November 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

"Therefore, since we are receiving a realm that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; " --Hebrews 12:28

This is the time of year when we begin to turn our hearts to gratitude. This is not to say that we are without gratitude the rest of the year, just that this is one time when we are particularly focused on appreciating the gifts in our lives. We are reaping now the abundant harvest of what we sowed in seasons past.  

In visiting a member of the congregation (with masks on and socially distanced, of course) we went to walk in the garden and picked herbs, kale, so many tomatoes, and even a pumpkin. I am grateful for the meals and snacks that my family received, and I know that the family I visited is grateful for the produce coming forth from the blessings of good soil and their hard work.  

The bountiful harvest is an excellent metaphor, which is why we see it frequently in the Bible, for the outcome of our other investments of time and work combined with God-given talent and resources. There is much to be grateful for in our homes, our families, our jobs and other occupations, our church.

Let us pause for a moment and take stock of all we have to be grateful for, especially in this odd year when so much has been challenging. Then let us offer thanksgiving to God with acceptable worship, worship coming from a place of awe and reverence, from humility rather than from pride, from our hearts. Let our worship be acceptable. May we continue to sometimes stumble through it embracing the hymns we sing imperfectly but safely from our homes, the occasional technology hiccup, the preacher sometimes tripping over her words. May we ever seek meaning rather than perfection.

Finally let us be grateful for having a way to come together to worship God from wherever we may be despite distance, the pandemic, fires, and power outages. Until it is safe to gather in person together, let this continue to be a miracle for which we are grateful. This is what giving thanks is all about.

November Church Calendar

Don't Forget:
Move Your Clock Back One Hour
Saturday Night, October 31!

Bible Study on Thursday mornings:

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

by computer, tablet, or smartphone:

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 Orange Tier on the state's pandemic response system. While this level allows in-person worship, the leadership of the church is concerned that 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

Justice for Musicians and Hymns

I am sure you have all noticed the recent change in music. After a seminar from the UCC, I realized that the way we were using hymns in worship was neither fair and just nor legal. We were using artists' work without compensating them for their time and talent and we were not following copyright regulations.

We now have a license that allows us to stream many hymns and songs. The licensing company manages payment to the music and lyric composers through their publishers. We can also use hymns whose words and tune were composed before 1925. Under the license we can only use our own recordings of these songs.

So Gerald Alonzo has generously agreed to play hymns on the piano, Anne Evans records them, and Jackie Seymour and Anne do the sound processing. In addition I have a resource for old hymns in the public domain.  

I realize that hearing the hymns played without a singer makes it difficult to sing along. I have contacted several church members and asked for lists of Skyland favorite hymns, and I have already received one list. I will make every effort to use these favorite hymns that you already love and know how to sing. I also plan to start having a hymn that we sing every Sunday for a month or a season; in November we will sing "This is My Song." 

Wonder how you can help? If you and your family members are musicians, I would love to have you record hymns at home. Please check them with me to make sure that they are covered by the license. I will use your recording as soon as it fits the worship theme.

Thank you for your understanding, and blessings to you all.

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
Email and Phone Security or 
How Our Pastor Will Never Ask for Gift Cards
Via Email or Text

(Editors Note: We are repeating this one again and again)
Good and generous people are once again being scammed by people pretending to be their faith leader. An email that appears to come from pastor, rabbi, imam, etc asks for gift cards for a family that the leader is helping who have asked for privacy. These emails often have the recipients name and the pastor's name in them, so it is very easy to think it is the pastor sending it.  

Please know, my good and generous friends, that I will never ask you for gift cards or money via email or text unless the church is providing a way for you to donate to a legitimate ministry such as The Giving Tree or other such organization in which you bring a gift for a child, a UCC disaster relief fund, or Skyland Community Church itself. I will never ask you to give me gift cards or money to give to someone else.

If you ever get an email, text, or call from someone purporting to be me and you are not sure, please don't reply. Instead please go to the church directory for my phone number or email, the church website, or the end of any email blast from the church and use the link there to send me email. I will not be offended if it is actually me and you feel the need to confirm. Your safety is important to me, and I don't want anyone to be scammed.
Church Council News
from October, 2020

The council met on Monday, October 19, 2020 with 12 members present.

Prior to the council meeting, members were provided with a draft Article III – Membership of the new bylaws. The previous month Jackie and Anne had discussed a new provision in the membership bylaws that would allow for those that participate actively, demonstrate commitment and responsibility for five years to become members without accepting the membership covenant. The council discussion centered on some grammatical changes but they were in agreement regarding giving full membership rights to those who actively participate for 5 years.

Rev. Melanie Weiner expressed gratitude for all who have helped her as she settles in to the work of Skyland Community Church and gave a report on her current work. The big change in the music of the Sunday Service as a result of our license requires much less work on her part and she can now devote more time to future planning (Advent) and to working with folks we don’t see as often because of technical limitations or technical burn out.

Anne Evans reported that there was an urgent need for a Pastoral Relations Ministry Team to work together with Rev. Melanie Weiner. Typically the first Pastoral Relations team is composed of those who are on the search committee and the previous pastoral relations team. Jackie and Anne asked John Heyes, Jan Parker both of the search team and Mary Ellen McTamaney of the previous Pastor’s Transition team to be on the team. They all agreed to serve. The three were unanimously approved by the council and will begin their work immediately.

The next council meeting will be on November 16.
Bylaws are changing

Proposed Bylaws update –
The past two months have not seen much activity with the bylaws but we do hope to move ahead at a faster pace in the upcoming months. The goal is to finish the rewrite by late November so that it can be viewed and discussed and then later voted on at the first Annual Congregational meeting in 2021. 
In the proposed new bylaws, rather than boards and committees there would be Ministry Teams. A core ministry team would be comprised of the following: 1) a financial team, 2) a trustees team, 3) a missions team, 4) a deacons team and 5) a pastoral relations team. These teams would have specific duties and be required to meet regularly.
Other teams would be either inwardly focused on church functions such as the women’s group, communications, religious education or outwardly focused on community work such as the various reVision Action teams. Both these groups of ministry teams would be able to form as needed and would also be able to disband if there was less need or interest with no change to the bylaws. This will allow more inherent flexibility in the way our church operates.
The council members would include the church officers, representative from each core ministry team, two at-large representatives and any of the ministry teams needing to update the church council regarding change in activities, funding or direction. At least once a year each ministry team would update the council on that teams activities.
The new bylaws also propose changes to membership in the church. Skyland Community Church is very blessed to have several active participants who contribute time, effort, and other gifts. It is proposed that we allow anyone who has been regularly active and contributed for five years be allowed to be a member with full rights and responsibilities. 

Your co-moderators,
Anne Evans and Jackie Seymour
reVision Action Teams News

"Mountain Hangout"
"Lunch and a Documentary"
are suspended until further notice
due to COVID-19

The Fire Safe County Roads Ministry Team Story

In 2019 Skyland Community Church was engaged in reVision that asked the question What is God calling us to do for our mountain community? One of the many outcomes was the early beginning of the Fire Safe County Roads Team.

Six church members began asking the question what is the most serious situation concerning fire that we can work to improve so that our community thrives and remains safe?

Now over a year later, we have added other community members, worked in-depth with our Santa Cruz Supervisor, John Leopold, and his staff, received ideas and encouragement from John Laird, candidate for State Senator District 17, and joined with the Santa Cruz Resource Conservation District (RCD), various parts of CAL FIRE and the Santa Clara Fire Safe Council.

The original team has partnered with the community-based Santa Cruz Mountain Alliance and has twelve volunteers actively engaged in the FSCR program which has grown to a multi-year effort.

Currently Skyland Community Church is hosting and maintaining these web pages for the project and the mountain community to inform and encourage fire survivability. Please visit the Fire Safe website launched on September 8.
The Summit - Highland Way Corridor

The first major project of Fire Safe County Roads (FSCR) is the Summit-Highland Way Corridor. The corridor incorporates land owners in both Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties. The total number of land owners that have property adjacent to this corridor is 137.

The grant for funding the Summit – Highland Way Corridor is being written by the RCD, with support from CAL FIRE. The field project will also be managed by the RCD, with support from CAL FIRE. The grant application process becomes more successful with the support of the land owners.

The task of informing the landowners and obtaining their enlightened support was taken on by the FSCR team. The team has developed a database of landowners, created a map of land owners along the corridor and contacted land owners by mail and email where possible.
Please visit the website for more information.

Email the reVision team:
For more information on the phases of reVision click here:
Mission Board News
Skyland Community Church's Little Free Pantry


Thank you to the church members who have given food and money to the Food Pantry. (John K?, Gerald Alonzo and Ann Baier and more.)This week someone dropped off lovely grapes.  Also, Bonnie and Renee did a nice job of cleaning up the porch for Melanie's special day. 

This month we have seen more people in need and the demand has increased significantly. We have teamed up with San Augustin Church in Scotts Valley to get food from Second Harvest to keep the pantry better stocked.

On Wednesdays, Melinda Malloy is providing the extra food to Skyland Church. We get boxes of non-perishables and large sacks of fresh produce that change weekly. Feel free to spread the word that Wed. afternoons are the best times to get the newest arrivals. This week someone dropped off lovely grapes.  

Thank you for all you are doing to feed our mountain neighbors. 

Much appreciated,
Shannon Edwards for the Missions Board

Skyland Clothing Drive

To continue our tradition of community giving, we will have a clothing drive in November.

The beneficiaries will be families and individuals who receive donations from the Davenport Resource Service Center and the Rebele Family Shelter in Santa Cruz. (We wanted to send items to the Mental Health Community Action Network, but they are closed at present.)

The clothing most needed is adult outdoor wear, including warm jackets, rain gear, shirts, pants, and work boots/shoes. Underwear and socks are gladly accepted, but they must be new.

Also welcome are towels of all sizes and toiletries: razors, soaps, feminine products, tooth brushes, and toothpaste in sample or regular size.
Skyland members and neighbors may drop off donations at Whitaker Hall from 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon on Monday, November 9; Wednesday, November 11; and Friday, November 13.

If a Santa Cruz drop-off is easier for you, please contact Jan Parker to arrange a time to meet her at 623 Seabright Avenue.

Please address questions to Jan (408.761.0634) or John Heyes (408.353.5322).
Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Note from your Treasurer

Note from your Treasurer for first five months of our ’20-‘21 fiscal year:
Pledge income is $7,046 above budget.
As we might expect in this remote setting Offerings received are $-1,940 below budget.
Fiscal Year to date income is $(-119) below budget, but this is offset by expenses $5,961 less than budget.
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.
Here is a summary of our operating finances as of Oct. 27 for our 2020-2021 fiscal year.
Gerald Alonzo, Treasurer
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