Weekly Update 20 September

LAKEWOOD UNITED CHURCH of CHRIST
2601 54th Avenue South, St Petersburg, FL 33712-4700
(727) 867-7961 ~ lakewooducc.org

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, SEP 24 THIS SUNDAY: Matthew 20:1-16 invites us to think about economics and grace, an unlikely pairing perhaps, but issues often linked together in the teachings of Jesus.  What do economics teach us about the grace of God?  What does the grace of God teach us about economics?

Also this Sunday, there will be a celebration of a special gift to the church library.
SUN, SEP 24 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: The next potluck will be hosted by the 50th anniversary committee and will include conversations related to the anniversary theme: Foundation for the Future. Those who are part of the Lakewood church family are invited to share a paragraph or two about LUCC: what has the church meant in your life? Your thoughts will be collected and posted at the church website and perhaps made into a booklet as well. For those who cannot attend the lunch, your reflections about the church are still welcome. Please bring, send or email your paragraph(s) to the church at your convenience. Many thanks!
TUE, SEP 26 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: LUCC will be hosting Circus McGurkis, a peace and justice festival, on Saturday Nov. 11. Please plan to save the date and volunteer! The Steering Committee will meet at LUCC in the Fellowship Hall Tuesday Sept. 26 at 6:00 p.m. The LUCC Site Team for Circus McGurkis will meet on Sunday Oct. 1 following morning worship.
SUN, OCT 1 WORLD COMMUNION SUNDAY: The first Sunday of October is World Communion Sunday.  The service will be a celebration of world community.
MANY THANKS: To all who helped clean up after Irma, and to Patti Cooksey and Marg Radens who brought pizza and water! Pictures from Saturday will be posted tomorrow.
CHURCH SCHOOL CHANGE: Instead of starting the service together, bring your children directly to the church school room and they will join the service at the end so they can participate in the morning prayers and close of the service.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: In an effort to be environmentally friendly, shorter bulletins will continue to be used this fall at Lakewood. This means there will be room for only some of the announcements that are posted online. You are encouraged to subscribe to the website (this means you will get new posts emailed to you) in order to stay up to date on everything that’s happening. Alternatively, you can check the website, lakewooducc.org frequently for updates.
FAMILY PROMISE: Donations are needed! Lawn Bags, Garbage Bags, Work Gloves/Garden Gloves, Bottled Water, Non-perishable Food Items, Cleaning Supplies, Sponges, Buckets, Laundry Detergent, Personal Hygiene Products
Feminine Hygiene Products, Toilet Paper, and Batteries. The donations can be placed in the cart in the narthex. Contact Patti Cooksey if you have any questions.
VOTING RIGHTS: A petition to restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences will be available to sign after worship on Sunday. Currently, people with prior felony convictions are permanently disqualified to vote unless they receive clemency. Contact Lucille Ruga if you are interested or have any questions.
ECLIPSE GLASSES: Bring your gently used eclipse glasses to church so they can be reused! Lakewood UCC will participate in the Astronomers Without Borders program to collect glasses after the eclipse, so they can be sent to schools in South America and Asia when eclipses cross those continents in 2019. Don’t waste. Donate!
SPACE HEATER: A formerly-homeless friend of the church has asked for a space heater. If you have one you can donate, please let the church office know.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

ONLINE RESOURCE: The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a new online resource, Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide. All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.
SAT, SEP 23 SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT POSTPONED: Learn how the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area and our partners are working toward clean energy and clean water and how you can get involved! We have rescheduled for Sept 23rd, 8:15am – 12:30pm at the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (100 8th Ave SE, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33701). For more information visit facebook.
THU, OCT 5 DEATH PENALTY: Governor Scott has ordered the execution of Michael Lambrix for Thursday, October 5th at 6pm ET. This would be the 25th execution ordered by Gov. Scott, a new record for a Florida governor. Please Take Action! Support the statewide organized grassroots effort to end executions in Florida. Make your much needed and appreciated donation today.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
ART FOR HOPE: Wally LeBlanc has cards and paintings featuring his artwork for sale. The proceeds will be donated to the roof fund and other community ministries. Thank you, Wally!
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON: If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

Senator Bill Nelson
716 Senate Hart Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-5274
Tampa office: 801 N. Florida Ave., 4th Floor, Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: 813-225-7040
www.billnelson.senate.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)

Senator Marco Rubio
284 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510
Phone: 202-224-3041
Tampa office: 5201 West Kennedy Blvd, Ste. 530, Tampa, FL 33609
Phone: 813-287-5035
www.rubio.senate.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)

Dist. 14: Rep. Kathy Castor
2052 Rayburn House Office Bldg., Washington DC 20515
Tampa Office 4144 N. Armenia Avenue Tampa FL 33607
Website: www.castor.house.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)
(202) 225-3376 Washington
(727) 392-4100 St. Petersburg
(813) 871-2817 Tampa

District 13: Rep. Charlie Crist
427 Cannon House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20515
696 1st Avenue North, Suite #203 St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Website: www.crist.house.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)
(202) 225-5961 Washington
1-(888) 205-5569 District office

If you are living outside Florida or local districts, you may phone your Member of Congress by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121. Visit americantrails.org for additional contact information.

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
IMG_3544
LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. Middle School age children and younger are invited to participate in Church School with Grace Lewis. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. All children return to the sanctuary during the offering so they can participate at the end of the worship service. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

Mark Gibson and family, Betty Harris, Ron Huff,
Carolyn Moore, Gertie Pirazzini, Ann Quinn, Earl Waters

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New Members!

Yesterday, Rhonda Lay and Penny Hammond joined Lakewood United Church of Christ.

panorama of congregation during new member liturgy

panorama of congregation during new member liturgy


photos by Yoko Nogami
Click on any picture for a larger image.

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UCC Florida Conference Hurricane Irma Response

Rev. John VertiganGreetings to you, and peace, Florida Conference.

We’ve all been impacted by Irma. Some have felt the wrath of that storm more intensely than others, but not a one of us escaped the effects of that massive storm. Through it, and after it, I have remembered the words of Jesus when he promised his disciples, “I will not leave you desolate.” It’s a promise from which we can take heart as we move into the recovery phase of this event. I recall an announcer on news radio remarking that “the hurricane was the scary part; now we get into the tough part.”

The church house at 9300 did not sustain any major damage but remains without power as of this writing. We have no access to lights, phones, internet or e-mail systems, and the best way for you to let us know of needs is to phone your regional minister or me directly if you have those numbers. In any event, we are trying mightily to survey the damage to our church communities across the state so we can advocate for a powerful rebuilding response as time passes.

The Executive Committee of the Board of Directors has approved a $1,000 immediate gift to our partners in the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to assist them in their response to those in need there.

I have already received outreach from the Pension Boards of the United Church of Christ who have offered help to clergy who might find themselves in financial crisis because of this storm. Perhaps you missed a paycheck or encountered an unmet need due to the hurricane. Please reach out to me; we have ways of helping in such times. Additionally, I’ve received outreach from the office of disaster ministries in the national setting of the United Church of Christ. I can speak boldly for them and for us in the conference leadership when I say we are committed to a long-term response to this disaster and will do everything in our power to assist our churches and communities in their recovery efforts.

Jesus said, “I will not leave you desolate.” Today I ask you to live with the mind of Christ and see to it that not one person in your sphere of influence feels they have been left alone in this crisis. To that request I add the promise of the wider United Church of Christ that we are with you in this time as together we make way for a new day and a new dawn to the glory of the One who calls us.

Now more than ever, be at peace and be in touch, won’t you.

Rev. John Vertigan

The Rev. John Vertigan
Conference Minister

Related articles:

Hurricane Irma Response

Irma makes devastating impact on South Florida

Florida family displaced by Hurricane Irma finds home at Ohio church

Disaster Ministries launches Hurricane Irma appeal, immersed in Harvey recovery

 

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Free Meals Available Thursday and Friday

Free hot meals, free canned food, and free water will be offered to those affected by Hurricane Irma at the Enoch Davis Center, 1111 18th Ave. S., St. Petersburg, from noon until 7:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday Sept. 14 and 15.

This service is being provided by the Women’s March Pinellas and the City of St. Petersburg.

Please spread this information to those whom it would benefit.

 

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Weekly Update 13 September

LAKEWOOD UNITED CHURCH of CHRIST
2601 54th Avenue South, St Petersburg, FL 33712-4700
(727) 867-7961 ~ lakewooducc.org

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, SEP 17 THIS SUNDAY: It is Charter Sunday! This is a Sunday to celebrate the founding of Lakewood United Church of Christ and the opening of the church charter. This year, Charter Sunday marks the beginning of the 50th anniversary of the church. There will be festivities planned through April when the charter was closed. The theme for the 50th anniversary celebration is “Foundation for the Future.”
SAT, SEP 16 IRMA: The church property survived Irma in tact! There are many shingles from the roof and branches down, but no water came in. The sandbags worked!

Please come to help work on brush clean up on Saturday 8:30 am if you can! If you want to help before Saturday, feel free to come to church and start amassing debris under the big oak tree by the parking area or by the dumpsters. Our lawn care person will take it to the dump later in the week.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: In an effort to be environmentally conscious, shorter bulletins will continue to be used this fall at Lakewood. This means there will be room for only some of the announcements that are posted online. You are encouraged to subscribe to the website (this means you will get new posts emailed to you) in order to stay up to date on everything that’s happening. Alternatively, you can check the website, lakewooducc.org frequently for updates.
SUN, SEP 17 CHOIR BEGINS: This morning the choir begins its ministry for the year ahead. Many thanks to the singers and Music Director Hilton Jones for providing this important part of our life together. New voices are always welcome in the choir – no experience required. Rehearsals begin Sunday morning at 9:15 a.m.
SUN, SEP 17 START OF CHURCH SCHOOL: Church school for elementary and middle school age children will resume. Instead of starting the service together, bring your children directly to the church school room and they will join the service after the offering. This week the children will assemble emergency clean-up buckets to send to people whose homes were flooded by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. To learn more, visit cwskits.org.
FAMILY PROMISE: Donations of laundry detergent are needed! This ongoing drive is becoming the LUCC compassionate response to providing for one of the greatest needs of the families. The detergent can be placed in the cart in the narthex. Contact Patti Cooksey if you have any questions.
VOTING RIGHTS: A petition to restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences will be available to sign after worship on Sunday. Currently, people with prior felony convictions are permanently disqualified to vote unless they receive clemency. Contact Lucille Ruga if you are interested or have any questions.
ECLIPSE GLASSES: Bring your gently used eclipse glasses to church so they can be reused! Lakewood UCC will participate in the Astronomers Without Borders program to collect glasses after the eclipse, so they can be sent to schools in South America and Asia when eclipses cross those continents in 2019. Don’t waste. Donate!
SPACE HEATER: A formerly-homeless friend of the church has asked for a space heater. If you have one you can donate, please let the church office know.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

ONLINE RESOURCE: The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a new online resource, Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide. All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.
SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT POSTPONED: Learn how the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area and our partners are working toward clean energy and clean water and how you can get involved! We are hoping to reschedule for Sept 23rd or 30th, depending on venue and panelist availability, as it is clear now more than ever that we must push ahead toward clean energy and clean water in the context of climate change and what it means for our weather. For more information visit facebook.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
ART FOR HOPE: Wally LeBlanc has cards and paintings featuring his artwork for sale. The proceeds will be donated to the roof fund and other community ministries. Thank you, Wally!
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON: If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

Senator Bill Nelson
716 Senate Hart Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-5274
Tampa office: 801 N. Florida Ave., 4th Floor, Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: 813-225-7040
www.billnelson.senate.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)

Senator Marco Rubio
284 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510
Phone: 202-224-3041
Tampa office: 5201 West Kennedy Blvd, Ste. 530, Tampa, FL 33609
Phone: 813-287-5035
www.rubio.senate.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)

Dist. 14: Rep. Kathy Castor
2052 Rayburn House Office Bldg., Washington DC 20515
Tampa Office 4144 N. Armenia Avenue Tampa FL 33607
Website: www.castor.house.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)
(202) 225-3376 Washington
(727) 392-4100 St. Petersburg
(813) 871-2817 Tampa

District 13: Rep. Charlie Crist
427 Cannon House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20515
696 1st Avenue North, Suite #203 St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Website: www.crist.house.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)
(202) 225-5961 Washington
1-(888) 205-5569 District office

If you are living outside Florida or local districts, you may phone your Member of Congress by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121. Visit americantrails.org for additional contact information.

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
IMG_3544
LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. Middle School age children and younger are invited to participate in Church School with Grace Lewis. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. All children return to the sanctuary during the offering so they can participate at the end of the worship service. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

Mark Gibson and family, Betty Harris, Ron Huff, Ed Kaspar,
Carolyn Moore, Gertie Pirazzini, Ann Quinn, Earl Waters, Denise Williams

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Service cancelled this morning due to hurricane Irma

A beautiful service of hymns, prayers, and readings about storms was planned for today, but evidently Irma has other ideas.

Calls to local authorities say that tropical storm winds are expected as early as 8 a.m., there is a 100% chance of rain, and the authorities are requesting no one on the roads after noon.

In light of this, we are cancelling worship, choir rehearsal, and church school for today. So, please say your prayers for the storm at home. Please remember your Lakewood family. Take care and much love.

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Prepping for Irma

Click on any picture for a larger image.

After sandbagging all the doors that leak in heavy rains, taking off the roadsign letters, moving plants and nursery gear indoors, and arranging interior to prevent damage, the hearty crew pauses for a selfie: (L to R above) Hilton Jones, Bill Lindsay, Yoko Nogami, Rev. Wells, Gary Long, Victoria Long, and Bill Parsons.

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Weekly Update 6 September

LAKEWOOD UNITED CHURCH of CHRIST
2601 54th Avenue South, St Petersburg, FL 33712-4700
(727) 867-7961 ~ lakewooducc.org

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, SEP 10 THIS SUNDAY: If hurricane Irma permits, we’ll be looking at what it means to live a good life. See Psalm 119:33-40 and Romans 13:8-10. Remember to bring your hurricane relief items for the rescue buckets the children will be assembling.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: In an effort to be environmentally conscious, shorter bulletins will continue to be used this fall at Lakewood. This means there will be room for only some of the announcements that are posted online. You are encouraged to subscribe to the website (this means you will get new posts emailed to you) in order to stay up to date on everything that’s happening. Alternatively, you can check the website, lakewooducc.org frequently for updates.
SANDBAGS: If you can bring sandbags to the church, drop them off by the garage and they will be used to protect our buildings from hurricane Irma.
 THU, SEP 7 CREATION JUSTICE: The Creation Justice Task Force is meeting Thursday Sept. 7 at 1:00 p.m. in the Church Library.
 THU, SEP 7 ANNIVERSARY: The Anniversary Committee is meeting Thursday Sept. 7 at 6:00 p.m. at the home of Bill Parsons. If you would like to participate in this committee, or if you have suggestions, please contact Bill.
SUN, SEP 10 CHOIR BEGINS: This morning the choir begins its ministry for the year ahead. Many thanks to the singers and Music Director Hilton Jones for providing this important part of our life together. New voices are always welcome in the choir – no experience required. A kickoff cocktail/mocktail gathering will be held at Grace Lewis’ home on September 9th at 7pm to celebrate the start of the choir season. Rehearsals begin Sunday morning at 9:15 a.m.
SUN, SEP 10 START OF CHURCH SCHOOL: Church school for elementary and middle school age children will resume the first Sunday after Labor Day. Instead of starting the service together, bring your children directly to the church school room and they will join the service after the offering. This week the children will assemble emergency clean-up buckets to send to people whose homes were flooded by hurricane Harvey. To learn more, visit cwskits.org.
SUN, SEP 10 ADVISORS MEETING: The advisors will be meeting after worship on Sunday in the Fellowship Hall. All are welcome.
MON, SEP 11 OPERATION ATTACK: A Lakewood volunteer night is scheduled at Operation Attack for Monday, September 11th from 6:00-7:00pm at Lakeview Presbyterian Church. Volunteers are also needed to launder, sort and organize donated items, or to occasionally substitute for regular volunteers when needed. Clothing needs include underwear and socks, jackets of all sizes and uniform items required by many schools. Donations of newborn diapers to be included in the layettes and travel size hygiene products for seniors served by the Neighborly Care Network are also welcome. Food needs include canned fruit, soup, vegetables, meat, pasta, pasta sauce, rice, beans, peanut butter and cereal. Donations can be placed in the grocery cart in the narthex. For more information about volunteering contact Zach Blair-Andrews.
TUE, SEP 12 WOMEN’S SPIRITUALITY GROUP: The LUCC Women’s Spirituality Group invites you (and friends) to the first Fall meeting “Celebrating Wonder” on Tuesday evening, Sept. 12th, 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Please RSVP to Sue Sherwood if you plan on coming or bringing a friend. Gathering location will be announced next week. Spirituality is lived faith – discovering and honoring the holy in you and all around you. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote that religion and awareness of the divine begins with wonder. This fall we, too, are beginning with Wonder. We will celebrate the wonders of life through music and sharing, song and silence. We surely live in a time of Wonder – the recent solar eclipse, the rhythms of summer, personal and worldwide awakenings, and love through it all in the power of community. Wonder opens our eyes to Spirit’s presence all around us and within us. So come and share and play! Yoko has her banjo and we have a guitar or two and a drum…if you have a musical instrument, bring it along! And if you have had an “aha!” moment this summer, bring that, too!
WED, SEP 13 CIRCUS MCGURKIS PLANNING MEETING: Lakewood UCC will be hosting Circus McGurkis this year on Saturday, November 11th! A Project of the St. Petersburg Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Circus McGurkis is a peoples’ fair focusing on peace education and service to the community with special focus on activities for children of all ages and families of all types. It features arts, crafts, music, games, and ideas that celebrate the creativity and activism that makes our community a more beautiful, loving, and just place to live. A planning meeting will be held in the Fellowship Hall on Wednesday, September 13th at 6pm.
SUN, SEP 17 NEW MEMBERS: New members will be received on Charter Sunday September 17th. Those who are considering joining the church are asked to speak with Rev. Wells.
SUN, SEP 17 CHARTER SUNDAY: This is a Sunday to celebrate the founding of Lakewood United Church of Christ and the opening of the church charter. This year, Charter Sunday marks the beginning of the 50th anniversary of the church. There will be festivities planned through April when the charter was closed.
SUN, SEP 17 LITURGIST TRAINING: On Sunday Sept. 17 following the service, all those currently serving as liturgists and all those interested in this ministry are encouraged to participate in a training event. This brief session will begin in the Fellowship Hall and conclude in the sanctuary. Please contact Sue Sherwood for additional information.
FAMILY PROMISE: Donations of laundry detergent are needed! This ongoing drive is becoming the LUCC compassionate response to providing for one of the greatest needs of the families. The detergent can be placed in the cart in the narthex. Contact Patti Cooksey if you have any questions.
VOTING RIGHTS: A petition to restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences will be available to sign after worship on Sunday. Currently, people with prior felony convictions are permanently disqualified to vote unless they receive clemency. Contact Lucille Ruga if you are interested or have any questions.
ECLIPSE GLASSES: Bring your gently used eclipse glasses to church so they can be reused! Lakewood UCC will participate in the Astronomers Without Borders program to collect glasses after the eclipse, so they can be sent to schools in South America and Asia when eclipses cross those continents in 2019. Don’t waste. Donate!
SPACE HEATER: A formerly-homeless friend of the church has asked for a space heater. If you have one you can donate, please let the church office know.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

ONLINE RESOURCE: The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a new online resource, Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide. All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.
THU, SEP 7 OPIOID CRISIS FORUM: This forum, hosted by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College and co-sponsored by the Drug Free America Foundation, will address how opioid addiction became such a health crisis and what is being done to address it. The forum, titled The Drug Epidemic: How Opioids Became a Death Machine, will be on Sept. 7th, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Digitorium on SPC’s Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. N. Admission is free, but advance registration is requested.
SAT, SEP 16 SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT: Learn how the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area and our partners are working toward clean energy and clean water and how you can get involved! Saturday, September 16th from 9AM to 12:30PM at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute 100 8th Ave S, St. Pete. For ticket information visit facebook.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
ART FOR HOPE: Wally LeBlanc has cards and paintings featuring his artwork for sale. The proceeds will be donated to the roof fund and other community ministries. Thank you, Wally!
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON:  If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

Senator Bill Nelson
716 Senate Hart Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-5274
Tampa office: 801 N. Florida Ave., 4th Floor, Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: 813-225-7040
www.billnelson.senate.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)

Senator Marco Rubio  
284 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510
Phone: 202-224-3041
Tampa office: 5201 West Kennedy Blvd, Ste. 530, Tampa, FL 33609
Phone: 813-287-5035
www.rubio.senate.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)

Dist. 14: Rep. Kathy Castor  
2052 Rayburn House Office Bldg., Washington DC 20515
Tampa Office 4144 N. Armenia Avenue Tampa FL 33607
Website: www.castor.house.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)
(202) 225-3376   Washington
(727) 392-4100   St. Petersburg
(813) 871-2817   Tampa

District 13: Rep. Charlie Crist
427 Cannon House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20515
696 1st Avenue North, Suite #203 St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Website: www.crist.house.gov  (Click “Contact” to write a message)
(202) 225-5961 Washington
1-(888) 205-5569 District office

If you are living outside Florida or local districts, you may phone your Member of Congress by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121. Visit americantrails.org for additional contact information.

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
IMG_3544
LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. Middle School age children and younger are invited to participate in Church School with Grace Lewis. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. All children return to the sanctuary during the offering so they can participate at the end of the worship service. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

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Another Florida Execution Scheduled

Governor Scott has ordered the execution of Michael Lambrix for Thursday, October 5th at 6pm. This would be the 25th execution ordered by Gov. Scott, a new record for a Florida governor. Originally scheduled for February 2016, Mr. Lambrix’s execution was put on hold when the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hearst decision declared sentencing juries must be unanimous. There were hopes that Lambrix would be resentenced to life in prison, where he has already served 33 years. But the state of Florida has since determined that the Hearst decision could not be considered retroactive, so the 8-4 and 10-2 jury decisions to execute have been declared legally binding.

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty works for restorative justice in the form of effective alternatives to the death penalty. More information is available at https://www.fadp.org/ We expect that there will be a vigil at the time of execution; information about that will be shared when available. In the meantime, letters to Gov. Scott (400 S. Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399) are an appropriate response.

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The Drug Epidemic: How Opioids Became a Death Machine

This forum, hosted by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College and co-sponsored by the Drug Free America Foundation, will address how opioid addiction became such a health crisis and what is being done to address it. The forum, titled The Drug Epidemic: How Opioids Became a Death Machine, will be on Sept. 7th, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Digitorium on SPC’s Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. N. Admission is free, but advance registration is requested.

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Help for Hurricane Harvey

Help for Hurricane Harvey

HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 28: Evacuees are helped to dry land after their homes were inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries is already engaged in response to Hurricane Harvey by supporting partners and planning for recovery. Giving to the Harvey appeal ensures that 100% of your support will be used for disaster relief and rehabilitation targeting the unique needs of vulnerable individuals and families. We do this by being nimble and adaptable in each disaster which allows us to fill gaps in services through provisions of spiritual care, community organizing, repair and reconstruction of homes, tools, building materials and volunteer coordination.

This Epic disaster will require an epic response. Your generous contribution today makes the long-term response that will be needed, possible.

Read more about how UCC Disaster Ministries is responding and how you can help by clicking here.

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CARE Watch Party

Improve the lives of those who provide and receive care through local discussions and impactful actions to change both the policies and cultural attitudes around caregiving.

Why is this important?

At some point in our lives, we will all need care. This need is growing; the U.S. elder population will double over the next two decades and our system is unprepared for this elder boom. In-home care work is one of the most affordable and desired long-term care solutions available yet this work is often unheralded and severely undervalued. Many families struggle to access and afford the highly skilled care they so desperately need. The situation is untenable. The stakes are high. We need a new way forward. Start by joining others around the nation who will be watching CARE.

Let Patti Cooksey know if you are interested in participating in the watch party at her home on Tuesday, September 5th at 8pm.

Larry and Laurie’s story is one of those featured in this powerful film that shows the dynamics of care and caregiving relationships.

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League of Women Voters’ Sunrise Over the Bay: Sustainability Summit

Sunrise Over the Bay: Sustainability Summit
When
Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM EDT
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Where

Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
100 8th Ave SE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-5020
Driving Directions

Hello Claire!

Solar panels, bicycles and electric cars, green stormwater management, preserving beaches. Each of these helps make our area more sustainable.
What’s going on in your county? Your city? Maybe even your neighborhood?
 
Sunrise Over the Bay, sponsored by the LWVSPA Sustainability Action Group, will look at the many ways organizations and individuals are working towards clean energy and clean water–and sustainability.
Speakers include:
  • Alan Brand, AKA the “Solar Shepherd”
  • Mary Dipboye, FL SUN Solar Co-op
  • Claude Tankersley, St Pete Public Works
  • Holly Greening, Tampa Bay Estuary
  • Andy Squires, PC Beach Restoration
  • Susan Glickman, Southern Alliance Clean Energy
  • Dr. Gary Mitchum, Associate Dean,USF College of Marine Science
Topics will include solar energy co-ops, actions the City and County have taken in support of solar energy, and community solar opportunities. Also, as part of the conversation about climate change, participants will explore stormwater and wastewater planning, integrated sustainability action planning, and beach replenishment,
Register Now!
Doors will open at 8:00 am. A 20-minute break mid-program between sessions when light refreshments will be provided.

 

Metered street parking is available, along with the pay lot at the Mahaffey Theatre.

Sponsorship and vendor opportunities are available. Tables will be available at no charge to non-profit exhibitors. Please reply to this email to reserve your vendor/table spot.
We hope to see you at Sustainability Summit 2017!
LWV-St. Pete Sustainability Action Group Co-Chairs,
Lisa Vanover
Claire Karas
Susan Tuite
LWVSPA, P.O. Box 11775, St. Petersburg, FL 33733
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August 30 Weekly Update

LAKEWOOD UNITED CHURCH of CHRIST
2601 54th Avenue South, St Petersburg, FL 33712-4700
(727) 867-7961 ~ lakewooducc.org

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, SEP 3 THIS SUNDAY: This is the last of the Summer Sundays, Labor Day weekend, and a time to think about work. What kind of work have you done? What kind of work are you called to do? The story of Moses and the burning bush invites reflection on experiencing God’s call on holy ground. Get ready to take off your shoes! See Exodus 3:1-15.
SUN, SEP 3 COMMUNION SUNDAY: The first Sunday of the month is Communion Sunday. All are welcome to participate including children. The communion offering this month will go to UCC Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. You can also donate online. Please be generous as you are able.
TUE, SEP 5 WATCH PARTY: CARE is a moving and powerful film that shows the dynamics of care and caregiving relationships—something we don’t often see on TV or in the movies. Using personal stories, it connects the dots between care workers and families, and shows how stretched the system is for everyone. Let Patti Cooksey know if you are interested in participating in the watch party at her home on Tuesday, September 5 at 8pm.
SAT, SEP 9 CHOIR PARTY: A kickoff cocktail/mocktail gathering will be held at Grace Lewis’ home on September 9th at 7pm to celebrate the start of the choir season. Choir members, family/friends of choir members, folks thinking about maybe joining the choir, and fans of the choir are welcome to come. Bring drinks to share!
SUN, SEP 10 CHOIR BEGINS: The first choir rehearsal of the fall season is September 10th at 9:15am, the Sunday after Labor Day. The choir will also sing in the service that Sunday. A tentative schedule, as well as links to the scores and, where available, mp3s to listen to and practice with, is available online. Anyone is welcome to join, just give Hilton a heads up so he can have the music ready for you.
SUN, SEP 10 START OF CHURCH SCHOOL: Church school for elementary and middle school age children will resume the first Sunday after Labor Day. Grace Lewis will assemble emergency clean-up buckets with the children to send to people whose homes were flooded by hurricane Harvey. To learn more, visit cwskits.org.
MON, SEP 11 OPERATION ATTACK: A Lakewood volunteer night is scheduled at Operation Attack for Monday, September 11th from 6:00-7:00pm at Lakeview Presbyterian Church. Volunteers are also needed to launder, sort and organize donated items, or to occasionally substitute for regular volunteers when needed. Clothing needs include underwear and socks, jackets of all sizes and uniform items required by many schools. Donations of newborn diapers to be included in the layettes and travel size hygiene products for seniors served by the Neighborly Care Network are also welcome. Food needs include canned fruit, soup, vegetables, meat, pasta, pasta sauce, rice, beans, peanut butter and cereal. Donations can be placed in the grocery cart in the narthex. For more information about volunteering contact Zach Blair-Andrews.
TUE, SEP 12 WOMEN’S SPIRITUALITY GROUP: The LUCC Women’s Spirituality Group invites you (and friends) to the first Fall meeting “Celebrating Wonder” on Tuesday evening, Sept. 12th, 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Please RSVP to Sue Sherwood if you plan on coming or bringing a friend. Gathering location will be announced next week. Spirituality is lived faith – discovering and honoring the holy in you and all around you. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote that religion and awareness of the divine begins with wonder. This fall we, too, are beginning with Wonder. We will celebrate the wonders of life through music and sharing, song and silence. We surely live in a time of Wonder – the recent solar eclipse, the rhythms of summer, personal and worldwide awakenings, and love through it all in the power of community. Wonder opens our eyes to Spirit’s presence all around us and within us. So come and share and play! Yoko has her banjo and we have a guitar or two and a drum…if you have a musical instrument, bring it along! And if you have had an “aha!” moment this summer, bring that, too!
WED, SEP 13 CIRCUS MCGURKIS PLANNING MEETING: Lakewood UCC will be hosting Circus McGurkis this year on Saturday, November 11th! A Project of the St. Petersburg Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Circus McGurkis is a peoples’ fair focusing on peace education and service to the community with special focus on activities for children of all ages and families of all types. It features arts, crafts, music, games, and ideas that celebrate the creativity and activism that makes our community a more beautiful, loving, and just place to live. A planning meeting will be held in the Fellowship Hall on Wednesday, September 13th at 6pm.
SUN, SEP 17 NEW MEMBERS: New members will be received on Charter Sunday September 17th. Those who are considering joining the church are asked to speak with Rev. Wells.
ANNIVERSARY: This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of Lakewood UCC. A committee has been formed to help plan this celebration consisting of Kim Wells, Bill Parsons, Mark Gibson, Colleen Coughenour, and Lucille Ruga. If you would like to participate in this committee, or if you have suggestions, please contact Bill Parsons.
PEACE FESTIVAL REFLECTIONS: Church members who staffed the Lakewood UCC free table share their reflections on the Peace Festival in Williams Park.
FAMILY PROMISE: Donations of laundry detergent are needed! This ongoing drive is becoming the LUCC compassionate response to providing for one of the greatest needs of the families. The detergent can be placed in the cart in the narthex. Contact Patti Cooksey if you have any questions.
VOTING RIGHTS: A petition to restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences will be available to sign after worship on Sunday. Currently, people with prior felony convictions are permanently disqualified to vote unless they receive clemency. Contact Lucille Ruga if you are interested or have any questions.
ECLIPSE GLASSES: Bring your gently used eclipse glasses to church so they can be reused! Lakewood UCC will participate in the Astronomers Without Borders program to collect glasses after the eclipse, so they can be sent to schools in South America and Asia when eclipses cross those continents in 2019. Don’t waste. Donate!
SPACE HEATER: A formerly-homeless friend of the church has asked for a space heater. If you have one you can donate, please let the church office know.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

ONLINE RESOURCE: The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a new online resource, Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide. All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.
WED, AUG 30 PEACE FIRST SITE FOR JULY-AUGUST: Since 2002, Peace First has gathered on street corners weekly to speak for peace and justice. In July and August, Peace First will demonstrate every Wednesday morning from 8:00-9:00 AM (new summer time) at the intersection of 54th Avenue and 49th Street N. in St. Petersburg. There are a CVS Pharmacy, Zeko’s Mediterranean Grill, and Memorial Park Cemetery at this intersection. This is a new site for the group. It is a main north/south artery that crosses a road leading to the interstate, so there is a lot of traffic. A map is available at google.com. Afterward the group will gather at the Burg Diner at 2950 49th Street for breakfast. For more information email FMI.
THU, AUG 31 CONVERSATION AND FILM SCREENING: Join fellow community members for a conversation about building stronger & safer communities, following a special viewing of “Newtown,” a documentary on the sense of community after the scathing mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Film Screening of “Newtown” at 6:00 p.m. Community Discussion at 7:45 p.m. Free and open to the public! Light refreshments and appetizers will be served prior to the film screening. To reserve your seat, please email. This event will take place on Thursday, August 31st at 6:00pm at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg (University Student Center). Community Partners: The Florida Holocaust Museum, USF St. Petersburg, Community Tampa Bay, Sandy Hook Promise, and Temple Beth-El, St. Petersburg, FL. See facebook for more information.
THU, SEP 7 OPIOID CRISIS FORUM: This forum, hosted by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College and co-sponsored by the Drug Free America Foundation, will address how opioid addiction became such a health crisis and what is being done to address it. The forum, titled The Drug Epidemic: How Opioids Became a Death Machine, will be on Sept. 7th, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Digitorium on SPC’s Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. N. Admission is free, but advance registration is requested.
SAT, SEP 16 SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT: Learn how the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area and our partners are working toward clean energy and clean water and how you can get involved! Saturday, September 16th from 9AM to 12:30PM at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute 100 8th Ave S, St. Pete. For ticket information visit facebook.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON:  If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

Senator Bill Nelson
716 Senate Hart Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-5274
Tampa office: 801 N. Florida Ave., 4th Floor, Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: 813-225-7040
www.billnelson.senate.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)

Senator Marco Rubio  
284 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510
Phone: 202-224-3041
Tampa office: 5201 West Kennedy Blvd, Ste. 530, Tampa, FL 33609
Phone: 813-287-5035
www.rubio.senate.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)

Dist. 14: Rep. Kathy Castor  
2052 Rayburn House Office Bldg., Washington DC 20515
Tampa Office 4144 N. Armenia Avenue Tampa FL 33607
Website: www.castor.house.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)
(202) 225-3376   Washington
(727) 392-4100   St. Petersburg
(813) 871-2817   Tampa

District 13: Rep. Charlie Crist
427 Cannon House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20515
696 1st Avenue North, Suite #203 St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Website: www.crist.house.gov  (Click “Contact” to write a message)
(202) 225-5961 Washington
1-(888) 205-5569 District office

If you are living outside Florida or local districts, you may phone your Member of Congress by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121. Visit americantrails.org for additional contact information.

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
IMG_3544
LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. All children participate in the beginning of the worship service. Middle School age children and younger are invited to participate in Children’s Time during the service. After Children’s Time there is Church School for Elementary and Middle School students with Grace Lewis. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

Ann Quinn, Betty Harris, Ed Kaspar, Carolyn Moore, Earl Waters, Ron Huff

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Sermon 8.27.17 The Power of the Mouth

Date: August 27, 2017
Scripture Lesson: Matthew 15:10-28
Sermon: The Power of the Mouth
Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

So, a man was seen fleeing down the hall of the hospital just before his operation. “What’s the matter,” he was asked.

He replied, “I heard the nurse say, ‘It’s a very simple operation, don’t worry, I’m sure it will be all right.’”

“She was just trying to comfort you. What’s so frightening about that?” he was asked.

“She wasn’t talking to me. She was talking to the doctor.”

Even when we may have the best of intentions, our mouths can get us in trouble; at least I know that mine does. And it’s usually with my kids. . . Do you ever have that problem? Something is said. The impact was not anticipated. And we’re mired in a mess. What comes out of our mouths can be a problem. Our words can get us into trouble as the president keeps reminding us!

And, surprisingly, Jesus shows us this, too. The writer of Matthew shares the story of Jesus teaching about the power of what comes out of the mouth. The religious legalists were worrying about what was going into the mouth – eating certain foods and not eating other foods. Ok. But they were not worrying about what comes out of the mouth. Jesus reminds us that what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart which generates evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, and slander. Whew! All these things lurk in the heart and come out of the mouth. Jesus teaches that this is what people should really be worrying about. Fixing what is in the heart and what comes out of the mouth is what brings us closer to God.

Then, in the next story, we are told of Jesus’ mouth getting him into trouble. It’s quite ironic, actually. A woman comes to Jesus begging for healing for her daughter. And first he does not respond at all. Nothing comes out of his mouth. Then the story has Jesus saying, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” This person pleading for her daughter is not from the house of Israel. She is a Canaanite. An indigenous person. A Gentile. And a woman. She has several strikes against her from the first century Jewish perspective. Jesus ignores her and then refuses her. Then, he insults her: “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” Yup, in the story Jesus calls her a dog. In terms of what is coming out of the mouth, this story goes from bad to worse.

The encounter in this story echoes with the racism that we have seen in this country. Can’t you hear a traditional, respectable white man telling a black woman that he isn’t going to help black trash like her? Even a white doctor, years ago, saying that to someone black in need of medical treatment? Sorry. Can’t treat blacks. And probably putting the message across in far less civil terms? Jesus basically tells this woman, I was not sent to help the likes of you. The way this story is written, Jesus’ mouth is getting him in trouble. And in the story just before it, the writer has Jesus telling people to be careful about what comes out of their mouths. Interesting.

The mouth can get us into trouble. By ignoring someone’s pleas, we ignore their humanity. We degrade them. We demean them. Does that make the pleading go away? Usually it just gets louder and more persistent. Think of all the people who are begging for help today. People in areas affected by sea level rise begging to be heard. People who are starving and have no access to food, perhaps because of drought or war. And they are pleading for food. For a place to live. For access to basic human necessities. There are people begging for the recognition of their full humanity. People pleading for access to economic self sufficiency. People begging for the freedom of self expression. Pleading to live in violence free communities. Begging to have access to health care. There are many voices imploring in the world.

Sometimes these needs are met with silence; just ignored which is a message in itself. You are not worth listening to, hearing, or paying attention to. You are worthless. Insignificant. Sometimes nothing comes out of the mouth but a message is still sent.

Sometimes our mouths deliver outright insult and injury. I was sent to the lost house of Israel. Not for you, you dog. You’re not my problem. Go home. Get a job. Even when we try to contain it and be more diplomatic, sometimes our mouths just let loose revealing what is truly in our hearts. And we find ourselves a long way from the compassion and justice that we are aiming for.

The mouth is a tricky thing and very hard to control. Words can wound. Our mouths can get us into trouble we did not expect or foresee.

Some years ago I was working part time for the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ and I was assigned to help a church that was seeking a new pastor. As part of the process, the search committee creates a list of the ten characteristics that it feels are important in their next pastor. Then the committee rates each candidate on the list of ten characteristics. To practice, the committee reads a “dummy” profile, a dossier, and then uses the list of 10 characteristics and the rating system. So the committee did the reading and the rating and then we had a discussion of the process. An older gentleman on the committee asked, in all seriousness, “Well, that’s ok for the pastor, but how do we go about rating the wife?” The best I could do at the time was use every ounce of my will to keep my mouth shut. I was so stunned by the many insinuations of the question that I was afraid of what I might say, so I remember sitting there intently telling myself, Don’t open your mouth. Don’t open your mouth. Don’t open your mouth. Don’t open your mouth. Finally, I felt calm enough to begin to respond. I didn’t have to say much. Some of the women on the committee took over and set the man straight – about assuming the candidate would be a man, assuming “he” would have a wife, assuming the wife would be involved in the church, and so on. . . Whew!

It was a vivid reminder of how powerful the mouth can be. We see this from the Canaanite woman in the story of the encounter with Jesus. In the story, Jesus ignores her and then insults her. But she is undeterred. She continues to use her mouth to pursue her goal: healing for her child. We had a colleague in seminary who preached in chapel one day and I’ll never forget Ada Maria Isasi Diaz telling us that no matter your circumstances you are never powerless as long as you have a mouth. That Canaanite woman absorbed insult and injury and kept using her power, her mouth, to get the response she so desperately sought. Ok, we’re dogs, but don’t even dogs deserve crumbs? She will still take a crumb. She will do whatever it takes to get healing for her precious child.

The closing of the story again shows the power of words. We are told that Jesus does not go back on his commitment to address himself only to house of Israel. He doesn’t back peddle on ignoring the woman or insulting her. He attributes the result of the encounter to the woman herself: “Woman great is your faith. Let it be done for you as you wish.” And the daughter is healed. The healing is attributed to the woman’s faith not to Jesus. He saves face and she gets her healing. Ah, the power of words.

Words can cause incredible harm. Can you think of a time something has been said to you that has cut you to the core? Just pierced you? Words, sharp as a knife. And maybe closer to our hearts, more to the fore of our memories, are the times we have caused harm with our words. Can you remember something you have said that was hurtful or harmful? That you regret? That you would instantly take back if you could? We know that the ditty, ‘Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me,’ is simply not true. Words can hurt.

But words can also heal. Yes, words are powerful, and that power can be positive. It can be constructive. It can be loving and healing. Words can do harm but they can also do good. Think of the times you have heard words that gave you relief and peace. Think of words shared that have led to understanding and reconciliation. “I’m sorry.” “I didn’t mean that.” “I did not understand how you felt.”

Recently my husband, Jeff, confronted a comment that was made to him using words to convey a powerful message. While he was cleaning up after a meeting, another white man said to him, “You do a pretty good job for a white guy.” Jeff responded with civility and candor and challenged the racism laden in that comment. After a calm, thorough exchange, the other man held his ground claiming his comment was not racially charged at all. Well, you can take the horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

Words are very powerful. Look at all the attention the words and signs have been getting at recent demonstrations. Some of the words are shocking and offensive. But many of the words are words of healing and hope. And as people of faith, and people with mouths that can speak words, we have the power to use our words for good.

When we went to the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. in January, we had the opportunity to visit the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. I snapped a picture of this quotation: “If I were white and believed in God. . . I would speak in no uncertain words against Race Prejudice, Hate, Oppression, and Injustice.” These are the words of Florence Spearing Randolph, spoken in 1941. Randolph had a long career of using words for healing and transformation. She was the first woman ordained by the African Methodist Episcopal Church of New Jersey. Randolph was born in Charleston, South Carolina into a family of free blacks. She was trained as a dressmaker and moved to the New York area to pursue her trade. She was involved at her church but had no inclination toward the ministry. It was her pastor that encouraged her. The authorization of a woman for ministry was extremely controversial and the source of much bitter debate. But in 1897, Randolph was licensed to preach and in 1900 she was ordained a deacon and then an elder. She was tutored by Dr. E. George Biddle, a graduate of Yale University, and a scholar of Greek and Hebrew. She studied at Drew University where a prize is given each year that is named for her – to a woman demonstrating powerful preaching and potential for outstanding pastoral leadership. In Randolph’s first 12 years of ministry, she served 5 churches, all small and poor and struggling, for, of course, no pay. She represented the AME Zion church at a conference in London and traveled to Scotland, Belgium, and France giving lectures and preaching. Randolph served on the mission field in Liberia and Ghana. She brought a young woman back from Africa and saw that she was educated in America. Then the woman went back to Africa to be a teacher.

In 1925 Randolph was called to Wallace Chapel AME Zion church on a temporary basis which then lasted for 21 years.

Randolph founded the New Jersey State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs. Through this initiative, she organized people to address issues of race, gender, social inequality, and colonialism. She fought lynching and real estate laws that prevented blacks and Jews from living in certain neighborhoods. She promoted scholarships, health programs, and the inclusion of African American issues in the state and national press. She was an active suffragist seeking the vote for women, all women. She was active in the temperance movement. She promoted the celebration of what was then Negro History Week. She was recruited to work on the presidential campaign of Warren G. Harding and in the 1930’s ran for assemblywoman in New Jersey.

Randolph used her mouth in the church and beyond as voice for the healing and transformation of society and left a long, noteworthy legacy of her efforts for the benefit of the individual as well as society as a whole. But she knew that her power was limited as a black woman, and so she encouraged white people of faith to use their mouths for good in the world. In 1941, at 75 years old, at her church in Summit, New Jersey, she preached a sermon, “If I Were White.” And she told the congregation, “If I were white and believed in God. . . I would speak in no uncertain words against Race Prejudice, Hate, Oppression, and Injustice..In the city of Summit, I would speak of the unjust housing problems affecting Negroes, the school problem…the lack of Negro books in the library, the ignorance of Negro history because it is not taught in schools.” Personally, I think that she deserves a statue.

Can’t you see the spirit of the Canaanite woman in Randolph? The persistence? The clarity? The faith?

Each one of us has a mouth. And, yes, sometimes that mouth is going to get us into trouble. We’re going to say the wrong thing. The negative sentiments of our hearts are going to slip out of the mouth. But we also have love in our hearts. We have the deep desire and yearning for justice and compassion in our hearts. Think of that Canaanite woman so intent on the healing of her daughter. We, too, are desperate for the healing of our lives and our world. We must be sure that we are letting that out of our mouths. We can speak words that are poignant and savvy. We can utter words of honesty and integrity. Our mouths can form words that convey the sentiments of those who are ignored. Like the Canaanite woman and Florence Spearing Randolph we must intentionally form words of healing and love with our mouths. Amen.

For information about Florence Spearing Randolph, please see:

http://blog.nj.com/ledgerarchives/2008/01/black_history_month_a_look_for.html
https://bestofnj.com/black-history-nj-florence-spearing-randolph
http://www.summithistoricalsociety.org/historian/2016/3/26/the-rev-florence-randolph-pastor-of-wallace-chapel-helped-spearhead-womens-suffrage

A reasonable effort has been made to appropriately cite materials referenced in this sermon. For additional information, please contact Lakewood United Church of Christ.

 

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Celebrating Wonder: A Women’s Spirituality Event

The LUCC Women’s Spirituality Group invites you (and friends) to the first Fall meeting:
                                 “Celebrating Wonder”
                 Tuesday evening, Sept. 12th, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Please RSVP to Sue Sherwood if you plan on coming or bringing a friend.
Gathering location will be announced next week.
Spirituality is lived faith – discovering and honoring the holy in you and all around you.  Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote that religion and awareness of the divine begins with wonder.
This fall we, too, are beginning with Wonder.  We will celebrate the wonders of life through music and sharing, song and silence.
We surely live in a time of Wonder – the recent solar eclipse, the rhythms of summer, personal and worldwide awakenings, and love through it all in the power of community.  Wonder opens our eyes to Spirit’s presence all around us and within us.
So come and share and play!  Yoko has her banjo and we have a guitar or two and a drum…if you have a musical instrument, bring it along!  And if you have had an “aha!” moment this summer, bring that, too!
Looking forward to seeing you all!
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Sermon 8.20.17 Living in the Light

Scripture Lesson: Matthew 5:43-48
Sermon: Living in the Light
Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

Are you all ready to watch the eclipse tomorrow? Do you have your protective glasses? Have you picked your watch site? Will you join others or watch from home?

Jon and Susan Brewster of Monmouth, OR have been planning for this solar eclipse for about half their lives. They bought the property for their home in the early 1990’s at a location which they believed would be absolutely ideal for observing the solar eclipse of 2017. They built their house to insure perfect viewing of this 2 minutes of totality.

Jon Brewster says, “This thing is coming at us like a freight train. It’s been decades, and then it was years, and then it was months, and now it’s weeks.”

“We’re testing things, we’re doing trial runs, we’re amping up the logistics, because everybody wants to come,” he says.

Looking to Monday, Brewster concedes, “All of this work, all of this time, all of this effort, and it’s cloudy that day — it’s Oregon, it could be cloudy. It’s part of the game. It’s not a problem. We’re going to get two minutes of darkness followed by hamburgers.” [https://www.circa.com/story/2017/07/19/scitech/jon-brewster-susan-brewster-of-salem-oregon-engineer-house-for-solar-eclipse]

12.2 million people in the US live in the path of totality. Between 1.85 and 7.4
million people are expected to visit the path of totality tomorrow. Hotels are full
and highways are expected to be jammed. We can hear more about that next week
from Charlie and Mary Beth Lewis, and Grace Lewis and Sarah who have gone to South Carolina to see the eclipse.

Michael Zeller, of Santa Fe, New Mexico works in geographic information systems. I think that means that he makes maps. He is also a devotee of eclipses. Zeller has done a thorough statistical analysis of populations and highways and the path of the eclipse. And he gives 5 reasons that he believes account for the high numbers of people that will be experiencing the totality of the eclipse tomorrow. He says:
• The path of totality cuts a diagonal path across the nation from Oregon to South Carolina and most Americans live within a day’s drive to the path of totality.
• The United States has an excellent highway system and most American families have it within their means to take a short driving vacation.
• August is an ideal month for a vacation; the weather is warm and the chance of summer storms has diminished in much of the nation.
• Most schools have not yet begun their fall session by August 21st and some schools near the path of totality are scheduling a late start.
• Social media will have a huge impact on motivating eclipse visitors. The eclipse is exactly the type of event guaranteed to go viral on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms. We expect that many people will only make plans to go in the week before eclipse day.
[Eclipse information comes from Zeller’s website, GreatAmericanEclipse.com,
https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/statistics/]

Well, Zeller and his practicalities aside, this solar eclipse, this one of a life time for many, has captured our imaginations. We have become fascinated by this heavenly event. And this fascination with the skies may be motivated in part by the mess that is taking place here on the ground in the US. Our spirits need a lift. Something to look up to for a change! And here comes this eclipse.

Throughout human history, we have looked to the sun in awe and reverence. Even before we could know that the sun was essential to supporting life, to growth, to fertility, and as an essential power source. We have been devoted to its rising and setting. The shortening and lengthening of daylight through the year. Humans have always been drawn to the sun.

The sun has been of religious significance since prehistoric times. Stonehenge is a marvel of engineering, miraculously constructed over 4000 years ago by people with limited resources and technological abilities. While its role and function is not fully understood, the positioning of the stones relates to the sunset at the winter solstice and the sunrise at the summer solstice. So the erection of those stones, some up to 50 tons in weight, some having been transported up to 150 miles, is related in some way to the sun. [From Wikipedia, “Stonehenge”]

The Mayan Temple at Chichen Itza in Mexico, important from 600-1200 CE, is positioned for the fall and spring equinoxes. In the late afternoon the sun falls just so on the steps of the pyramid casting triangular shadows that look like a slithering snake, a symbol of one of the Mayan gods. Amazing the significance we have given to the sun throughout history.

We also see the importance of the symbolism of the sun and its association with the Divine in our own religious tradition. In the Genesis story of Creation, the sun is cast as a light for the Earth, for the land and waters, for the activities of the life forms, for the doings of earthlings. The sun is associated with the presence of God. When people were afraid and anticipating the end times, they expected the sun to go out. The prophet Ezekiel tells us: “When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens, and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light.” [32:7]  From the prophet Joel, we hear: “I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth. . . The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of God comes.” [2:31] And from the prophet Amos: “‘On that day,’ says God, I will make the sun go down at noon, and darken the earth in broad daylight.” [8:9]  So we see that in the Bible, the darkening of the sun is associated with the judgment of God. No sun. No light. No enlightenment. No power of love. No Divine presence. The end.

We see this symbolism powerfully used in the stories of the crucifixion of Jesus.
In three of the gospels we are told that at noon on the day that Jesus was crucified
on the cross the sky became dark. There was no sun, no light. This is a drastic portrayal of the crucifixion as a traumatic event of cataclysmic proportions. The presence of God is not seen. The sky turning dark, the absence of the sun, is the most compelling way to convey that God’s presence is not experienced.

The sun continues to attract our attention and our imagination as this upcoming eclipse reminds us. Fundamentally, existentially, viscerally, we are drawn to the sun. It is our life line – physically and spiritually. I think the sun, this crucial image of human dependence on the Divine, is very intentionally and effectively used in the verses that we listened to this morning: God makes the sun rise on the good and the bad, and sends rain on the just and unjust. It is the Creator’s intention to sustain all of life. God’s presence and love is given to all. No exceptions.

How would this have gone over in Jesus’ day? Well, Jesus was Jewish, and was a teacher in the Jewish tradition. The Jews were living under the occupation of the Roman Empire. Rome was their enemy. Then there were all the Gentiles, non Jews, who were not all considered enemy, but were certainly not considered to have the same favored status with God that many Jews thought they had. And there were the Samaritans, considered enemies of the Jews for their deviance from mainstream Judaism. And there were various groups within Judaism that did not exactly agree about matters of faith and practice. So, there were plenty of divisions and factions among the people of Jesus’ day. Not surprisingly, this gave rise to what we would name as prejudice and bigotry and supremacy issues probably as intense if not more intense than we are experiencing today.

So these words associated with Jesus, God makes the sun rise on the good and the bad, and sends rain on the just and unjust, far from being pacifying pablum or spiritual sentimentalism would have been heard as extremist, harsh, jarring, and very controversial. Love your enemy? Never. The sun rises and sets on those who are evil? The rain falls for them? God is blessing ALL? No way. Not the people we hate. Not the people who hate us. But that is the message that was given. God loves all and as children of God, that love is in all of us, too. Yup. Love for the neo-Nazis. Love for the Jews. Love for the white supremacists. Love for the African Americans. Love for the transgendered. Love for the whites. Love for the homophobes. Love for the beneficiaries of white privilege. Love for the immigrants. Love for the haters. Love for terrorists. Love for those who vote red and for those who vote blue and even for those who don’t vote. Love – for all those upon whom the sun shines and the rain falls.

In a phone conference this week among people from the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ, the Rev. Bernice Powell Jackson, a pillar of the human rights movement, schooled by, among others, Desmond Tutu, reminded us, “People have a romanticized understanding of love.” Exactly. The love we see in Jesus is not romanticized or sentimental or sweet. It is love that is harsh. It is severe. As the sun can be.

Jesus shows us that Divine love encompasses all. And like the sun, it doesn’t cover things up. It shines the light like our sunshine laws in our government here in Florida are supposed to do. Divine love exposes. Reveals. It tells the truth. It fosters growth. And the truth is that we learn to hate. We learn to discriminate. We learn to show bias. We learn to differently value the lives of people who are not like we are whatever our race or identity or gender or culture or economic status. We learn these things. The song from the musical “South Pacific” reminds us that you’ve got to be “Carefully Taught” and we are. Divine Light shows us that all hatred is wrong. And that prejudice and bigotry are not morally justifiable. The light reveals the evil of fascism, white supremacy, and racist ideology. The light shows us that just as we learn prejudice and bias and greed, we can learn love. We can learn to value all lives like the God we see in Jesus. We can learn to find goodness in ourselves and in all others. We can learn equality. We can learn justice. Like the power of the sun, with its transforming light, heat, and energy, love can transform us, heal us, and help us grow more completely into the image of God within and enable us to see that image more clearly in others. Love has that power.

There are many protests going on in our country. As Christians, we are called to be on the side of love and anti violence of every kind – physical, verbal, legal, economic. Every kind of violence is wrong in the eyes of Christ. We must stand for the kind of radical love that we see in Jesus. It is important to be part of these demonstrations. It gives us a constructive, needed avenue for expressing ourselves. It gives us the opportunity to show our support for one another, and to sustain one another on the journey. It helps show the wider public the voice of justice and a moral compass. There are many important reasons to be part of demonstrations and protests. But will these events actually help those who have been taught hatred and bigotry to change? To be transformed? To see another way? I don’t think so. I don’t think that happens through competing demonstrations. I think the best hope for transformation is one on one engagement in a context of mutual respect. I think listening is important. I think seeking understanding is important. I think empathy is needed. This kind of love, shared in what may be difficult interpersonal interactions, has the power to create change.

My daughter once reminded me, “Mom, you told us what needs to happen to get rid of homophobia in America.”

And I said, “I did?”

She said, “Yes. You said that everybody needs a gay friend and that will take care of it.” See its that personal one to one relationship. And the church is perfectly positioned to do this kind of work; to embody this kind of difficult love all the while bearing witness to our own faults, injustices, and biases including our complicity in the wider systems of society that keep people down and shut them out. There are groups that are well situated to change policy, laws, regulations, habits, etc. but the church is in a prime position to change the heart, which can then lead to changed policy and action. The love that Jesus talks about is just as challenging and transforming today as it was 2000 years ago. And we are here, because like those before us, we are being drawn to the light and called to shine that light, not just on Sunday, not just on the day of an eclipse, but everyday. Everyday, we are to be witnesses to the power of love.

Remember that eclipse is coming tomorrow. Asmo Wiyono is a native of Patuk, Java, Indonesia. This is what he learned about eclipses when he was growing up: “My grandmother and my father have told me this story of eclipses. They are caused by Betara Kala, an ugly, giant son of god who was thrown out of heaven. He is trying to eat the sun in his vengeful anger. I know this is not modern thinking. But we think if we make enough noise, we can scare the giant away.” [From Simply Living: The Spirit of the Indigenous People, edited by Shirley Ann Jones.]

There are enemies of the light. We know that. Sometimes even we are enemies of the light. Of love. Of goodness. But Jesus reminds us that we are created to be drawn to the light of love. To overcome our fears and our prejudices and our preconceptions. To let ourselves be in a continual process of transformation. To live in the light. And to raise our voices on behalf of love. To make some noise!

Tomorrow there is going to be a solar eclipse. Come rain or shine. The eclipse is going to happen tomorrow. Cloudy or clear. The eclipse is going to happen tomorrow. There may be another terrorist attack but the eclipse is still going to happen tomorrow. More police may be killed. And the eclipse is going to take place tomorrow. More statues may or may not come down. And the eclipse is going to happen tomorrow. There may be another change in the White House staff. But guess what? Tomorrow there is going to be an eclipse. We do not control the sun. We do not control the eclipse.

And just like we cannot stop the eclipse, we cannot stop the power of Divine Love: Shining sun on the good and the bad, falling rain on the just and unjust alike. As Unitarian Minister Theodor Parker so beautifully observed, “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.” We cannot stop the light of love from shining. So, don’t miss the eclipse tomorrow. And make sure to shine the searing, revealing, healing light of love each and every day. Amen.

A reasonable effort has been made to appropriately cite materials referenced in this sermon. For additional information, please contact Lakewood United Church of Christ.

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23 August Weekly Update

LAKEWOOD UNITED CHURCH of CHRIST
2601 54th Avenue South, St Petersburg, FL 33712-4700
(727) 867-7961 ~ lakewooducc.org

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, AUG 27 THIS SUNDAY: Many of us grew up with the taunt, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.” But we know that words can hurt. Jesus has something to say about that. See Matthew 15:10-28.
SAT, AUG 26 IN MEMORIAM: Charter Lakewood UCC member Evelyn Kaspar died at home in her sleep on Saturday August 5th. Condolences go to her family and friends, especially Ed Kaspar and James Waterman, her son and son-in-law. A service to celebrate her life will be held on Saturday, August 26th here in Lakewood’s Sanctuary at 11am with reception to follow in Fellowship Hall.
IN MEMORIAM: The church received news of the death of Helen Myers. Helen was the spouse of Frank Myers, the pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church which preceded Lakewood United Church of Christ at the current site. Helen died Friday July 21, 2017 at age 98. Helen had written out her final wishes years ago for cremation and no obituary, no service in Florida. There will be a burial and graveside service in Glen Rock, PA, where she will be buried in the family plot.
SUN, AUG 27 CELEBRATION SUNDAY: This potluck luncheon is held after worship on the last Sunday of the month. It is an opportunity to honor the celebrations and important events in the congregation in the month that has passed. All are welcome! This month’s lunch will be hosted this month by the Creation Justice Task Force and the Ushers. The potluck will be vegetarian, so keep that in mind as you plan. Bring a dish to share and help celebrate August birthdays.
PEACE FESTIVAL REFLECTIONS: Church members who staffed the Lakewood UCC free table share their reflections on the Peace Festival in Williams Park.
TUE, AUG 29 FAMILY PROMISE: There will be a meeting on August 29th at 6pm at Lakewood United Methodist Church with Jen Sunshine for Family Promise updates. Any new interested persons are invited to stay for a 6:30pm orientation. There will be light refreshments. Contact Patti Cooksey if you have any questions.
SUN, SEP 10 CHOIR BEGINS: The first choir rehearsal of the fall season is September 10th at 9:15am, the Sunday after Labor Day. The choir will also sing in the service that Sunday. A tentative schedule, as well as links to the scores and, where available, mp3s to listen to and practice with, is available online. Anyone is welcome to join, just give Hilton a heads up so he can have the music ready for you.
SUN, SEP 10 START OF CHURCH SCHOOL: Church school for elementary and middle school age children will resume the first Sunday after Labor Day.
MON, SEP 11 OPERATION ATTACK: A Lakewood volunteer night is scheduled at Operation Attack for Monday, September 11th from 6:00-7:00pm at Lakeview Presbyterian Church. Volunteers are also needed to launder, sort and organize donated items, or to occasionally substitute for regular volunteers when needed. Clothing needs include underwear and socks, jackets of all sizes and uniform items required by many schools. Donations of newborn diapers to be included in the layettes and travel size hygiene products for seniors served by the Neighborly Care Network are also welcome. Food needs include canned fruit, soup, vegetables, meat, pasta, pasta sauce, rice, beans, peanut butter and cereal. Donations can be placed in the grocery cart in the narthex. For more information about volunteering contact Zach Blair-Andrews.
TUE, SEP 12 WOMENS SPIRITUALITY GROUP: The Women’s Spirituality Group is planning an evening gathering on Tuesday, September 12th. Time and location to be determined.
SUN, SEP 17 NEW MEMBERS: New members will be received on Charter Sunday September 17th.
ANNIVERSARY: This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of Lakewood UCC. A committee has been formed to help plan this celebration consisting of Kim Wells, Bill Parsons, Mark Gibson, Colleen Coughenour, and Lucille Ruga. If you would like to participate in this committee, or if you have suggestions, please contact Bill Parsons.
VOTING RIGHTS: A petition to restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences will be available to sign after worship on Sunday. Currently, people with prior felony convictions are permanently disqualified to vote unless they receive clemency. Contact Lucille Ruga if you are interested or have any questions.
ECLIPSE GLASSES: Bring your gently used eclipse glasses to church so they can be reused! Lakewood UCC will participate in the Astronomers Without Borders program to collect glasses after the eclipse, so they can be sent to schools in South America and Asia when eclipses cross those continents in 2019. Don’t waste. Donate!

COMMUNITY EVENTS

ONLINE RESOURCE: The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a new online resource, Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide. All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.
WED, AUG 23 FREE FILM SERIES: St. Pete for Peace is hosting the film “American Anarchist” at Community Cafe (2444 Central Ave) today, August 23, from 7-9pm. The story of one of the most infamous books ever written, “The Anarchist Cookbook,” and the role it’s played in the life of its author, now 65, who wrote it at 19 in the midst of the counterculture upheaval of the late ’60s and early ’70s. (80 min)
THU, AUG 24 DEATH PENALTY VIGIL: Pinellas anti-death penalty demonstration: Pax Christi Tampa Bay, Peace First, Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and other death penalty opponents will gather from 5:00-6:00 PM on Thursday, August 24 at an anti-death penalty demonstration at the intersection of Ulmerton Road and 49th Street N. in mid-Pinellas County. Park in the lot behind Checkers and the bank on the northwest corner of the intersection. Signs and banners will be provided, or you can bring your own. Since execution dates often change, please check the media for updates and changes. The demonstration occurs during the execution; if the execution is re-scheduled, the demonstration will be rescheduled.
WEDs JUL-AUG PEACE FIRST SITE FOR JULY-AUGUST: Since 2002, Peace First has gathered on street corners weekly to speak for peace and justice. In July and August, Peace First will demonstrate every Wednesday morning from 8:00-9:00 AM (new summer time) at the intersection of 54th Avenue and 49th Street N. in St. Petersburg. There are a CVS Pharmacy, Zeko’s Mediterranean Grill, and Memorial Park Cemetery at this intersection. This is a new site for the group. It is a main north/south artery that crosses a road leading to the interstate, so there is a lot of traffic. A map is available at google.com. Afterward the group will gather at the Burg Diner at 2950 49th Street for breakfast. For more information email FMI.
MON, AUG 28 CIVICS WORKSHOP: Former Congressman David Jolly and Pinellas County Commission Chair Janet Long will provide national and local perspectives on our system of government at a workshop as part of our Civics Literacy Initiative. Sponsored by the Institute and the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area Democracy 101: A Civic Action Primer takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 28 at the American Stage Theatre, 163 Third St. N., St. Petersburg. This free workshop will provide the basics of government structure, policy-making, and civic engagement.
THU, AUG 31 CONVERSATION AND FILM SCREENING: Join fellow community members for a conversation about building stronger & safer communities, following a special viewing of “Newtown,” a documentary on the sense of community after the scathing mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Film Screening of “Newtown” at 6:00 p.m. Community Discussion at 7:45 p.m. Free and open to the public! Light refreshments and appetizers will be served prior to the film screening. To reserve your seat, please email. This event will take place on Thursday, August 31st at 6:00pm at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg (University Student Center). Community Partners: The Florida Holocaust Museum, USF St. Petersburg, Community Tampa Bay, Sandy Hook Promise, and Temple Beth-El, St. Petersburg, FL. See facebook for more information.
SAT, SEP 16 SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT: Learn how the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area and our partners are working toward clean energy and clean water and how you can get involved! Saturday, September 16th from 9AM to 12:30PM at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute 100 8th Ave S, St. Pete. For ticket information visit facebook.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON:  If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

Senator Bill Nelson
716 Senate Hart Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-5274
Tampa office: 801 N. Florida Ave., 4th Floor, Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: 813-225-7040
www.billnelson.senate.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)

Senator Marco Rubio  
284 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510
Phone: 202-224-3041
Tampa office: 5201 West Kennedy Blvd, Ste. 530, Tampa, FL 33609
Phone: 813-287-5035
www.rubio.senate.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)

Dist. 14: Rep. Kathy Castor  
2052 Rayburn House Office Bldg., Washington DC 20515
Tampa Office 4144 N. Armenia Avenue Tampa FL 33607
Website: www.castor.house.gov (Click “Contact” to write a message)
(202) 225-3376   Washington
(727) 392-4100   St. Petersburg
(813) 871-2817   Tampa

District 13: Rep. Charlie Crist
427 Cannon House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20515
696 1st Avenue North, Suite #203 St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Website: www.crist.house.gov  (Click “Contact” to write a message)
(202) 225-5961 Washington
1-(888) 205-5569 District office

If you are living outside Florida or local districts, you may phone your Member of Congress by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121. Visit americantrails.org for additional contact information.

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
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LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. All children participate in the beginning of the worship service. Elementary age children and younger are invited to participate in Children’s Time during the service. After Children’s Time there is Church School for Elementary and Middle School students with Grace Lewis. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. High School students participate in the Lakewood service on Sunday morning and attend the youth groups at Pass A Grille Beach Community United Church of Christ on Sunday evening during the school year. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

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Reflections on the Peace Festival in Williams Park

LUCC sponsored a “free” table at the “Disturbing the Peace Festival” in Williams Park in downtown St. Petersburg on Sunday August 20. Williams Park is known for being a comfortable green space where homeless people gather. The Festival included a focus on the inequities in society and increasing the compassion of our community. There were about 10 organizations with booths at the Festival. The day included a steady stream of music, poetry, and speeches calling for a more peaceful and just world.

The church had a tent and four tables covered with donated goods from the congregation. There were clothes, household items, and books. Lots of books! Many thanks to the congregation for the many donations. At the end of the day, just three small boxes of books and a few items of clothing were left. Those were donated to a thrift store.

The booth was staffed by several volunteers from the church. Here are their reflections on the experience last Sunday:

From Bob Bell

When we were setting up I was wondering what we going to do with all those books. To my surprise they were a very popular item.  Thought about it and for some of the people in the park their time is not spent watching big screen T.V.’s sitting in an air-conditioned house.  Some spend day and night there. (It’s home.)  Perhaps books are a welcome retreat from the daily effort to make the most out of what little they possess.  When I was able to tell people looking at the items on our booth’s tables and say to them, “Yes, it’s free, take all you want,” I realized just how much our church and all the other groups set-up there in the park do to serve and help those with less.  It was a day of peace, love and caring in the park.  Especially good way for me personally to spend a Sunday afternoon.  I needed that!

From Yoko Nogami

Hello Kim,
I want to thank you for the opportunity you have created for us to serve at the LUCC table for the Peace Festival.  I have now remembered why these things are so important to all of us.  As in the sermon you gave, love all sides of everything, without being in personal contact with a group of people who you are not associated with, you only have a “notion” of who these people are.  I learned this long time ago when I worked with people with disabilities at Creative Clay.  I jumped into a world I knew nothing about, the only common denominator being art.  Would I have ever imagined that this population could teach me more than I could teach them.  While I have worked with economically less privileged group and spent time with homeless folks at Williams Park on 2 art projects before, I had forgotten the spirit of love support and community they have for each other.  Some are incredibly educated and sober.  Just hit super bad times.

As soon as we started to set up, people were flocking, not just to receive things from us but to help set up and bring things from the car.  People spoke so honestly, when you are in such situations, we become humble and honest, much less pretense.  So many books I did not expect that they would want, people were not only hungry for food but for knowledge and growth.  Why would I think otherwise?  These are all good things for self reflections and my own prejudices I did not realize I had.  Aside from the people experience, the heat!  People are enduring this weather daily without shelter and air conditioning!  We are wimps!  So many stories and so much to learn from one another.

As a teacher, these are the places I felt I needed my students to come and experience.  Like you told Angela, if everyone had one day to spend in the crazy Florida heat, or one homeless folk as their friend, we could all be compassionate and empathize with others not from your neighborhood or kin.  There is less room for hate or ignorance.

And as a church located so remotely from the urban situation, we have to go to these things and not wait for things to come to us.

That’s my take.  And God willing I will find time somewhere to make it all fit.  Lol.

From Patti Cooksey

Like Yoko, I was extremely impressed to see so many drawn to the collection of books and to receive them as gifts.  As a teacher, this was a humbling and inspiring experience as I thought of all the needs that are not available to some of those who visited our table.  I sensed peace in their hearts as we shared our presence and gifts of love.  I think we also need to recognize how our church family can quickly respond to opportunities that provide love and support in our community.  Lastly I think we should be grateful to have a strong pastor who not only has the strength and passion to plan and take on such projects, but who also has the strength to tackle assembling large tents and transport heavy boxes of books!

From Denise Williams

I’m so glad I was able to be a small part of the peace festival.  The most wonderful thing for me was all the smiles surrounding our tent. I loved saying “everything is free” – just like the love of Jesus – no strings attached.  It was a pleasure, heat and all, to share love and laughter with one another.  I was humbled to see the joy our presence made in the day of our sisters and brothers.  I hope our tent visitors realized how much joy we received from them as well. I look forward to other events where LUCC folk can share their multitude of blessings – for free, once again…

From Emily Bell

I, too, thank Pastor Kim and Lakewood for the precious opportunity at William’s Park on Sunday afternoon.

A story I am left with involves a man who showed up from the park and began helping to arrange books on one of Lakewood’s “free tables.”

It happened to be the table where I was starting to unload books.  We said “hello” and began to work together.  No more words were spoken.  I wish I could tell you his name and something about his journey.  I cannot emphasize enough how carefully he handled each book.  At some point I decided to leave that table and move to a different table to unload household items.  The man’s presence captured my attention.  It soon became clear to me that he was an artist building a display of treasures.  Silence surrounded him.  He arranged and rearranged.  He was lost in his art. Nothing distracted him.

As I reflect on this man and the books I realize that his artistry reminded me of a sacred altar where the elements are handled with love, care and respect.

This was indeed holy ground.  At this “free table” I was nourished and taught.
God was here.
It was REAL!

 

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Execution Vigil in Pinellas County

Pinellas anti-death penalty demonstration: Pax Christi Tampa Bay, Peace
First, Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and other death
penalty opponents will gather from 5:00-6:00 PM on Thursday, August 24 at an
anti-death penalty demonstration at the intersection of Ulmerton Road and
49th Street N. in mid-Pinellas County.  Park in the lot behind Checkers and
the bank on the northwest corner of the intersection. Signs and banners
will be provided, or you can bring your own. Since execution dates often
change, please check the media for updates and changes. The demonstration
occurs during the execution; if the execution is re-scheduled, the
demonstration will be rescheduled.

Other action to take:
Contact Gov. Rick Scott and ask him to suspend this and ALL executions.
Phone: (850) 488-7146
Email: Rick.Scott@eog.myflorida.com

Many thanks to Lucille Ruga for announcing this last Sunday in church and for providing this information.

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Workshop Offers How-to for Citizen Action

Workshop Offers How-to
for Citizen Action
A spirit of activism not seen since at least 2008 is sweeping across America. Motivated by the 2016 election campaign and its outcome, people on both sides of the political aisle are energized to become active in the political process – either to support the policies of the current administration at the national, state or local level, or to oppose them. But many are unsure of how the process works. How does one begin to make a difference in the political world?

 

Former Congressman David Jolly and Pinellas County Commission Chair Janet Long will provide national and local perspectives on our system of government at a workshop as part of our Civics Literacy Initiative. Sponsored by the Institute and the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area Democracy 101: A Civic Action Primer takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 28 at the American Stage Theatre, 163 Third St. N., St. Petersburg. This free workshop will provide the basics of government structure, policy-making, and civic engagement.

 

Moderating the workshop will be Tara Newsom, Professor of Social and Behavioral Science at SPC, and Julie Kessel, president of the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area. They will give a brief overview of the nuts and bolts of government as well as strategies for engaging with elected and appointed officials. Advance registration is available here.
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Pax Christi Tampa Bay newsletter

Pax Christi Tampa Bay E-mail Newsletter

NEWSLETTER ITEMS

Weekly Calendar with a new item
1. Act against Thursday’s execution
2. Drag Queen Bingo update
3. “Still No Room in the Inn” caroling date set
4. Women’s March St. Pete events list and Surly Feminists calendar link

Good folks,

Governor Rick Scott has ordered the execution of Mark Asay for next Thursday, August 24 at 6:00 PM, and local death penalty opponents will gather during the execution at the corner of 49th St. and Ulmerton Road in mid-Pinellas County. They will have signs like those above, or you can bring your own. A vigil and protest will also take place at 5:30 at St. Andrew United Church of Christ, 6908 S Beneva Road in Sarasota. Listed below are details and other actions you can take. A petition to halt the execution, with details about the murders and legal problems with the case, is here

Also below is a Drag Queen Bingo update and the Women’s March St. Pete events list.

Pax Christi Tampa Bay

 

WEEKLY CALENDAR

RESIST TRUMP TUESDAYS: Resist Trump Tuesdays, Indivisible Tampa’s ongoing dissent against Trump administration policies, is every Tuesday from 10:00 AM-11:30 at the corner of Dale Mabry Highway and Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa (map).  Note the new time; the demonstration has been moved earlier to avoid midday heat.  This is the group that caused Senator Rubio to close his Tampa office rather than hold a town hall meeting. For more information (FMI): https://www.facebook.com/groups/IndivisibleTampa/

PEACE FIRST SITE FOR AUGUST: Last Wednesday, a “Honk against hate” sign drew a huge positive response at the August Peace First demonstration at the intersection of 54th Avenue and 49th Street N. in St. Petersburg (map) .  Peace First will demonstrate every Wednesday morning in August from 8:00-9:00 AM at this site. There are a CVS Pharmacy, Zeko’s Mediterranean Grill, and Memorial Park Cemetery at this intersection.

Afterward the group will gather at the Burg Diner at 2950 49th Street (http://www.theburgdiner.com/) for breakfast.  For more information (FMI): sjstew@gte.net.

NEW ITEM: INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION RALLY: An ongoing demonstration focusing on an independent investigation into Trump/Russia ties and other issues concerning the Trump Administration is every Wednesday from 12:00 noon-1:00 PM on the sidewalks surrounding the St. Petersburg Judicial Building, 545 1st Ave N. in St Petersburg, FL 33711.  Bring signs! Organized by Floridians Against Corruption & Treason (FACT): https://www.facebook.com/FloridiansAgainstCorruptionandTreason
On August 30, the demonstration will be part of the Handmaids’ Protest; details are in the St. Pete Women’s March event list below.

FRIDAY NIGHT PICNIC ON THE PLAYGROUND IN ST. PETEThe Friday Night Picnic is a potluck picnic for hungry people, most of whom are low income or experiencing homelessness.  The picnic continues to need potluck food, beverages, picnic supplies, and volunteers. The picnic, which serves over 100 people a week, is at 6:00 PM every Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 719 Arlington Avenue N. at Mirror Lake Drive in downtown St. Petersburg.  FMI: http://uustpete.org/2014/09/17/friday-picnic-playground or (973) 768-3256.

WEEKLY BREAKFAST: Loaves and Fishes is the breakfast held at Trinity Lutheran Church on Saturday mornings that was supported by Drag Queen Bingo at Hamburger Mary’s. Volunteers serve a hot breakfast to over 150 people. The breakfast is held on the third floor of Trinity Lutheran Church, 401 4th Avenue North in St. Petersburg.

The breakfast runs from 7:30-10:30 AM, and volunteers can participate some or all of the breakfast.   Please contact G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088 to help.

SINGLE EVENTS

 

 

  1. GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT TO EXECUTE HIS 23RD FLORIDIAN: Governor Rick Scott has ordered the execution of Mark Asay for Thursday, August 24 at 6:00 PM. This would be Florida’s first execution in 18 months. Florida holds a national record for death row exonerations. In May, Ralph Wright, Jr., became the 27th exonerated Florida Death Row survivor – far more than any other state.

    The Florida Supreme Court directed that Wright be acquitted of all charges related to the murders of his ex-girlfriend and their son, ruling that the “purely circumstantial” evidence against him was insufficient to convict. Read the story here

    “If an Air Force Sergeant and former Orange County Deputy Sheriff with no criminal record can be wrongfully convicted and sent to death row,” said Mark Elliott, director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty,   “it can happen to anyone.”  Read his full statement at https://www.fadp.org/ This website also has articles and information about the death penalty, including an easy-to-read death penalty fact sheet.

    ACTIONS TO TAKE:
    Contact Gov. Rick Scott and ask him to suspend this and ALL executions.
    Phone: (850) 488-7146
    Email: Rick.Scott@eog.myflorida.com

    Pinellas anti-death penalty demonstration: Pax Christi Tampa Bay, Peace First, Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and other death penalty opponents will gather from 5:00-6:00 PM on Thursday, August 24 at an anti-death penalty demonstration at the intersection of Ulmerton Road and 49th Street N. in mid-Pinellas County  (map).  Park in the lot behind Checkers and the bank on the northwest corner of the intersection.  Signs and banners will be provided, or you can bring your own. Since execution dates often change, please check the media for updates and changes.  The demonstration occurs during the execution; if the execution is re-scheduled, the demonstration will be rescheduled. FMI: sjstew@gte.net  or (727) 492-1590.

    Manasota demonstration against the death penalty: A witness against the death penalty prayer vigil will take place on Thursday, August 24.  The witness begins at 5:30 PM with a silent protest with signs on the front lawn of St. Andrew United Church of Christ, 6908 S Beneva Rd., just north of Gulf Gate Drive in Sarasota (map).  The Prayer Service follows in the church at 6:00 PM.  Sponsored by Pax Christi USA—Manasota Chapter.  FMI: Rjbannerusa@gmail.com

  2. DRAG QUEEN BINGO REPORT: Thanks to the 200 people who supported Celebrate Outreach’s Drag Queen Bingo night in support of the Loaves and Fishes Saturday morning breakfast. Along with having a lively and hilarious evening, participants (with vigorous support from our bingo caller in drag) raised $1,800, enough to supply a weekly breakfast for over 150 people for the next sixth months.

    Mark your calendars now: Celebrate Outreach has scheduled another Drag Queen Bingo for January 17. Details will follow.

    3. CAROLING DATE SET: For 27 years, Tampa Bay residents have caroled at homeless shelters and retirement homes in downtown St. Petersburg as part of the “Still No Room in the Inn” carol sing. This year, the caroling will be on Friday, December 8. Since holiday schedules fill up fast, we are telling you now so you can mark your calendars. Details will follow.

    4. EVENTS CALENDAR: The Surly Feminists Events Calendar is a comprehensive listing of progressive political, educational, activist and cultural events in the Tampa Bay area:    https://localendar.com/public/surlyfemevents?style=M4

    An events list from former members of the Women’s March St. Pete steering committee is below. They are volunteers working to keep fellow citizens informed. Join the e-mail list at amyw304@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Women’s Day at the Masjid

Aug 19

2pm @ 7326 E Sligh Ave, Tampa, Florida 33610

Women’s Day at the Masjid is for women, conducted by women, and about women. Topics include: Islam 101, Women in Islam, Muslim Contributions to the World, and Hot Topics. Snacks provided.

https://www.facebook.com/events/464001567313326/

 

 

Aug 24 – Suds for Sustainability, 6 pm @ Caledonia Brewing, 587 Main St, Dunedin, Florida 34698

Socialize, Network, and Enjoy!  Learn about various organizations and how they are helping our local environment and our planet. Representatives from local groups will briefly update us on what they’re up to and how you can get more involved. Then have a beer and catch up with old and new friends.

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/749744428564322/

 

 

A Series of Sessions: Democracy 101: A Civic Action Primer

  • August 28 – Session #1, 6:00pm @ American Stage Theatre Company, 163 3rd St N, St. Petersburg, FL
  • September 13  – Session #2, 

6:00 pm @  SPC – Midtown Campus, 1300 22nd St S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712

  • December 6 – Session #3, 6:00 pm @ SPC EpiCenter Services, 13925 58th St N, Clearwater, FL 33760

A spirit of activism not seen since at least 2008 is sweeping across America.

 

Motivated by the 2016 election campaign and its outcome, people on both sides of the political aisle are energized to become active in the political process – either to support the policies of the current administration at the national, state or local level, or to oppose them. But how does that work? What can citizens do to make a difference in the political world?

 

This fall, the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College and the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area will present three free public workshops where attendees will learn the basics of local government structure, policy-making, and civic engagement. Hosted by SPC Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions and League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area.

 

Registration is free, but required: https://solutions.spcollege.edu/events/democracy-101-a-civic-action-primer/

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/259036351267092

 

 

 

Handmaids’ Protest ~ Women’s Rights are Human Rights

 

August 30, 12:00 noon @
St. Petersburg Judicial Building, 545 1st Ave N, St. Petersburg

 

Register here to participate and for free use of costume:
https://act.weareultraviolet.org/event/handmaids_resist_events_attend/1787

Join with UltraViolet and the League of Women Voters St. Petersburg’s Reproductive Rights Action Group in this visibility event to call out sexism and anti-women policies. If we don’t act, we might soon be starring in our own real-life version of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

This August is a key moment for women to resist – to rise up and boldly demonstrate that a society where women are treated as anything but equals will not be tolerated.

PLEASE NOTE: Ultraviolet is lending us outfits — you do not need to purchase or rent robes or bonnets as long as you register!!

St. Petersburg handmaids will walk in silent procession around downtown blocks; this is in tandem with the weekly Wednesday noon protests held by FACT at the Judicial Building.

Registration is free, but required. Click here!

 

September 16 – Sunrise Over the Bay: Sustainability SummitTaking Care of Our Peninsula on a Peninsula, 9:00am-12:30pm, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, 100 8th Ave SE, St. Petersburg 33701.
 

Sunrise Over the Bay will focus on how we are working toward clean energy and clean water. Topic include solar energy co-ops, actions the City and County have taken in support of solar energy, community solar opportunities, storm waste and wastewater planning, integrated sustainability action plan, and beach replenishment. Our goal is to educate and engage people about why we need Clean Energy and Clean Water in St Pete today!

 

REGISTRATION IS FREE, BUT REQUIRED:

http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=hljhxzdab&oeidk=a07eeg0c71f3cf15f14

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/160301314539024/

 

 

Amy Weintraub, 4545 Dolphin Cay Ln S, St. Petersburg, FL 33711
SafeUnsubscribe™ sjstew@gte.net

 

amyw304@gmail.com | Update Profile | About our service provider

 

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St Petersburg Plastic Bag Ban Petition

As the St. Petersburg City Council considers a ban on plastic bags, 36 members of Lakewood UCC signed a petition in support of such a ban. Along with the petition, Rev. Kim Wells sent a letter of explanation, it read:

Dear Members of the St. Petersburg City Council,
Greetings!  Our church is committed to the directive in the book of Genesis that humanity care for the Earth (Genesis 1:28).  We take this responsibility very seriously.  We feel an obligation to protect the Earth and all of the life that it supports.  We continue to seek out ways to fulfill this requirement of the Christian as well as the Jewish faith.
To this end, we enclose a petition in support of the limitation of the use of plastic bags.  This petition was circulated in church on the past two Sunday mornings.  There were about 30 people in attendance each Sunday.  We feel that the banning of plastic bags is an important way to show greater care and respect for the Earth and for the wildlife of our area.
I was in Portland, OR for a week in May attending a meeting and seeing the area since I had never been there.  After four days, I noticed that I had not been given a plastic bag at a store.  Paper bags had been used.  The next time I went to a store I asked about this.  Was there some kind of law or prohibition against plastic bags?  Oh yes!  The clerk was very enthusiastic about it and was quite surprised to hear that we did not have this in Florida.
Thank you for pursuing this initiative here in St. Petersburg.  Hopefully other municipalities will follow suit.  It’s good to live in a city that is setting the pace!
Many thanks for your leadership and service.
Blessings,
Rev. Kim Wells, pastor
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Lakewood UCC presence at Candlelight Vigil for Charlottesville

On Sunday evening, August 13, Susan Pomeroy and Sue Sherwood from LUCC attended the Charlottesville Solidarity Vigil at Demens Landing in St. Petersburg. This candlelight vigil drew people together within 24 hours of the tragic and deadly confrontations in Virginia. This gathering was organized by many local organizations, among them the Women’s March Pinellas Chapter.

It was a hushed atmosphere. Gradually 300-500 people of all ages gathered – silently walking across the park to stand together or sit on the grass and talk quietly – remembering, mourning. praying, and breathing deeply of the power of community. Many in the crowd quietly held signs as in the January marches: Love Trumps Hate, Black Lives Matter, We the People Can Resist. The Uhurus silently wove through the crowd with a sign and flyers for their mayoral candidate.

There were many inspiring speakers — County Commissioner Ken Welch and Equality Florida’s Nadine Smith among them — the crowd often breaking into applause. One shared that the violence of Charlottesville brought back memories of what it was like growing up in racially charged Florida decades ago, urging us to reach out to one another across the differences that divide us and claim common ground. City Council’s Darden Rice called us all to view again the photo of the car plowing through the crowd in Charlottesville and to look deeply into each of the faces there.

As the evening drew to a close, we were heartened by this caring community with the pink sky above us and the babies around us, cuddled and happy as we raised candles of hope for their future to be one of justice and peace. We lingered after the candle-lighting to hear the shared music and poetry – passion expressed in so many ways.

We were especially touched by Rabbi Michael Torop of Temple Beth-El, who blessed us with one of the most ancient prayers in Judaism:

Yevarechecha Adonai u’vishmarechav
May All that is Good surround you and protect you;
 
Ya’eir Adonai panav eleicha v’chuneka
May All that is Good enlighten you, and may you then shine it on others;
 
Yisa Adonai panav eleicha, v’yaseim lecha shalom.
May All that is Good be your constant companion, and may such Goodness bring you, indeed bring to all of us, wholeness, completeness, unity and peace.

–Sue Sherwood

Click on any picture for a larger image.

Here you can see the Vigil from the front near the stage. Squatting down & holding the “Hate Has No Home Here” sign is Joran Oppelt, President of Interfaith Tampa Bay. The Interfaith statement to the community is immediately below the picture.

Interfaith Tampa Bay Statement
 
In light of the recent events in Charlottesville, VA and as members of Interfaith Tampa Bay, we feel it is imperative to make our position clear.
 
It is the mission of Interfaith Tampa Bay to build bridges between individuals and faith communities through shared dialogue and experience, heal ourselves and our society by serving the community and fighting injustice together, and effect change in our world by promoting non-violence and religious pluralism.
 
This amazing and beautiful country belongs to all of us, not just one race, not just one religion. And while we believe in the benefits of multiculturalism, a culture of hate is not sustainable for our city, our society or the planet.
 
We invite people of all faiths (as well as our atheist brothers and sisters) to join us in our stand and support for what is right and just for all.
 
We believe that by whatever name we choose – God, Allah, Creator, The Force – there is something that connects us all. And that unifying principle, that Golden Rule – no matter how difficult it may seem – is that we love one another.
 
It is time to send a message to those who would support a culture of hatred, fear and xenophobia (specifically white nationalism and white supremacy). It is time for us to share the antidote for those who would poison the minds of our children. The message is that your time is up and we are not willing to let you divide us or run our country into chaos. The antidote is love, acceptance, courage, non-violence and dialogue.
 
Interfaith Tampa Bay stands in solidarity with all who uphold these principles in Tampa Bay and beyond.
 
Peace be upon you, Shalom aleikhem, As-salamu alaykum.
 
Sincerely,
The Board of Directors of Interfaith Tampa Bay
 
Joran Slane Oppelt, President
Imam Abdul Karim Ali, Vice President
Rev. J.C. Pritchett, Secretary
Rev. Doral Pulley, Treasurer
Rev. Canon Katie Churchwell
Rev. Katy Korb
Kitty Rawson

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