October 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

"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your God in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16

Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount at the Sea of Galilee just as large crowds from all over the region began following him.  The crowds were made up of desperate people, people living under the oppressive rule of Rome, heavily taxed and without many resources. Their lives were short and they worked very hard to have barely enough food to eat and water to drink. Meanwhile the wealthy, both Roman and Jewish, lived separate lives of great opulence in beautiful homes with plenty of food, wine, and water. 

While most of us are not in the desperate straits that Jesus' first followers experienced, we are in the midst of what may become sustained difficult times. What we once thought was a few weeks to months of sheltering-in-place looks now like it will be at least a year. Many in our community have lost substantial income and are quite literally hungry.  

It would be easy to lose hope.  

How can we find our way from hopelessness to hope?  How can we be shining light in the midst of darkness? First let's recognize that we are already doing it; there is already a spark. You can see it in the care that Skyland folk take of each other and of neighbors. You can see it in the sheer number of people involved in keeping the Little Free Pantry stocked and clean, the plants watered, the church property maintained. You can see it in providing free WiFi to anyone who needs it.  

My friends, you are a light in the darkness even though you might not realize it. Let's focus on the present and keep our fires going. If you cannot generate a fire, try to generate a spark. Reach out to someone you love, reach out to a church member or a neighbor or a friend. The spark of light and hope that this generates for them will also be a spark of light and hope for you.  

"Pass It On" is one of my favorite hymns. Give it a listen. Maybe you too will find a spark in it.  It can be accessed here by clicking here.
October Church Calendar

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: 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

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)
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 more time)
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 September, 2020

The council met on Monday September 21 with 12 persons present.

Anne Evans gave an update on the reVision Fire Safe County Roads Ministry Team. For more information on their project to create a fuel break and escape route along the Summit Road/Highland Way Corridor please see the article in this newsletter.
Anne has created web pages hosted on the Skyland Church website that can be accessed here by clicking this link.

Jackie Seymour presented the newest version of the leadership model proposed for the upcoming bylaws. The only recent change was that Missions was part of the Core Ministry Team and not part of the Community-Facing Ministry Team. This had been encouraged at previous council meetings.

Jackie also talked about a proposed new aspect of the bylaws regarding membership of current active participants in the church. The new proposal could allow someone who has been actively involved in the church and who has demonstrated a responsibility and commitment to contribute their best hopes, time, gifts and resources for five years to be considered a full member with no restrictions. Jackie asked that the council consider the generosity of spirit this demonstrates and to plan to discuss it at the next council meeting.

Rev. Weiner discussed the difficulty of finding songs and hymns without copyright and or licensing restrictions. In order to use music in our services while online, she recommended that we pay a yearly license fee with OneLicense that partners with Pilgrim Press (publisher of our hymnal). This would allow us to fairly and more easily use online music from their offerings. The council agreed and voted unanimously to purchase the license. 

Anne Evans reported that we have moved to a monthly payroll system instead of bimonthly with our payroll service plan.

Jackie and Anne presented a revised Physical Safety Policy that would require anyone on church property that is on a ladder of any height or using high risk equipment to have a buddy within sight focused on their task and safety. At least one of the two should have a cell phone to call for assistance if needed. The council approved the policy unanimously. 

Jeremy Cole reported that Trustees have received 2 bids for replacing the sanctuary roof. The trustees will discuss and provide a recommendation in the near future. They will also be looking at possible repairs to the roofline stained glass window that leaks when there is strong wind-driven rain.

The next meeting will be held on October 19, at 10 A.M. 
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
Skyland Church
Physical Safety Policy update 

On September 21, 2020 the council voted unanimously to upgrade the existing physical safety policy to read as follows: 
Our church property is somewhat isolated, due to its location in the Santa Cruz Mountains. There are long periods of time during the week when no one is at the church. Additionally, many members and friends of the church are aging, which increases the risk of falls and other serious injuries. To reduce the risk that someone working on the church property could hurt themselves and be unable to obtain help in a timely fashion, the following guidelines shall be followed:

•    Buddy system: Anytime someone is doing work on a ladder or stool, or using high risk equipment (see below) a second person shall be within sight and focused on the task and safety. At least one of the “buddies” shall have a cell phone, so an emergency phone call can be made if need arises.

•    Persons using chainsaws, impact drills, and other higher risk equipment shall follow appropriate safety precautions, including, but not limited to the use of work gloves, safety goggles, footwear generally deemed safe for the particular activity, hearing protection, generally available safe lifting guidelines, periodic hydration and rest breaks.
A list of those willing to be “buddies” when someone is doing activities requiring the presence of another person will be posted both in upper and lower Whitaker Hall. 
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. Skylandchurch.com/fire-safe-county-roads/

Email the reVision team: reVision@skylandchurch.com
For more information on the phases of reVision click here: http://skylandchurch.com/transitions/
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
Anyone interested?

Applications for The Baobab Home Board of Directors are still open! You have time until Sunday, October 4 to apply.

If you are interested in applying, please download and read the Board of Directors Role Description, to ensure that it is the right opportunity for you and complete the online application here: www.tzkids.org/applicationform.

You are also welcome to share the link with potential candidates.
Serving on The Baobab Home Board of Directors is an extraordinary opportunity for any individual who is passionate about strengthening leadership and governance in the nonprofit sector.

We will be in touch after October 5 to let you know whether a follow-up interview will be required.

If you have any questions, please contact Lara Bancroft at lara@thebaobabhome.org.

Warm regards, 
The Baobab Home Team
Note from your Treasurer

Note from your Treasurer for first four months of our ’20-‘21 fiscal year:
Pledge income is $4,738 above budget.
As we might expect in this remote setting Offerings received are $-1,370 below budget.
No Harvest Festival so that $5,000 budget income was not realized but partially offset by no Harvest Festival $1,500 budget expenses. Due to this, the Fiscal Year to date income is $(-1,775) below budget, but this is offset by expenses $4,862 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 Sept. 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