December 2020
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

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

We have come to the season of Advent, a new year in the church calendar. Advent comes as we approach the shortest and darkest days of the year when we are at our greatest tilt away from the sun. Is it any wonder that so many cultures have festivals of light in the deepest winter?

As we approach the winter solstice, we will be lighting candles, one more each week, until on Christmas Eve we finally light the fifth candle, the Christ candle, the candle that represents Jesus arrival in the world as a newborn babe. With each candle comes a theme, hope, peace, joy, love, all building to the celebration that is Christmas. So as the day grows shorter and the light grows dimmer, we will illuminate our sanctuary and our homes with more light each week.

If you have not yet picked up an Advent log from the church, please do so and join us in lighting candles, in literally brightening our days. We cannot light the candles together in church, but we can continue to find ways to be together in spirit. We can light candles at home, or if an open flame is not wise turn on electric candles or lamps, as we worship together.  

Advent blessings of hope, peace, joy, and love and Christmas blessings of new life in the darkness and mysteriousness of winter.
December Church Calendar


Bible Study on Thursday mornings:

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

by computer, tablet, or smartphone: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83544553057

by phone: dial 1 669 900 6833 and enter the meeting id 83544553057#

Sunday Worship
Online Worship at 10:30 A.M. with Rev. Melanie Weiner
To connect by phone: dial 1 669 900 6833 and enter the Meeting ID: 833 3487 6493 followed by the # sign.
To connect via smartphone, tablet or computer: click

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 Purple Tier on the state's pandemic response system. According to this level, it is not safe for us to meet together in person. 

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 in January.  

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

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)
Melanie preaching
Church Council News
from November, 2020

The council met on met on November 16 with twelve members including Rev. Weiner present. Gerald Alonzo reported on that our operating income exceeded expenses and we were within our budget.
 
Jackie Seymour reported that the Bylaws have been on hold for the past month while the “Skyland Community Church Abuse Prevention and Sexual Misconduct Policy” was worked on by Anne, Rev. Melanie and Jackie.
 
Rev. Melanie reported that she has been able to connect with more people, socially distanced and with masks but in-person, and that has been a blessing to her. She is looking forward to hearing about our Advent and Christmas traditions and hopes to adapt them for our restricted environment. She plans to have an outdoor Advent service at 4PM on Dec 13 if the weather co-operates. Also she is very happy to be working with her new Pastoral Relations Team. 
 
Anne Evans presented the background for the new Abuse Prevention and Sexual Misconduct Policy. Our insurance was dropped and the new policy we were able to secure through United Christians Insurance Gp required a number of abuse and misconduct policies and procedures be in place in order for us to obtain liability insurance. 
 
The policy that was put forward by Anne and Jackie was based on the UCC Abuse Prevention Policy template provided by UCC and the insurance company. A year ago Patricia Wood headed an effort for more detailed procedures for those working with youth that will be added as a procedural document later.
 
The policy requires vetting of everyone volunteering and detailed criminal and general background checks for all those working with children. This type of thorough investigation is typical for all organizations working with children. The policy also requires that there must be two adults present at all times when children are in church sponsored activities away from their parents.
 
Discussion centered on the difficulty in doing this and also making everyone aware of the policy. The policy was approved with a unanimous vote.
 
Shannon reported that the Missions Team will sponsor the Giving Tree again this year with a goal of $3,000. 
 
Gerald reported that night lighting was altered so that there are porch lights on in the evening when folks come to pick up food at our pantry.
 
The next meeting will be held on Friday December 18 at 10AM.
Skyland Community Church
Faith-Based Organizing Training for Justice

by the United Church of Christ and the National Council of Churches
Sundays and Thursdays in Advent 2020

Please join Revs. Melanie Weiner and Patricia Wood in taking this course with seminars on Sunday afternoons 1:00-3:00 and discussions on Thursday evenings 5:00-6:00, all via Zoom.

We have purchased a group ticket for the whole congregation. To register for the Sunday afternoon seminars as part of our group, please click on the web link directly below:


This will take you to Teachable website, where you will register for a Teachable account with your email and a password you create. After you register, look at "my courses" and you should see five purple boxes, one for the whole course and one for each individual Sunday session. Please following these steps to get the Zoom links for the webinar:

  • Click on the purple box for Session One.
  • Click on the blue button "Start next lecture."
  • Click on the blue words "Click here to join the webinar."
  • Scroll down and register for that session's Zoom.
  • The screen will refresh, and there will be a Zoom link at the bottom. This link is unique to you, so don't share it. It will only let one computer in. 

Repeat these same steps for sessions two through four using the purple boxes for Sessions Two, Three, and Four. 

This begins Sunday, November 29, so please register right away using the blue button above.

The Zoom link for the Thursday evening discussions 5:00-6:00 is:

By computer:, tablet, or smartphone: 

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

Questions? Contact Rev. Melanie
reVision Action Teams News
Because of COVID-19, in-person gatherings are suspended indefinitely.

Email the reVision team: reVision@skylandchurch.com
For more information on the phases of reVision click here: http://skylandchurch.com/transitions/
Mission Board News
The Giving Tree
Helping Mountain Families 
and Children during the holidays

Skyland Community Church will once again sponsor local families at CT English and Loma Prieta Schools for this holiday season. We will give Target gift cards to the 18 children and Safeway and Target cards to the 13 families for food and necessities. For the first time, this year we have a matching gift from the Hooper Family Charitable Trust. They will match anything raised up to $3,050. If we raise more, we will look to support others in need so please reach out to Melanie or Shannon if you know others who might need a little more help this year.  

 The felt Giving Tree in Whitaker Hall is our way of symbolizing the generosity of our church community and our neighbors.  We add a felt ball to symbolize each person's gift.

We will collect money until Dec 6th so that families can get their gifts before the school year ends. 
 
If you want to give and can't mail the check to Skyland Church; PO Box 245; Los Gatos, CA 95031-0245, please email Shannon Edwards at shannonedwards14@gmail.com so we can include your contribution. 
 -- Shannon Edwards

Skyland Clothing Drive

Thank you, Skyland friends and neighbors, for your generous contributions of clothes and toiletries for Davenport Resource Service Center and Rebele Family Shelter (Housing Matters). It was a joy to load our Camry and Prius with donations and deliver bags and boxes of jackets, shoes, and quality clothes. They were received with gratefulness and grace. It was an honor to represent you and have an opportunity to help.

Jan Parker and John Heyes
Skyland Community Church's
Little Free Pantry


"One in six Americans could go hungry in 2020 as pandemic persists"

"With the holidays nearing, miles-long food lines are a hint at how hunger in America could soon surpass the peak of the 2007 recession."


These are the headlines from the most recent National Geographic as we head into the winter. 
Skyland Community Church is filling a need for our neighbors and our generosity just keeps growing. 
For Thanksgiving, we were able to provide turkeys to 10 families in need.  
One of our mountain neighbors, Janet Davies made 10 lovely Thanksgiving decorated bags filled with Belgian chocolates. 
What a treat! She will do the same for our Giving Tree families:)
Over Thanksgiving week, the box seemed to get filled once or twice a day with lovely foods for the holidays. 
Our inside pantry is overflowing now. What a wonderful community we have here. Folks really do want to help!
Please spread the word that there is food available 24/7 as our cupboards are full! (esp. canned goods) 
Still want to help?  
Snack items are always popular! Cookies go quickly. Think "holiday treats" and baking supplies for the month of December. 

Shannon Edwards for the Missions Board
Note from your Treasurer

Note from your Treasurer for first half of our ’20-‘21 fiscal year:
Pledge income is $9,051 above budget primarily due to late pledge commitments after our budget was approved.
As we might expect in this remote setting, Offerings received are $-2,310 below budget.
 
Thanks to you generous donations, $2,950 ha been sent to NCNC-UCC for Neighbors In Need special mission outreach.
 
During the current “Shelter In Place” restrictions please mail your pledge and other donations to:

Skyland Community Church
P.O. Box 245
Los Gatos, CA 95031-0245
 
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 once we are able to meet together again. I am in the downstairs copy room almost every day from 9 AM to 9 PM using church internet.
 
Here is a summary of our operating finances as of Nov. 29 for our 2020-2021 fiscal year.
Respectfully
Gerald Alonzo, Treasurer
A Note to All
From Gina Foster in Oregon

I just want to wish you all A Happy Christmas and New Year. I read the newsletter every month and enjoy Pastor’s weekly thoughts.

All is as well as it can be here. I have two daughters and families here in McMinnville, one in Washington, and my son in Aptos and sister in Saratoga. Our electronics make communicating so easy. I’m learning...

I think of you all often, I miss the redwoods every day. We have Douglas firs here. Nice, but not the same. I live across the road from a hazelnut (filbert) orchard. 

All shall be well...
Someday I’ll be able to visit in person again. 

You all are in my prayers and thoughts. 
Fondly, Gina Foster
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