September 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


Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 

James 5:7-8

These last several weeks have been even more trying times than the months before. Between wind and lightning, fire and smoke, and this pandemic we might find ourselves waiting and wondering. "What's next?" we might ask, and we might ask it with either trepidation or hope or even a mixture of both.

We are in the fourteenth week of the longest season of the church calendar, a season creatively named "The Season After Pentecost." It lasts a variable amount of time as it comes sandwiched between Pentecost, a holiday that depends on the lunar cycle and Advent, a season that depends on our annual trip around the sun. The 22 to 27 weeks of this season (25 this year) are also called "Common Time" or "Ordinary Time," I suppose because the architects of the church calendar thought nothing interesting happens during this time.

The architects of the church calendar didn't live in these extraordinary times, though they did experience, I am sure, their own extraordinary times.

This season is one of waiting, and it is an apt season for us to be in now. Waiting takes practice. We are people who like to do, not wait. We are people who like to produce, not watch. But watching and waiting is sometimes what we are called to do.  

The Letter of James, which I quote above, was written to Jewish followers of Jesus living far from Jerusalem. They were living in dangerous times and places and were often persecuted. James reminds them that like the farmer waiting for their crop and watching for rain to fall, abundance will come their way. He reminds them that they must wait with hope, for blessings are coming.

We too must wait with hope. Plan, yes, and prepare, but keep our faith strong and our love for one another and our community alive and even thriving, even as we ask ourselves when it will end.

May we allow this time of waiting and watching to also be a time of wonder and awe.
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
August, 2020

The August Church Council was postponed until September because of the terrible forest fires. We give thanks that as of September 2, many people have returned to their homes and for the persistence and dedication and exhausting work of the many firefighters, both local and from far away who continue to battle fires. We ask prayers for those who will not be returning to their homes for an unknown time, for lives lost and damaged, for healing of bodies, minds, hearts, and fears, and for a rising of both community and sacred spirit in this time of healing and hope.

From your Newsletter Editors,
Patricia and Brian
Bylaws are changing

Churches, like other nonprofit organizations, have bylaws to state their purpose and to set forth their governance structure. Skyland church has bylaws that were written thirty to forty years ago with only a few subsequent amendments. However the number of active participants is now much smaller resulting in fewer active boards and committees and fewer members of those that are still active. As a result of reVision we have five Action teams that are not covered in the bylaws. Last year we held a congregational meeting to reduce the quorum requirement because it became extremely difficult to fulfill the quorum requirement of 25 at Congregational meetings in order to conduct church business, such as elect officers and pass a budget.

Prior to reVision we voted to set aside the bylaws because we could no longer follow them and we didn’t know what we might want for our church afterwards. That was extended in January 2020 for 6 months and again in June 2020 for another 6 months. We have gone through reVision, we have completed our Interim tasks and now it is time to face our outdated bylaws. 

Now that Rev. Weiner has been with us for several weeks, the work will continue. Deana Arnold and Patricia Wood have agreed to review the Bylaws prior to giving them to the council for their review and approval. When the council has approved them, the bylaws will go before the entire church for a final review and approval at a Congregational Meeting.  

As Socrates once said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but building the new.” We hope you are looking forward to the building blocks of the new bylaws in the months ahead.

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

"Mountain Hangout"
and
"Lunch and a Documentary"
are suspended until further notice
due to COVID-19
Fire Safe County Roads Action Team

Al Feuerbach and Anne Evans created a short three-minute video to explain and motivate Summit area residents to support the grant application this Summer. You can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/SRDELtbcnCs
Email the reVision team: reVision@skylandchurch.com
For more information on the phases of reVision click here: http://skylandchurch.com/transitions/
Mission Board News
(see articles below)
  1. Local Fire Support
  2. The Little Free Pantry
  3. Why People Are Hungry
LOCAL FIRE SUPPORT: 
GAMES, PUZZLES, BUILDING MATERIALS

My friend and qigong teacher Marcy Reynolds is a school teacher for the San Lorenzo Valley School District which is right in the middle of the evacuation zone. Many kids are evacuated, maybe having lost their homes, maybe not knowing, in unfamiliar places and having to stay indoors because of bad air quality and COVID.

I know that many of us have grown kids, whose old puzzles, board games, art supplies, Legos, erector sets, cards, parlor game books, etc. might be complete and in good shape but not being used any more. (no books please). If enough of us have such things, I could create an activity lending library for our school's families, so the kids have something engaging to do while in exile. Three of our staff have evacuated to the Santa Clara Valley, the rest are in Santa Cruz County and one is driving back and forth so items could be delivered to most of our evacuated families. 

What do you think? Do you have any of these kinds of things that are in good shape that you'd be interested in donating to the cause? Do you think others you know might as well? Would you have a way to reach out to them?

We're also looking for surf boards and wetsuits for surfing families who either lost their equipment to fire or lost access to it because of evacuation. One of our teachers has already set up a Facebook page called: Mission: SLV Surfs Up!

Anyway, if you would like to help, please put out the word. If anyone wants to donate items, I would ask that they check them first to make sure all the pieces are there, they are in good shape, and instructions are included. I don't want to receive any items that I have to sort through and throw away.  

If you're game to help and want to collect items from your friends and then get them to me in Palo Alto, that would be great, otherwise your friends can bring them directly to me. Feel free to use my school email for communications about the project: mreynolds@slvusd.org.

Marcy Reynolds, qigong teacher at Skyland Church

Please reach out to Shannon Edwards if you are interested in donating. 

Thanks, Shannon Edwards, 408- 353-2710

Skyland Community Church's Little Free Pantry


LITTLE FREE PANTRY UPDATE:

Thanks everyone for sharing your food with our community. The inside supply area is less than half full as folks are taking food quickly. 
The fresh produce is being used slowly, but all food is helpful! Thank you Skyland and neighbors.
Please spread the word to those who might be food insecure due to the fires.  
As of today, the Food Pantry has too many ramen noodles, chips and granola bars. 
We need healthy one meal options and canned goods, such as, Macaroni and cheese, juice boxes, snack bars, kids snacks, pasta sauce and one meal items, chili, and canned meats. Drinks seem to go quickly. 
The paper products, socks, toothbrushes, shampoo and other new toiletry items are going quickly. 
It takes a village!  
bread-basket-meal.jpg
Why are people hungry?
submitted by Shannon Edwards

According to Feeding America, 72% of the households served by its affiliated food banks live at or below 100% of the federal poverty line and have a median annual household income of $9,175. In short, they don’t have enough money to consistently put food on the table.

While unemployment is certainly a significant factor, 54% of the households Feeding America serves had at least 1 person employed in the past year.

In fact, most Americans are working harder than ever, but are still struggling to make ends meet. Income inequality has, by almost any measure, increased exponentially over the past 30+ years. Since 1980, most of the growth in wages has been concentrated among top earners, while wages for the average worker have stagnated.

More people than ever are enrolling in college to try and secure their future, but the ballooning cost of higher education means that most students will take on a sizeable amount of debt. The median student loan debt now stands at $17,711, an increase of 21% since 2010.

Meanwhile, the cost of housing and healthcare have continued to outpace incomes. The average person would need to make $22.96 per-hour to afford a modest 2-bedroom apartment – more than 3x the federal minimum wage. There are only 28 counties in the entire United States where a worker earning the minimum wage could afford to rent a one-bedroom home. The average worker also pays $440 per month for healthcare coverage, a number that jumps to $1,168 for family plans.

On top of that, the cost of the average meal increased from $2.94 to $3.02. In some areas, however, the cost per meal is nearly twice the national average. For households that are often forced to choose between eating and paying the utility bills, every dollar counts.

If we want to solve hunger, we need to reduce the need for emergency assistance by making sure individuals and families have meaningful work that is paid at a living wage.
 
F.Y.I.
Free firewood at far end of parking lot.
Hope to have the large pieces cut into smaller manageable pieces by the time you receive the Newsletter.
Gerald Alonzo


Note from your Treasurer

Note from your Treasurer for first three months of our ’20-‘21 fiscal year:
Pledge income is $3,295 above budget.
As we might expect in this remote setting Offerings received are $-1,560 below budget.
Income received is $1,676 above budget.
Expenses are $2,889 below budget primarily due to no Music Director salary and no repairs and maintenance expenses.
 
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 August 28 for our 2020-2021 fiscal year.
Respectfully
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
Website