Go Tell It on the Mountain

March  2016 Newsletter
Skyland Community Church

10:30 Sunday Service

Rev. Stephen Glauz-Todrank
Church phone: 408-353-1310

Minister's Column

The Glow of 25 Years
at Skyland is Strong!

Dear Skyland Friends,
On Valentine's Day you surprised me with a wonderful celebration of my 25 years at Skyland Church. Thank you for the very thoughtful cards, the words FROM the children during worship, including a really nice video from kids who couldn't be there, and a luscious chocolate cake. I feel so blessed to be your minister and so honored to be a part of your lives. In all the best ways the time has zoomed by and I feel that I have always been here; but the love in your hearts kept me right in the present moment with all of you that day, and the glow just doesn't go away!
Thank you with all my heart for being such a loving church community.
-- Stephen
Holy Week Sche dule
March 20 is Palm Sunday. Please join us for a Family Service and potluck.
March 24 is Maundy Thursday.  We will have a soup supper at 6:30 and a service of Tenebrae at 7:30.
March 27 is Easter Sunday
THERE WILL BE NO SUNRISE SERVICE THIS YEAR due to years of very low attendance; but we'll really celebrate at our usual worship time with a Family Service and sumptuous reception.

We will also take our annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering at the service. For more on this activity, see
Family Discussion of "Inside Out"
On Jan. 31, the Schwabecher family hosted a showing of the movie "Inside Out" followed by a potluck and discussion about understanding feelings. We had three families there with kids and a meaningful and fun conversation.
Beach Party at La Selva  

Please save Sunday, April 24, for a beach party at La Selva Beach.

Stephen, Rev. Yael Lachman, from Peace UCC in Santa Cruz, and Rev. Jane Grady from La Selva UCC are inviting members of their churches to join together for a late afternoon, early evening beach party from 5-8 pm. We will have time to get to know people from the other two churches, a potluck supper and singing around a bonfire. It will be fun, so please plan to come!


Altar Flowers

Open Sundays for donating flowers are March 6 and 20 (Palm Sunday). Please sign up in Whitaker Hall.
dark voodoo lilies
emit a fetid odor
yet look so regal.
-- haiku by John Heyes

Meditation Moment   
Each morning when I wake, I say 
  "I place my hand in God's today." 
I know He'll walk close by my side 
  My every wandering step to guide.

He leads me with the tenderest care 
  When paths are dark and I despair. 
No need for me to understand, 
  If I but hold fast to His hand.

--  Florence Scripps Kellogg


Women's Group Meets March 8

The Women's Group will meet on Tuesday, March 8, at 10:30  at Mary Ellen McTamaney's home.  Her address is 23525 Skyview Terrace in the Villa.  Call her at 353-3331 if you need directions.

Many Surprises at Confab
on Building Skyland's Future

It began with the question of what to do with Skyland Church's "emerald triangle," the corner piece of land donated by the Wicht family. But that idea escalated into a multifacted inquiry into possible projects all over the church property, which was given focus at a post-service discussion Feb. 28. Members inspected detailed maps of the property and were encouraged to make suggestions for improvements wherever they liked.

Bob Theis
Jan Swayne recruited her friend, Berkeley architect Bob Theis,  to coordinate the meeting; and after a brief introduction on landscaping principles, The
is invited suggestions from the 40-odd people present and then led a tour of the property to give these some real-life perspective.

Among the suggestions:
* Improve the parking lot, giving it more and wider spaces.
* Find a place - perhaps on the new property - to build a meditational labyrinth.
* Build a new walkway from the parking lot to the back of Whitaker Hall. (Theis cautioned that in a "vertical averse" world, such a path should have a grade no greater than 5% - although one amendment to this suggestion was to install a 90% solution, an outdoor elevator, instead).

* Improve the space behind Whitaker now used for outdoor services and make it a kind of "outdoor room."
Is there a better way to connect buildings? 
But it was the tour of the property that produced the most innovative suggestion. Skyland's land extends for a hundred feet or so to the east of the sanctuary; and this land, which is largely vertical but has one flat area halfway down, offers potential for an ampitheater that would serve very well for outdoor meetings, Theis noted. 
Move the tower?
This and other new suggestions, such as combining the Whitaker path with a passage for vehicles needing access for setting up events like the Harvest Festival, for planning future tree growth (or removal), for repaving the parking lot with a "green fringe" that would be self-draining, and even for moving the bell tower to make more parking space, came to light during the property tour.
Some of these projects seemed big enough by themselves, and taken together, they might keep the    church busy for decades. Theis later offered some suggestions for partitioning the job.
"There are three aspects in any construction project that compete for energy," he said: "quality, time, and expense." These all have tradeoffs. Reducing the time of construction is likely to reduce quality and increase expense. Focusing on quality will increase both other factors. Reducing expense will cut quality and increase time.
Relaxing the time factor will allow people to reflect on the next step, as well as save money and preserve quality, Theis continued. Changing any one element will shift the entire energy balance. That is why, he said, he encouraged us to think about the entire property, not just the new addition.

Still an issue:  the Wicht property. Jeremy has some ideas.

"Many people had never even seen the eastern section of the property," he pointed out. It's difficult to access, lying as it does behind the "boneyard" where trash is collected and removed, and being so steep in places that not everyone can navigate it.
It does, however, provide a natural space for a terraced ampitheater, a project that attracted a lot of attention from the members who stayed for the tour. It has a southern exposure and a terrific view, and could be a great asset for the church.
Taken together, all of the suggestions might keep us busy for quite some time.
But they don't all have to be addressed at once, Theis pointed out. The overall project can be managed by approaching individual parts one at a time. And stretching the time, as noted earlier, makes it possible to maintain quality and keep costs low. 
He concluded with a suggestion for coordinating such a large project. It helps, he said, to have one person whose responsibility it is not to direct the project but to keep up the momentum and keep alive the awareness that things are moving, working with a small committee - three to five people - to supervise details.  
-- CB    
NOTE from your treasurer:

February 2016 financial report.

$1,224 was  donated as a special thank you for Stephen to celebrate his 25 -year anniversary as our Pastor.

We are now able to accept credit card payments for pledge, general and special offerings if that is more convenient than check or cash. See either Jan or myself after service for these transactions. 
Our financial picture is still looking healthy.

Here are our operating finances for February 2016 as of Feb. 29.

                   Summary of Operating Finances 
                Feb 2016     | Jun 1,2015 to Feb 29 
          Actual    Planned  |  Actual      Planned 
Income   $   9,705  $  9,449 | $145,289    $136,528 
Expenses $   8,776  $  8,373 | $130,416    $133,296 
Net      $     929  $  1,076 | $ 14,873    $  3,232

-- G erald J. Alonzo, Treasurer