Go Tell It on the Mountain

March 2017 Newsletter
Skyland Community Church

10:30 Sunday Service

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

"I'd say about this big..." Bob Theis makes a point during 2016 visit.

New Theis visit planned

Post-It Wish List
Has Practical Twist

The question of what to do with the triangular corner property that the Wicht family donated to Skyland last year has engaged the Site Committee since last February's visit in which Berkeley landscape architect Bob Theis suggested ways in which the new land could be integrated with the old, in effect expanding the process to Skyland's entire property. The newsletter story about his visit, for March of 2016, is available online and may be accessed by clicking here.

Last August 21, then moderator Marcia Rollins led a discussion following the church service in which members enthusiastically offered their suggestions for site development.
These tended to be practical; p eople suggested we stabilize and terrace slopes, create new parking, remove some trees and plant others, move the water tank and garbage. There were two proposals for labyrinths.
The suggestions have been summarized and are also posted online; they are available here.
Mr. Theis, a longtime friend and advisor to Jan Swayne, had been asked to return Feb. 18 for another consultation; but this visit was canceled due to the threat of a large storm.  Now the Site Committee, which has missed two monthly meetings because of storms, hopes to meet early this month, and to reschedule Mr. Theis.

Meanwhile, he has sent the church a list of topics that we might meditate on before a second visit.  They are of a different sort than the members' list of suggested projects.

Mr. Theis wrote that what he would like to know from the congregation is: 

Your dreams for the church.  What draws you there and what would most delight you to see realized? 

Your concerns, both immediate and long term. What causes you to worry?

Your five most central variables, in a rough ranking. What are the five elements that most determine what the church does and doesn't do?

Jeremy Cole reports that because of delays in the complex and lengthy process of merging the two properties, the title transfer is not yet complete; and Skyland still can't perform any work requiring permits on the Wicht triangle. The merger process is under way, but members still have some time to reconcile the two approaches.

-- Cliff Barney


Altar Flowers

Several Sundays in March and April are open for donating flowers. Please sign up on the calendar in Whitaker Hall.

from deep, rain-soaked banks
rise snowdrops, lilies, daisies
caressed by spring's sun.

-- John Heyes

Meditation M oment   

If I thought that the Christian faith was only concerned with Church-going or looking after a pious minority, I should have very little use for it. But it isn't. Christianity is concerned with the whole of life, from falling in love to the way you bring up your children, from the use you make of your money or talents, to the way you treat your neighbor, from the mystery of birth to the mystery of death, and with everything that happens in between.
                                                                                     J. B. Phillips
            For This Day
Stephen's missing driveway. Note Carolyn standing at top left; 
her apparent size indicates the scale of the washout.

Minister's Letter
Giving Up a Driveway for Lent

When I was a youngster, my best friend Mark was a Catholic; and unlike Protestant me, he had to give up something for Lent. Perhaps those of you who grew up Catholic did so too. Usually, he gave up something like candy, which probably was not too painful, but did raise his awareness and mine that Lent was a time set apart to get ready for Easter.
I haven't made a practice of giving up something for Lent; but then, on a Tuesday a week or so before the beginning of Lent, a 50-foot section of our driveway took a long fall toward Soquel. Our family now walks up our steep driveway, portaging food and whatever we used to schlep easily from car to house. Then came more trouble: as I write this, both of our cars are broken, one needing a tow to Santa Cruz now -- quite a long drive, since the Soquel San Jose Road is closed.
None of these happenstances were voluntary of course, so it's not as though I willingly gave up my driveway and my old but previously reliable cars; and furthermore, there is no loss of life and limb in this story.
But, I must say, it feels a bit like a trial, a time to challenge myself or take on God's challenge to find a faithful, faith-full, way to live with unaccustomed adversity. Looking at the huge slide where once my driveway ran, and contemplating the dollars to get it fixed, I found myself moved to tears - but also to faith. I am determined that something good will come out of this, that it is not a meaningless exercise in spending a lot of money for something that should just BE THERE!
I haven't gotten an estimate for fixing it yet -- the whole project will certainly take months; but so far I think I am mostly hopeful and faithful. The first few days, I stopped every time I went by the hole and asked it, what are you going to teach me today? Last Sunday, as I asked that question, a pair of juncos, chittering while they flew, landed together right on the edge of the broken pavement, completely oblivious to the 20-foot drop below them. They just chatted and pecked, nonchalant as could be. Jesus said, "Consider the birds of the air, they neither toil nor spin, yet even Solomon and all his glory was not clothed like one of these." Another day it was more like, "Don't lay up treasures on earth!"
Easter is April 16, and we will prepare together in worship to receive its mystery. Some of that preparation requires us to face death in its many forms. Maybe Lent is more a preparation for death, and then God gives the grace of resurrection to remind us of who God is and who we really are.
The death of a driveway is only a material thing, infinitely far removed from the death of a loved one or anything that brings hurt to a person; but like all kinds of death it does give us an opportunity to dive deeply to receive God's gift of infinite and undying love. Whether you give something up for Lent, or it gets given up for you, please join me in seeking the deepest possible connection to the transformative meaning it may have for your life.  In so doing, we will open ourselves for God to show us the mystery that  "love never ends".

-- Stephen
NOTE from your treasurer:
Pledge income through February is $794 less than committed. If you are able please attempt to keep your pledge gifts current.
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 me after service for these transactions.
Here are our operating finances for February 2017 as of Feb28.
                   Summary of Operating Finances
              February 201 | Jun 1,2016 to Feb 28
           Actual    Planned |  Actual      Planned
Income   $  10,405  $ 10,532 | $155,148    $151,581
Expenses $   9 174  $ 10,211 | $139,136    $141,725
Net      $   1,231  $    321 | $ 16,012    $  9,856
-- Gerald J. Alonzo,  Treasurer