April 2021
Go Tell It On The Mountain
Monthly Newsletter
Skyland Community Church, United Church of Christ
Minister: Rev. Melanie Weiner
Sunday Worship Service:
During COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place
Services will be online, check website link below
10:30 A.M.
Message From
Rev. Melanie

The flowers appear on the earth;
    the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
    is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
    and the vines are in blossom;
    they give forth fragrance.
 
--Song of Solomon 2:12-13
 
As I write this, it is Holy Week, among the most sacred times in the Christian calendar. This week we have felt the triumph of Jesus arriving in Jerusalem and we will soon feel the pain and suffering of the final days of his life. On Easter Sunday we will roll away the stone closing the tomb and discover once again that Jesus has risen and lives anew.
 
In these last few days it has been warm enough to sit on my patio and read comfortably, listen to the birds, and watch the antics of the squirrels. This has been a joy but the same time life continues to be odd and difficult as we isolate ourselves to protect ourselves and others.  The ups and downs of Holy Week and Easter fit very well with what we have been experiencing.
 
After Easter Sunday we have a whole season, 49 days, to celebrate the joy that is resurrection and new life. We will live this out in our Sunday morning services, but let's also live it out in the rest of the life of the church. Let's tap into joy as we consider our pledges to the church when the pledge cards come in the mail. Let's be joyful, while also being careful, as more people can get together in small gatherings. Let's joyfully participate in the growth of Skyland's ministries in the community.
 
In just a few days we will celebrate Christ's resurrection. When the time comes, let us proclaim loudly and clearly, "Christ is risen!"

Rev. Melanie Weiner
Church Calendar


Bible Study on Thursday mornings:

Schedule:
8:45 - 9:45 Important Passages from the Bible
9:45 -10:45 Sunday's Scripture

On your computer, tablet or smartphone click or tap here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83544553057?pwd=RE82K09ocHlMUVdVZXAwRTh1ZmF6dz09

If you are asked for a passcode, enter 332672

From your phone, dial 1 669 900 6833
Meeting ID: 835 4455 3057


Community Check-in


If you are asked for a passcode enter 497435

By phone: dial 1 669 900 6833 and enter the Meeting ID: 890 3960 0609#


see more upcoming events on the Church Calendar

All Regularly Scheduled Events in Whitaker Hall 
are on hold during Shelter-in-Place
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Video Chat

Zoom, The Pandemic, and Keeping Each Other Safe

I am sure that you have all heard that Santa Cruz County has moved to the Orange Tier on the state's pandemic response system on March 31st. This level is called "Moderate Risk," but it is still not safe for us to meet together in person, especially with some areas now having more cases of the more highly infectious virus type.

Last July the Council adopted a policy about reopening saying that we will not host in-person gatherings of any kind, including worship, until a vaccine is available to all. The Council will revisit this policy later this year. 

For now we will continue to worship over Zoom and connect with each other in socially distant ways. It isn't perfect, but it is what we have. Let us be grateful for the technology that allows us to gather while we wait for that joyful day when we worship together in person again.

Rev. Melanie

You can click below for further information: https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/
Melanie preaching

Rev. Melanie's Work Hours and Contact Information

Rev. Melanie's work days will be Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and Friday. She will take Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays as her days off. 

While it remains necessary to maintain social distancing, Melanie plans to work in her office on Mondays and work at home on most other days. 

If you want to visit, please contact her to make an appointment. For everyone's protection, we can speak outside or in a large room like Whitaker Hall. Please plan to wear a mask. 

If you would like a home visit, Rev. Melanie is willing to visit you outside your home from more than six feet away. 

You can reach Rev. Melanie at:
Church office (408)353-1310 (leave a message)
Mobile phone (408)307-3709 (voice or text)

Skyland Community Church
Council Meeting Minutes
March 15, 2021
 
The Church Council met on March 15, 2021, on Zoom with 8 members present. The meeting was called to order by incoming Moderator Leslie Meehan at 10:04am. New and returning Council members were welcomed. The opening prayer given by Rev. Melanie Weiner, and the Behavioral Covenant was read for the group by Gerald Alonzo.

Council minutes from the January 2021 Council minutes were reviewed and approved as submitted.

The Treasurers report for March, 2021, showed that the surplus continues due primarily to lower expenses and normal revenue. The roofing project is ready to move forward with $50k in funding. The accessible lift project is making progress.

Reports from committees were accepted as submitted.

New business: The accessible lift project is about 6 to 8 weeks from lift delivery and installation, including an electrical modification. 
The finance ministry contact for process and timeline is the Finance Team itself.

Missions committee:
India donations have minor needs. 

Outreach for food donations and distribution continues to be highly successful and requires a larger and more scheduled volunteer force. Both new church and community volunteers have responded. A new refrigerator/freezer donation was approved. 

Further discussion is needed designate a new access point for the cold storage and a shelter for easy access to food pantry donations (not on the Church porch). This project will be designed and carried out in cooperation with the Trustees.

Rev. Melanie Weiner and Linda Heyes will write thank you notes to the donors and volunteers at the food banks. There is currently a high volume of donations and necessary labor every week as our efforts are feeding many families in the mountains as well as in Watsonville.

The Council very proud and appreciative of Skyland Church’s team of Pantry helpers.

Discussion on the Council meeting schedule showed a preference for third Mondays at 8:30 am, on Zoom.

The March Council meeting was closed in prayer by Rev. Weiner. The annual congregational budget meeting was set for May 23. 
Pastoral Relations Committee Update

The Pastoral Relations Committee of Skyland Church meets regularly with Reverend Melanie. As an advisory group, our goal is to nurture the vital relationship between pastor and congregants. Reverend Melanie values direct communication and strives to be accessible to everyone. We feel blessed to be part of a congregation that communicates with honesty and care.

Mary Ellen McTamaney, Jan Parker, John Heyes
reVision- Thriving in the Community

After two years reVision is alive and well in our church and within the mountain community despite the Covid-19 Pandemic.

The Soothing Series for women began February 11th on Zoom with the presentation of "Visual Memory and Nostalgia” with 30 women from near and far. Lesley Louden along with Rev. Melanie and Connected Through Adventures developed the series which will continue through May. See elsewhere in this newsletter for the details.
Making Summit Escape Route Firesafe
a Group Project
 
With fire season again approaching after another year of drought, it is time for mountain dwellers to consider how to protect themselves and their property from damage. But when fires attack their homes, they need an escape route, of which there are two main choices: Summit Road and Soquel San Jose Road. It was lack of a navigable escape route that cased such loss of life in the Paradise fire two years ago. Skyland Church, under the direction of Larry Lopp, has been coordinating local efforts to prepare for fires and keep the escape route along Summit Road open. In fact, Skyland church hosts the local fire safe county roads website on the church’s own website; it may be accessed at:
 
At the website you will find a wealth of information about the county’s multi-agency approach to fire protection. It also contains a valuable 3-minute video by Al Feuerbach and Anne Evans, with narration by
J.R. Call, then hazardous fuel reduction manager for the Santa Clara County Fire Safe Council, about the demonstration project at the Loma Prieta School and the plans for removing flammable vegetation from Summit Road. In it you can see some examples of massed vegetation, and others of what an area properly cleared of fuel looks like. Clearly, Summit Road will not look the same when it is made fire-safe.
 
Before that condition can be achieved, however, much work needs to be done, and before that work can be done, the 148 property owners along Summit need to sign permission slips for their property to be cleared, and money needs to be raised to do that clearing. It’s a project that would tax the talent of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the artists responsible for the Running Fence through Sonoma County that took four years to build counting the permits and environmental reports required to build it. Larry and the assembled team have been working on fire safe county roads for 18 months and hope to get clearing work begun this summer.
 
Christo took his fence down after it had been displayed for two weeks, and left its path completely cleared, without a trace of the fence. The Summit project will self-destruct all by itself, in that vegetation will eventually return on its own, and will have to be kept down in order to maintain fire-safe conditions. The project when completed would like to see this ongoing effort funded and carried on by a public agency as part of providing transportation equity to our rural mountain citizens.
 
So far, according to the latest published Alliance progress report (December 2020) from the Fire Safe County Roads project, only 69 percent of the property owners have provided email addresses; a new progress report is due April 4, and Larry says that the number of addresses is now just over 70 percent and it is imperative that we get to full participation to make the corridor fire safe.
He is the director of the Santa Cruz Mountain Alliance, our local 501 C4 and is receiving essential support from a number of county and state organizations as well as many community individuals interested in preserving life and property.
 
* Former county Supervisor John Leopold was the first to suggest a pilot demonstration at the Loma Prieta School, which has been completed. This was followed up with two aggressive demo projects The Summit – Highland way corridor and The Soquel San Jose Corridor. These demo projects will take several years and develop the funding sources, organizing skills and tools and work force to continue this public supported part of our county road system.
 
* Leopold’s successor, Manu Koenig, has followed up on Leopold’s start and taken an interest in the necessary planning for Soquel San Jose Road Corridor. In mid-March his office announced plans for the PG&E to fund and place underground the PG&E wires on the lower half of this road. Such wiring, stretched through trees, has been the ignition source for many of California’s recent wildfires.
 
* San Mateo/Santa Cruz Cal Fire determines the scope of the local project, files the environmental reports, and assists in grant writing.
 
* Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District (RCD) will write grant requests and obtain funding, and hire and supervise the field crews who will do the work.
 
* Santa Clara County Fire Safe Council will help as needed. Forty-two percent of the affected parcels on Summit are in Santa Clara County, and the Fire council has experience from a 2020 Highway 17 shaded fuel break project. The current FSCR program led by The Santa Cruz Mountain Alliance will clear both sides of Summit Road, including the properties in Santa Clara County.
 
* State Sen. John Laird is working on a 10-year legislative program on fire prevention, of which a draft is expected from his office in a few weeks.
 
Work on Summit Road is called a “shaded fuel break,” meaning that it takes place where natural fires have been suppressed and there is a dangerous buildup of flammable vegetation. The process entails removing the combustible underbrush and small closely spaced trees and trimming the lower branches on larger, more fire-tolerant trees, which will be left in place. This process creates a low fuel-shaded space where ground fire travels slowly and fire does not ladder up to the crowns on larger trees. As the underbrush is cut, it will be chipped and left in place, spread over the ground no more than six inches thick. Standing dead trees and trees hanging over the roadway will be felled; all downed logs will be removed.
 
Skyland members who are essential to moving this work forward include David Fullagar, (mapmaker), Lou McTamaney, (data master), Al Feuerbach and Anne Evans, who made the video, Thomas Sutfin (forester), Gerry Alonzo, Nancy Jo Lopp, and Jeremy Cole.
Email the reVision team: reVision@skylandchurch.com
For more information on the phases of reVision click here: http://skylandchurch.com/transitions/
Finance Team Update

Spring brings flowers, warming weather and traditionally, at Skyland, thoughts of stewardship as we prepare for the upcoming church budget.

Stewardship means caring for the things that are provided and in turn caring for others. Throughout the year we practice stewardship by participating in services, volunteering to help when we can and contributing through our pledge commitments. This year has been especially challenging yet we have found new ways to be together, to worship, to sing, to break bread. We have found new ways to serve others, donating money and time, collecting clothing, gathering to care for each other via Zoom, and our Little Free Pantry has grown to a very large free pantry feeding literally hundreds of hungry people. 

As you reflect on the year past, consider ways that you can continue your stewardship in terms of the treasures of time, talent, and money. Consider where you are and see if you can take a bigger step forward, being even more generous as we grow together.

The Finance Ministry Team
Soothing Series in March
 
Skyland women and other women friends continue to participate in a series of "Soothing" presentations. We meet for an hour, 7 PM to 8 PM, on Thursday evenings twice a month. We have had amazing presenters and have learned how photographs and memories, dynamo food boards and quick sketches can be soothing practices. We have been grounded in spiritual practice by Rev. Melanie and we are building a caring community with women. It is not too late to join us and we welcome you.

On April 8, Paula Leary will present some ideas on music as a soothing practice. On April 22, Nancy Jo Lopp and Shannon Edwards will share movement and exercise practices. We can all use a little soothing...we hope to see you.
  
Anne Evans, Lesley Louden, Jan Parker and Connected Through Adventures               Soothingseries@skylandchurch.com

The "Soothing" Zoom Series:

Sign up
Trustees Update

The Handicap Lift project is underway and is being led by Lou with help from Gerald and Jeremy. Here is a photo of the progress.
Completed concrete pad for the Lift. Electrical prep is done.
Now awaiting arrival of the lift mechanicals in about 4 weeks.
Mission Board News
Skyland Community Church's
Little Free Pantry

Little Free Pantry- April 2021

The Little Free Pantry is growing into the Medium Sized Free Pantry as we are now feedling 75 families a week!
We have over 20 volunteers sharing the work load seven days a week now. Thank you, team :)

Thanks to San Agustin's Catholic Church in Scotts Valley and Second Harvest of Santa Cruz County we get large bags of veggies and boxes of staples as pictured on the bench on Wednesdays midday. 

On Thursdays, Grey Bears drops off half bags of different vegetables and bread weekly. How blessed we are to have it brought to us:)
USDA Food Boxes
On Saturdays we are now working with Hunger at Home in San Jose to receive USDA boxes of protein that include meat, cheese, yogurt, milk, potatoes, and fruit.

And, we have new friendships with Peninsula Food Runners who brings us special treats, like candies and snack foods and more for Easter:)

If you want to help with pick ups or sorting, we need substitute drivers midday on Wednesdays and early on Saturdays. 

This week we have visited St. Julie Billiart Church in Almaden Valley which has transformed it's Fellowship Hall into a full sized food distribution center. They had extra hand sanitizers, toiletries, cereals and anything else we asked for. Local grocery stores and Target donate food to them three times a week! They also gave us Easter candies and eggs for the children.

After the pantry looked more than full, we had one neighbor walk a mile to come and get coffee from the pantry and we were all out!
Wow. Things move in and move out and there is always need.  

Oh, more things thankful for this month, we got another refrigerator and a wagon donated by a friend from Los Gatos. We also received a used, refurbished handtruck from another family.
What gratitude we have for all the gifts, but mostly that folks are getting the word out and we are feeding more people in need. 

We will start finding a new way to create the pantry off the porch for our post- covid days. We will need artists, builders and designers to help with the process. The Trustees will supervise this with the Mission Board. 

Thanks for a lovely March all!

Want to donate? Feel free to give cash to help us create the new shed for the pantry. Or we always need dishwashing and clothes powder, cooking oil, sugar, coffee, toothbrushes, jam, mac and cheese, eggs and anything else that would make your appetite happy! 

Thanks! Mission Board, Shannon Edwards, John Heyes, Renee Presler and Bonnie Cloyd and all the other 20 wonderful volunteers filling the pantry
Loma Public Education Volunteer Update

I grew up off of Aldercroft Road and attended Skyland with my family. When I was lucky enough to move to the mountains with my own family and young children one of the many things, I loved about our community were the schools. Both of my children receive a wonderful education and the teachers at Loma and C.T. have gone above and beyond to show up for our kids during these trying times. 
 
With Measure N not passing the school is facing over a $650,000 shortfall. The district has already notified teachers of cuts to their hours and to their programs for the 21/22 school year. Many programs and positions will be impacted and fundraising will go towards counseling, middle school electives, library and education technology specialists. LPEF is reaching out to all members of our community - as part of our KEEP! Campaign, asking our community to consider making a donation to help bridge the funding gap. 
 
Loma Public Education Fund (LPEF) is a nonprofit organization created to raise funds for the Loma Prieta Joint Union School District (LPJUSD). Please consider a donation to LPEF to support our children and schools during these trying times.
 
You can donate at, https://www.lpef.org/donate and read more on our FAQ page, https://www.lpef.org/lpef-faq. If you have additional questions or ideas, please reach out to KEEP@lpef.org
 
Thank you,
 
Sara Steffen, LPEF Board Member (formerly Sara Parker (Jan’s daughter), mom to Payton - 11 and Colbie - 9).
Treasurers Report

Note from your Treasurer for 10 months of our ’20-‘21 fiscal year:

Pledge income is $20,684 above budget primarily due to late pledge commitments after our budget was approved.
Offerings are also $1,385 above budget.
We now have online “Donations” item on our website, “skylandchurch.com”, as a convenient way to support our mission outreach and operations.
You may also mail your pledge and other donations to

Skyland Community Church
P.O. Box 245
Los Gatos, CA 95031-0245

Here is a summary of our operating finances as of March. 28 for our 2020-2021 fiscal year.
In addition to this year’s current $32,115 operating surplus we also have last year’s $29,271 surplus.
Respectfully
Gerald Alonzo, Treasurer
Mea Culpa – The Annual Report submitted to the congregation at the Annual Congregational Meeting in February was missing one report – the one from our beloved and dedicated newsletter editors, Patricia and Brian Wood. You can now see the entire report including Newsletter Editors’ Annual Report on our website. My sincere apology to all for this oversite.

Jackie Seymour
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