December 2019
Go Tell It On The Mountain
Monthly Newsletter
Skyland Community Church, United Church of Christ
Minister: Rev. Kevin Omi
Sunday Worship Service 10:30 a.m.
December 2019 to mid January Church Calendar

Sunday, December 1
                    Advent Begins
                    Giving Tree
10:30 A.M.    Worship Service with Rev. Kevin Omi

Wednesday, December 4
10:30 A.M.    Loma Prieta Club

Friday, December 6
8:30 A.M.     Meditation at Temp Community Center

Saturday, December 7
6:00 P.M.     Summit Riders Party
7:00 P.M.      Mountain Church Christmas Concert – LDS Church 23187  Summit Rd

Sunday, December 8
                    Blanket Sunday
10:30 A.M.   Worship Service with Rev. Kevin Omi

Friday, December 13
8:30 A.M.     Meditation at Temp Community Center

Saturday, December 14
10:00 A.M.    Private Party

Sunday, December 15
                    Blanket Sunday
10:30 A.M.   Worship Service with Rev. Kevin Omi
12:00 P.M.    Potluck Sunday

Friday, December 20
8:30 A.M.     Meditation at Temp Community Center

Sunday, December 22
                    Christmas Fund Offering Presented
10:30 A.M.   Worship Service with Rev. Kevin Omi
12:00 P.M.   Church Council

Tuesday, December 24
5:00 P.M .    Christmas Eve Service

Sunday, December 29
10:30 A.M.   Worship Service with Rev. Kevin Omi

Wednesday, January 1, 2020
10:30 A.M.   Loma Prieta Club

Saturday, January 4, 2020
Mid-Winter Retreat Series
9 A.M. - 1 P.M. Overview of contemplative practices

Sunday, January 5, 2020
10:30 A.M.   Worship Service with Rev. Kevin Omi

Saturday, January 11, 2020
Mid-Winter Retreat Series
please check the Church Calendar in January for the start time

Sunday, January 12, 2020
10:30 A.M.   Worship Service with Rev. Kevin Omi

Friday, January 17, 2020
5:00 P.M.     Mountain Hang-out

Saturday, January 18, 2020
Mid-Winter Retreat Series
please check the Church Calendar in January for the start time

Sunday, January 19, 2020
10:30 A.M.   Worship Service with Rev. Kevin Omi
12:00 P.M.   Potluck Sunday

Saturday, January 25, 2020
Mid-Winter Retreat Series
please check the Church Calendar in January for the start time

see more upcoming event s on the Church Calendar

Regularly Scheduled Events in Whitaker Hall
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Mondays :
Alcoholics Anonymous 8:00 P.M.
Tuesdays
Qigong  8:45-10:00 A.M. Member led.
Thursday :
Qigong students only from 8:45-9:30 A.M.
Thursday :
Yoga 7:00 P.M.
Message from Reverend Kevin Omi
Advent Begins
Rev. Kevin Omi
 
Many years ago, a beloved pastor said to me, “Kevin, you are all about longing.” She was right, at the time, and I am thankful to God that in many areas of my life, that wistful longing has been fulfilled.
“Longing” is such a poignant word. Dictionary.com describes longing as a “strong, persistent desire or craving, especially for something unattainable or distant.”

 As we prepare for Advent, I am mindful of:
·        those within our community and in my own life that are entering the holidays missing the presence of those they have loved, and will always love
·        the longing of the Jewish people for the coming of the Messiah, one whom they hoped would set them free and bring about a second golden Davidic era
·        the longing of all people for peace, justice, and love – in their individual hearts, their families, communities, and all of God’s beloved creation
 
This year we begin Advent on a Communion Sunday, with a scripture that also evokes the Second Coming of Jesus. Our hearts will simultaneously be carrying:
·        our anticipation of the coming birth of Jesus and all that his arrival promises
·        the overpowering love Jesus must have felt at the Last Supper, and,
·        his return at the end of time with great power, miracles, and radiant glory
 
Perhaps this Advent season we can also feel just a tiny portion of the strong emotions that swirl through the very heart of God:
·        pain for the suffering of so many in our world
·        boundless hope for the realm of God which draws ever closer, and,
·        God’s total commitment to being fully present in what is already here
 
Emmanuel, “God with us” , is coming…make ready our hearts, we pray!
Amen.
reVision Action Teams
Prepare for 2020
  On November 17th all of the Action Teams recommitted to the work, and the activities of reVision. The creative spirit was in evidence at Skyland Community Church this Fall!
In 2020 it will be a community-filled Winter and early Spring with monthly Mountain Hang-out meals and conversation, more important Fire-safe Roads informational meetings, a Sharing Mountain Living Strategies talk in the series, "Trees in Our Lives", Fourth Friday Documentaries and lunch every month, as well creative adventures from Connected Through Adventures. Their Children's Photo Show "My World in the Mountains" had over 80 entrants, ages 1-11, and many mountain families came to enjoy the exhibition, the activities and the cookies. Also in November we laughed and cried with Mr. Rogers and reflected on "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"
On December 11, Fire-safe Roads, Santa Cruz County Emergency Services and John Leopold will hold a community meeting about county resources. The other Action teams have paused their activities during December.

Join us in 2020!

Please take a look at photos at the bottom of the newsletter showing events from this year.

Email the reVision team: reVision@skylandchurch.com
For more information on the phases of reVision click here: http://skylandchurch.com/transitions /
 
Anne Evans
New community members ate popcorn and watched
"Won't You Be My Neighbor?" on November 22nd.
 
4th Friday Documentaries
( Community Building Events )
 
Our neighbors enjoyed sandwiches and conversation followed by a documentary at this community building event.  Won't You be My Neighbor?  was inspiring and heartfelt with wonderful words from Mr Fred Rogers. "What changes the world? Love can abound and be shared. Everybody longs to be loved and is loveable." And in times of trouble, "always look for the people who are helping. What are you going to do? Be true to the best within you." 

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Fourth Friday Documentaries:  

Save the date -

January 24 12 PM - 3 PM - lunch and the documentary
King in the Wilderness- An illuminating look at the final years in the life of civil-rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 50 years after his assassination in Memphis.

Whitaker Hall, Skyland Community Church 
25100 Skyland Road, Los Gatos, CA 

Join us for lunch and a documentary video, plus discussion.
Food will be provided. This community building event will be a fun and engaging afternoon.


LITANY THROUGHOUT THE INTERIM PERIOD

For God’s holy presence amidst change, we pray. 
For comfort because loss is part of change, we pray. 
For Christ-like steadfastness during the challenges of transition and seasons of faith, we pray. 
For reassurance through frailty and failings, we pray. 
For the abundant creativity the Spirit provides, we pray. 
For our loved ones in this community of faith, we pray. 
For God’s children beyond this community, we pray.

To learn more about the Interim period at Skyland please visit the Transitions page: http://skylandchurch.com/ transitions/
Church Council News
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The church council met on Sunday, November 24. The reVision action teams met on November 17 to develop goals and plan for events in the first quarter of 2020. Anne Evans reported that the teams are doing very well. Three of the five teams already have events planned and the other two are considering more activities.

The search and call process is moving forward as reported by Jackie Seymour. The profile is expected to be available to the congregation for review the first week of December. They will have one week to submit any proposed changes to the search committee. The suggestions will be reviewed and modification made as appropriate. The committee would like to get the document submitted to the conference for their review and approval within the following week.

Anne Evans discussed the need for a thorough cleaning of the sanctuary, Whitaker, and the bathrooms. Although we have a weekly cleaning service that takes care of the floors, bathrooms and general surfaces, it does not include areas such as carpets, windows, window sills, etc. Those areas haven’t been cleaned in a while. The council decided to consider this in the first quarter of 2020. In the meantime it is hoped that volunteers can do some extra cleaning (window sills, cob webs, etc. on Sunday, Dec. 1 in preparation for Advent.

Jeremy Cole reported that flooring bids for the women’s bathroom and Whitaker will be sought soon. The elevator is moving slowly through the Santa Cruz County planning department.

The annual meeting will be held on Feb 16, 2020. Jackie Seymour reminded the council that this is the meeting where the new members of boards and committees are approved. Since the church is still very much in a transition state especially with respect to reVision the council voted to approve the continued suspension of bylaws and that officers, boards and committees will remain as they are at least for the next six months. If anyone desires to leave a position on a board or committee they may do so but the rest would continue on. All Annual Reports from boards and committees should be submitted to the co-moderators on Jan 19, 2020 and be available for the congregation at the February annual meeting.

The monthly meeting in December is canceled. The Council will meet next on Jan. 26, 2020.

Submitted by your co-moderators:
Jackie Seymour
Anne Evans

Skyland Community Church Website under "Newsletters and More."
The Incarnation
 
In writing about The Incarnation, Karl Rahner writes: “The God-Man is the initial beginning and the definitive triumph of the movement of the world’s self-transcendence into absolute closeness to the mystery of God.”  
As Judy Cannoto explains in her book, Field of Compassion : “Rather than a divine intervention into human history, the Incarnation is the inevitable result of the evolutionary process, of matter evolving into spirit from the very beginning."
(Image: Trittico, Cinello, 1960)
Search and Call Process, Part 2
In the September newsletter there was an overview of activities in the Search and Call process. Since that time the search committee, John Heyes (chair), Jan Parker, Brian Wood, and Julie Victorine, along with Rev. Kevin, Anne Evans, and Jackie Seymour have spent many hours putting together the Local Church Profile for Skyland Community Church. This is a document that those interested in a settled pastor position will read, and then decide if our church might fit with their desires and abilities.

The document has been written, reviewed, rewritten. edited and finally is to be made available to the congregation the first week of December. The profile for the most part describes who we are now and where we want to go in the future. It has sections that describe our demographics, our finances, our values and outreach, and our priorities as we move forward. It is important that all those who are able, take a look at it. It is OUR profile. If something has been missed or is not clear the committee needs to know.

When the comments from the congregation are reviewed and incorporated as needed, the profile will be sent to Rev. Davena Jones the NCN Conference minister who will be working with us in the Search and Call process. Rev. Jones and others will review the document. When they are satisfied that the document is correct with respect to the data contained and information provided it will be validated.

Once it is validated the conference posts it online to make it available for those who may be interested in a call to be our settled pastor. Rev. Jones will forward the ministerial profile of interested candidates to our Search Committee. The number and timing of responses and interviews is unpredictable. We will continue to look to the Holy Spirit for guidance and ask for your patience.

As that process begins the congregation will get no further information until the search committee has selected a possible candidate. Early in 2020 there will be more information on the next step in the search and call process. 

Please keep our search team and our process in your prayers.

Your co-moderators,
Jackie Seymour and Anne Evans
Flowers for the Altar
 Several Sundays in December are open for floral donations. Please sign up on the calendar in Whitaker Hall.

We have enjoyed some beautiful floral arrangements on recent Sundays. If you wish to plan ahead--perhaps for a special occasion--please write your name alongside any open Sunday on the calendar in Whitaker Hall.
hardy geraniums--
red, white, salmon, magenta --
flaming into fall

~haiku by John Heyes
Missions Board Spotlight

We have received a letter from the student we are sponsoring at the Steven Tito Academy, the educational arm of The Baobab Home orphanage in Tanzania. Jesika is eleven years old and has an older sister and a younger brother. She especially enjoys her science class and playing netball. In her letter Jesika tells us, "I appreciate your love and support for my education."

Please look in Whitaker Hall for a photo of Jesika, her letter, and an update from the director of The Baobab Home.

John Heyes
Our Food Pantry Needs You!

It seems as though the food pantry is being more heavily relied upon and supplies have recently become quite limited.

We really need the following nutritious items:
Hearty soups including vegetarian,
vegetarian chili, peanut butter, shelf stable milks, tuna, crackers, and cereal.

Thank you for providing the hungry in our community with food to sustain body, mind, and spirit.

Julie




The Skyland Church Giving Tree






Skyland Church sponsors local families at CT English Middle School , Loma Prieta Elementary School and Building Blocks Preschool for the holiday season. Gift cards will be bought for children's gifts and for family meals for the holidays. 

The felt Giving Tree in Whitaker Hall is our way of showing the generosity of our church community and our neighbors. Decorate the tree with a felt ball to symbolize your gift. Money will be collected starting November 24 at church and during Advent. 

If you want to give and can't make it to church on Sunday, please email Shannon Edwards at:  shannonedwards14@gmail.com  or Deana Arnold at:  darnold@mac.com  and we'll include your contribution.
My Testimony... by John Hultgren
One problem I experience, is the absence of  faith  in our lives. We can't get everything we know out of the bible, if we did, we'd be bible scholars.
There are many places in scripture, where the subject of living out our faith, is stressed, and as Reverend Omi spoke about our faith recently, making our beliefs part of our lives, requires faith. There are just too many things happening at once, to be in control of all we do.
I prefer to learn from life using the bible as a reference for how God wishes us to live  our lives, rather than try to live by the bible, as though the instructions on how we are to live, are contained within it.  In this way the bible is an inspiration for us . From Genesis we can relate to the struggles in life that we all encounter, and as a spiritual guidebook for us, it shows who our God is, His love for us, His anger, and His forgiveness, through time.
The more we learn, and the more we practice what we learn, the more faith we gain,  and the stronger our faith becomes.  Putting our faith in a pastor should be  calculated.  We need confidence in him or her to do all of the things that are included in the job description of a minister, which are many, and to pray for him or her to do the things that need to be done. This includes, baptism, marriages, and funerals and memorial services, ceremonies none of us are able to perform, and probably the most important times in life, for all of us.
In the information age that we live in, many options have opened up, in terms of what we are capable of accessing, to address the same kind of issues we've always had. I see a lot of surveys, and the collection of data, which reminds me of TV shows determining format for their ratings.  I don't believe we're here to please one another
I believe we are here to please God.
There have been a lot of references to data, which is useful to quantify and measure our place in the community, our membership across the globe, and things like that, but less references from scripture. Are we to live by the word of God, taught to us by Jesus, or live by an old expression we used in my home,  monkey see, monkey d o? It's often difficult to understand and apply the parables Jesus taught, back when He walked the earth, to our times, and to perhaps truly understand what He intended to convey.
All through the Old Testament are stories of the Israelites drifting away from God, and the cost of doing this. So, learning from the Bible can't just be about the New Testament, any more than politics can be based on what happened in today's news.
The Bible is the story of our God, and we should know the history well, to help us understand, as we in A.A. emphasize, how things were, what happened, and where things are now.

People who are introduced to Jesus, need to firmly grasp the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (the Trinity), in order to know and understand the progression of faith, both in studying and applying God's word, in our lives. Lastly, all Jesus taught, can perhaps be simplified by remembering His commandment, to  love one another , in terms of how we conduct our lives.  Debra and I are grateful for being members one year. John Hultgren

 NOTE From Your Treasurer
Note from your Treasurer for first half of our fiscal year:
 
Pledge income is $731 above expectations. This includes my best efforts to distribute Planned Pledge receipts based on previous donation history. I hope make adjustment to monthly expectations as year progresses.
Offerings are $-1,111 below expectations.
Hall Rental is $518 above expectations.
Harvest Festival donations are $11,325.
Total net operations, income – expenses, are +13,300, without transfer from special funds.
 
Mission work:
A special $10,000 gift for disaster relief was received and sent to NCNC-UCC.
A special gift from Loma Prieta Club was received to help local families in need. Half has been allocated to our Giving Tree local family outreach and half to Local Emergency fund handled by Rev. Kevin Omi.
Current balances in Our Mission Outreach Funds are:
$  485  African Library project.
$1,025  Conf. Christmas Fund.
$  108  Education Support
$2,400  Giving Tree
$   33  Mountain Jam
$ 704  Neighbors in need
 
We are 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.
 
Here is our operating finances as of Nov. 30 for our 2019-2020 fiscal year.
Respectfully
Gerald Alonzo, Treasurer
reVision Action Teams
Welcome the Mountain Community
Larry Lopp welcomes 80 community members
to the Fire-safe Roads Meeting
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Sharing Mountain Living Strategies
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Taco night served 81 people a delicious Taco dinner
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Twenty six people ate popcorn and watched
the Biggest Little Farm on October 25
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Children's Photography Show 
( Connected Through Adventures)
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Quick Links
Skyland Community Church, United Church of Christ
25100 Skyland Road, Los Gatos, CA 95033
phone: 408-353-1310
USPS mail: Skyland Church
P.O. Box 245
Los Gatos, CA 95031-0245
Website 
 http://skylandchurch.com