January 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

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! It has been a year of strange tidings and one I know we hope not to repeat in 2021, but there have been some good tidings mixed in with the frightening and frustrating. Without denying that those frustrating and frightening times have happened and continue to happen, let's take some time in this new year to express gratitude for the good that we experienced last year and then turn our eyes toward what blessings may come in this next year.

We have all learned new skills in the last year, in particular finding ways to communicate with one another when we cannot see each other in person. We have learned that we can continue the work of being the church in new ways even though some of the ways we do it have been put on hold. I am grateful that you all persisted in seeking a minister even though we could not meet in person. It has been a great blessing to be your pastor for these last six months. We are grateful that most of us have stayed healthy.

As we move into this new year, there is much to look forward to. I hope that we will soon be able to meet in person. This will take some time and planning, but when it is safe, it will happen. We can then revisit the new ministries that have been on hold since last spring and re-imagine them for the future. We will be able to worship together, even sing together, hug one another. We will host events for the church and for our neighbors. We will carry what we learned this year into the new year and be ready to face what comes our way with faith and strength, and creativity.

Many blessings for a wonderful 2021.

Rev. Melanie Weiner
January 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
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
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)
Church Council News
from December, 2020

The Council met on December 18 with twelve members including Rev. Weiner present. Gerald Alonzo reported that although offerings were down, the pledges were up and our overall expenses were down despite some increases. As a result, we were within our budget and still in the black.
Jackie Seymour gave an overview of the ten months long process of producing new bylaws including the occasions that new ideas and models had been before the Council in that time period. Patricia Wood and Deana Arnold have reviewed the document and all issues resolved with them. The draft is now ready to be released to the full congregation on January 3. Everyone will have one week to comment. After that Jackie and Anne plan to hold online small group discussions on zoom so that everyone has a chance to learn more about what these new Bylaws mean for them and the church as whole. The Annual Congregational Meeting will be held in mid-February when they will be voted on.
Jackie also explained that we will be having a new slate of officers and candidates to fill open positions on Ministry Teams at the Annual Congregational meeting in February. The officers of the church will meet on Monday December 21 to select members of a Nominating Team who will then meet to propose people to fill those positions.
Anne Evans presented leadership as modeled in the Ministry Teams in the new Bylaws. She explained that Pastoral Relations, Trustees, Deacons and Missions would function as before for the most part. However, there would now be a Finance Team what would incorporate the previous functionality of the Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Endowment Team and Auditor. It would have the added functionality of the Philanthropy Team formed by Rev. Omi to review investments and oversee fundraising efforts as well as HR tasks, Taxes, and Budget development and proposal. Other Ministry teams would form as needed. Each Ministry Team would be responsible for writing their own policies and procedures with oversight by the council. A Vision and Assessment Ministry Team would be responsible for reviewing and assessing the ministry of the church periodically.
Brian Wood presented information on providing online giving capability via our website. He pointed out that those nonprofits with online giving saw an increase in giving. Although only one other mountain church provides online giving, many in the local valley provide this. PayPal for example, offers a discount for services to a nonprofit and provides the needed security. The council voted to approve moving forward with a plan to accept online payments and donations via the internet.
Each December the Council is required to approve a portion of Rev Melanie’s salary to be, as declared by her, a Housing Allowance. She requested and the council approved $2800/month of her salary as a housing allowance for 2021.
Rev. Melanie reported that she had sent a request to everyone to video tape themselves lighting a candle and passing it on. She would then put together a video for a special program on Christmas Eve. Because of the current severity of the covid-19 pandemic, Rev. Melanie is now present at the church only on Sundays for our weekly online church service. She is considering a Lenten Book Study in the early part of 2021. 
Jackie and Anne announced that all reports for the Congregational Meeting are due on January 15.
Shannon Edwards reported that the Giving Tree effort had been the most successful ever and went to those in need in our wider community as well as the families identified through the school.
Larry Lopp reported that the Fire Safe Roads Ministry Team in conjunction with Santa Cruz County Mountain Alliance have started working again but was in need of funding. Their longterm goal is to make all the main mountain roads fire safe.
The next Council meeting will be held on Monday January 18 at 10AM.
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

For the GIVING TREE, we raised almost $7,675 with 30 families donating. 
We are grateful to the Hooper Family Charitable Trust Fund for matching the monies that we raised to serve the 14 families at the school who are on the school lunch programs.
Skyland Church provided gift cards to Safeway, Grocery Outlet and Target to support over 30 families and individuals in need. In addition to the school families, three families lost their homes in the fire, seven work manual labor jobs, living in Watsonville and working in the mts. and many others were identified by mountain community members by individuals and groups like Gray Bears.  This was a full community supported event this year!  Our funds were greatly appreciated. 
 -- Shannon Edwards
Skyland Community Church's
Little Free Pantry

2020 was a year of generosity for Skyland Church. We raised over $1,000 to pay for food donations for this year and starting in the Fall we filled the pantry weekly on Wednesdays with fresh vegetables and canned goods donated by Second Harvest to San Agustin's Parish in Scotts Valley. For Christmas, the Summit Store donated the extra toys to this site where 160 families are fed weekly. The toys were a great surprise and brought joy to many families who are food insecure. 
Our community church has the only 24/7 pantry where folks can get food anonymously.  

Around Christmas, we supported 40 apartments in a strawberry field on San Andreas Road in Watsonville where workers are not picking at this time. We will be looking at ways to help them more in the future. 
For those who are not having financial difficulties during this time, please feel free to drop off food in the box on the porch or write a check to the church for the Food Pantry at any time.  
Socks, toiletries, staples and treats for the holiday season are all appreciated. Cereals, kids snacks and drinks, milk, cheese, tortillas, snack bars and canned meats are popular too- basically anything that you would enjoy goes quickly.

The week before Christmas, we added a large extra box on the porch for cans and Shannon Edwards has refilled the pantry sometimes daily. If anyone is interested in helping her do this, please reach out to: shannonedwards14@gmail.com
A Big thanks to: Ann Baeir, Renee Pressler and Gerald Alzonzo who have shopped for us many times. 
Thanks to all of you who have helped out those in need this holiday season! 

Shannon Edwards for the Missions Board
Shannon and Ken Edwards
Renee preps food for family deliveries.
Renee and Bonnie gardening by the entrance sign.
Education/ Tuition Financial Assistance:

For the last weeks of January we will be collecting tuition for young people who are pursuing education on four continents.
We have supported some of these countries for more than 10 years! What a generous church we are for young people near and far.
Our members have personal links with these schools and our goal will be to give at least $600 to each continent.
Some "adopt" students individually too. If you have questions, feel free to contact these church members who have personal experience with these countries.

Here are the funds we donated for the 2020 school year.

India: Two technical students- $600
Local Contact: Joan Law
India Contact: Rev. S. Anandan

Fiji: Three high-school students- $450
Local Contact: Glenda McCalla
Fiji Contact: Connie Durant- Kadavu-Fiji Island Education

Guatemala: One middle-school student in an art school- $348
Local Contact: Carolyn McCall
Guatemala Contact: Doroteia Pathways Fdtn. Hilicias in APMF Guatemalan Children support

Tanzania: One student in Baobab Home for HIV orphans- $696
Tanzania Contact: Steven Tito Academy
Note from your Treasurer

Note from your Treasurer for first 7 months of our ’20-‘21 fiscal year:
Pledge income is $10,873 above budget primarily due to late pledge commitments after our budget was approved.
Previous Offerings deficit is almost gone, now only $-480 below budget.
Thanks for your generous giving to our special offerings to help those in need.
$1,790 has been donated for Blankets giving project of Church World Service.
$1,970 donations for conference Christmas Fund to help retired ministers.
$7,425 Giving Tree donations to support local neighbors in need.
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. Just come to church and you will find me in the downstairs copy room using church internet. Best time is 4 PM to 10 PM every day.
Here is a summary of our operating finances as of Dec. 29 for our 2020-2021 fiscal year.
Gerald Alonzo, Treasurer
Red Maple tree intertwined
with a Rose bush
A Rose is a Rose
is a Rose...
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