Skyland Community Church, a member of the United Church of Christ, has been serving the Summit area since 1887. Stephen Glauz- Todrank accepted the position of Reverend Minister of Skyland Church in 1990. The Reverend is a graduate of Harvard Divinity. He lives in the Summit community with his wife, Carolyn. He is the author of Transforming Christianity: Ten Pathways to a New Reformation.
I have known Stephen for several years; he is my minister and neighbor. He is a humble and highly intelligent individual who cares deeply about his congregation. I met Stephen for this interview in his office on the lower level of Whitaker Hall located next to the sanctuary.
Hiway 17: Stephen, when did you decide to become a Minister?
Glauz-Todrank: Well, I was in Seminary at Harvard Divinity School and while I was there I was planning to become a professor, I was in an MA program, but I just felt the sense of call while I was there. I transferred to the Masters of Divinity, which is the Vocational Degree for Ministry. It was about 1975, something like that.
Hiway 17: How did you become the Minister here, at Skyland Church.
Glauz- Todrank: Well, the United Church of Christ, which Skyland Church is a member. That’s the name of the denomination. The way it works is the church forms a search committee, and it works with the conference minister, who’s from the northern California area, and they put out a message through a denominational magazine that there’s a job opening. I saw the job opening, and I submitted a resume. It was a ten-page resume. The search committee worked through that, and hired me.
Hiway 17: What’s it like to be the minister at Skyland Community Church?
Glauz –Todrank: I really love being the minister here. I’ve been here twenty-one years and one of the things that I like is being part of the community. This is a wonderful church community and I love the people here, and I like being part of the wider mountain community as well, and it has always felt like home to me.
Hiway 17: Have you ever considered televising your services?
Glauz-Todrank: Well, the sermons are available on MP3, we haven’t thought of televising. Anything’s possible.
Hiway 17: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you always want to be a minister?
Glauz-Todrank: Well my dad was a professor, and I thought that’s what I would want to be when I grew up. When I got older, I found that I really wanted to work with people. Not so much from an academic or thought point of view, but more from a heart point of view and a spirit point of view, so that became more important to me.
Hiway 17: What’s your favorite TV show?
Glauz-Todrank: I don’t get any TV, [Laughs].
Hiway 17: If you were granted one wish. What would you wish for?
Glauz-Todrank: That’s a good question. World peace. Harmony among all people on Earth.
Hiway 17: Where do you see Skyland Church in one hundred years?
Glauz-Todrank: I think there will always be a place for people to gather face to face and be in a spiritual community together. I think this church is really evolving and I think society is really evolving and lots more things are done on the Internet and people have made connections with each other all over the world on the Internet. I think there’s always going to be people who want to gather face to face and do what people do, pray together, to sing together, to eat together, to do projects to hopefully make the world a better place. I can imagine Skyland Church being here a hundred years from now and not looking greatly different from Skyland Church today, because I don’t think the Skyland Church of today is much different from how it was a hundred years ago, because this church has been going over a hundred years. I think people have been doing similar kinds of projects all that time. It’s never become a really huge church, it’s never completely died out. It’s always found some people in the community who have a spirit that wants to work together.
Hiway 17: I heard someone once called this church, ‘the little church that could.’ Who came up with that?
Glauz-Todrank: [Laughs] Actually it was one of our seminary student interns who was here and she said this is ‘the little church that could.’ [Laughs] She meant that we’re a small group, and that we do a fair amount due to our size.
The Reverend delivers his weekly sermons every Sunday at ten- thirty AM at Skyland Community Church at 25100 Skyland Road, Los Gatos CA, 95033.