lament that islamophobic slurs from a presidential candidate have interrupted the blessed season of Ramadan.

Today, we pause to lament.

Lamentation, according to Catholic nun and noted author Elizabeth A. Johnson, is “dangerously remembering the dead in solidarity with their suffering and hope of future blessing…[which] has the capacity to nurture ongoing resistance to the victimization of others.” Pride may very well be the most powerful act of resistance that exists for those whose lives are constantly assaulted by bigotry and hatred. If pride as resistance can diminish the future victimization of anyone, then by all means let us soon stand and march with pride again.

We are stronger together than alone. Together, let us lament. Let us resolve to change the world, beginning with ourselves, and working together  – every single unique, beautiful one of us. And it starts by embracing our whole selves for everything God created us to be and our neighbor as ourselves.

Blessings, Pastor Laurie

Coming Out Sunday & Indigenous People’s Day

This weekend we celebrate two significant themes, both of which relate to the story of Moses and the burning bush. We know the story by heart: God hears the cries of the oppressed, & raises up Moses to lead them into freedom.  Today, in honor of the long journey from oppression into the freedom of marriage equality, we celebrate Coming Out Sunday.

But, the story continues. Moses leads the people out of captivity to the promised land. Sounds great, but the land happens to be occupied by the Canaanites.  Doesn’t God also care about the Canaanites? Fast forward to Columbus leading the way to the Americas – doesn’t God also care about the Native Americans? How can we re-interpret this story beyond Manifest Destiny to one of living together in harmony? Today we remember the Native Americans, the people who lived on this continent long before Columbus “discovered” it. Today we celebrate Indigenous People’s Day.

native American b&wIndigenous Peoples’ Day, Monday Oct. 12, began as a counter-celebration to Columbus Day. The purpose of the day is to promote Native American culture and commemorate the history of Native American peoples. The celebration began in Berkeley, California in 1992 to protest the historical conquest of North America by Europeans, and to call attention to the demise of Native American people and culture through disease, warfare, massacre, and forced assimilation.

pride2015-Boyd's photo Rhea WaveNational Coming Out Day, Sunday, Oct. 11, began 27 years ago on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.  We first observed this day as a reminder that one of our most basic tools is the power of coming out. One out of every 2 Americans has someone close to them who is gay or lesbian. For transgender people, that number is only 1 in 10.

 

Coming out – whether it is as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or allied – STILL MATTERS. When people know someone who is LGBTQ, they are far more likely to support equality under the law. Beyond that, our stories and our support are powerful to each other.

Come join us this Sunday at 10 AM for coming out stories and support, and to re-interpret the story of Moses, Columbus and the native peoples.