Everytown for Gun Safety Releases ‘Gun Sense Candidate’ Lookup Tool

Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown, unveiled a lookup tool allowing voters to see if state and federal candidates have received a Moms Demand Action ‘Gun Sense Candidate’ distinction by satisfactorily completing a questionnaire and pledging to stand up for gun safety. The lookup tool, and more information on gun safety and getting involved, is available at: gunsensevoter.org.

The NRA gives candidates for office a letter grade indicating how good (or bad) the lawmaker is on gun issues. In the estimation of the NRA, an A-plus grade indicates that a lawmaker would be highly unlikely to support new gun restrictions. A lawmaker who regularly backed new gun laws would earn an F. Although the NRA has erased past candidate grades from it’s website, they are available for download here.

More and more candidates are actively running on gun safety platforms. Moms Demand Action volunteers have been distributing questionnaires to candidates across the country and educating them on key policies and what it means to be a Gun Sense Candidate. To date, more than 2,600 candidates have sought and received a Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate distinction this cycle. Incumbents, challengers or open seat candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Senate, State House, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives are eligible.

So far, there are Gun Sense Candidates in 46 states ― red, blue and purple. Criteria on the questionnaires for receiving the distinction includes a candidate’s stance on background checks and disarming domestic abusers. Criteria also includes stances on concealed carry reciprocity for federal candidates and red flag laws for state candidates. Everytown will continue to evaluate questionnaires and award the distinction to additional candidates in the coming weeks.

Moms Demand Action and Everytown are all in on the midterm elections, and the Gun Sense Candidate distinction program is just one example that gun safety and gun violence prevention are winning issues that candidates across the country are running on.

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Weekly Update 15 August

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 19 THIS SUNDAY: Rev. Victoria Long will be preaching on Sunday August 19 while Rev. Wells is away. The congregation is grateful for her ministry!

Summer Sundays Services are more informal and favorite hymns will be sung each week. Children attend the beginning of the service and may go to the Nursery following Children’s Time.

AUG 12 – 31 PASTOR AWAY: Rev. Wells will be away from August 12 – August 31. For pastoral care, please contact Sally Purvis (Aug. 12-15, 20-31) or Jim Andrews (Aug. 16-19).
WED, AUG 15 WEDDING: Congratulations are extended to Angela Wells and Andy Bean who will be married in Edinburgh, Scotland today.  Many blessings to them!
WED, AUG 22 OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month. The next Operation Attack volunteer night is 22 August at 6:30pm. Items currently needed are:

Boys briefs/boxers: sizes 2 – Men’s 34 waist
Boys no show socks: S, M, L, & XL
Girls panties: sizes 4 – Women’s 6
Girls no show socks: S, M, & L

SUN, AUG 26 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: Carol Shores and Claudia Rodriguez will host this months potluck celebrating August birthdays. Please bring a dish to share.
SUN, SEP 2 THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: There will be cards and other items available for sale on Sun. Sept. 2nd. The mission for September card sales is CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse).Ongoing ministry items needed: regular size or travel size hygiene supplies (e.g. shampoo, body wash, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, kids shampoo, baby shampoo), gently used or new bath towels, composition books, pens, pencils. Also gently used or new clothing (specifically button down or polo style shirts, adult pants different sizes) Items will be given to various organizations in need.There is a box in back of sanctuary for items to be placed. See Wally LeBlanc for further information.
SUN, SEP 9 SUMMER SUNDAYS END: Regular Sundays resume on September 9. The choir will rehearse at 9am and sing in worship – all are welcome to join! Church School begins for school-aged children.
WED, SEP 12 GOD AND BEYOND CONTINUES: The Advisors are continuing to provide opportunities for discussion about the theological orientation of the church along with the faith statement and mission statement. The next gathering will be Wednesday Sept. 12 at 6:30 in the Fellowship Hall. The discussion will refer to Dan Brown’s book Origin. There will be discussion of the lecture given by Robert Langdon that is featured toward the beginning of the book. Copies of the material will be available on Sept. 9 for review. All are welcome!
FRI, SEP 21 PEACE DAY: September 21 will be the 36th international day of peace, a United Nations sanctioned holiday. The theme this year is “Right to peace”. Let Carol Shores know if you are interested in organizing a peace day event at LUCC.
SAT, OCT 20 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: Save the date for Circus McGurkis October 20th at Gibbs High School. Contact Yoko Nogami or Claire Stiles for volunteer opportunities.
WESTMINSTER LUNCH: There will be no lunch at Westminster Suncoast in August, Pastor Wells will be in Scotland for her daughter’s wedding.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, AUG 9 ACTION PLANNING: In one month, Peoples Climate Movement and partners like 350.org, Sierra Club, GreenFaith, Service Employees International Union, and others from around the world are bringing together tens of thousands of people to show our leaders that we demand action on climate, jobs, and justice. With your help we can make this day a big success. Do you have any great ideas!? Want to help out? Ready to take action beyond attending the event? Please come to help organize Rise Up Ringing: Friday, August 17, 7pm. We will be meeting in person and by Zoom. Please RSVP to Michael for location or join the meeting with computer or phone: dial: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 929 436 2866 and use Meeting ID: 287 719 4100.
TUE, AUG 21 DOCUMENTARY FILM: Chasing Ice, a time-lapse record of the Arctic icecap undergoing dramatic shrinkage in Earth’s rapidly-warming climate, will be screened on Aug. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the SPC STEM Center, (4723 Bay Pines Terrace). Admission is free, but seating is limited and advance registration is required. Of special note is Director James Blalog’s footage of the calving of the Ilulissat Glacier in western Greenland, when 1.8 cubic miles of ice broke off in skyscraper-sized chunks over 75 minutes.
TUE, AUG 28 VOTE: Please remember to vote in the primary election on 28 August. If you have any questions about the election, consider using the League of Women Voters’ voter guide website. It is a wealth of non-partisan information about local elections.
THU, AUG 30 GUN FORUM: One reason America seems unable to have a rational conversation about reducing gun violence is that the issue is steeped in myth and misinformation. Busting some of those myths is the focus of the forum titled Guns in America: Myth-Busting in Search of Solutions. IT will be from 6 to 8:15 p.m. Aug. 30 at the SPC Seminole Campus Conference Center, (9200 113th St N) Advance registration to the dinner event is required. Lead speaker will be Dr. John S. “Jack” Rozel, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and co-author of a study of gun violence titled “The Link Between Mental Illness and Firearm Violence: Implications for Social Policy and Clinical Practice.”
SAT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Celebrate Outreach hosts Loaves and Fishes weekly breakfast at Trinity Lutheran church every Saturday morning. Volunteers serve a full hot meal to over 150 hungry people. The breakfast runs from 7:30 to 10:30am and volunteers can participate with some or all of the breakfast. Please contact Carol Shores to help.
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 the church office.
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.
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.
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.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! 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 the church office 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. School age children are invited to participate in Summer Sundays church services. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez following Children’s Time. 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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Update on Pax Christi newsletter

Update: STAY for Execution


GOOD NEWS:  the Florida Supreme Court has indefinitely put on hold Tuesday’s schedule execution of Jose Antonio Jimenez for the killing of Phyllis Minas.

The conditions surrounding this case are remarkably similar to the case of Derrick Jamison, who will be at the death penalty protest this Tuesday.

The unanimous order by the court, issued Friday evening, did not give a reason for the stay.  However, Jimenez’s lawyer Marty McClain discovered 80 pages of records related to the investigation of Minas’ 1992 death that had not been previously provided to Jimenez’s lawyers.  According to McClain, handwritten notes in the records made by lead investigator Detective Ojeda and Detective Decidue “show that Ojeda and Diecidue were willing (to) give false and/or misleading deposition testimony in order to facilitate Mr. Jimenez’s conviction.”

Derrick Jamison spent 20 years of his life in prison—17 on death row—for a murder he did not commit.  The murder charges were finally dismissed after two federal courts found prosecutors had withheld key evidence.

Please support Derrick and the struggle to end the death penalty at a demonstration from 5:00-6:00 PM next Tuesday, August 14.  The demonstration will be held at the intersection of 49th Street and Ulmerton Road in mid-Pinellas County (map).  This location is near the Pinellas County courts and jail complex.

If you have not already done so, please contact Gov. Rick Scott now with the direct action tool developed in partnership with Equal Justice USA; or at (850) 488-7146; or Rick.Scott@eog.myflorida.com.  Ask him to end executions.

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty have a new campaign to contact local state attorneys to urge life in prison instead of execution.  Information is here

A fact sheet about executions in Florida is here

Here is information on Derrick, including an article and interview on WMNF radio:

WMNF radio story: https://www.wmnf.org/man-released-death-row-lead-pinellas-execution-vigil/

Channel 13 story about Derrick and the Tampa program that is helping him (five minutes)

Death row survivor: “A miracle happened to me”

Vox article: “I’ll Fight ’til My Knuckles Bleed for Others on Death Row”: The Remarkable Story of a Man Once Sentenced to Die

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.  FMI: sjstew@gte.net   or (727) 492-1590.

 

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Sermon 8.12.18 To Dream

Scripture Lessons:  Ephesians 4:1-16 and John 6: 24-35

Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

Edward Curtis died on October 19, 1952 in a postage stamp sized apartment in Beverly Hills.  He was 84 years old.  He died virtually penniless.  His daughter, Beth, commented that, “her father had left this world as he’d entered it, without a single possession to his name.”  [Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher:  The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis, Timothy Egan, 2012, p. 314]  Many people die in obscurity.  That is not unusual.  But Curtis, a Seattle photographer, had at one time been a nationally renowned figure.  He was personally acquainted with J. P.  Morgan, one of the richest men in America.  He had a close friendship with Teddy Roosevelt.  Despite having only gone to school until age 11, what led Curtis to the hallowed precincts of power?  What drove Curtis to spend months each year sleeping in tents, outside, battling the elements and enduring the discomforts of outdoor life when he had a successful business and a comfortable home with a wife and 3 children in Seattle?  

As a successful photographer, Curtis was selected by C. Hart Merriam, the cofounder of the National Geographic Society, to join a scientific expedition to Alaska to document the landscape and the people of the region.  Curtis agreed.  On that expedition, Curtis became aware that the indigenous peoples and cultures were dying out and would soon be gone.  The seed was planted in Curtis.  He would spend the next 30 years of his life documenting for posterity the native cultures of North America.  

Armed with photography equipment, notebooks, tent, bedroll, and a wax cylinder recorder for audio, Curtis and a skeletal staff, roamed the western north american content recording the culture and people who were being driven to extinction by Euro-American expansion.  And they did so at a feverish pace.  Because, as Curtis explained, his subject was dying.  [Egan, p. 52]  

While Curtis was dismissed by eastern academicians who wrote and taught about native Americans but had never been out west he gained the trust of the indigenous peoples and joined in their rituals and ceremonies and lived among them for many months each year.  But his biggest struggle wasn’t acceptance by the Indians, or the trials of outdoor life, but funding. The expenses were sizable – for assistants,equip- ment, supplies, and the printing of the actual books.  While Curtis was consumed by his work in the field, he had to repeatedly leave the work to travel to the east coast to seek funding from the wealthy elite.  Much more comfortable in his tent in the desert than in the posh parlor of a New York City mansion, he eventually gained the support of J. P. Morgan.  And he sought the support of the US government through then President of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt.  Curtis became friends with Roosevelt and even photographed Roosevelt and his family.  

Curtis’s dream took its toll on his finances since he essentially earned no money from the project and spent his fortune on its completion.  And the project took its toll on Curtis’s family.  His marriage ended in divorce. 

But Curtis persisted.  Volume by volume the encyclopedia emerged.  Three decades later, in 1929, when Curtis was 61, the last volume was completed.  But with the stock market crash, the funding to purchase such an extravagant resource dried up and there was little room in the national psyche to pay attention to his work.  Even institutions of higher learning with extensive libraries largely ignored Curtis’s voluminous tomes.  So Curtis’s lifelong project ended with no fanfare or notoriety.  And he, and his encyclopedias, fell into obscurity. 

Curtis completed The North American Indian, a 20 volume ethnographic encyclopedia, documenting the cultures of the indigenous peoples of North America.  The idea of creating this record of the native peoples had sprouted within him and drove the rest of his life.  All of his decisions, activities, resources, his being, were devoted to this project. While the project consumed him, he fulfilled it with no acclaim or recognition.  It was his dream.  And he gave his life to his dream.  And that was what mattered.

Reading Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan made me wonder, what am I giving my life to?  What is my dream?  We live, day to day.  Many of us very busy with many involvements and activities.  But what are we really doing?  What end is all of our busyness serving?  What dream are we chasing?  We work.  To make a living.  That is, money to live.  Money to spend.  Which fulfills the dreams of others to be rich.  But what about making a life?  What are our dreams and what are we doing to fulfill them?  

We may not have one big overarching ambitious project, like Curtis, but we are each surely called to devote ourselves to living out our dreams.  How are we doing with that?  We show kids inspirational sayings like “Shoot for the stars” and “Dream big” but what do they see among the adults around them?  How are we doing showing those who are coming after us about living our dreams?  

This kind of issue concerned Jesus, too.  Threading we heard this morning follows the story of the feeding of the multitudes.  The people have just been fed bread and fish.  Now the conversation continues in the aftermath of that story and the people remain focussed on the food.  The literal food.  What is eaten.  Jesus is trying to use the story to get to deeper meanings but the conversation remains on two levels with Jesus trying to go deeper and the crowd stuck at the level of bread to put in their mouths.  So there is that beautiful, telling line, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”  [John 6:27]  Jesus is encouraging the listeners to live deeper; to follow him in giving their lives to something more than just bread for the stomach.  In devoting themselves to the commonwealth of God and not simply procuring food to eat, they will find the food that truly satisfies.  We are created to do more than simply see that our bodily needs are met.  It is our nature to invest our lives in the common good.   We need that to live.  Our dreams feed us.  

The reading from Ephesians picks up on this theme.  The writer is encouraging spiritual maturity.  Jesus followers are to pursue the virtues of which the human spirit is capable though not always inclined:  humility, gentleness, patience, love, unity, peace.  In addition, those in the community have been given gifts.  And what is the purpose of those gifts?  To make money?  To create jobs? To start a business?  That’s what our culture tells us to do with our assets.  But Ephesians tells us that these gifts are for ministry.  For serving others.  For building up the body of Christ.  Believers are not to be fooled.  We are told:  “We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.”  [Epheisans 4:14]  Yes, think Q Anon.  Think fake news.  Think advertising propaganda.  And, yes, think religious manipulation.  There are all kinds of influences, subtle and not, that are trying to shape our thinking, our values, our character.  And Ephesians is encouraging us to be thoughtful and discerning.  To think deeply.  Don’t just take things at the sur-face.  Don’t just accept the cultural milk around you like a baby taking its mother’s milk.  That is fine for a child, but as adults seeking spiritual maturity, we are to seek the truth in love and grow into the likeness of Christ as we see it in Jesus.  

Trickery, craftiness, deception.  There are those who will use these tactics to entice us to follow and to form our dreams around self serving aims rather than the common good.  To give our lives to personal gain and the lure of wealth instead of bettering the lives of others.  These are the things which do not ultimately satisfy.  The food that perishes.  And it is all around us. 

Our faith tradition invites us to choose the food that satisfies.   To choose service and other centered living.  To choose the health of the community and the earth.  To choose to dream big.  Of course, we want to be healthy.  But what about creating a society that fosters the health of all people?  Sure, we want meaningful work.  But what about investing in a community that encourages everyone to be engaged in useful, meaningful labor?  Yes, we want to enjoy a day at the beach.  But what about protecting the environment so that everyone can enjoy the beautiful outdoors.  I love to read a good book.  But what about making sure that everyone can read and has access to books?  We have been given gifts, skills, graces, time, voices, money, access, and power.  What are we doing with all that we have been given?  What dreams are we serving?  Are they in keeping with our faith?  Are they worthy of our calling?  Are they big enough?  Are they dreams that will satisfy?   

I don’t normally read the obituaries.  Maybe a couple of times a year, I glance at that page in the newspaper.  Well, I happened to look at the obits on Thursday August 2.  For some reason I found myself reading the obituary for David Allen Palmer.  And I was stopped by the first line.  “David Allen Palmer, 63, a new resident of Pensacola, FL, passed away July 31, 2019.”  Yes, the date said, 2019.  But it’s only 2018.  Yes, a typo.  Surprising.  But what if you knew about your death a year ahead?  What if you knew that you had a year to live?  A year to live out your dreams.  What would you be doing?  How would you spend your time and money?  What would you do with all of your resources and assets and gifts and graces?  How would you chase that food that does not perish?  

Maybe that is what impressed me so much about the photographer and ethnographer Edward Curtis.  If you had told him he had a year to live, I don’t think he would have changed anything about what he did.  He gave all he had to the encyclopedia of The North American Indian.  And when he wasn’t out actually documenting the Indians, he was chasing after funding so the project could go on.  He could not have done anything to be more devoted to his dream.  He could not have accomplished any more in achieving his dream.  He gave it everything.  

The last volume of the The North American Indian was about the native peoples of Alaska.  Curtis told of “how they made parkas from bird or fish skins, and heavier coats of caribou and bear hide.  Their socks were woven grass; a rain slicker was fashioned from seal intestine.  The people were tattooed and pierced and handsome. . .”  Curtis’ assessment of those very northern North American Indians?  “In all the author’s experience among Indians and Eskimos, he never knew a happier and more thoroughly honest and self-reliant people.”  [Egan, p. 296-297]  It was good to return to Alaska where his dream had begun and to have a positive experience when the overall story of the indigenous peoples was a tragic one.  

In this last volume of his encyclopedia, Curtis thanked those who had helped him with the project through the years and there were many.  The people “who never lost faith.”  Who encouraged him.  We need others to help us pursue our dreams and to support us along the way.  Curtis recognized this as he concluded his herculean project saying, “Mere thanks seem hollow in comparison with such loyal cooperation; but great is the satisfaction the writer enjoys when he can at last say to all those whose faith has been unbounded, ‘It is finished.’”  [Egan,p. 297]  Curtis knew the food that does not perish.  The bread of life.  May we taste that bread!  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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Weekly Update 9 August

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 5 THIS SUNDAY: We live in busy times and we are bombarded by information. Think of that word, “bomb”arded. It’s as though we are being bombed continuously by events and news and updates. No relief. Church is a place to pause. To look out and see a bigger picture. To look in and connect. This Sunday is a time to think about dreams. What were your hopes and dreams when you were younger? What are they now? Are your dreams guiding your life? Can you remember what is was like to follow your dreams? You’re invited to prepare by reading Ephesians 4:1-16 and John 6:24-35.

Public schools open for students on Monday Aug. 13.  In church on Sunday Aug. 12 there will be a special blessing of the students and teachers of the congregation.  Please plan to be part of surrounding those involved with education with your support and love.

Summer Sundays Services are more informal and favorite hymns will be sung each week. Children attend the beginning of the service and may go to the Nursery following Children’s Time.

AUG 12 – 31
PASTOR AWAY: Rev. Wells will be away from August 12 – August 31. For pastoral care, please contact Sally Purvis (Aug. 12-15, 20-31) or Jim Andrews (Aug. 16-19). Rev. Victoria Long will be preaching on Sunday August 19. The congregation is grateful for their ministry!
MON, AUG 13
SCHOOL BEGINS: Blessings to the teachers, students, & parents of the LUCC congregation as school begins August 13.
WED, AUG 15
WEDDING: Congratulations are extended to Angela Wells and Andy Bean who will be married in Edinburgh, Scotland on Wednesday Aug. 15.  Many blessings to them!
WED, AUG 22
OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month.The next Operation Attack volunteer night is 22 August at 6:30pm. Items currently needed are:
Boys briefs/boxers: sizes 2 – Men’s 34 waist
Boys no show socks: S, M, L, & XL
Girls panties: sizes 4 – Women’s 6
Girls no show socks: S, M, & L
Contact Ian Blair-Catala for more information.
SUN, SEP 2 THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: There will be cards and other items available for sale on Sun. Sept. 2nd. The mission for September card sales is CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse).

Ongoing ministry items needed: regular size or travel size hygiene supplies (e.g. shampoo, body wash, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, kids shampoo, baby shampoo), gently used or new bath towels, composition books, pens, pencils. Also gently used or new clothing (specifically button down or polo style shirts, adult pants different sizes) Items will be given to various organizations in need.There is a box in back of sanctuary for items to be placed. See Wally LeBlanc for further information.

WED, SEP 12 GOD AND BEYOND CONTINUES: The Advisors are continuing to provide opportunities for discussion about the theological orientation of the church along with the faith statement and mission statement. The next gathering will be Wednesday Sept. 12 at 6:30 in the Fellowship Hall. The discussion will refer to Dan Brown’s book Origin. There will be discussion of the lecture given by Robert Langdon that is featured toward the beginning of the book. Copies of the material will be available on Sept. 9 for review. All are welcome!
FRI, SEP 21 PEACE DAY: September 21 will be the 36th international day of peace, a United Nations sanctioned holiday. The theme this year is “Right to peace”. Let Carol Shores know if you are interested in organizing a peace day event at LUCC.
SAT, OCT 20 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: Save the date for Circus McGurkis October 20th at Gibbs High School. Contact Yoko Nogami or Claire Stiles for volunteer opportunities.
WESTMINSTER LUNCH: There will be no lunch at Westminster Suncoast in August, Pastor Wells will be in Scotland for her daughter’s wedding.
CREATION JUSTICE UPDATE: The Creation Justice Task Force at LUCC has many projects and initiatives in the works. Follow the link to find out more about this exciting ministry.
NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, AUG 9 JUSTICE FIRST TOUR: Southern communities are on the frontlines of the climate crisis in the US, bearing the greatest impacts of an economic system of exploitation that continues to concentrate power and wealth into the hands of a few. Now, more than ever, we need to come together and unite in one voice for climate justice and stand together to advance long-term solutions that put justice first and lift frontline communities up. The Justice First Tour calls for a strong network of grassroots organizations working together to advance climate justice with a focus on 100% clean energy for 100% of the people. The tour will feature local community leaders/speakers who will talk about local Justice issues (immigration, women’s rights, climate justice, jobs, etc.), to inspire a dialogue among participating citizens and organizations, seeking to find solutions to these issues in an intersectional way. August 9 6-8 pm, at Unity of Tampa (3302 W Horatio St, Tampa).
SAT, AUG 11 VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Celebrate Outreach hosts Loaves and Fishes weekly breakfast at Trinity Lutheran church every Saturday morning. Volunteers serve a full hot meal to over 150 hungry people. The breakfast runs from 7:30 to 10:30am and volunteers can participate with some or all of the breakfast. Please contact Carol Shores to help.
TUE, AUG 14 SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT: The City of St. Petersburg 2018 Sustainability Summit will explore how we get to 100% Clean Energy. The Integrated Sustainability Action Plan (ISAP) is well underway in advancing our city’s sustainability and resiliency initiatives, including a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and a roadmap for achieving 100% Clean Energy. You are invited to the 2018 Sustainability Summit to find out more and share your ideas, suggestions, and strategies to advance the sustainability goals of St. Petersburg. August 14, 2018 3-7:30 p.m.
Childs Park YMCA, (691 43rd St. S).
TUE, AUG 28 VOTE: Please remember to vote in the primary election on 28 August.
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 the church office.
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.
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.
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.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! 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 the church office 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. School age children are invited to participate in Summer Sundays church services. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez following Children’s Time. 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

Fran Whitney, Genevieve Jackle, Mary Beth Lewis,
Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Willy Zessoules

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Pax Christi Tampa Bay newsletter

Pax Christi Tampa Bay E-mail Newsletter

SINGLE EVENTS:

1. Making a Killing gun industry film

  1. Coalition of Immokalee Workers march in St. Petersburg
  2. Markeis McGlockton Rally for Justice with Rev. Al Sharpton
  3. Hiroshima remembrance at nuclear sub base
  4. Rally to Protect our Health Care
  5. Peace First August demonstration site
  6. Free barbecue lunch for veterans and friends
    8. Actions opposing August 14 execution
  7. 2018 St. Pete Sustainability Summit
    10. Science Café: Clyde Butcher, Audubon Society and Conservation
    11. The Bridge Summer Film Series: Edible City
  8. A History of Conservation exhibit
    13. Women’s Equality Day celebration
    14. Detergent and Dinner: Laundry Love

 

WEEKLY EVENTS CALENDAR

 

Friends,

This newsletter features a variety of actions for a better world, including marches, rallies, panel discussions, protests, museum exhibits, films, and more.

This weekend, for example, there is a march supporting the Coalition of Immokalee Farmworkers ongoing struggle for justice from Publix and Wendy’s, and a march in support of Markeis McGlockton and against Florida’s deadly stand your ground law.

The calendar of regular weekly events is at the end of this edition of the newsletter.

Pax Christi Tampa Bay

1. Film Screening: Making a Killing
Friday, August 3 at 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Metropolitan Community Church of Tampa 408 E Cayuga St Tampa, FL 33603

Join Moms Demand Action of Hillsborough for this film documenting the impact of the gun industry, and the billions of dollars made from gun sales, on the lives of everyday Americans. Stories of survivors and gun victims are highlighted, exposing the lives shattered because gun companies and the NRA have fought responsible gun legislation for the sake of profit. Discussion will follow the screening.

RSVP
Facebook event page

2. Fair Food March
Sunday, August 5 from 3 PM – 4 PM
Allendale United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Rd. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33703

On Sunday August 5, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) will return to Tampa Bay as part of its summer Florida action season to join allies for a march on Publix and Wendy’s.

Publix and Wendy’s have refused for years (eight and five years respectively) to join the CIW’s groundbreaking Fair Food Program — thereby refusing to guarantee fundamental human rights protections for the women and men who harvest our food. With the CIW and allies taking action in St. Pete, Miami, and Orlando, they will remind these two Fair Food holdouts that as long as they continue to turn their backs on farm workers, the Fair Food Nation will raise our voices to demand justice in the fields! We will not allow Publix or Wendy’s to continue rejecting farm workers and consumers’ demands for justice, respect, and accountability through the Fair Food Program.

The one-mile march will begin at 2:30 PM at Allendale United Methodist Church (3803 Haines Rd N. in St. Petersburg).

For more details, contact Alex Schelle (alex@allianceforfairfood.org), 239-255-8418. Note: This march is scheduled so people can attend it and the Markeis McGlockton Rally, below.

Facebook page

  1. The Rally for Markeis McGlockton
    Sunday, Aug 5 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm
    St. John Primitive Baptist Church
    1002 Palmetto St., Clearwater, FL 33755 (map)

Markeis McGlockton was a 28-year-old black man who was fatally shot in a Clearwater parking lot on July 19 by Michael Drejka, who is a legal firearm owner with a concealed carry permit. Pinellas deputies did not arrest Drejka for the murder of Markeis McGlockton, claiming that Drejka was protected by Florida’s stand your ground law.

Join Rev. Al Sharpton and attorney Ben Crump at a rally supporting justice for Markeis McGlockton and opposing the stand your ground law. For more information contact National Action Network: 1-877-626-4651. Church phone: 727-443-1861.

  1. HIROSHIMA REMEMBRANCE AT TRIDENT SUB BASE
    August 6, 2018, the 73rd anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing 3:00-5:00 PM

Kings Bay Trident Submarine Base St Marys, Georgia


Join southeastern peace activists and groups at the King’s Bay Trident nuclear submarine base for a legal, peaceful demonstration to remember the dropping of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan. The base is in St. Marys, Georgia, on the Atlantic coast just north of the Florida/Georgia border.

This is the site of the Kings Bay Plowshares action, when seven Catholic Worker peace activists entered the Kings Bay submarine base, the largest nuclear submarine base in the world, on April 4th, 2018. This date was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination. They hung banners, strung crime scene tape and poured their own blood on facilities at the base. For information on the Plowshares, including their current legal status: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1558500837566350/ An extensive interview with King Bay Plowsharer Clare Grady, which explains the action and its legal, moral and religious rationale, is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEuZCWcovYs

Park at the McIntosh Sugar Mill Park across from the Stimson Gate of the Kings Bay Base (map) After the remembrance demonstration, the group will gather for dinner at a local restaurant. Sponsors of the action include From Trident to Life Campaign in the Southeast; Pax Christi, Florida; Pax Christi Georgia; and the Metanoia Peace Community. FMI: John X Linnehan, 904-504-1004; Nancy O’Byrne, 904-422-3618.

5. #RallyToProtectOurCare with US Congressmen Charlie Crist and Joe Kennedy, III
Tuesday, August 7th Noon- 1:00 PMWilliams Park 350 2nd Ave N., St. Pete, 33701

The Congressmen will be joined by local residents and healthcare advocates to call on elected officials to protect the Affordable Care Act and Floridians’ access to affordable healthcare — fighting attempts to undermine protections for those with pre-existing conditions, holding “Big Pharma” accountable for rising prescription drug prices, and calling on Florida to expand Medicaid.

Facebook Invite

  1. PEACE FIRST AUGUST SITE: Since 2002, Peace First has gathered on street corners in Pinellas County every week to speak for peace and justice.In August Peace First will gather at the corner of 34th Street/US 19 and 54th Avenue S. in St. Petersburg (map) Wednesday, August 8 and every Wednesday in August from 4:30-5:30 PM. This is the intersection next to the I-275 overpass near Eckerd College. A CVS Pharmacy and 7-11 are on that corner. Participants gather afterward at a nearby restaurant for an “after party” meal. FMI: SMcCown@tampabay.rr.com To get on a mailing list of Peace First news and updates, send a request to sjstew@gte.net
  1.  

    Free veterans barbecue lunch
    Monday, August 13 12:30-2:30 PM

Unitarian Universalist Church, 100 Mirror Lake Drive, St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg homeless aid coalition Celebrate Outreach is hosting a free BBQ lunch with door prizes to raise awareness and seek donations for their Tiny Homes for Homeless Vets project. Jimmy Grignon and his colleagues from LP Building Products are sponsoring the event along with John and Lisa Riesebeck of local favorite Smokin’ J’s Real Texas BBQ. The event, which is open to all veterans, homeless and housed, their family and friends, and community.

Tiny Homes for Homeless Vets models, designed by the students of USF School of Architecture and Community Design Program, will be on display. A presentation by project team members will demonstrate how compassion can be brought to life in architectural design. Come learn about our local veterans in need and participate in this essential project.

The lunch is free to all but donations to the Tiny Homes will be gratefully accepted enabling Celebrate to break ground by November.

For more information visit www.celebrateoutreach.org or contact Sabine von Aulock at 973-768-3256.

  1. ACTIONS AGAINST AUGUST 14TH EXECUTION 
  2.  

    Contact Gov. Rick Scott now

  3. Demonstrations Tuesday, August 14th:
    – 5:00-6:00 PM at Ulmerton Road and 49th Street N. in mid-Pinellas County
    (map)

– 5:30 PM St. Andrew United Church of Christ, 6908 S Beneva Rd., Sarasota (map).

Governor Scott has ordered the execution of Jose Jimenez for Tuesday, August 14th at 6pm ET. Jimenez was sentenced to death in 1994 after being convicted of killing Phyllis Minas. Details on the murder are here

Please contact Gov. Rick Scott now with the direct action tool developed in partnership with Equal Justice USA.

Gov. Scott had been ordering a new execution every month before the U.S. Supreme Court essentially halted Florida executions by ruling Florida’s death sentencing scheme unconstitutional. This is the first execution scheduled by Scott since the February 22, 2018 execution of Eric Branch. This would be the 28th execution ordered by Gov. Scott, a new record for a Florida governor. Please Take Action

A summary of the problems with the death penalty is at https://www.fadp.org/florida-death-penalty-fact-sheet/

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


From Mark Elliott, Executive Director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
(www.fadp.org):

When you call or write, please be sure to give your name and where you live. If you are not a Floridian, provide a connection (i.e., visit Florida, have friends/family there, want to move there someday, etc). The staffer answering phones will be very nice and courteous. They won’t question or challenge you. They simply record the issues that people are calling for and make a tally to give to the Governor.

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 Tuesday, August 14th 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: arichter581@gmail.com or (727) 692-9390.

Manasota demonstration against the death penalty: A witness against the death penalty and prayer vigil will take place on Tuesday, August 14. 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 Road (map). The prayer service follows in the church at 6:00 PM. Sponsored by Pax Christi USA-Manasota Chapter. FMI: Rjbannerusa@gmail.com

9. 2018 St Pete Sustainability Summit
Tuesday, August 14 at 3 PM – 7:30 PM

Childs Park YMCA, 691 43rd St S, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33713

How does St. Petersburg get to 100% Clean Energy? A plan is in the works!

The Integrated Sustainability Action Plan (ISAP) is well underway in advancing our city’s sustainability and resiliency initiatives, including a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and a roadmap for achieving 100% Clean Energy. Check out this ISAP Primer to find out what else the ISAP is putting into action. Attend the 2018 Sustainability Summit to find out more and share ideas.

Facebook event page


  1. SciCafe at the Dalí Museum: Clyde Butcher, Audubon Society & Conservation
    Thursday, Aug. 23, 6 – 7:30 PM

    The Dalí Museum and the Tampa Bay History Center team up for a panel discussion about the intersection of The Dali’s “Clyde Butcher: Visions of Dali’s Spain” and the History Center’s upcoming “A History of Conservation: A Bird’s-Eye View,” opening August 25 (see below).

Moderator Rob Lorei, news director at WMNF 88.5 FM Community Radio, talks with panelists Peter Tush, curator of the Dalí Museum’s “Clyde Butcher: Visions of Dali’s Spain”; Ann Paul, regional coordinator at Audubon Florida and guest curator of “A History of Conservation – A Bird’s-Eye View” at the History Center; Paul Gray, science coordinator, Audubon Florida Everglades Program; and Ed Sherwood, executive director of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.

This free lecture takes place at the Dalí Museum’s Raymond James Community Room. RSVP by Monday, Aug 20, 2018 at (727) 803-9799 ext. 102, by email at info@mecstpete.org.

11. The Bridge Summer Film Series: Edible City
Friday, August 24 at 7 PM
Unity of Tampa, 3302 W. Horatio, Tampa FL 33609

A fast-paced journey through the local Good Food Movement, this film introduces us to extraordinary people who are challenging the paradigm of our broken food system with innovative approaches like edible education and grassroots activism building the local economies. A discussion will follow the film with local experts and activists. Suggested $7 Donation

Facebook event page


  1. A HISTORY OF CONSERVATION: A Bird’s Eye View
    Opens Saturday, August 25

Tampa Bay History Center
801 Old Water Street
Tampa, FL 33602

Presented by the Tampa Bay History Center in partnership with Audubon Florida’s Coastal Island Sanctuaries staff, “A History of Conservation: A Bird’s-Eye View” traces birds as an important part of mankind’s culture, from the early Greeks and Romans to John James Audubon’s study of North American bird life in the 19th century. This comprehensive exhibit, on view August 25, 2018 through February 10, 2019, details the history of conservation in the bay area, with a focus on its bird populations, the establishment of Florida’s Coastal Island Sanctuaries as well as local entities involved in wildlife and water quality recovery and protection. Learn More

13. Women’s Equality Day
Sunday, August 26 at 12:30 PM – 5:30 PM

GFWC Historic Brooksville Woman’s Club, 131 S Main St, Brooksville, Florida 34601

Join Central Gulf Coast Women’s March of Florida for an educational, inspirational and interactive day celebrating and honoring the strength, power and persistence of women in America and the 98th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The program of exhibits, speakers, song, drumming, arts, and more aims to explore the past, honor the present, and prepare for the future by bringing our unified POWER as WOMEN to the POLLS.

Tickets: $18 Everyone is welcome.

RSVP here
Facebook event page

  1. Detergent and Dinner: Laundry Love
    Monday, August 27, 6:30-8:00 PM
    Coin laundry at 365 8th St S, St Petersburg, Florida (map). L

    aundry Love Projects are regular opportunities to help financially struggling people do their laundry. There are now over two hundred projects nationwide.Locally, Laundry Love is sponsored by the Missio Dei and takes place the last Monday of every month. Organizers and their supporters provide soap, coins and pizza for those washing their clothes.

    Each Laundry Love costs around $200. FMI on how you or your group can support and participate, contact G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088 or gw@themissiodei.com


WEEKLY ONGOING EVENTS

MISSIO DEI SUNDAY DINNER: Missio Dei is a small church that meets in the refurbished corner of a warehouse at 1330 Burlington Avenue N. (map; the entrance is on 2nd Avenue on the south side of the building.) They serve a meal after their worship service. The congregation is largely homeless or precariously housed. The service begins at 5:30 PM; the dinner begins at 6:30. For information on how you can help prepare, serve, or financially support the meal, contact G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088.

RESIST TRUMP TUESDAYS AT SENATOR MARCO RUBIO’S TAMPA OFFICE: Indivisible and other local activist groups gather outside Marco Rubio’s office in the Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Court House, 801 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa, FL 33602 (map). The protest is every Tuesday, 10:30-11:30 AM. Bring signs, or the organizers can provide them. There is parking around the courthouse and the meters take credit cards. For more information (FMI): sjstew@gte.net

WEEKLY SARASOTA DEMONSTRATION: Activists from Veterans for Peace and Manasota Pax Christi, among other groups, will demonstrate for peace through justice from 4:00-5:00 PM every Tuesday in downtown Sarasota along Bayfront Drive/N. Tamiami Trail near its intersection with Gulfstream Drive (map). The demonstration is south of Unconditional Surrender, the “kissing statue.” FMI: Russ at Rjbannerusa@gmail.com

WEEKLY POSTCARD PARTY: Join Indivisible FL-13 in reaching out to Pinellas voters and promote voting by mail every Tuesday at 6:00 pm at Allendale United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Rd. N. in St. Petersburg, FL 33703. For more information, or to help write postcards from home, please email info@indivisiblefl13.com for information.

PEACE FIRST AUGUST SITE: In August Peace First will gather at the corner of 34th Street/US 19 and 54th Avenue S. in St. Petersburg (map) Wednesday, August 8 and every Wednesday in August from 4:30-5:30 PM. This is the intersection next to the I-275 overpass near Eckerd College. A CVS Pharmacy and 7-11 are on that corner. Participants gather afterward at a nearby restaurant for an “after party” meal. FMI: SMcCown@tampabay.rr.com To get on a mailing list of Peace First news and updates, send a request to sjstew@gte.net

FRIDAY NIGHT PICNIC ON THE PLAYGROUND IN ST. PETE: The 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 a breakfast held at Trinity Lutheran Church on Saturday mornings. Volunteers serve a full 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 with some or all of the breakfast. Please contact Anita Podgwaite at (727) 565-8742 or G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088 to help.

Also, check the Pinellas County Progressive Calendar for more events. Click here for the calendar.

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Sermon 8.5.18 Stand Your Ground

Scripture Lessons:  John 6:1-21, Ephesians 3:14-21

Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

Stand your ground.  We are hearing a lot about this lately. The phrase has come to refer to laws that protect those who use violence in self defense when they feel their lives are in danger.  So, if I am afraid of you and think that you are threatening my life, then I have the legal right to kill you.  And to be immune from prosecution.

Stand your ground is a reference to Florida Statutes chapter 776 entitled “Justifiable use of force.”  The statute says in part:  

Home protection; use or threatened use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.—

(1) A person who is in a dwelling or residence in which the person has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use or threaten to use:

(a) Nondeadly force against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force; or

(b) Deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

There is that phrase, “has the right to stand his or her ground.”   While there may be a logic to this, there are also problems.  Like when a black person feels threatened by a white person.  If the black person kills the white person, they are much less likely to be protected by stand your ground than if a white person does the killing.  And people are already protected under the law if they kill in self defense.  And stand your ground has led to increased killings.  Some people with guns feel this law compels them to use their guns in self defense rather than simply walking away from a volatile situation.  Even in active shooter training, they tell you to run and hide.  The last resort, if you can’t run or hide, is to confront the shooter.  One on one, the same advice should apply.  Walk away.  Drive away.  Leave.  Get out of the situation.  That should end whatever the conflict is right there.  With stand your ground, people feel emboldened to confront.  To engage.  To shoot.  Some critics call it the “shoot first” law.  Florida was the first state to enact this legislation in 2005.  Since then, at least 34 states have followed suit.  We started a trend though not a good one.

The phrase “stand your ground” used to have more nobility to it.  It was about standing up for your principles.  Not backing down from your moral commitments.  Being firm in your righteous convictions.  

As Christians, we are called to stand our ground.  We are to stand our ground as we see it in Jesus.  Jesus shows us a reality in which everyone is fed with food and with love.  He shows us a reality in which people work together and all have a contribution to make.  In the story we heard this morning, it is a child that has the bread and fish that feed the multitudes.  Jesus shows us a world of simplicity, generosity, and abundance.  Just bread and fish.  Nothing fancy.  But more than enough for all.   This is our ground.   This is the ground we are to stand on.  This is what we are to claim and protect and foster.  This reality that we see in Jesus.  

Yes, standing our ground as followers of Jesus means committing ourselves to living by his values and promoting those values in society.  It means being in solidarity with those who are being oppressed and abused like the farmworkers.  I hope some of you will be at the rally this afternoon here in St. Petersburg in support of farmworker justice.  Yes, stand your ground for us means defending the people who are trying to immigrate into this country and protecting their children.  Jesus also shows us that standing our ground means being against the use of violence especially when used to serve what theologian Walter Wink calls the “myth of redemptive violence.”  Our society promotes the use of violence to achieve peace.  This approach is rejected by Jesus.  We know that our faith does not stand behind a law that increases violence and promotes racial bias.  We are the people of “blessed are the peacemakers.”  We are the people of every person “made in God’s image” not some people “made in God’s image.”

We are called to stand our ground for love and justice.  If you see something, say something.  If you see racism, say something.  If you see abuse, say something.  If you see people treated unfairly, say something.  Whether it be one on one or society at large, we are called to stand our ground with love like Jesus.   And in today’s world, there are many ways that we are called to stand our ground.

This morning, we also want to notice that oft over looked verse in today’s scripture:  “When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”  While this may not be historically factual, the writer of the gospel felt it was important to say this.  The people, the people who had been fed on the mountain, wanted to make Jesus their king.  They wanted to define his role and his power.  They were coming to take him by force.  Notice, he does not “stand his ground” Florida style and fight back.  He retreats.  Run.  Hide.  But still he stands his ground.  He will not let even his beloved followers impose a power arrangement upon him that is at odds with his values and calling.  He will not accept a label that is laden with the potential for abuse of power – remember David last week?  Jesus will not allow himself to be the king of just one people, one geographical region.  His message is universal.  By refusing to be king, he is refusing to accept this power structure, this power arrangement.  You see, other people are standing other ground:  they are hungry for power, or looking for economic profit, or seeking revenge.  There are many other things that people are seeking to defend and protect.  Jesus will stay true to Divine love and will stand his ground so that his influence is not limited by the desires of others hungry for what would be a false sense of security.  In the next scene we see Jesus portrayed as exerting power not only over people but over the sea and the wind and the storm.  That is more than any king could do.  Jesus will stand his ground for the good of all of creation.  And he will not be manipulated or capitulate.  

Yes, we are called to stand our ground with Jesus, working for a world of goodness, abundance, and peace.  And we do that in many, many ways.  We do that on an individual level, in our relationships and behavior toward others.  We also do it in our efforts to influence society, the government, and our life together.   This is who we are as Christians.  We stand our ground with Jesus.  But this work can take its toll.  There are many initiatives on many fronts that seem to call out for our attention.  Trying to stand our ground and make a difference can seem overwhelming, exhausting, and futile.  Where are the wins?  The present federal administration seems bent on wearing us down through repeated traumatization.  Some days you just don’t want to turn on the TV or the radio or check social media.  Like Jesus withdrawing up the mountain by himself, you just want a break from it all!

But let’s remember those beautiful words that we heard from Ephesians.  The writer is addressing second generation followers of Jesus.  They have seen the killing of the apostles and the martyrs.  They are a small group gathered in a home.  No large fancy temple.  In fact, the Temple in Jerusalem has been destroyed.  What is the future of their religion?  What is the future of the church?  What is their future?  These people are unsteady; in a fragile state.  Maybe feeling overwrought and under stress.  And the writer offers a prayer of soaring sentiments: 

 “I bow my knees before the God, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.”  Their numbers may be small but they are part of God’s great human family.   “I pray that, according to the riches of God’s glory, God may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through the Divine Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.”    They are not dismissed or denigrated for their fragile state.  They are offered empowerment to stay strong.  Rooted and grounded in love.  They will be equipped to stand their ground in love.  “I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”  This is an expansive, all encompassing vision.  They are part of a much larger reality.  Let that incomprehensible love work in you.  

These are words of hope and encouragement for us in these challenging days as we seek to stand our ground – in the way of Jesus, rooted in love.  Together, in God, there is more than what is needed for the living of our days and the standing of our ground.

This past week, I went to the Trump rally in Tampa.  I was asked, Why?  I have thought about that.  Trained as an historian, I like firsthand knowledge, when possible.  And I like facts.  So much is said about the president, good and bad, I wanted to see for myself.  I was also very interested in seeing first hand those who support Trump in a crowd setting.  What are the people like?  Again, firsthand.  Not filtered; even through an ethical, professional journalist.  I also went in my own little way, to stand my ground.  We say we believe in one human family.  We say the divine image is in everyone.   We say we are working for justice and peace for all people.  We say we believe in reconciliation.  Jesus interacted with all kinds of people, even those who were considered enemies and hated by others.  By going, by being there, by taking an interest, by listening, by being present, I wanted, in some small way, to be part of building a bridge and not a wall.  

It was an unforgettable experience.  I will be thinking about it for a long time.  I saw thousands of people who are angry and hostile.  They were yelling at each other in line to get in.  They were giving the finger and heckling the press.  There was a lot of rage.  And they were glorying in venting those feelings.  I felt sadness and compassion.  As a church, how can we stand our ground in love that reaches out to everyone, including these angry, hostile people?  Especially these angry, hostile people?  I don’t know.    

The writer of Ephesians ends the prayer for the struggling congregation, saying, “Now to God who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.”  Here we are assured that the power at work within us, together, as a congregation, as a church, can do more than all we can “ask or imagine.” Just like the loaves and fish.  With faith we trust that together we can stand our ground.  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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Sermon 7.29.18 What Good Is Religion?

Scripture Lesson: 2 Samuel 11:1-12:14a

Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

What good is religion?  It’s not just a question for a skeptic or an atheist.  Considering the number of churches and religious institutions and faith communities in the US anyway, it seems like a good question.  What good is religion?  There’s a lot of it around us, but what good is it?

I think a major function of most religions, certainly Christianity, is to bring out the best in people; it is to encourage our goodness.  Religion is a way of dealing with life that fosters hope and joy and community.   A purpose is to help people be loving – of themselves, others, and Creation.  I think religion is to help people be good and have a good life.  

After a yoga class I went to recently, one of the participants mentioned that they were going to a steakhouse for dinner after class.  She glanced at the teacher and said, “I know that would not interest you,” because the teacher is vegetarian.  The teacher explained that she doesn’t eat meat because her spiritual practice involves “do no harm” so she doesn’t eat animals.  As an aside to the teacher, who knows I am a Christian pastor, I said, “I’m vegan out of reverence for the Earth.”  Then the teacher mentioned to all that she doesn’t kill bugs in her house either – at least not many.  She takes them outside.  Again, as an aside, I told her that we often take them outside, too, because we believe life is sacred.  So while the yoga teacher and I have very different religious leanings, our religious commitment is bringing out the good in us in similar ways.  

That is what religion is really all about:  bringing out the good in us, in life, in relationships, and all the good around us.  

This morning we heard a portion of the story of King David.  Now here is a figure absolutely steeped, from birth, in religion.  He is part of a devout Jewish family from the tribe of Benjamin.  His family is making sacrifices and following all the necessary observances.  Things are not going well with Saul’s reign and a new king is needed who will get things back on track.  Get Israel back in tune with God.  Clean out the corruption and violence and problems that have arisen and get the people back to living in a wholesome and righteous manner.  As the story is told, Jesse’s family is pegged to provide the next king for Israel.   And who gets picked to do this?  Not Jesse’s son, Eliab.  Or Abinadab.  Not Shammah.  None of the seven sons.  But the youngest son, who was keeping the sheep, David, he is the one who is fingered by God through the prophet Samuel.  A humble, unassuming figure because “God looks on the heart.”  [1 Sam. 16:5]  David is chosen because he is someone who will depend on God and someone God can trust. 

And it goes really well for a while with David.  He is sound through the challenging transition ending Saul’s reign.  When David is anointed king he brings people together.  He is successful militarily against Israel’s foes.  He establishes the city of Jerusalem known as the city of David.  And he is talking about building a Temple for God.  Things seem to be on track.  We’re told that, “David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.”  [2 Samuel 5:10]  He is a shining star just as was hoped.  

And then we hear of David and Bathsheba.  Such a promising start goes so awry.  And even that awesome, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God of Israel doesn’t seem able to keep David and his regime in line.  What good is religion?  It didn’t stop David from lusting after Bathsheba.  It didn’t stop him from summoning her.  What could she say, no, she would not come when called by the king?  Religion did not stop David from “taking” Bathsheba as it is stated in the text.  

Seemingly unable to control himself, David is also unable to control the consequences of his actions.  Bathsheba becomes pregnant.  Now there is a problem.  At least for David.  He has taken another man’s wife.  He has violated the ownership rights of another man.  And so he is looking for a cover up.  There has already been a problem for Bathsheba.  She has been raped;  but that is not the main issue here.  Women’s problems are seldom the main issue in a patriarchal society, but more on that in a moment.  So, in light of this pregnancy, David digs his hole deeper by pursuing a coverup.  He calls Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, home from the battlefront.  Uriah comes when called, just like Bathsheba, just like anyone summoned by the king.  But, again, things are out of David’s control.  Uriah is supremely noble.  One of David’s elite 30 soldiers among thousands.  His name means “God is my light.”  For Uriah, religion is bringing out his best.  He will not have a conjugal visit with his spouse when the ark of God is still out on the battlefield along with the other soldiers.  This would be disrespectful, dishonorable, disgraceful.  He is calm and principled.  So Uriah sleeps out in the yard, not inside in his soft, comfortable bed, with his soft comfortable wife.  

Now what will David do?  Something righteous?  Something good?  Come clean?  Nope.  David arranges for Uriah to return to the front and be killed in battle.  Then he takes Bathsheba as his wife. 

This whole sordid episode is a turning point in David’s monarchy and in his life.  After this, David’s life is wracked by problems and tragedy.  Bathsheba’s baby dies, though she becomes the mother of Solomon, the next king.  David’s daughter, Tamar, is raped by her brother who is killed by another brother out of revenge.  David’s son, Absalom then stages a take over, including raping 10 of David’s wives, and is killed.  Pestilence invades the land.  It’s simply downhill after Bathsheba. 

Now, back to patriarchy.  There are scholars, white, male, who, through the centuries, have blamed the whole Bathsheba saga, the beginning of David’s downfall, not on the glorious, victorious king, but on Bathsheba.  She lured the king.  She enticed the king.  She asked for this.  She brought David down.  Here’s a sample of this view from a commentary:  “No one of good moral character could have acted as she did in her seduction and conquest of David.  She doubtless exposed herself that the king might be tempted; she willingly came to the palace when she was sent for; and conspired with David for the murder of her husband.”  [Cited in the New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 2. p. 565]  Talk about blaming the victim!  That is not religion bringing out the good in people, but religion with a twisted imagination fueled by patriarchy.  (And there’s a lot of that. . .)

So, how will this whole mess be resolved?  Uriah is dead.  Bathsheba is pregnant.  Religion doesn’t seem to be bringing out the best in King David.  What now?  We are told that God sends Nathan the prophet to David.  Nathan is to help David see the error of his ways.  Nathan is to expose the truth to David.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t envy Nathan.  I would not have wanted that assignment!  But Nathan proceeds.  He shows us religion bringing out the truth.   The stark honesty that is needed.  Nathan shows us religion bringing out the truth of the abomination that David has committed.   But it is about more than exposure.  Nathan also leads David to admission of guilt.  To repentance.  To redemption and restoration.

Yes, religion is about bringing out the good in us, about helping us to be our best selves.  But it is also about finding our way back when we have erred.   In Judaism and Christianity, religion is about restoration after we have strayed.  It is about an on ramp back to goodness when we have hurt ourselves, others, and our relationships.  It is about healing when we have caused or contributed to pain and suffering.  In some ancient versions of 2 Samuel, the scribes left a gap in the text after David’s confession.  There was an indication that Psalm 51, a psalm of repentance, was to be read there.  “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. . . . Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.  . . .”  After the reading of Psalm 51, the text of 2 Samuel resumed.  

What good is religion?  Yes, it inspires the good, but it also provides a way back.  Our faith tradition provides a path of restoration.  And that may be its most important function.  In today’s world, we seem bent on punishment, retribution, and revenge.  Think of that ubiquitous question on most job applications:  Have you ever been convicted of a felony?  That seals it.  Yes or no.  And if the answer is yes, there is little chance of a way back; of being fully restored to a constructive role in society.  Your personhood is not restored even after you have served your sentence because you are still not allowed to vote.  There is no way back to full humanity, healing, and wholeness.  But our religion does provide that way back.  Our faith helps us find a way to healing and wholeness even after the most painful experiences.  We are part of a religion of forgiveness which can lead to the restoration of our full humanity.  We can once more see the image of God within ourselves after we err, and in others who have done heinous things.  In Christianity, our only permanent label is child of God created in the image of God.  And our faith always provides a way for us to see that in ourselves and in others.  The scene of Jesus on the cross is definitive:  Forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.  David asks for forgiveness because he didn’t know what he was doing.   And he receives the forgiveness he needs.  He finds a way to go on, with Bathsheba, no less, after arranging the murder of her husband.  And, we can imagine that Bathsheba, too, must in some way forgive David, for she somehow finds a way to go on as one of his wives.  

What good is religion?  Yes, it encourages and fosters the good.  But it is also about finding a way to go on, a path of restoration, when we are less than our best selves.  And we know that humanity is capable of great evil.  And it can be that the more power we have, the more harm we do.  We remember the words of British historian, Lord Acton, in 1887:  “Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Great men are almost always bad men.”  David is a case in point.  We can also see this among the wealthy, dominant, white, elite portion of the US population.  Often the power carried by that status leads such people to think they are subject to different rules, different standards, different morals.  How is it that our government thought it was ok to take children away from their parents – babies, toddlers, kids, teens?  They expected a “pass” because they are the government.  But the courts and people of this country are seeking to rectify this immoral policy.  Power corrupts and we can succumb to doing great wrong.  Whatever our transgressions as individuals or as a society, there is a way back.  Our faith tradition gives us a way of reconciliation and healing.  

Recently a friend, who is agnostic and not religious, told me the story of her cousin’s murder here in Florida many years ago.  Her cousin and his girlfriend were college age.  They were out on a date.  They were abducted and taken to the woods.  The woman was raped and then killed.  And the man was then killed as well.  It was a horrific, random act of violence.  The murderer did not know these people.  It was an act of pure evil.  The families of the two young people were wrought with unimaginable grief.  My friend told me that she noticed that the two families handled things differently.  And that has remained notable to her.  The woman’s family was angry and wanted revenge.  They wanted the killer to get the death penalty.  They remained broken and hostile.  They never seemed to heal after this experience.  The man’s family, his parents, my friend’s aunt and uncle, were part of the Salvation Army.  They were very involved in the church.  They were people of faith.  Yes, they were devastated by the murder of their son and his girlfriend.  But they sought healing in their faith.  They prayed.  They offered forgiveness to the killer.  They told the judge that they did not want him to receive the death penalty.  It would only mean another death and it wouldn’t bring their son or the girlfriend back.  They also started a support group for others who had family members that had been murdered or had been victims of violence.  This work helped them to heal.  They found solidarity with others.  They were able to express their grief and seek the solace of forgiveness with others.  They were able to go on with their lives and find the good in themselves and others again.  Sadly, there was little reconciliation between the families of the two victims.  The parents of the woman could not understand the attitude of the parents of the man.  They could not see the value in forgiveness.  They could not let go of their hatred and anger.  

So, what good is religion?  As the story of David, Jesus, and the stories of those around us continue to reveal, religion gives us a way back to life.  It gives us a way forward after devastation.  It is a path of restoration and renewal because we are going to do things that are wrong, that cause pain, that separate us from our best selves and from others.  This is inevitable.  It is the consequence of freewill.  It is our nature.  Our religion gives us a way back through forgiveness of ourselves and others so that we may once again know love, goodness, and joy.   That is good religion.  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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Weekly Update 2 August

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 5 THIS SUNDAY: It’s been in the news every day lately.  Stand your ground.  What does it mean for someone who follows Jesus to “stand your ground”?  That’s the topic for Sunday guided by John 6:1-21 and Ephesians 3:14-21.

Summer Sundays Services are more informal and favorite hymns will be sung each week. Children attend the beginning of the service and may go to the Nursery following Children’s Time.

SUN, AUG 5
COMMUNION:  All are welcome to participate in communion at Lakewood UCC, children at the discretion of the adults who brought them. The communion offering goes to the Special Needs Fund, used to help people in our community and the congregation with basic necessities such as food, rent, utilities, and prescription medication costs. Recently there has been great need for these funds, please help as you are able knowing that your gift will be a blessing to someone in need.
SUN, AUG 5 ADVISORS MEETING: The Advisors will meet following worship on Sunday, all are welcome to attend.
SAT, OCT 20 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: Save the date for Circus McGurkis October 20th at Gibbs High School. Contact Yoko Nogami or Claire Stiles for volunteer opportunities.
WESTMINSTER LUNCH: There will be no lunch at Westminster Suncoast in August, Pastor Wells will be in Scotland for her daughter’s wedding.
CREATION JUSTICE UPDATE: The Creation Justice Task Force at LUCC has many projects and initiatives in the works. Follow the link to find out more about this exciting ministry.
NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.
OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month. Contact Ian Blair-Catala for upcoming volunteer dates.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SUN, AUG 5 FARMWORKER DEMONSTRATION: Join Immokalee farmworkers and allies from around the Tampa Bay area for a march on Publix and Wendy’s to demand that both Fair Food holdouts do their part to end human rights abuses in agriculture by joining the award-winning Fair Food Program! Students from March for Our Lives Tampa Bay will join CIW farmworkers and allies in turning up the heat on Publix following the supermarket’s contributions to NRA-supported politicians, calling on Florida’s largest grocer to do its part to end violence in its supply chain and in society. Having halted its political contribution program in response to students’ brilliant organizing, Publix must join the Fair Food Program to take a key step further in building a safer, fairer Florida!  3pm Sunday at Allendale United Methodist Church (3803 Haines Rd).
MON, AUG 6 TIDAL TOWN HALL: Come hear what local candidates have to say about tackling sea level rise and related environmental solutions. This panel discussion will be moderated by Bianca Graulau, a local reporter for CBS, and is hosted by Food & Water Watch, Rethink Energy Florida, First Street Foundation as well as several local organizations. The Forum is August 6th, at the Sunshine Center (330 5th St N) and is free and open to the public, you are encouraged to attend and to invite others. For more information visit FaceBookemail or call (516) 724-2759. Candidates from the following races have confirmed that they will participate: Congressional District 13, 15, and 16; State Senate 16; Sate House 61, 67, 70, 71, 72, 73, and 74.
TUE, AUG 14 JUSTICE FIRST TOUR: Southern communities are on the frontlines of the climate crisis in the US, bearing the greatest impacts of an economic system of exploitation that continues to concentrate power and wealth into the hands of a few. Now, more than ever, we need to come together and unite in one voice for climate justice and stand together to advance long-term solutions that put justice first and lift frontline communities up. The Justice First Tour calls for a strong network of grassroots organizations working together to advance climate justice with a focus on 100% clean energy for 100% of the people. The tour will feature local community leaders/speakers who will talk about local Justice issues (immigration, women’s rights, climate justice, jobs, etc.), to inspire a dialogue among participating citizens and organizations, seeking to find solutions to these issues in an intersectional way. August 9 6-8 pm, at Unity of Tampa (3302 W Horatio St, Tampa).
TUE, AUG 14 SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT: The City of St. Petersburg 2018 Sustainability Summit will explore how we get to 100% Clean Energy. The Integrated Sustainability Action Plan (ISAP) is well underway in advancing our city’s sustainability and resiliency initiatives, including a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and a roadmap for achieving 100% Clean Energy. You are invited to the 2018 Sustainability Summit to find out more and share your ideas, suggestions, and strategies to advance the sustainability goals of St. Petersburg. August 14, 2018 3-7:30 p.m.
Childs Park YMCA, (691 43rd St. S).
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 the church office.
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.
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.
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.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! 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 the church office 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. School age children are invited to participate in Summer Sundays church services. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez following Children’s Time. 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

Fran Whitney, Ann Rogers, Deedee Young, Genevieve Jackle,
Mary Beth Lewis, Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Willy Zessoules

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A new hymn/anthem

Sometimes this fall, the choir will sing a new hymn I wrote that was commissioned by The Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa in honor of the Blessed Mother Marie-Rose Durocher, Foundress of The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (Soeurs des Saints Noms de Jésus et de Marie). I wrote the words & the music. I used the favorite biblical text of Marie-Rose as the reference upon which my poem is based, along with the mission statements of the school and the order of the Sisters.

Here’s the words:
Fire of Justice, Fire of Love
Scriptural reference: “I have come to cast fire on the Earth,
and how I wish it were already kindled.” LUKE 12:49

CHORUS
Fire of justice,
Fire of love,
In my heart, be burning bright.
Fire of service,
Fire of truth,
May the world now be alight.

VERSE 1
And as God’s Love inflames our hearts,
may we be kindling for that fire.
For to the earth God’s truth imparts
those acts that service does require.

CHORUS

VERSE 2
Now may our learning banish hate,
and may our love extinguish fear,
for justice does God’s Love equate,
and to that guidance we adhere.

CHORUS

VERSE 3
Impov’rished and abandoned they
who live upon society’s edge
shall have their needs be met this day.
To God we make this solemn pledge.

CHORUS

VERSE 4
As gracious and accepting we
give gen’rously of time and gift,
that we a welcome presence be.
No truer purpose does exist.

CHORUS

The score for the hymn is below and HERE is a link to a computer simulation of an anthem for treble voices based on the hymn. (No, computers aren’t smart enough yet to sing the words, so the children’s chorus in the simulation just sings “ahhhh…”) Click on the images below for larger views.

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Weekly Update July 26

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, JUL 29 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday is a time to reflect on the role of religion. What is the purpose of religion in today’s world?  Is religion loosing it’s capacity for a positive impact on society?  Second Samuel 11:1 – 12:13a tells one of the seamiest stories in the Bible.  We’ll see what it has to offer to a conversation about religion today.

Summer Sundays Services are more informal and favorite hymns will be sung each week. Children attend the beginning of the service and may go to the Nursery following Children’s Time.

CONGRATULATIONS: Congratulations are extended to the Rev. Mardie Chapman of the LUCC family who was married on July 13.  Mardie’s living at Westminster Palms downtown.
SUN JUL 29 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: This potluck lunch will give the opportunity for fellowship and celebration of July birthdays. Many thanks to Willy LaBlanc and Patti Cooksey for hosting.
THU JUL 26 LEWIS FAMILY: After a month of Montessori training in North Carolina, Grace Lewis and family have returned! Grace will be back working in the Church Office beginning tomorrow. WELCOME BACK, Grace! You have been missed!
THU JUL 26 A/C UPDATE: The work is almost done on the new air conditioning systems at the church.  Not only will this make the building more comfortable but it will use less electricity, saving the church money and making less of a contribution to global warming. MANY thanks to Ron Huff for overseeing this work and to all those in the church family that donated the money to make this possible!
CREATION JUSTICE UPDATE: The Creation Justice Task Force at LUCC has many projects and initiatives in the works. Follow the link to find out more about this exciting ministry.
NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.
OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month. Contact Ian Blair-Catala for upcoming volunteer dates.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

MON, JUL 30 SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES: Meet the candidates running for Pinellas County School Board at SPC Gibbs (6605 5th Ave N) from 6-8pm on Monday July 30th.
MON, AUG 6 TIDAL TOWN HALL: Come hear what local candidates have to say about tackling sea level rise and related environmental solutions. This panel discussion will be moderated by Bianca Graulau, a local reporter for CBS, and is hosted by Food & Water Watch, Rethink Energy Florida, First Street Foundation as well as several local organizations. The Forum is August 6th, at the Sunshine Center (330 5th St N) and is free and open to the public, you are encouraged to attend and to invite others. For more information visit FaceBookemail or call (516) 724-2759.
Candidates from the following races have confirmed that they will participate:
Congressional District 13, 15, and 16; State Senate 16; Sate House 61, 67, 70, 71, 72, 73, and 74.
TUE, AUG 14 SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT: The City of St. Petersburg 2018 Sustainability Summit will explore how we get to 100% Clean Energy. The Integrated Sustainability Action Plan (ISAP) is well underway in advancing our city’s sustainability and resiliency initiatives, including a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and a roadmap for achieving 100% Clean Energy. You are invited to the 2018 Sustainability Summit to find out more and share your ideas, suggestions, and strategies to advance the sustainability goals of St. Petersburg. August 14, 2018 3-7:30 p.m.
Childs Park YMCA, (691 43rd St. S).
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 the church office.
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.
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.
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.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! 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 the church office 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. School age children are invited to participate in Summer Sundays church services. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez following Children’s Time. 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

Fran Whitney, Ann Rogers, Deedee Young, Genevieve Jackle,
Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Willy Zessoules

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Pax Christi e-mail newsletter

Pax Christi Tampa Bay E-mail Newsletter

Weekly Ongoing Events Calendar

Single Events:
1. Pinellas School Board candidate forums

  1. Congressman Charlie Crist town hall meeting
  2. Laundry Love: soap and pizza
  3. Florida execution August 14
  4. Edible City documentary
  5. Hiroshima remembrance at nuclear sub base
  6. Making Sense of Our Cultural Turbulence
  7. Circus McGurkis, the “People’s Fair”
  8. If Trump fires Mueller

Friends,

In summer, many people in the Tampa Bay area head north and the need for assistance at local feeding programs increases.  The Loaves and Fishes Breakfast, which feeds over 150 homeless people every Saturday morning, needs volunteers.  The breakfast runs from 7:30-10:30 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 401 4th Avenue North in St. Petersburg.  To help, contact Anita Podgwaite at (727) 565-8742.  More details are in the Weekly Calendar.

Also below is information on a Hiroshima bombing remembrance at the largest nuclear submarine base in the world on August 6, and action to take to oppose another Florida execution, scheduled for August 14.  Also below is information on films, talks, Laundry Love soap and pizza, and more.

Pax Christi Tampa Bay

WEEKLY ONGOING EVENTS

MISSIO DEI SUNDAY DINNER: Missio Dei is a small church that meets in the refurbished corner of a warehouse at 1330 Burlington Avenue N. (map; the entrance is on 2nd Avenue on the south side of the building.)  They serve a meal after their worship service.  The congregation is largely homeless or precariously housed.  The service begins at 5:30 PM; the dinner begins at 6:30.  For information on how you can help prepare, serve, or financially support the meal, contact G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088.

RESIST TRUMP TUESDAYS AT SENATOR MARCO RUBIO’S TAMPA OFFICEIndivisible and other local activist groups gather outside Marco Rubio’s office in the Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Court House, 801 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa, FL 33602 (map).  The protest is every Tuesday, 10:30-11:30 AM.  Bring signs, or the organizers can provide them.  There is parking around the courthouse and the meters take credit cards.  For more information (FMI): sjstew@gte.net

WEEKLY SARASOTA DEMONSTRATION: Activists from Veterans for Peace and Manasota Pax Christi, among other groups, will demonstrate for peace through justice from 4:00-5:00 PM every Tuesday in downtown Sarasota along Bayfront Drive/N. Tamiami Trail near its intersection with Gulfstream Drive (map).  The demonstration is south of Unconditional Surrender, the “kissing statue.”  FMI: Russ at Rjbannerusa@gmail.com

WEEKLY POSTCARD PARTY: Join Indivisible FL-13 in reaching out to Pinellas voters and promote voting by mail every Tuesday at 6:00 pm at Allendale United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Rd. N. in St. Petersburg, FL 33703.  For more information, or to help write postcards from home, please email info@indivisiblefl13.com for information.

PEACE FIRST: During every Wednesday in July, Peace First activists will be at the corner of 38th Avenue and 4th Street North in St. Petersburg from 4:30-5:30 PM (map).  There are a McDonald’s, a Burger King, a Publix and a Chase Bank at this intersection. They will focus on gun violence and other issues, including immigration.  Bring a sign, or they will provide one.

The group eats at a restaurant in an “after party” following the demonstration.   For more information (FMI): SMcCown@tampabay.rr.com

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 a breakfast held at Trinity Lutheran Church on Saturday mornings. Volunteers serve a full 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 with some or all of the breakfast.   Please contact Anita Podgwaite at (727) 565-8742 or G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088 to help.

Also, check the Pinellas County Progressive Calendar for more events.  Click here for the calendar.

SINGLE EVENTS

1. Pinellas County School Board Candidates Forums
All parents, teachers and community members are invited to these non-partisan debates.

 

Tuesday, July 24

St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus, 2465 Drew Street, Clearwater
EC 104    6:00-8:00 PM


Monday, July 30

St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, 6605 5th Avenue N., St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg College Music Center    6:00-8:00 PM

Thursday, August 2nd
St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St., Seminole 33772
Digitorium   6:00 – 8:00pm

Sponsored by: League of Women Voters St. Pete., PCCPTA and Pinellas Education Foundation

Facebook Invite


  1. Congressman Charlie Crist Town Hall
    Saturday, July 28th 10 AM

Palladium Theater, 235 5th Avenue North in St. Petersburg 

This town hall with the Democratic U.S. Congressman from Florida’s 13th District is free and open to the public.  For more information (FMI): (727) 318-6770

 

  1. Soap and Pizza: Laundry Love
    Monday, July 30, 6:30-8:00 PM
    Coin laundry at 365 8th St S, St Petersburg, Florida (map). 

    Laundry Love Projects are regular opportunities to help financially struggling people do their laundry. There are now over two hundred projects nationwide.

    Locally, Laundry Love is sponsored by the Missio Dei and takes place the last Monday of every month.  Organizers and their supporters provide soap, coins and pizza for those washing their clothes. 

    Each Laundry Love costs around $200.  FMI on how you or your group can support and participate, contact G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088 or gw@themissiodei.com

 

 

 

 

 

 


  1. ACTIONS AGAINST AUGUST 14TH EXECUTION
  2. Contact Governor Scott
  3. Demonstrations Tuesday, August 14th:
    – 5:00-6:00 PM at Ulmerton Road and 49th Street N. in mid-Pinellas County 
    (map)

– 5:30 PM  St. Andrew United Church of Christ, 6908 S Beneva Rd., Sarasota (map).

Governor Scott has ordered the execution of Jose Jimenez for Tuesday, August 14th at 6pm ET. Jimenez was sentenced to death in 1994 after being convicted of killing Phyllis Minas.  Details on the murder are here

Please contact Gov. Rick Scott now with the direct action tool developed in partnership with Equal Justice USA.

Gov. Scott had been ordering a new execution every month before the U.S. Supreme Court essentially halted Florida executions by ruling Florida’s death sentencing scheme unconstitutional. This is the first execution scheduled by Scott since the February 22, 2018 execution of Eric Branch. This would be the 28th execution ordered by Gov. Scott, a new record for a Florida governor. Please Take Action

A summary of the problems with the death penalty is at https://www.fadp.org/florida-death-penalty-fact-sheet/

 

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


From Mark Elliott, Executive Director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
(www.fadp.org):

When you call or write, please be sure to give your name and where you live. If you are not a Floridian, provide a connection (i.e., visit Florida, have friends/family there, want to move there someday, etc). The staffer answering phones will be very nice and courteous. They won’t question or challenge you. They simply record the issues that people are calling for and make a tally to give to the Governor.


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 Tuesday, August 14th 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: arichter581@gmail.com   or (727) 692-9390.

Manasota demonstration against the death penaltyA witness against the death penalty and prayer vigil will take place on Tuesday, August 14.  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 Road (map).  The prayer service follows in the church at 6:00 PM.  Sponsored by Pax Christi USA-Manasota Chapter.  FMI:  Rjbannerusa@gmail.com

 

  1. Summer Film Series

7:00 PM

Unity of Tampa Fellowship Hall

3302 West Horatio   Tampa FL 33609

The Bridge’s Summer Film Series does not just inform; each film showing is followed by a discussion with local experts and advocates which will empower the audience for action.  Each film is shown at 7:00 PM; a donation of $7.00 is suggested.  A brief description of Edible City is below; details are at http://www.thebridgetampa.com/images/stories/2015events/7th-SummerFilmSeries-2018.pdf

August 24th | Edible City A fast-paced journey through the local Good Food Movement this film introduces us to extraordinary people who are challenging the paradigm of our broken food system with innovative approaches like edible education and grassroots activism building the local economies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. HIROSHIMA REMEMBRANCE AT TRIDENT SUB BASE
    August 6, 2018, the 73rd anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing    3:00-5:00 PM

Kings Bay Trident Submarine Base   St Marys, Georgia


Join southeastern peace activists and groups at the King’s Bay Trident nuclear submarine base for a legal, peaceful action to remember the dropping of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan.  The base is located in St. Marys, Georgia, on the Atlantic coast just north of the Florida/Georgia border.

This is the site of the Kings Bay Plowshares action, when seven Catholic Worker peace activists entered the Kings Bay, the largest nuclear submarine base in the world, on April 4th, 2018.  This date was the 50th anniversay of Martin Luther King’s assasination.   They hung banners, strung crime scene tape and poured their own blood on facilities at the base.  For information on the Plowshares, including their current legal status https://www.facebook.com/groups/1558500837566350/ An extensive interview with King Bay Plowsharer Clare Grady, which explains the action and its legal, moral and religious rationale, is at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEuZCWcovYs

Park at the McIntosh Sugar Mill Park across from the Stimson Gate of the Kings Bay Base (map)  The group will gather for dinner at a local restaurant.  Sponsors of the action include From Trident to Life Campaign in the Southeast; Pax Christi, Florida; Pax Christi Georgia; and the Metanoia Peace Community.  FMI: John X Linnehan, 904-504-1004; Nancy O’Byrne, 904-422-3618.

 

  1. Making Sense of our Cultural Turbulence

Thursday October 11 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Unity of Tampa 3302 W. Horatio Tampa FL 33609

 

 

Weaving together evolutionary theory, stages of consciousness and culture, and other fields of study, interfaith minister and author Joran Oppelt examines the relationship between the bigger story of humanity and the current chapter narrated by our present circumstances.  $15 donation.  A flier with more information is here

 

  1. Circus McGurkis, the “People’s Fair”
    October 20, 2018
    Gibbs High School, 850 34th St. S. St. Petersburg

 

The St. Petersburg American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) have sponsored Circus McGurkis, a peace, justice and art festival, since 1971.  FMI: https://stpetersburgquakers.org/circus-mcgurkis/

  1. IF TRUMP FIRES MUELLER:  Indivisible FL-13 will sponsor an emergency rally in Demen’s Landing, St Petersburg if President Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller:
  • If Trump fires Mueller BEFORE 2:00 PM, meet at 5:00 PM
  • If Trump fires Mueller AFTER 2:00 PM, meet at NOON of following day.

Indivisible FL-13 will send an email notification and post it on Twitter and Facebook.


Indivisible FL-13 Contact Information:

Indivisible FL-13 on Facebook
Indivisible FL-13 on Twitter
Email Indivisible FL-13 at info@indivisiblefl13.com

 

 

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Update from Creation Justice Task Force

UPDATE from the CREATION JUSTICE TASK FORCE

July 19, 2018 Meeting

Paper Recycling Container

PAINT CONTAINER AND CREATE ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLY MESSAGE ON IT!  Will recruit church members to help.

Creation of Green Practices CHECKLIST 

REMINDERS WHEN USING FELLOWSHIP HALL AND CHURCH PROPERTY OR EVENTS – Coming Soon

Raise Awareness of Green Practices at LUCC

WALLY – Presentation on “Wasteful Society” at Sunday Celebrations on SEPTEMBER 30TH 

PLACE STICKERS “LANDFILL” ON ALL REGULAR GARBAGE CANS IN CHURCH AND FELLOWSHIP HALL.

PLACE ENVIRONMENTAL QUOTE IN BULLETIN ON A REGULAR BASIS – All are welcome to submit quotes via email or in writing to Pastor Kim

Writing of Creation Justice Covenant Statement

DANA COSPER AND CLAIRE STILES WILL WORK ON THIS STATEMENT in early August  – Review by Advisors and then will come to congregation for discussion and approval this fall

Greening of church property

PLANTING OF LOW GROWING TREES ON FRONT LAWN NEAR CROSS AREA.  NOT TOO NEAR BUILDING.  Task Force is looking into possible choices of plants and trees.

INCREASING PARTICIPATION AMONG CHURCH MEMBERS AND FRIENDS

1.  Invite individuals to participate in a specific initiative

2.  Speak to groups like choir, church school, book club, etc. for ideas 

3.  Ask for help and update congregation via LUCC Weekly Update 

Are you interested in attending ?

August 14 – Sustainability Summit

Sept. 8 – Rise Up for Climate Jobs and Justice

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Sermon 7.8.18 Rev. Victoria Long

Scripture Lessons:  Deuteronomy 10:17-21 and Matthew 5:43-48                          Sermon:  After the Fireworks                                                                                     Pastor: Rev. Victoria V. Long

I suspect many of you had a wonderful 4th of July celebration this past week. Let me confess, I am always confused as to is it better to take the two days before or the two days after a holiday that falls on a Wednesday? I guess it depends on your level of celebration.

This celebrating the birth of our nation caused me to go back to readings, writings  and songs, to revisit much that is attached to this day.  One spoke to me in new and deeper ways than it did when I first encountered it some four years ago. A blog offering by Mary Luti, in which she spoke about each nation’s story gives you insight into who they are.  This thought became the seeds for this homily today.

Our Deuteronomy text tells of a people, a yet to be formed nation. It reminds them they had been saved from oppression so it will be central to who they are to become:  A people who care for the least of these.

What I remembered most about Mary’s writings was a story I had never heard before.  This is an American founding story.  Let me share it with you from the installation of Nancy Taylor, pastor of Old South Church in Boston.  Old South is a church steeped in early American  history.  And this is the story Nancy told…

“As you know, the Pilgrims were aiming for Virginia when they were blown off course into these northerly waters. Although they were not where they had hoped to be, and the climate was much colder than they liked, their need to drop anchor was urgent. As their journal entries attest, they were running dangerously low on an indispensable provision—beer. So if you look at it in a certain light, you can see that this whole endeavor—the ‘New World,’ the Colonies, the Declaration of Independence, American democracy—it all began as a beer run.”

Nancy goes on to say,  “I didn’t learn that beer-run story in school. I learned another story, that the Pilgrims came to America for religious freedom. Here they built a shining city on a hill, a beacon of hope to the world that became a nation of unique and superior virtue with a sacred responsibility to extend our aspirations to other nations. The story I learned set our country apart from other countries. It conveyed the conviction that America was exceptional.”

The America I have lived in for some 60 years certainly seemed to lead with those values.  I believed, even when we came up short, we were “trying” to be civilized. This was a country people were trying to be a part of, one seldom heard of “Americans” wanting to forgo their citizenship and move somewhere else.  Sure, I was always aware we had problems, but I still believed this was the BEST place on earth to live.

As a child I remember memorizing and singing anthems in school with words that shout, “America, America, God shed his grace on thee…” Or “God bless America, my home sweet home…”  And the pledge of Allegiance with a flag that hung in the sanctuary across from or next to the Christian flag with words that said, “One nation under God.”  All this intertwining of God and Nation, when one is just forming ideas, concepts and attaching meaning to a world.  Not a surprise that many Christians think America was “ordained” by God to be THE nation.  God’s presence in the world.  Patriotism and love of God intertwined in some sacred covenant.

As I wrestled with celebrating this Fourth of July, I remembered that our founders were agitators, treasonously so, from the perspective of Britain’s king (and many of their fellow country persons). Passion and provocation fashioned this country. Folks with an attitude and called by God; surely nothing can go side ways with a people holding these truths.

I discovered in my readings the word “nation” comes from a Latin word meaning “to be born.” It is used as away to describe a grouping based on tangibles like race and/or folks who are related by blood.   People who join because they are like one another.  It is this understanding of nationhood that Hitler reflected when he reputedly claimed that the United States was “not a nation (Volk), but a hodgepodge (mischung).” 

But, it is the Declaration, not race and blood, that establishes American nationhood.  We began this journey as an “us.”  

Many churches on these national holidays sing our anthems instead of hymns.  Others have members of the congregation wave flags that are given out as one enters the sanctuary.  Sermons that weave in the themes of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and the debt we each owe to this nation.  We have been taught to love our country and our God.  To pledge our allegiance to our flag somehow has become intertwined with our allegiance to Jesus.  This integration of our patriotic feeling mingled with our Christian faith makes it very easy to conflate those two and wrap the cross with the American flag.  Many of our country’s folk feel God surely is an American.  I have friends, family members, who may not be able to articulate that, but make no mistake, this is their belief.

I know I am preaching to the choir when I speak of a Jesus who held an allegiance to the God of his understanding.  This commitment placed him squarely in the midst of the least of these.  His understanding of what it means to live into the Micah command…  “God has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what is required of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  

This example of “how to be” requires relationship.   Jesus hung out with all the folks you’re not supposed to. He sat down and ate with the poor, the sick, the orphans, and the widowed. The thief, the tax collector, those in prison and those not invited in the temple.

Think about this man, Jesus, who lives,  believing he IS the son of God.  Talk about privilege.  Talk about a brand recognition.  And what did he do with it?

He found individuals, sometimes small groups and sat down and had conversations.  He asked questions of his new acquaintances and listened to theirs.  Broke bread, drank a little wine. Entered into relationships.  Confronted systems of power one conversation at a time.

Which brings me back to the 4th.  This year I worked, so my celebration was limited.  Hotdogs and baked beans were shared with others who were working on this holiday.  Fire works and a beer at the end of the day.  Fireworks, that by and large made a less than expected impact.  Folks went expecting big and impressive but, due to weather or product, they failed to live up to what was hoped for.  Individuals, couples or families left the event  and returned to their lives.  The parallels with all that and our political environment were not lost. 

And a deepening of an awareness that this country is on the edge of something. What?  That is something I wrestle with daily.   Who we are as a people?  Who we used to be and who are we becoming?  Where we are going?

And the nagging never answered to my satisfaction question rises – what can I do to make some kind of difference?

My job allows that I spend a great deal of the day driving from facility to facility which gives me time to mull things over.  Such as, what if the primary story about the beginnings of our nation’s narrative started with a beer run?  That we entered this story at a place where individuals worked together to solve a problem.  

An ordinary story, about ordinary people, about to embark on an extraordinary adventure.

What if we had shared the story of running out of beer rather than the creators of “a city on a hill.”  A mythic tale that places us above everyone else.  Apart from, different, better, blessed, ordained by God.  Maybe, what is exceptional is not what makes us different but all those things we hold in common?

What if, from our earliest learnings, we had been taught, that because of our shared needs we pulled together so that every one’s needs were met?  What if, we, too, attempted, in real and intentional ways, to find what we hold in common as a place to start.   This only changes if individuals become present to one another.  This is what Jesus exampled to us.  There is a time and place for outburst, but one does not need to lead with that response at every turn.

I have two folks whose leanings are polar opposite to mine.  One, I see weekly and the other is a person, from my distant past who I engage with on social media.  I have committed to being more intentional in our conversations around the things that divide us.  Not in confrontational ways, but in ways that offer opportunity for further dialogue.

Let me be frank. I am much more skilled at releasing my anger and informing you of just how foolish your point of view is, but that response does nothing to nurture fragile friendships.  I have committed to listen and hear what is at the core of their anger, their fear or their dis-satisfaction.  It is my hope they will hear me as well.

This is where change can happen; the uniting of individuals offers a chance for healing.  What if each of you reached out to “that” person in your life-friend, family member, neighbor and began your own response.

The UCC likes to say “we have a freedom for, not a freedom  from.”  We like to think we are a people  of  “soft verbs.”  We like to describe ourselves as “how to be”  folks, and not a people who tell another “what to do.”   One of the most powerful explanations of how we are to be in relationship with one another, individually as well as corporately, and at our center is that we seek to live in covenant with one another.  Covenantal language is a language of us and not me; it is a language of implied sacredness, for it is both vertical and horizontal.  It is our intention to “seek to walk together,” it examples how and not what to do! 

I still have hope in this nation of ours. My patriotism remains but it must be a compassionate patriotism, an empathetic patriotism, a patriotism that loves all this country offers and a willingness to be open to all those who seek to call it home. 

GMA reported this is the top beer drinking holiday week of the year.  So, armed with this data, my plans include finding something cold to drink and listening  to one of my favorite country music songs,  “God is Great, Beer is Good, and People are Crazy.”  Then pulling up that friend on Face Book try to find the right invitation when instant messaging him. 

So, now you know… this is what I see happening, after the fire works – maybe, just maybe a conversation begins.

May it be so! 

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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Sermon 7.22.18 The Racial Divide

Scripture Lesson: Ephesians 2:11-22

Pastor:  Rev. Kim P. Wells

Last Labor Day I went over to Tampa to see a Lego art exhibit on its last day.  Surprisingly, there was a long line; down the block and around the corner.  I got in line.  In front of me was a younger man and woman.  They were white.  Behind me was a middle aged woman, I would say in her 50’s, with a young boy about 10.  They were well- dressed, the boy in khaki shorts and a polo shirt, clean and neat.  The woman in a skirt and blouse with a purse over her shoulder.  Her hair was combed.  She, too, was clean and neat.  The woman and the boy were black.  We spoke briefly, about the heat, about the wait, and about Legos.  Behind the woman and the boy was another white young woman and man.  So, as we stood in line, someone with a clipboard came down the line, approaching each person, asking if the person was a registered voter and if they wanted to sign the petition to get voting rights for felons on the ballot.  The woman with the clipboard made her way down the line, person by person, trying to get signatures.  She came to me.  I told her I had already signed.  Then she went to the young white man and woman behind the black woman with the young boy.  Then she went to the person behind them and on down the line.  Yes, she went past the black woman as if she wasn’t there.  As if she were invisible.  Non existent.  I watched and it took me a bit to take this in.  Had that really happened?  The black woman said to me, “I guess she doesn’t think I’m a registered voter.”  I was too stunned to say much.  The more I thought about it, the more horrified I was.  

The woman with the clipboard hadn’t said anything.  She hadn’t made an unkind gesture.  She had not given a nasty look.  She didn’t do anything racist and yet passing the black woman and ignoring her completely was clearly racist.  I have continued to think about the woman with the clipboard.  If someone showed her a video of what happened what would she have thought?  Did she even know she passed the woman?  Did she know that this came across as a racist act?  Does she think of herself as a racist?  Is she a member of a white supremacist group?  Or is she just a regular person trying to be good and do the right thing?  

My surmise is that the woman with the clipboard has no clue about what happened.  She would have no recollection of the occurrence.  And that she does not consider herself a racist.  I think she would see this as just some kind of unintentional oversight.  It was hot, she was tired, it was a long day.  She just inadvertently missed someone. . . 

For the most part, I believe people don’t want to be racist.  They don’t want to perpetuate the discrimination and bias that has caused so much pain to individual people and to society as a whole.  Who here wants to be racist?  No one.  Of course.  And I think that’s the majority of people.  The legacy of slavery makes us feel sick.  We wince at the statistics that show the continuing disadvantage of black people in America today.  

We don’t want to be racist.  But we live in a racist culture and we are part of it.  There are a host of reasons for that and they go back centuries.  Much of the impetus for racism has been and is economic.  As philosopher and social activist Cornel West tells us, racism is based on economic exploitation.  If there was no economic advantage to racism, it would virtually disappear.  

And racism in our culture is maintained and passed on from generation to generation in countless subtle and not so subtle ways.  It’s part of the air we breathe and not only here in the south.  Racism and its ill effects have been part of American identity since the Europeans came to these shores.  For hundreds of years it has been ingrained in US identity.  It is woven into the fabric of US culture.  

TV personality Rosanne Barr was recently fired for making a racist comment.  She explained it was in part due to the medication she was taking.   Sanofi, the maker of Ambien, the drug Roseanne had taken, responded:  “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

No, racism does not come from a pill.  It comes from conditioning.  From subtle and not so subtle messaging received everyday in countless situations much of it unnoticed and seemingly innocuous.  Like at school.  One day we watched as a little black girl was taking her time getting to the school bus to go home.  The driver was yelling at her in front of the other kids to hurry up, they didn’t have all day, etc.  And then to a white girl, nicely asking her to hurry so they could leave.  Or the Tampa Bay Times recently.  On one page, a picture of all the pretty white debutantes for this season.  Turn the page and there is a picture of a group of black girls huddled around a table attending remedial summer school.  As Rogers and Hammerstein put it, “You’ve got to be carefully taught.”  And all of us in this country are very carefully taught to accept racism as normal; so normal that often we don’t even see it, around us or within us. 

Two weeks ago when I was visiting in New England, our daughter, Angela, and I spent a day sightseeing.  We went to Louisa May Alcott’s house, Nathanial Hawthorne’s house, and the old North Bridge where the Revolutionary War started.  This was all in Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts.  Angela’s fiance is going to be working at the Unitarian Universalist church in Lexington.  So while we were out there, I asked to see the church.  She drove there and we parked.  It was after 5:00 and the church was closed.  No one was around to let us see the inside.  The windows of the sanctuary were above my sight line so I looked around and found an old bench laying in a pile of debris.  I pulled the bench over to the sanctuary window and got up on the bench to look in.  Some of you may have seen this image as I understand Angela posted it on Facebook.  I saw the inside of the sanctuary.    Then I got down and put the bench back where I had found it.  In reflecting on this, I wonder if I would have had this same experience if I was black.  Lexington is one of the richest small towns in America and the population is 1.5% black.  If I was black and I got the bench and climbed up and looked in the window would my picture have been a cute image on Facebook or a police mug shot?  I don’t know.  Frankly, if I was black, I probably would not have ventured on to the bench.  

This situation in our country has evolved over many centuries and we all suffer for it.  We all pay the price.  We are all victims of the ill effects of prejudice and discrimination; each one of us individually and our society as a whole.  Some people think it lifts them up to not be at the bottom, to have someone under them.  But actually that only brings everybody down and it brings no one up.  The ill effects of racism make us less than we can be, less than we should be, less than we want to be.  As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  We are all under threat from racism.  It is having ill effects, social and economic, on all of us and on our culture as a whole.  And it is depriving our society of the full contribution of people of color.

Is there any hope of overcoming this ill which plagues our life?  There is a word for us from Ephesians.  To this new community of faith, the writer has a word that speaks to us today.    The newly emerging church is gathered around Jesus as the embodiment of the universal love of God.  Jesus has captured hearts and minds with his love for all people.  No exceptions.  That is the foundation of community life for these new communities of Jesus followers.  So, they have gathered; drawn by this message.  And they are in a situation of deep division.  They are in a setting characterized by entrenched polarization.  There are deep seated religious and ethnic tensions.  Between Jews and Gentiles.  Jews and non-Jews.  The circumcised and the uncircumcised.   We don’t tend to think in these categories today, so the depth of the hostility and rancor between the two groups may not come across to us.  But we heard the words:  aliens, strangers, no hope, far off, hostility. The writer of Ephesians doesn’t have to go into a long explanation of the situation.  Just reference the division and everyone at the time knew about it.  It’s like saying Hutu and Tutsi, or Palestinian and Israeli, or, before last week, Russia and America.  Jew and Gentile.  Sure some Jews and Gentiles got along but there was a deep-seated division between the groups.  But the writer of this letter emphasizes that the faith community gathered around the witness of Jesus is not subject to this division.  This new community is fully open to both groups with no favoritism or status difference.  In fact, the writer tells us that the point of this faith expression is to be part of forming a new creation.  In this new reality, there are no longer Jews and Gentiles; people from separate antagonistic groups who perhaps tolerate each other.  No.  The people gathered around the Jesus way are part of a new creation, a community where whoever you are, you are brother and sister, family to one another.  Commitment to Jesus takes down the walls that separate, divide, and define.  There are no longer two or more hostile factions.  There is one community overcoming social, religious, and cultural conditioning meant to reinforce bias and prejudice.  This new community is about religious conditioning reinforcing that all are one.  There is one human family.  All are brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and cousins.  And the Jesus community has the power to create this new reality.  

The writer of Ephesians uses building imagery.  The household of God.  Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.  With Christ Jesus as cornerstone.  The whole structure joined together grows into a holy temple.  Built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.  This building imagery reminds us that such an endeavor takes time.  It is a process.  It takes skill, intention, and resources.  People must choose to create this structure.  This new creation.  This new reality.  Of reconciliation and peace.  It is not something that is easy or fast.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  Like racism, this alternative has to be carefully taught and conditioned.  

This past week, we saw the marking of the fifth anniversary of the Black Lives Matter movement.  We saw the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s hundredth anniversary and a soaring speech by former President Obama; all of these things reminding us of the building that is still in progress, the work that still needs to be done.  While we may be tempted to to see homogenization under the dominant culture as a cessation of hostility, these visionary movements remind us that we are about a new creation.  Not just no violence, but a new creation built on reconciliation, and community, and mutual service.  

The building of a new creation, a new reality, that is free of racism, is consuming work.  Remember how pervasive racism is in our culture.  It has been ingrained into most of what we know.   Therefore,  we must be thorough in our efforts to confront racism in ourselves and in the world around us.   We can think of statuary, language, political tactics, educational strategies and materials, and yes, police training.  Building this new creation, this truly free society, involves examination, repentance, reflection, listening, understanding, and engagement.  Continuously.  Courageously.  It won’t happen by taking a pill.  Remember how Ephesians mentions that we are the temple, we are the vessel, the dwelling place for the universal love of God.  That is how we can do this work.  It is not our work alone.  It is the power of love working in us.  And it is a big building project!  It’s not like these high rises that pop up downtown every time you turn around.  No.  Think medieval European cathedral.  Buildings that took centuries to construct and are under constant renovation.  

But we are made for this.  We are animals, part of the biological realm.  And we know that biological adaptation happens slowly, gradually.  As we intricately examine our lives, communities, economy, institutions, and culture, we will root out racism, ethnocentrism and prejudice.  We will dismantle the walls that divide and separate us and prevent us from being one human family.  And we will build a culture that celebrates diversity, respects all life, welcomes difference, and affirms our common humanity as part of the web of creation.  Our future depends on it.  

We know how to do this work.  It is part of our heritage.  It is in our DNA, though it appears to be recessive!  The Christian church started out as a sect within Judaism.  The first Jesus followers were Jewish.  It was a huge transformation to expand the community to include Gentiles, non Jews.  There was a wall that had to come down, of separation, of division, of hostility.   So, let me ask you, How many of you, here in the church today, are of Jewish heritage?  How many are of non Jewish heritage?  See?  The wall came down.  The reconciling work was done.  We are the evidence of the new creation that is possible.  Let us take up our tools, whatever they may be, and recommit to continuing to build one household of love; a dwelling for all people.  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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Weekly Update July 18

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Weekly Update 11 July

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, JUL

15

THIS SUNDAY:   This Sunday the theme is “The Pursuit of Happiness.”  What does it mean to be happy?  Many sources have many answers.  What does the lens of Christianity have to say about this?

Summer Sundays Services are more informal and favorite hymns will be sung each week. Children attend the beginning of the service and may go to the Nursery following Children’s Time.

SUN, JUL 15 ADVISORS MEETING: The advisors will meet following worship on Sunday July 15th. All are welcome to attend.
WED, JUL 18 WESTMINSTER SUNCOAST LUNCH: The next luncheon for residents of Westminster Shores and Suncoast will be Wednesday July 18th at 11:30 in the private dining room at Westminster Suncoast.
THU, JUL 19 CREATION JUSTICE MEETING: The group will meet Thursday, July 19th at 1pm. All are welcome to participate.
SUN, JUL 22 GOD AND BEYOND: The Advisors are hosting a conversation about God and beyond that will inform work being done to update the Constitution (including the Mission Statement) and By-laws of Lakewood UCC on Sunday July 22nd from 9 – 10 am in the Fellowship Hall.
NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.
OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month. Contact Ian Blair-Catala for upcoming volunteer dates.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THUR, JUL 12 March for Our Lives Continues: There will be a Road to Change: District 13 – Rally & Voter Registration sponsored by students on a bus tour registering young people to vote and end gun violence.  The gathering is in William’s Park (330 2nd Ave. N.) Thursday July 12 from 11-3.
MON, JUL 30 SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES: Meet the candidates running for Pinellas County School Board at SPC Gibbs (6605 5th Ave N) from 6-8pm on Monday July 30th.
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.
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.
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.
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.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! 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 the church office 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. School age children are invited to participate in Summer Sundays church services. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez following Children’s Time. 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

Family and friends of Betty Harris, Genevieve Jackle, Shirley Locke,
Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Willy Zessoules

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Operation Attack Newsletter

Operation Attack

1310 22nd Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33705 (727) 822-1187   www.operationattack.org

July 2018

Peggy Junkin & Diane Klamer – Lead Volunteers

Hours: 9:30 am – 12:00 pm    (1st, 2nd, 3rd Tuesday each month)
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm        (One evening a month)


The 2018-2019 school year will begin on August 13. Operation Attack continues our regular Tuesday morning schedule through the summer months, providing both food and children’s clothing. We hope by continuing the summer schedule that our clients will feel less stress as they prepare for their children’s new school year. We appreciate your help in providing the students in our community the appropriate clothing, new underwear, socks, and a school uniform, if required. During the first half of the year we provided assistance to 263 families, clothed 227 children, provided food bags to 600 people, and paid 4 electric bills.

We wish to extend a big Thank You to our friends at St. Andrew Lutheran Church who had a special collection for layette items in observance of Rachel’s Day. Rachel’s Day is a time set aside to mourn and renounce the forces of violence, based on Jeremiah 31:15-17. We were blessed to receive newborn diapers, wash clothes, towels, wipes, clothing and more. We also want to thank St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church for donating children’s clothing from their thrift store when they discontinued this type of clothing and Westgate Elementary’s First Grade for donating food when they enjoyed a Tree Climb at Pathfinder Outdoor Education, on our campus. A Big Shout Out goes to Rugena, Amber, Madison and Ms. Knobloch, for the hygiene products they donated for an 8th Grade Community Project at Sanderlin IB World School. In addition, blessings came from the Family of Myrna Gemmer when they requested people donate money to OA, in lieu of flowers, when Myrna died in May.

Each one of you, with your regular donations, special food and clothing drives, and volunteering your time, are critical to our being able to serve our neighbors in need.

Volunteers

  • We welcome a new volunteer from Maximo Presbyterian (Shelah) who assists with tagging clothing items and miscellaneous other tasks.
  • We still need another volunteer to assist with re-stocking our clothing racks, especially at change of seasons, and assisting clients with shopping.
  • Also needed: an “on call” volunteer to substitute for our regular volunteers while they are on vacation, or when there is a special need.

Clothing Needs

School uniform items required by many of our schools.

  • Boys slacks/shorts, khaki or navy, size 5 -16
  • Girls slacks/shorts/skirts/skorts, khaki or navy, size 5-16, teen 7 & 9
  • Polo shirts without logos for both boys and girls, size 5-16, teen S,M,L
  • (white, navy, hunter green, maroon, sky blue, red)
  • Jackets of all sizes, toddlers through teens, especially light weight jackets.
  • We also welcome donations of diapers, newborn through size 5, and travel size hygiene products for seniors we serve from the Neighborly Care Network.

Food and Hygiene Product Needs

We can always use canned fruit, soup, vegetables, meat, pasta, pasta sauce, rice, beans, peanut butter, cereal, oatmeal, and individually wrapped toilet paper and bar soap.

Speakers/Tours available – Please call to schedule.

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Pax Christi Tampa Bay newsletter

Friends,

This coming week there are two chances in Pinellas County week to meet the gun safety student activists from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School:

Road to Change: Palm Harbor/Dunedin Townhall
When: Tuesday, July 10th from 6:30-8:00 pm
Where: 1134 Douglas Ave Dunedin, Florida
Details and RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/road-to-change-townhall-tickets-47701414214

Road to Change: St. Petersburg Rally
When: Thursday, July 12th 11:00 AM-3:00 PM
Where: Williams Park (330 2nd Ave N, Saint Petersburg)
Details and RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1988317671498522/

For more information (FMI): We the Students Inc. at wethestudents17@gmail.com or through the website https://wethestudents.info/ Information on other Florida events is at https://marchforourlives.com/floridatour/.

Below are items concerning the environment, Islamophobia, the calendar of weekly events, and more. Many of the events in this newsletter, along with others, are listed on the Pinellas County Progressive Calendar. Click here for the calendar.

Pax Christi Tampa Bay

WEEKLY ONGOING EVENTS

MISSIO DEI SUNDAY DINNER: Missio Dei is a small church that meets in the refurbished corner of a warehouse at 1330 Burlington Avenue N. (map; the entrance is on 2nd Avenue on the south side of the building.) They serve a meal after their worship service. The congregation is largely homeless or precariously housed. The service begins at 5:30 PM; the dinner begins at 6:30. For information on how you can help prepare, serve, or financially support the meal, contact G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088.

RESIST TRUMP TUESDAYS AT SENATOR MARCO RUBIO’S TAMPA OFFICE:
Indivisible and other local activist groups gather outside Marco Rubio’s office in the Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Court House, 801 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa, FL 33602 (map). The protest is every Tuesday, 10:30-11:30 AM. Bring signs, or the Indivisible organizers can provide them. There is parking around the courthouse and the meters take credit cards. For more information (FMI): sjstew@gte.net

WEEKLY SARASOTA DEMONSTRATION: Activists from Veterans for Peace and Manasota Pax Christi, among other groups, will demonstrate for peace through justice from 4:00-5:00 PM every Tuesday in downtown Sarasota along Bayfront Drive/N. Tamiami Trail near its intersection with Gulfstream Drive (map). The demonstration is south of Unconditional Surrender, the “kissing statue.” FMI: Russ at Rjbannerusa@gmail.com

WEEKLY POSTCARD PARTY: Join Indivisible FL-13 in reaching out to Pinellas voters and promote voting by mail every Tuesday at 6:00 pm at Allendale United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Rd. N. in St. Petersburg, FL 33703. For more information, or to help write postcards from home, please email info@indivisiblefl13.com for information.

PEACE FIRST: During every Wednesday in July, Peace First activists will be at the corner of 38th Avenue and 4th Street North in St. Petersburg from 4:30-5:30 PM (map). There are a McDonald’s, a Burger King, a Publix and a Chase Bank at this intersection. They will focus on gun violence and other issues, including immigration. Bring a sign, or they will provide one.

The group eats at a restaurant in an “after party” following the demonstration. For more information (FMI): SMcCown@tampabay.rr.com

FRIDAY NIGHT PICNIC ON THE PLAYGROUND IN ST. PETE: The 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 a breakfast held at Trinity Lutheran Church on Saturday mornings. Volunteers serve a full 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 with some or all of the breakfast. Please contact Anita Podgwaite at (727) 565-8742 or G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088 to help.

SINGLE EVENTS

  1. Film: Reinventing Power
    Wednesday, July 11 at 5:30 PM – 8 PM
    Largo Community Center, 400 Alt Keene Rd, Largo, Florida 33771

    FREE Film! Reinventing Power: America’s Clean Energy Boom takes viewers across the country to hear directly from the people making a clean energy future achievable. These individuals are working to rebuild what is broken, rethink what is possible, and revitalize communities. These stories are proof that supporting a clean energy future means building a better, more prosperous future for everyone.Watch the Trailer Here5:30 PM Doors Open (Free light food and beverages available!)
    6:00 PM Reinventing Power Film Starts
    7:00 PM Discussion and Q&A.Take Action: The City of Largo is working on LEAP (Largo’s Environmental Action Plan) register to see the film Reinventing Power and stay up to date on developments – add your voice for a move to Clean Energy in Largo HERE.

    RSVP
    Facebook event page

 

2. Khaled Beydoun Book Tour – American Islamophobia: Understanding the Roots and Rise of Fear

Friday, July 13 7:00 PM
Islamic Society of New Tampa (15830 Morris Bridge Rd, Thonotosassa, FL 33592)

Join author Khaled Beydoun and Chief Executive Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations Hassan Shibly as they discuss understanding Islamophobia and what the techniques for effectively combatting it.

FMI: Begum Becerik at bbecerik@cair.com
Facebook event page

  1. City of St. Petersburg Tree Planting Celebration and Litter Clean-up

Saturday, July 14, 8:30 – 11:30 AM

Tangerine Plaza parking lot, 1780 22nd St. S. (corner of 18th Ave. & 22nd St. S.)

The Litter Clean-Up will be held from 22nd St. S. to 49th S. S. Light refreshments and cleanup supplies will be available. The Celebration is free and open to the public.

RSVP to Alex Hancock to join a Clean Up Team at 727-893-7349 or Alexandria.Hancock@stpete.org FMI: http://events.stpete.org/events/5481

4. Me Facing Life: The Cyntoia Brown Story
Saturday, July 14 at 9:30 AM – 1 PM
Mount Olive African Methodist Episcopal Church, 600 Jones St., Clearwater FL

At 16 she was picked up by a 43-year-old man for sex. Alone at his home filled with guns, she got scared and killed him. The Tampa Bay Center for Community Transformation presents the first in its community film screening series, “Movies That Matter.” Join us for a viewing and post panel discussion of the story of Cyntoia Brown a teenager who became a child sex slave and later sentenced to life in prison for killing a man who used her.

Facebook page

5. St. Pete Solar Co-op Info Session
Thursday, July 19 @ 6 p.m.
Campbell Park Recreation Center, 601 14th Street South, St Petersburg, FL 33705

Live in south Pinellas County and want to go solar? Now’s your chance!

Neighbors across the area have formed a Solar Co-op with the help of the League of Women Voters, Solar United Neighbors of Florida, the City of St. Petersburg, and Suncoast Sierra Club. Co-ops make it easier to save money on the purchase of solar panels, while building a community of local solar supporters.

Join the session to learn about solar energy, as well as how co-op membership simplifies the process of going solar while providing a discount through its bulk purchasing power.

RSVP here
Facebook event page

  1. Summer Film Series

7:00 PM

Unity of Tampa Fellowship Hall

3302 West Horatio Tampa FL 33609

The Bridge’s Summer Film Series does not just inform; each film showing is followed by a discussion with local experts and advocates which will empower the audience for action. Each film is shown at 7:00 PM; a donation of $7.00 is suggested for each showing. A brief description of each film is below; details are at http://www.thebridgetampa.com/images/stories/2015events/7th-SummerFilmSeries-2018.pdf



July 20th | Mother Nature’s Child
This film explores nature’s powerful role in children’s health and development. It asks compelling questions about what it means to educate the ‘whole’ child and depicts the latest breakthroughs related to our relationships within the natural world (also relevant to adults).

August 24th| Edible City A fast-paced journey through the local Good Food Movement this film introduces us to extraordinary people who are challenging the paradigm of our broken food system with innovative approaches like edible education and grassroots activism building the local economies.

7. Trash Tour – Tampa
Saturday, July 21 at 8 AM – 3 PM
E.G. Simmons Regional Park, 2401 19th Ave NW, Ruskin, Florida 33570

Swamp Head Brewery and the Coastal Conservation Association Florida are teaming up for a coastal cleanup event for the whole family, with free food, beer and prizes.

Throughout 2018, the tour is traveling all over the state, visiting favorite fishing spots, and cleaning up Florida’s waterways. Participants can expect to fill their hands with beer, food, free goodies, and a day of competitive display of coastal conservation.

Each Trash Tour stop will be run as a free tournament-style trash round-up with prizes awarded for several different categories. Everyone involved over the age of 21 will also be awarded tasty bubbly beverages.

Register
Facebook event page

  1. Soap and Pizza: Laundry Love
    Monday, July 30, 6:30-8:00 PM
    Coin laundry at 365 8th St S, St Petersburg, Florida (map).Laundry Love Projects are regular opportunities to help financially struggling people do their laundry. There are now over two hundred projects nationwide.Locally, Laundry Love is sponsored by the Missio Dei and takes place the last Monday of every month. Organizers and their supporters provide soap, coins and pizza for those washing their clothes.Each Laundry Love costs around $200. FMI on how you or your group can support and participate, contact G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088 or gw@themissiodei.com

 

 

  1. IF TRUMP FIRES MUELLER: Indivisible FL-13 will sponsor an emergency rally in Demen’s Landing, St Petersburg if President Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller:
  • If Trump fires Mueller BEFORE 2:00 PM, meet at 5:00 PM
  • If Trump fires Mueller AFTER 2:00 PM, meet at NOON of following day.

Indivisible FL-13 will send an email notification and post it on Twitter and Facebook.


Indivisible FL-13 Contact Information:

Indivisible FL-13 on Facebook
Indivisible FL-13 on Twitter
Email Indivisible FL-13 at info@indivisiblefl13.com

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Weekly Update 4 July

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, JUL 8 THIS SUNDAY:  Gratitude is expressed to Rev. Victoria Long for preaching this Sunday and to Claire Stiles for serving as liturgist. The sermon topic is “After the Fireworks.” See Deuteronomy 10:17-21 and Matthew 5:43-48.
Summer Sundays Services are more informal and favorite hymns will be sung each week. Children attend the beginning of the service and may go to the Nursery following Children’s Time.
JUL 2-10 REV. WELLS AWAY: Pastor Wells will be away from July 2nd to July 10th. Many thanks to Victoria Long who will preach on Sunday. For pastoral care, please contact Emily Bell or the church office.
SUN, JUN 1 A/C UPDATE: Many thanks to those who stayed for the congregational conversation after the service on July 1 to discuss the upcoming A/C work. Ron Huff shared information about the bids received and which one is being selected. He told of the extent of the work to be done. There were several questions raised. While this was not an official meeting and there was no actual voting, everyone was in agreement about going forward with the A/C work. This work was approved at an earlier congregational meeting. There was also discussion about removing the carrotwood tree that is in danger of falling on the church building. Ron will proceed with plans for taking the tree down especially since hurricane season has arrived.
SUN, JUL 15 ADVISORS MEETING: The advisors will meet following worship on Sunday July 15th. All are welcome to attend.
WED, JUL 18 WESTMINSTER SUNCOAST LUNCH: The next luncheon for residents of Westminster Shores and Suncoast will be Wednesday July 18th at 11:30 in the private dining room at Westminster Suncoast.
THU, JUL 19 CREATION JUSTICE MEETING: The group will meet Thursday, July 19th at 1pm. All are welcome to participate.
SUN, JUL 22 GOD AND BEYOND: The Advisors are hosting a conversation about God and beyond that will inform work being done to update the Constitution (including the Mission Statement) and By-laws of Lakewood UCC on Sunday July 22nd from 9 – 10 am in the Fellowship Hall.
NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.
OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month. Contact Ian Blair-Catala for upcoming volunteer dates.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

LGBTQ PROGRAMS: Teacher and children’s book author Rob Sanders will be featured in a pair of programs at the Gulfport Public Library (5501 28th Ave S) on Tuesday July 10th in which he will read from his new children’s book, Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag. The new book has already been praised by Publishers Weekly as a “poignant and uplifting biography.” There will be one afternoon program geared to children and their families from 4 – 5pm, as well as an evening program geared to adults from 7 – 8pm. Both programs are free and open to the public and all ages.
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.
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.
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.
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.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! 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 the church office 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. School age children are invited to participate in Summer Sundays church services. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez following Children’s Time. 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 Rogers, Deedee Young, Genevieve Jackle, Shirley Locke,
Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Willy Zessoules

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Sermon 7.1.18 Peer Pressure

Scripture Lessons:  Matthew 13:33 and 16:5-12                                                       Pastor:   Rev. Kim P. Wells

We have three dogs.  One of them is new to us.  Stephanie, a 6 year old Newfoundland, came to live with us in March.  We have another 6 year old dog, Andre.  He is small, about 50 pounds, with short black hair.  And our third dog is Nahla, a golden retriever/German Shepherd mix, who is about 15 years old.  So, this spring, Stephanie joined Andre and Nahla in our household.  

Every night when I  take my vitamins I give the dogs a fish oil pill.  Andre and Nahla LOVE them.  They hear the rattle of a bottle of pills and they appear in the bathroom wagging and panting for their fish oil.  When we first got Stephanie, she didn’t know about this ritual so she would remain wherever she was, usually lying like a rug, in the middle of the living room.   Each night, I would find her and offer her a fish oil pill.  She sniffed the thing and left it.  She was not interested.  This went on for about a week.  

Then one night Stephanie appeared in the bathroom with the other dogs when they heard the pill bottles.  She stood and watched as Andre and Nahla eagerly devoured their fish oil.  I offered one to her as I had each night for the previous week expecting her to reject it as usual.  But no.  She gulped the thing down.  And she has appeared in the bathroom every night since for her fish oil pill along with Nahla and Andre.  

To me, this was clear evidence of pack behavior, or what in the human realm we call, peer pressure.  You see others doing something and you join in.  To fit in.  You think that is what you are supposed to be doing.  You follow the lead of those around you.  

We tend to associate issues around peer pressure with children and youth.  We think of a scene, perhaps on the playground, where kids are harassing or taunting someone, and everyone pretty much joins in; even those who would typically not engage in such mean behavior.  Maybe you have been part of such an episode.  I am reading a book with a scene where a group of kids coming home with bats from a ball game, find an injured horse lying on the ground and one kid takes a swing at the horse and, as expected, the other kids join in.  We reflect on such experiences and see how we are taken in by the crowd, allowing ourselves to blindly join in what is going on around us.  This happens partly because in childhood and youth fitting in is so important.  Loving, responsible adults try to teach children to think for themselves, make good choices, and not get taken in by the crowd.  

Then come the teenage years and loving adults hope and pray the message has gotten through because the stakes can be higher.  Teens are at a party and someone brings out alcohol or a joint.  Today, that is tame.  It could be a bowl of pills, mixed.  Or some kind of powder.  Or who knows what.    And then, it could be a sexual situation without mutual consent.   Or a hazing of some kind that turns very violent.  There are limitless possibilities.  So, we parent types, hope the teens we love know that they don’t have to go along.   Though they desperately want to fit in by going along, we hope they have learned that they have choices.  

So many times, we hear stories of people who do bad things, bad for themselves and others, because they followed those around them.  They succumbed to peer pressure.   And people with bad intent know how susceptible we are to peer pressure.  They know if they just start something, and apply little motivation, like shaming those who are resisting, they can pretty much get others to participate.  And it doesn’t stop in childhood or adolescence unfortunately.  Adults, too, are extremely vulnerable to peer pressure.  They, too, want to fit in, to be part of the group, to be accepted.  Especially if they did not feel a part of things growing up.  

Jesus knew about this tendency to want to fit in; to go along with things so that you feel a sense of belonging.  And he knew about our human tendency to want to exploit this to our own advantage.  Numerous times in the gospels we see Jesus accusing religious leaders of manipulating people, exerting peer pressure essentially, toward ends that are not consistent with the intentions of God.  In the verses we heard from Matthew this morning, we hear Jesus lambasting the religious authorities for leading the common people astray for selfish gains:  “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 

In this story, Jesus uses the image of yeast in the typical way.  Yeast had negative connotations in Jewish tradition.  Going back to the story of the Passover and leaving Egypt without time to make leavened bread, the image of yeast was a symbol of corruption.  It was very bad.  It was an image used to show how a little of something bad can have a huge negative influence.  Jesus draws on this tradition in his accusation.  One person or a few people start something bad and it is easy to get others to go along, to get along, to belong.  Very effective means toward harmful ends.  We see this again and again and again throughout history from Nazi Germany to college hazing.

What is surprising from Jesus, what is new and unexpected, is the other verse we listened to this morning; the one about a woman baking bread with yeast.  First I want to let you know that the Jesus Seminar, a group of highly respected brilliant Bible scholars, consider this verse one of the few in the New Testament to be authentic to the voice of Jesus.  The gospels were written well after Jesus’ death.  Much of the teaching associated with Jesus had been passed down over the years.  And, like any oral tradition, there were changes along the way to make the teaching applicable to the circumstances.  The Jesus Seminar was an academic initiative to try to determine what may be actually attributed to the historical Jesus.  The result was a book called The Five Gospels.  It includes Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as well as the gospel of Thomas, a gospel that, for a variety of reasons, was not chosen to be included in the canon, the church-authorized New Testament.  In The Five Gospels, the words attributed to Jesus are printed in different colors.  If the quotes are in black then the scholars pretty much agree that this was not actually spoken by Jesus.  If the words are in gray, there is the possibility that this could have come from Jesus.  If the words are in pink, then there is more of a possibility that they may be attributable to Jesus.  And if the words are in red, then the group of scholars is in close agreement that those words are very likely words that were actually spoken by Jesus.   There is very little red print in the book.  In The Five Gospels, the words, “Heaven’s imperial rule is like leaven which a woman took and concealed in fifty pounds of flour until it was all leavened” are in red.  [The Five Gospels:  The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus, Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hoover, and The Jesus Seminar, p. 195]

Part of the reason they are in red is that Jesus was known for taking tradition and twisting it on its head.  Here the commonly used negative image of yeast as a symbol of corruption is turned around and used in a positive way.  That is characteristic of the historical Jesus.  

There are two other features of this teaching that are unexpected.  One is the amount of flour.  Three measures.  About 10 gallons.  Maybe the equivalent of 50 pounds.  Probably enough to make bread for 100-150 people.  So this image of the woman adding yeast to flour and baking bread is a common image but the way the symbol of yeast is used is a turn around.  It only takes a little to have a big influence, that is yeast, but this yeast is having a HUGE influence, and that HUGE influence is positive, it is good, it is of God.  Jesus is imbuing common images with new meanings.

And, there is something else unexpected in this teaching.  It is lost in the New Revised Standard translation and in the Inclusive Language translation we heard this morning.  But the original language tells us that the woman hid the yeast in the flour.  She conceals the yeast in the flour.  This is done surreptitiously.  Not out in plain view.  The realm of God can surprise.  It may not be an attention grabbing spectacle.  It may sneak up on us.  It may sneak into us.  Just a bit.  To huge effect.  Who knows?

This teaching is a beautiful image for the church today, for us, as Christian people.  It reminds us that we can be the yeast.  Just a little.  Making a big difference.  Perhaps without anyone even noticing.  Maybe we ourselves don’t even know the effect we are having.  

But look how easy it is to manipulate people with negative peer pressure.  Just a little shame and the enticement to fit in and you can get people on board.

This teaching of Jesus about the yeast is meant to motivate us to use positive peer pressure.  Do the good.  Quietly.  In the background.  Without a lot of fanfare.  Stand up for justice.  Help others.  Serve the common good.  Wherever you may be involved, in whatever your sphere of influence.  And trust the rest to God.  Trust that what you do will make a difference and may even influence others to make a positive difference.  

This positive modeling is what led to the burgeoning of the early church.  About Christians, people said, “see how they love each other.”  That is how Christians were known.  And people were attracted to that.  They weren’t attracted by the fear of rotting in hell.  They weren’t originally attracted by the glories of heaven.  It wasn’t about money or status.  It was the love.  The care.  The compassion.  The sharing.  The looking out for each other.  And this approach was not limited to just those in the faith community.  The first Christians shared this love with others out in the world who then were attracted in to the church because of what they saw.  Here we see the yeast.  A relatively small group of people, making real the realm of God, in their context.  And it has literally changed the world.  

Friends, I don’t need to tell you that the world is in desperate need of the yeast of the realm of God.  The church is needed to exert a positive example.  We are called to model another way.  We must speak for love in the many circumstances of our lives and trust the rest to God.  Let the love grow how and when it will.  But people need to see love, to feel it, to experience it, even if they don’t know what it is.

You can barely open a newspaper or check social media without seeing something about how uncivil our society has become.  People are confronting others in mean and hostile ways.  People of various political and social perspectives.  It isn’t limited to only one group.

I attended my book club last week and this topic came up.  One woman, an outspoken liberal, and a Catholic, got very heated.  Her complaint was that liberals are too nice.  The Democrats are too nice.  That’s why things are so bad.  That’s why our country is going down hill.  In her view, the people who are right are just being too nice about it.  She feels they need to be more devious and scrappy like their opponents.   I found this view alarming.  Since this was not a church setting, and I was not there in a pastoral role even though the woman saying this is Christian, I didn’t feel I could respond referring to Jesus, like what about “love your enemies.”  So, I turned to another authoritative source.  I said, “So much for Michelle Obama: ‘When they go low, we go high.’”  Well, that quieted things down.  

It’s not that we can’t disagree.  We SHOULD disagree when we see people treated with inequality, with hatred, with degradation, and when we see the Earth abused and harassed.  We should be saying something.  We should be strong and convicted about our values in defense of human life, human rights, human dignity, peace, and care for the Earth.  We should be saying something.  But to do it in a way that is degrading to those with differing opinions, to be mean, uncivil, and demeaning is to do the very thing we decry:  It is to diminish the value of the life of another person.  When confronting someone with differing views, it’s one thing to say, “This is what I think” and explain why.  It’s quite another to say, “You’re a bigot and an idiot.”   

What is needed in America and in the world today are bold people of conscience and principle who are not afraid to be the yeast in a positive way; in content and in style.  We are needed to model service, generosity, and reconciliation.  We are needed to be the people who help someone that is having a difficulty, not laugh at the person or scorn them.  We are needed to be the people who offer comfort to the stranger sitting crying in the waiting room at the doctor’s office instead of sitting as far away as possible because it is embarrassing and we feel uncomfortable.  We are the people who are needed to offer help, to say yes, to reach out in compassion and kindness.  We are the people who are needed to speak up and to speak out for human rights and human dignity.  We are needed to show love for our enemies.  

And then, see what others do.  How do they respond?  It’s likely that other people, seeing the example, are going to join in.  Your example is going to work like positive peer pressure, enticing people to do the right thing.  To join in a good cause.  To lift a finger to help.  To offer a word of comfort.  To change hearts and minds with love.  Use that peer pressure for good.  That’s what we need to be doing.  

And we don’t have to make a big deal about it.  We don’t have to get any credit.  We don’t have to be thanked.  Remember the hidden part of the yeast story.  The woman hid the yeast in the flour.  We just need to do what is right and neighborly and good.  We just need to see that every human being is treated like a human being.  We just need to show that all life is sacred.  But we need to do it.  To involve ourselves.  And with that quiet example, well, we just have to let go of the outcome.  In the Jesus’ teaching a bit of yeast made bread for 100 to 150 people.  That is a ridiculous outcome.  A woman could not manage that much dough at once.  So we have to let go of our expectations around the outcome.  We just have to do what is Jesus-like and let go of the rest.  

I heard a story this weekend about a woman who saw a bored boy outside her church on a summer day.  She had pity on him and invited him inside.  She had one game, Monopoly, so she asked him if he wanted to play.  Then she went to the corner store and got him some snacks.  The next day, he was back with some friends.  And this has turned into a neighborhood youth program that now has 75 students involved.  And they are not only playing games but getting help with homework and getting into college.  And the woman who started this program swore that she would never work in the church, her parents are pastors, and that she would never work with kids.  

And then there is the yeast.  Open yourself to the Love.  Let Jesus live and grow in you.  The world is hungry for your witness.  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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Sermon 6.24.18 Timeless Faith – Timely Faith

Date:  61st Anniversary of the United Church of Christ  

Scripture Lesson: Mark 2:18-3:6

Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

“The Lord hath more truth and light yet to break forth from his holy word.”  Listen to that again.  “The Lord hath more truth and light yet to break forth from his holy word.”

These are the words of John Robinson, pastor of a separatist congregation that left England seeking religious freedom.  Having been harassed and scorned in various European locations for their “expression” of Christianity,  Robinson’s congregation decided to send a group to the shores of North America hoping to find a place where they could practice their version of Christianity in peace.  

As those heading to the New World left to join the Mayflower, Robinson gave a farewell speech to his congregants.  It included these words:  “I charge you before God and his blessed angels that you follow me no further than you have seen me follow Christ. If God reveal anything to you by any other instrument of His, be as ready to receive it as you were to receive any truth from my ministry, for I am verily persuaded the Lord hath more truth and light yet to break forth from his holy word.”

Lest there be any misunderstanding, Robinson continued:  “The Lutherans cannot be drawn to go beyond what Luther saw.  Whatever part of His will our God has revealed to Calvin, they [Lutherans] will rather die than embrace it; and the Calvinists, you see, stick fast where they were left by that great man of God, who yet saw not all things. This is a misery much to be lamented.”

Robinson encouraged his followers to expect new leadings from God in the way of Christ as they faced new circumstances.  As heirs of the Reformation, Robinson encouraged his flock to keep growing and changing in ways that were consistent with the ministry of Jesus.  He foresaw that new situations would require new responses and he wanted his people to feel free to be completely faithful to Christ and not be limited by certain human teachings of the past.  And so he adjured them, “The Lord hath more truth and light yet to break forth from his holy word.”

John Robinson and those who came over on the Mayflower are our forebears in the United Church of Christ.  This is part of our heritage.   And the UCC has taken Robinson’s perspective very seriously in its 61 year history.  Most recently his sentiments have been promoted in the Gracie Allen quote widely used in UCC:  “Never place a period where God has place a comma.”  

This way of looking at matters of faith is not new to Robinson or the UCC.  It is clearly evident in the Bible.  Many times in scripture, God is portrayed as promising to do something new, a new thing.  The prophets speak for a God that is very willing to try new approaches to help humanity live into the fullness of joy and peace.  [See Jeremiah 31:22, Isaiah 42:4, 43:19, and 48:6]

Jesus is an example of this; of God doing a new thing.  One way we see this is in Jesus’ role in salvation history.  Many people were expecting a king-like, political, military messiah on the order of King David.  There is much to point to this expectation in the Hebrew Bible.  There are also verses in Isaiah about a suffering servant but that was the decidedly “minority” opinion.  [See Isaiah 53]  The more dominant view was that God would send a classic, powerful ruler who would garner the support of all the people and boot out the Roman invaders.  Jesus was not this messiah.  To those who saw Jesus as messiah, they believed that God was doing a new thing through a suffering servant.  

We also see God doing something new in the teachings of Jesus.  Jesus does not establish a new religion.  He does not condemn the heritage of Judaism.  He is born Jewish and remains Jewish, fully and completely.  But he offers new understandings of what had become core assumptions in the Judaism of his day.  In some cases, his teaching is actually going back to the original intentions.  We heard several examples of this in the scripture that was read this morning.  Regarding fasting, the old rules don’t apply.  Jesus is known as a glutton and a drunkard.  There are times to celebrate as well as to fast.  Sometimes you need to let the fasting go.  The story of picking grain on the sabbath and the healing of the withered hand show the humanitarian intent of the law.  Doing good is more important than being legalistic.  Jesus is challenging the current interpretation of the Law.  As one commentary points out:  The Pharisees and Scribes have no concerns for God’s will.  They substitute human traditions for the truth, which comes from God.”  [Pheme Perkins, in The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 7, p, 422]  This is always a temptation in religion.  So Jesus does a new thing.  He rocks the boat.  He is helping people see the truth.  And truth is sometimes upsetting, especially new truth. 

So when John Robinson declared, “The Lord hath more truth and light yet to break forth from his holy word,” he knew that he was part of a long standing stream of faithfulness in the Judeo-Christian tradition.  He knew that he was standing on solid ground in terms of scripture and tradition within Christianity. 

This idea, that God is doing something new, that faith continues to evolve and emerge, has continued to be an important part of the history and identity of the United Church of Christ.

The UCC was formed in 1957 from two predecessor denominations each of which was formed from two previous denominations.  While both were Protestant, the merger of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Church was in some ways an unlikely match and it took many years of discussion to come to the point of actual merger.  One big difference was polity.  The Evangelical and Reformed Church was “connectional.”  That means there was a carefully constructed hierarchy and churches were under the authority of the hierarchy and they were bound to comply with the hierarchy.  The Congregational Christian Church had congregational polity.  Each congregation was responsible for its own affairs.  There was a wider church structure and churches were in fellowship and mission together but the final say was within the congregation.

The denominations differed in another important way.  The Evangelical and Reformed church was a creedal church.  The doctrine of the church was contained in the Heidelberg Catechism, Luther’s Catechism, and the Augsburg Confession.  The Apostle’s Creed was regularly recited in worship.  The creed was the test of faith.  The Congregational Christian Church did not use a creed as a test of faith.  The content of belief was left up to the conscience of the individual believer. 

We can see potential problems with two such differing expressions of Christianity coming together but they had a very strong bond.  As each was a merger of previous denominations, they had already shown their commitment to the unity of the church.  They really did believe that the church was the body of Christ, one body, and not a dismembered body.  They believed that God wanted one church working together for the good of the world.  Thus the motto chosen for the newly formed United Church of Christ was, “That they may all be one,” from Jesus’ prayer for the disciples in the gospel of John.  This was a church that would be united and uniting.  The anticipation was that other Christian communions, like the Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, etc. in the US, would also join the UCC and it would be something like the United Church of Canada today.  

Obviously we know that this did not happen.  But those who were part of creating the UCC in 1957 wanted to create a communion that was open; open to welcoming other churches, open to working together with other churches, and open to God doing a new thing for the good of the world.  

To create this openness, the new United Church of Christ incorporated congregational polity.  Each church was responsible for its own affairs and for discerning its ministry.  You could keep using the same hymnal and financially supporting the same mission projects and using the same curriculum in Church School that you had been using.  You could keep your church organization and structure.  Or you could change it all.  That was up to the congregation.  

While making the UCC open and welcoming to additional communions, congregational polity also gave churches the freedom to adapt and change according to how they felt called to serve.  We see this in the history of Lakewood United Church of Christ.   Through the years this church has functioned in different ways depending on the times.  And we take seriously the responsibility to be always evaluating what we are doing and to adapt so that the way we are organized and how we make decisions facilitates our mission and ministry rather than obstructing it.  We appreciate the freedom to worship and teach and serve in ways that are relevant to our circumstances.  We take seriously the responsibility to discern our calling and to respond with generosity and love.  We have embraced the flexibility and openness that is a hallmark of the UCC.  

Along with this practical openness the UCC has also embraced theological openness.  With the merging of a creedal denomination and a non creedal denomination, the decision was made not to require a creed, a test of faith, for being part of the UCC.  If you look in your hymnal at readings 881-887 you will see the Nicene Creed and the Apostle’s Creed.  Churches are welcome to use those creeds if they so choose but they are not required to do so.   

The newly formed UCC decided to create a Statement of Faith for use in churches if they so desired.  We read one version this morning.  The Statement of Faith conveys a way of understanding God and God’s activity in human history and in our lives. It is not a test of faith.

In the original form, as was accepted for the time, God was referred to with male pronouns.  As the church evolved and became aware of the negative  effects of gender specific language for God in the church and in society, a new version of the Statement was created which uses the second person, You, instead of He.   Given the character of the UCC we can expect to have new forms of the statement in the future, or other statements of faith.  In the back of the hymnal, you can see that not only are there several historic creeds and the UCC Statement of Faith, but there are also several other affirmations of faith from other communions.  The idea is that no one statement is the be all and end all for all time.  

And this brings us to LUCC today.  The church has a constitution and by-laws.  Some of the organizational arrangements in the document are no longer fitting for our current situation so the advisors have undertaken conversations about updating this document.   While we may have thought that the discussion was going to revolve around practical arrangements for our life together, the conversation took an unexpected turn.  There was an involved theological discussion, this stemming from the fact that the constitution leads off with the Mission Statement of the church and the statement of the core assumptions of belief associated with the church:   “This church affirms God as Creator, Jesus Christ as Savior, and the Holy Spirit as our strength.  This church recognizes the United Church of Christ Statement of Faith.”   What we discovered is that it is important to the church today to have these foundational statements be truly inclusive of the congregation today and into the future.   These foundational statements in the constitution convey religious and theological language that implies certain understandings of faith.  Given that the church is evolving, today these statements may be perceived as limiting.   Can we say something that includes a broader spectrum of Christian understanding and expression?

The statements in the LUCC constitution specifically portray a traditional theistic view of God.  But some people in the congregation have found themselves growing toward a non-theistic understanding of God.  The desire of the church leadership is to explore ways to describe our faith in the constitution that include the theistic as well as the non-theistic.  Are there ways to state our faith that are inclusive in this way?  Can we open the door wider in our language and portrayal of our faith?  Can we let more light and truth break forth into our church constitution and our church life and language and worship?  Will this help us as a congregation to welcome more people who need the church and who are needed by the church?  Can this help us to grow in ways that increase the love we are sharing in the world?   Is this an extension of our ministry that is needed going forward?  There will be more conversations about this in the weeks to come and the advisors hope that you will want to participate.  

I think this is well worth exploring.  Many people today in our culture feel that Christianity is irrelevant or hypocritical or regressive.  Some of the traditional language and theology is contributing to this.   There are issues around some of our traditional Christian views that are at odds with currently verifiable scientifically proven reality.  Heaven is not “up” there.  Space is out there.  God is not “out there” somewhere.  The Cosmos is out there.  Our universe may be floating in a sea of universes.  The church talks about Jesus as God.  Was Jesus categorically, genetically different than the rest of humanity?  The church talks about Jesus resurrected and ascended into heaven.  Then where is he?  Orbiting in space somewhere?  We already see these ideas ably expressed by the evangelical atheist movement.  When I hear their voices, I agree with much of what is said.  But they are confronting a traditional view of Christianity.  And they are telling us that that expression of Christianity is going extinct.

So, going forward and into the far future (beyond the next election cycle), is Christianity viable with these claims that are at odds with science?  Can there be an expression of Christianity that respects science as it continues to unfold?  And can the understandings and concepts of Christianity continue to function in  figurative and metaphorical ways so that the teachings of Jesus continue to inspire faith communities to offer love and peace to the world?

I hope so.  Because when we look at the world today, at what is going on in our times, it’s clear that the message of Jesus is badly needed.  The world is crying out for his vision of unconditional, universal love which leads to relationships that are just and communities that are anti violent; a world characterized by peace and joy.  Look at the families divided at our southern border.  Look at the treatment of those lost children.  Look at an administration forming a space force, taking the use of military force out into space, beyond the confines of Earth’s atmosphere, spreading the cancer of violence.  We have a president that wants new nuclear weapons that are easier to use.  That is completely at odds with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Then there is the increasing abuse of the environment and economic arrangements that continue to abuse workers.  The world sorely needs a church loudly proclaiming the values and world view of Jesus.  And the people who share those values need a church, a  community of inspiration and support, that doesn’t require them to suspend their rational intellect when they come through the door.  

The teachings of Jesus remain very attractive to many people who are not part of a church because of some of the archaic ways of talking about things in church.  Yes, there are those who think of God in theistic terms – think of God as a You, or a He, or a Creator, or a something, somewhere, an entity, with power to influence and control human history and individual circumstances.  People with understandings along these lines need to feel welcome in church.  There are also those who are moving toward thinking of God in non theistic terms.  No “You,” no anthropomorphism, no entity somewhere.  Instead, the non theistic believer may think of God as a principle, as an idea, as a concept of unity and love and life and relatedness or as the “ground of being” to quote 20th century theologian Paul Tillich.  Some are thinking about God as a foundational precept.  The core of reality.  And new ways to think about Jesus are emerging.  He may be seen as a manifestation of the full embodiment of universal, unconditional love.  The fullness of humanity.  The journey of faith then is to live in ever greater alignment with these concepts of love and unity and life.  Can we as one congregation embrace all of these views and more in the faith statement of our LUCC constitution?

We can see how these newly emerging theologies and understandings are an extension of those prescient words of John Robinson:  “The Lord hath more truth and light yet to break forth from his holy word.”  Robinson well understood, that as humanity evolves and develops and confronts new challenges, new ways of conveying faith will be needed or it will be left behind as anachronistic, archaic, and irrelevant.  It will go extinct.   And what prevents extinction?  Adaptation.  So we are right to hearken back to Robinson.  This is our moment to let more light and truth in; to revision how we speak of our faith, to expect new wine and new wineskins, because the world still desperately needs the healing love of Jesus.  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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Weekly Update 28 June

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, JUL 1 THIS SUNDAY: The theme for this Sunday is Peer Pressure. It’s not just about teens anymore. How are we influenced by the behavior of others? Can peer pressure be used to work for positive change?

Summer Sundays Services are more informal and favorite hymns will be sung each week. Children attend the beginning of the service and may go to the Nursery following Children’s Time.

SUN, JUL 1 COMMUNION:  All are welcome to participate in communion at Lakewood UCC, children at the discretion of the adults who brought them. The communion offering goes to the Special Needs Fund, used to help people in our community and the congregation with basic necessities such as food, rent, utilities, and prescription medication costs. Please be generous as you are able.
SUN, JUL 1 A/C UPDATE: Following worship this Sunday, July 1, there will be a congregational conversation to hear about the ongoing projects on the church property with a focus on the next large undertaking – new air conditioning.  Most of the system in the church building now dates from the 1960’s.  A new system will help to save energy, the planet, and, yes, money.  Plan to stay for this brief conversation after church this Sunday.
SUN, JUL 1 GOD AND BEYOND: The Advisors are hosting conversations about faith and the LUCC constitution. The advisors have undertaken the updating of the LUCC Constitution and By Laws. This conversation has led to an examination of the faith statements that are made at the beginning of the document: “This church affirms God as Creator, Jesus Christ as Savior, and the Holy Spirit as our strength. This church recognizes the United Church of Christ Statement of Faith.” The mission statement of the church is also included.
 The advisors would like to involve the congregation in this conversation. The first opportunity will be on Sunday July 22 before church at 9:00am in the Fellowship Hall. All are welcome!
In preparation, you may want to review the sermon that was given Sunday June 24. The theme was requested by the advisors to help give some perspective on this conversation.
JUL 2-10 REV. WELLS AWAY: Pastor Wells will be away from July 2nd to July 10th. Many thanks to Victoria Long who will preach on Sunday. For pastoral care, please contact Emily Bell or the church office.
DEATH PENALTY ADVOCACY: Last week, Bernie McCabe, the State’s Attorney for Pinellas and Pasco Counties agreed to meet with two religious leaders to discuss the death penalty: LUCC pastor Kim Wells and Father Bob Schneider of St. Cecelia’s Catholic Church. The conversation was mutually enlightening and Mr. McCabe has agreed to meet again after the upcoming gubernatorial election. Many thanks to Lucille Ruga and Sally Purvis for helping Kim prepare for this important initiative.
NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.
OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month. Contact Ian Blair-Catala for upcoming volunteer dates.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

JUN 29-30 CLIMATE CONFERENCE: Rev. Wells will be attending the 4th annual gathering of the Florida Interfaith Climate Actions Network June 29-30 in Orlando. The theme is Collaborating for a Healthy Environment and Climate Resiliency.
The program includes:

  • Earth Charter 18th Birthday Celebration
  • World Health Organization Report
  • Global Health and climate change challenges
  • Campfire honoring Miccosukee-Simanolee clan leader Bobby C. Billie
  • Hear how people came together to work on brownfields, air quality, and sea level rise
  • Brainstorm about how to cultivate resilient communities
  • Hear examples for policy education and actions
  • FL youth celebrations & success stories
  • Healthy food prep demonstration
  • Sowing a culture of peace in Florida
TUE, JUL 10 LGBTQ PROGRAMS: Teacher and children’s book author Rob Sanders will be featured in a pair of programs at the Gulfport Public Library (5501 28th Ave S) on Tuesday July 10th in which he will read from his new children’s book, Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag. The new book has already been praised by Publishers Weekly as a “poignant and uplifting biography.” There will be one afternoon program geared to children and their families from 4 – 5pm, as well as an evening program geared to adults from 7 – 8pm. Both programs are free and open to the public and all ages.
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.
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.
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.
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.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! 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 the church office 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. School age children are invited to participate in Summer Sundays church services. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez following Children’s Time. 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!
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Blog – Pride and Prejudice

This past week, thousands upon thousands of people participated in the annual St. Petersburg Pride Celebration which culminated in a parade and a street festival.  Sleepy St. Pete has the largest Pride extravaganza in the southeastern United States.  This is something for our city to be PROUD of especially since Florida is not a liberal bastion like Massachusetts or California.  

Our church has supported the Pride initiative in St. Petersburg since its inception being one of the few churches to walk in the first Pride Promenade through the streets of Kenwood.  Lakewood UCC voted to become an Open and Affirming Church in 1998 intentionally welcoming people of all sexual identities into the full life of the church.  The UCC has been ordaining gay people since the 1970’s and supported the Supreme Court case which led to the legalization of gay marriage.  As a heterosexual, married woman and a mother, I am exceedingly proud to be part of this church!

As part of the Pride festivities this year, I attended the Interfaith Pride service at the First Presbyterian Church downtown.  The service was well planned and included leaders from differing faith traditions.  The music was lively and uplifting.  The speaker was from the Muslim religion and one of a handful of “out” gay imams in the world.  While there is great vigor for Pride in the Tampa Bay area, this service did not reflect that extensive support.  It was not very well attended.  And, if you think about it, that is really not surprising because there has been much religious condemnation of homosexuality and the diversity of sexual and gender expressions.    At the least, many religious settings have been subtly unwelcoming of sexual diversity.  I am from the Christian tradition and I know this to be true in Christianity.  I doubt if anyone reading this has escaped seeing images of supposed Christians preaching anti gay sentiments sealed with the threat of hell.  From friends and colleagues, I understand that these things also happen in other religious expressions.   

Before the Civil War, there were Christian abolitionists energetically trying to rid the country of the scourge of slavery.  BUT there were also Christians and not only in the South, that adeptly used scripture to defend slavery as God-ordained.  There were sermons upon sermons preached in sanctuaries on Sunday mornings declaring slavery to be the will of God;  a blessing even, not only for the slave owners but for the slaves themselves.  Yes, in churches on Sunday morning, in worship, this was proclaimed in the name of God.  

To Christians in the US who go to church today, that is unimaginable.  It was a heinous misuse of scripture and tradition and authority.  We know that now.  We see it.  The church was wrong.  And many denominations and expressions of Christianity in the US in recent decades have repented of those sins.  There has been acknowledgement that defending slavery in the context of the Christian church was wrong.  The church let human prejudice poison its message.  

Churches that decry homosexuality today, churches that name homosexuality a sin, are wrong about this just like the churches that defended slavery.   And the time will come when this will be acknowledged and recognized and there will be repentance.  The sooner the better!  

Happy PRIDE to one and all of the wonderfully diverse human beings created in the Divine Image!  

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Weekly Update 21 June

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, JUN 24 THIS SUNDAY:  This Sunday will honor the 61st anniversary of the United Church of Christ which is June 25. One characteristic of the UCC is that it is a “non creedal” church. Maybe you have noticed that the Nicene Creed, or the Apostle’s Creed, or other creeds are not regularly recited in church. What does this mean for the identity of the church? What does it mean for LUCC going forward?

Summer Sundays Services are more informal and favorite hymns will be sung each week. Children attend the beginning of the service and may go to the Nursery following Children’s Time.

WED, JUN 20 WESTMINSTER SUNCOAST LUNCH: The next luncheon for residents of Westminster Shores and Suncoast will be Wednesday June 20th at 11:30 in the private dining room at Westminster Suncoast.
SUN, JUN 24 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: This potluck lunch will give the opportunity for fellowship and celebration of May and June birthdays. Dessert will be provided. Please bring other dishes to share. Many thanks to Earl Waters who will be the host for Sunday Celebrations in June. If you are able to help with clean up afterwards, please let Earl know.

Those who are involved in volunteering for Family Promise will sit together and hear updates about the program. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer and helping homeless families with children become financially stable, please join in the conversation!

MAY-JUN THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: Ministry items for months of May and June will benefit Covenant House Florida. The items being collected are as follows:

  • Travel or trial size hygiene supplies (e.g. shampoo, body wash, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste)
  • New or used bath towels
  • Notebooks, pens and pencils
In July Wally LeBlanc will bring these items  to Covenant House Florida shelters in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. There will be a box in the back of Sanctuary where items may be placed. Thank you for all the donations thus far!
NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.
OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month. Contact Ian Blair-Catala for upcoming volunteer dates.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

JUN 1-30 UCC GLOBAL MINISTRIES: Introducing the Global Ministries FESTIVAL OF STORIES! It’s happening during the month of June on various online platforms . Throughout the Festival of Stories, you’ll learn about how individuals and churches are supporting Global Ministries and international partners in unique ways. You’ll also have opportunities to share stories about how you and/or your congregation, region/conference are involved, too!
THU, JUN 21 INTERFAITH PRIDE SERVICE: Mark your calendars for June 21st at 7:00 PM for the interfaith pride service at First Presbyterian Church (701 Beach Dr NE). The Guest Speaker will be Imam Daayiee Abdullah, one of only 4 openly gay imams in the world.
FRI, JUN 22 WORLD REFUGEE DAY: Please save the date for this important event which will combine a citizenship ceremony of former refugees conducted by USCIS, voter registration drive, and a celebration of the contributions of refugees in our community. Pinellas Technical College (901 34th St. S) from 1 to 3:30pm Friday, 22 June. All are welcome.
WED, JUN 27 SOLAR CO_OP: There will be a St. Pete Solar Co-op Info Session on Wednesday, June 27 at 1:30pm at Allendale United Methodist Church (3803 Haines Rd N). If you live in south Pinellas County and want to go solar, now’s your chance! Neighbors across the area have formed a Solar Co-op with the help of the League of Women Voters, Solar United Neighbors of Florida, the City of St. Petersburg, and Suncoast Sierra Club. Co-ops make it easier to save money on the purchase of solar panels, while building a community of local solar supporters. Learn about solar energy, as well as how co-op membership simplifies the process of going solar while providing a discount through its bulk purchasing power. RSVP here.
TUE, JUL 10 LGBTQ PROGRAMS: Teacher and children’s book author Rob Sanders will be featured in a pair of programs at the Gulfport Public Library (5501 28th Ave S) on Tuesday July 10th in which he will read from his new children’s book, Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag. The new book has already been praised by Publishers Weekly as a “poignant and uplifting biography.” There will be one afternoon program geared to children and their families from 4 – 5pm, as well as an evening program geared to adults from 7 – 8pm. Both programs are free and open to the public and all ages.
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.
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.
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.
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.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! 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 the church office 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. School age children are invited to participate in Summer Sundays church services. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez following Children’s Time. 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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Pax Christi Tampa Bay newsletter

Pax Christi Tampa Bay E-mail Newsletter

WEEKLY
ONGOING EVENTS

 MISSIO DEI SUNDAY DINNER:
Missio Dei
 is a
small church that meets in the refurbished corner of a warehouse at
1330
Burlington Avenue N.
 (map;
the entrance is on 2nd Avenue on the south side of the building.)
They serve a meal after their worship service.  The congregation is
largely homeless or precariously housed.

The
service begins at
5:30 PM; the dinner begins at 6:30.  For information
on how you can help prepare, serve, or financially support the meal, contact G.
W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088.

RESIST
TRUMP TUESDAYS AT SENATOR MARCO RUBIO’S NEW OFFICE
:
Indivisible
and other local activist groups gather outside Marco Rubio’s office in the
Sam M. Gibbons
U.S. Court House, 801 N. Florida Ave.
 in Tampa, FL 33602
(map).
The protest is
every Tuesday, 10:30-11:30 AM.  Bring
signs, or the Indivisible organizers can provide
them.  There is parking around the courthouse and the meters take credit
cards.  For more information (FMI):
sjstew@gte.net

WEEKLY
SARASOTA DEMONSTRATION
: Activists from Veterans for Peace and Manasota
Pax Christi, among other groups, will demonstrate for
peace through justice from
4:00-5:00 PM every Tuesday in downtown Sarasota along Bayfront Drive/N. Tamiami Trail near its intersection with Gulfstream
Drive
 (map).
The demonstration is south of Unconditional Surrender, the “kissing
statue.”  FMI: Russ at
Rjbannerusa@gmail.com 

NEW ITEM: WEEKLY POSTCARD
PARTY
: Join Indivisible FL-13 in
reaching out to Pinellas voters and promote voting by mail every Tuesday at
6:00 pm at Allendale United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Rd. N. in St.
Petersburg, FL 33703.  For more information, or to help write postcards
from home, please email
info@indivisiblefl13.com for information.
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PEACE
FIRST
:
During
every
Wednesday in June,
Peace First activists will be at the corner of
38th Avenue and 4th Street North in St. Petersburg from 4:30-5:30 PM
(
map).
There are a McDonald’s, a Burger King, a Publix and a Chase Bank at this
intersection. They will focus on gun violence and other issues, including
immigration.  Bring a sign, or they will provide one.

The group
eats at a restaurant in an “after party” following the
demonstration.   For more information (FMI):
SMcCown@tampabay.rr.com 

PEACE
MEDITATION
: Biweekly meditation for peace every other Wednesday at
7:00 PM  (
June 27) at Sacred Lands,
1620 Park Street N.
in St. Petersburg, Florida 33710-4348
For more information:
http://www.sacredlandspreservationandeducation.org/;
727-367-3592 or 347-0354

FRIDAY
NIGHT PICNIC ON THE PLAYGROUND IN ST. PETE
The 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
a breakfast held at Trinity Lutheran Church on Saturday mornings. Volunteers
serve a full 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.  This is
the breakfast the Drag Queen Bingo supports.

The
breakfast runs from
7:30-10:30 AM, and volunteers can participate
with some or all of the breakfast.   Please contact Anita Podgwaite at (727) 565-8742 or G. W. Rolle
at (727) 424-1088 to help.

SINGLE
EVENTS

1.  Puerto Rican Father’s Day Food and
Music Celebration

 

Saturday, June 16 from 6:00-10:00 PM
Unitarian
Universalist Church of Clearwater, 2470 Nursery Road, Clearwater, FL 33764

Join
evacuees who left the devastation in Puerto Rico and are now living in Pinellas
County to celebrate Father’s Day with Puerto Rican food and music. Proceeds
from this family-friendly fundraiser will be used to build a Puerto Rican/hispanic cultural and service center in Pinellas
County. Featured vocalist will be “La Dama de la
CancionDulmary Sabater

Cost is
$10.00 per Person; under 12 accompanied by an adult is
free. Tickets and information are at
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/puerto-rican-flavor-savor-fathers-day-food-music-celebration-tickets-46609820227?aff=efbeventtix

 

2. School Board Candidate Forum

 

Saturday, June 16 from 12:00-2:00 PM

James B. Sanderlin Family Center
2335 22nd
Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712

Hear from
candidates for Pinellas County School Board — District 7 and At-Large. Bring
your questions for this moderated forum, which will be preceded by a short
business meeting of the South St. Petersburg Democratic Club.  Light
refreshments served.

 

3.
Drag
Queen
Bingo
Monday,
 June 18
6:00 PM

 

Hamburger
Mary’s

2901 Tyrone Blvd. N. in St Pete

Drag Queen Bingo will put the
“fun” in fundraising this
Monday, June 18 when
friends and supporters of Celebrate Outreach’s Saturday morning breakfast will
gather at
Hamburger Mary’s, 2901 Tyrone Blvd. N. in St
Pete
for
the third
Drag Queen Bingo to support
the breakfast.  Drag queen Alexis De La Mer will
call the game (motto: “This ain’t your Gramma’s bingo!”).  We guarantee food, friends, double
entendres, single entendres,
triple entendres, and a whole lot of fun. 

The Bingo last January raised enough money to finance the
breakfast for sixth months, and we hope to do the same this time. 

Bingo sheets are available for a $10.00 cash donation.
There will be gift bags for the winners.  There is a $10 minimum for food which can be paid by credit card.  The website
information for the bingo is
here

Seating is first come, first served, and
seats are already filling up.  
Call Hamburger Mary’s at (727)
851-9386 for reservations. 
The last Drag
Queen Bingo for the breakfast was a sellout
, so please call ASAP. The
restaurant will seat people from 5:30-6:30. Bingo starts at 7:00. 

 

4. St.
Pete Pride Festival

June 22-24

Celebrate
Florida’s largest LGBT Pride with events all weekend long.  
Website;
Facebook
page

 

 


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5. Summer
Film Series

 

7:00
PM

Unity
of Tampa Fellowship Hall

3302
West Horatio   Tampa FL 33609

The Bridge’s Summer Film Series does not just inform; each
film showing is followed by a discussion with local experts and advocates which
will empower the audience for action.  Each film is shown at 7:00 PM; a
donation of $7.00 is suggested for each showing.  A brief description of
each film is below; details are at http://www.thebridgetampa.com/images/stories/2015events/7th-SummerFilmSeries-2018.pdf
 

June 22nd
| Weather Gone Wild
 Portrayed in this film are
the ways in which communities all around the world (including Florida) are
changing in order to survive a world of superstorms.
It explores recent extreme weather events and the scientific projections of
what we can expect over the next few decades.

 


July 20th
| Mother Nature’s Child
 This film explores
nature’s powerful role in children’s health and development. It asks compelling
questions about what it means to educate the ‘whole’ child and depicts the
latest breakthroughs related to our relationships within the natural world
(also relevant to adults).

August 24th| Edible City A fast-paced journey
through the local Good Food Movement this film introduces us to extraordinary
people who are challenging the paradigm of our broken food system with
innovative approaches like edible education and grassroots activism building
the local economies.

6. Understanding One
Another – Finding Common Ground

Saturday, June 23 at 10:00 AM-3:00 PM
Unity of Tampa, 3302 W Horatio St, Tampa, FL 33609

This is a
free three-hour workshop sponsored and presented by Better Angels with specific
focus on understanding one another beyond stereotypes and finding common
ground. The workshop will emphasize deep listening and learning rather
than declaring and debating. After a lunch local activists and decision-makers
will mingle to talk about what can be done to move forward to support climate
justice in our community. Trained facilitators will provide guidance for having
respectful conversations that clarify differences and search for common good.

Website
Facebook
Event Page



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7.  Soap and
Pizza: Laundry Love

Monday, June 25, 6:30-8:00 PM  

Coin
laundry at 365 8th St S, St Petersburg, Florida
 (map). 

Laundry Love
Projects
 are regular
opportunities to help financially struggling people do their laundry. There are
now over two hundred projects nationwide.

Locally, Laundry Love is sponsored by the Missio
Dei and takes place the last Monday of every month.  Organizers and their
supporters provide soap, coins and pizza for those washing their clothes.

Each
Laundry Love costs around $200.  FMI on how you or your group can support
and participate, contact G. W. Rolle at (727)
424-1088 or
gw@themissiodei.com 


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8. St. Pete Solar Co-op Info Session

Wednesday, June 27, 1:30pm
Allendale
United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Rd N.

St.
Petersburg, FL 33703

 

Neighbors across the area have formed
solar co-ops with the help of the League of Women Voters, Solar United
Neighbors of Florida, the City of St. Petersburg, and Suncoast
Sierra Club. Co-ops make it easier to save money on the purchase of solar
panels, while building a community of local solar supporters. Join this
session for people in southern Pinellas County to learn about solar energy, as
well as how co-op membership simplifies the process of going solar while
providing a discount through its bulk purchasing power.

RSVP
here

Facebook
event page

 

 

9. Just Faith: Changing People
to Change the World
 

 


JustFaith Ministries
 is an
organization created to invite and prepare people of faith for the
life-changing and world-changing call of the Gospel to help heal the world and,
in so doing, experience a deeper faith, a more fulfilling life, and a community
of care and vitality. Since 2001, over 50,000 people have completed a JustFaith Ministries program.   Over 90% of
participants say JustFaith has increased their
commitment to social justice and volunteerism.  JustFaith
changes people – and those people change the world.  

 

JustFaith’s
program
Just Matters consists
of modules that allow small faith communities to explore critical current
issues such as hunger, prison reform, migration, nonviolence, and
Christian-Muslim dialogue within a prayerful environment that invites personal
transformation.  Just Matters modules are eight weeks long.
Descriptions of the modules, with links to more information, are below.

Cultivating Nonviolence, Harvesting Peace –
This program invites small groups of Christian people to explore peace,
nonviolence and their roots in the radical, life-changing teachings of Jesus
Christ. 
Learn
more.

 

Exploring Migration:A
Faith Journey
 –  It explores some of the
central questions related to the reality of migration on a global level and in
the U.S. context. The sessions provide historical, biblical, and theological
perspectives and suggest ways participants can take action in their own
context.
Learn
more.  
 

 

 Hunger for Change –
This module explores the realities of food insecurity in the United States
and around the world. This is an 8-week, prayerful process that includes study,
rich dialogue, and an immersion experience. This process inspires participants
to take concrete action to end hunger. 
Learn
more.
 

 

Church of Second Chances – This
module will inspire and challenge participants through prayer and dialogue. By
looking through the eyes of those from inside the prison cell, both at our
world and back at ourselves, we can begin to expand our thinking about
prisoners and punishment and reform our hearts by God’s mercy. 

 Learn
more.
 

 

10. From Indivisible
FL-13:

&#x1f449;Pinellas
County Progressive Calendar

 

Resist Bot, fax your representatives via text message.
Text RESIST to 50409

 

&#x1f449;Fax
your congressperson for free at FaxZero.com

&#x1f449;Indivisible.org

&#x1f449;Indivisible435.org

&#x1f449;Register
to vote, vote by mail!
 

 


 

 

Florida
13 Congressperson Phone Numbers:


Senator Marco Rubio (R):
DC
(202)224-3041
Local (813)287-5035

Senator Nelson (D):
DC (202)224-5274   Local
(813)225-7040

Representative Charlie Crist (D):     DC (202)
225-5961  Local (888)205-5569

 


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11.  IF TRUMP FIRES MUELLER:  Indivisible
FL-13 will sponsor an emergency rally in 
Demen’s Landing, St Petersburg if President
Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller:

  • If Trump fires Mueller BEFORE 2:00 PM, meet at 5:00 PM
  • If Trump fires Mueller AFTER 2:00 PM, meet at NOON of following
    day.

Indivisible
FL-13 will send an email notification and post it on Twitter and Facebook.

Indivisible
FL-13 Contact Information:

Indivisible
FL-13 on Facebook

Indivisible
FL-13 on Twitter

Email
Indivisible FL-13 at info@indivisiblefl13.com

 

 

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Sermon 6.17.18 “Raising Fathers, Boys, and Men”

Scripture Lesson:  Mark 4:26-34                                                                               Pastor:  Rev. Kim P. Wells

Once there was a farmer who planted a crop of pumpkins.  Walking through the field when the pumpkins were just beginning to develop, the farmer noticed a glass gallon jug that had been tossed onto the field and was unbroken.  As an experiment, the farmer poked a very small pumpkin through the opening of the jug but was careful not to damage the vine.  

Months later, when the pumpkins had grown and were ready for harvesting, the farmer inspected the field and came across the glass jug.  This time, the jug was completely filled with a pumpkin.  The other pumpkins on the same vine were very large and well developed, but the one in the jug had not been able to grow any larger than the jug.  It was smaller than the other pumpkins.  Confined to its glass prison its growth and size were restricted.  [The Sower’s Seeds: 120 Inspiring Stories for  Preaching, Teaching and Public Speaking, Brian Cavanaugh]

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s not easy raising fathers, boys, and men today.  For those of you who don’t know my situation, I am married to a man, and I have three children, two of them sons, ages 22 and 33.  Our sons outwardly discuss how they experience their place in society and the contrast between their situation and when their father or their grandfathers were their age.  They feel the losses that many men experience as society continues to change.  So I actually do have some intimate knowledge of this matter even though I am a woman.  

And there is something else I have noticed about the raising of fathers, boys, and men today.  Have you noticed, with all these mass shootings, seldom if ever are they perpetrated by, well, mothers, girls, or women.  Mass shootings are most often carried out by men.  Often young men.  Often white young men.  Have you noticed that?  It’s a hard time for some men these days.  There have been significant shifts in roles, mores, and power over just a generation or two.  And many fathers, boys, and men have been left reeling and some have lost their way.  

As gender roles have changed in recent decades, men have seen doors open to women.  Women have more job opportunities than they did.  They are in positions of greater power and authority than in generations past.  Women successfully pursue careers in business, technology, science, the arts, medicine, and many other areas.  Women now head hospitals and corporations.  And women even run for president.  

Many women see their opportunities increasing and doors opening though there is still gender bias in many forms in our culture.  But things seem to be getting better.  But are they getting better for men?  How do men perceive their situation?

Men’s roles are shifting.  Men have more jobs open to them, without stigma.  Men can be nurses and teachers and secretaries and this has become accepted.  It is even becoming socially acceptable for a man to be a stay-at-home dad.  Fathers regularly change diapers, take a child to school, go to the pediatrician.  This was not the case just a generation ago.  My husband remembers when we went together with one of our children to the pediatrician.  As we drove home, he said, Did you notice that the whole time we were in the examining room, the doctor spoke only to you, looked only at you, addressed himself completely to you as if I was not even in the room?  I hadn’t noticed.  But  I knew what he was talking about.  But that is far less likely to happen at the pediatrician today than 20 years ago.   

For generations, men have been extremely confined by societal expectations.  Men were to be the breadwinners for their families.  They were to take charge in every situation.  They were to hold their emotions in check – even when a child was killed, or a wife died.  Men didn’t cook at home unless it was on the barbecue.  They were to do the driving on a trip.  They were to follow sports and use tools like screwdrivers, drills, wrenches and saws.  They were to fix things.  There was a clear set of expectations for men.  And, for the most part, it did not include cooking, ironing, or doing the laundry.  And it did not include much in the way of caregiving.  It did not include many jobs and professions that were considered women’s work.  I grew up in a fairly liberated household with two working parents, an anomaly in our social milieu where most families had a stay-at-home mom.  My dad was a feminist.  And while he was a great typist, thanks to the army, I’m not sure he knew how to operate the washer though I think he knew how to iron.  

There has been a lot of pressure on men to behave in certain ways, adopt certain attitudes, and achieve certain competencies.   Along with this, they could also expect to receive certain privileges, to assume dominant roles, to be cut certain breaks, to garner a certain measure of respect, and to have certain access to positions of power.  

But in their own way, these societal expectations of men restricted men.  It was as if men were put in the glass jug like the pumpkin, restricting growth.  Women were also put in a jug, a smaller jug, also restricted and confined.

In recent decades, the liberation movement has sought to remove these socially constructed barriers that have limited fathers, boys, and men as well as mothers, girls, and women.  While most women see the benefits of removing the restrictions, this is not always as evident to men.  Many men don’t see the changes in society as doors opening to them.  They don’t see that their options are increasing; that they have more choices, that some of the expectations placed upon men that were burdensome are being lifted.  They may not see that in some significant ways they are under less pressure than in the past.  We don’t see society or the church, really, celebrating the increasing freedom and liberation of men.  Instead of seeing how things are getting better and what they are receiving as society becomes more free, many fathers, boys, and men perceive that they are losing something, that something is being taken away from them.  And it is.  The bottle that was confining them is being taken away.  And for some men, that is producing resentment, fear and anger.  They no longer know where they fit in.  They don’t feel they belong.  They don’t know how to grow freely.  They aren’t prepared for full maturity.  

In the scripture we heard this morning, we see Jesus undermining typically held assumptions.   The story about the mustard seed is about a small seed that grows into a large bush.  But it is also a comment on the Hebrew Bible’s use of the imagery of tall, majestic trees, like the cedars of Lebanon, as an image of God’s favor and blessing.  

In the Hebrew Testament, the image of the towering tree is used for large, flourishing empires.  It is used in reference to strong, dominating kings.  It is used as a way to refer to power arrangements, nations, and rulers that are considered to be blessed by an all-powerful God.  

That’s the kind of greatness people are used to hearing about and used to associating with God in Jesus’ day and often today as well.  And in the parable we heard this morning, Jesus talks about faith using the image of a bush, suggesting the image of a bush as symbol of great faith and favor and blessing from God.  And this bush is not tall and straight and towering (and phallic?).   It is low to the ground and spreading and it provides shade, shelter, and nesting space for birds and other critters.  And this plant is used in cooking not for building great temples and palaces.  The mustard seed produces a plant associated with nurture not dominance, empire, or machismo.  This story involves the intentional subversion of commonly held notions associating God with certain kinds of power.  We still need to hear that today.  

We also heard the story of the sowing of the seed.  After the farmer sows the seed, what does the farmer do?  Nothing.  The farmer sleeps and wakes and sleeps and wakes.  And while the farmer is doing that, the seed is sprouting and growing; “first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain” until the harvest is ready.  Then the farmer is back on duty.  Well, no actual agricultural worker will last taking that approach.  But parables are meant to use everyday images to offer new insight, to surprise, to illumine.  In this parable, the seed that is sown is associated with the realm of God, the dreams of God, the intentions of Divine Love.  And these seeds grow.  They progress.  They come to maturity.  And then all enjoy the harvest.

In this story, we can see a way of looking our situation today.  The way of Divine Love has been planted, sown, it is present though at times it may seem inconspicuous.  And that seed is growing.  The greater freedom and dignity of women and men are evidence.  But sometimes we humans do things to limit and restrict that growth.  Still the seed has been sown. It is there.  And the growth proceeds.  It may be mysterious and inexplicable.  We may not see a blueprint.  The growth may challenge us.  But the Divine commonwealth continues to grow, to become more evident, to mature.  It cannot be thwarted.  There will be a vast harvest.

The seeds of Divine Love will grow to full maturity. They will produce a human community characterized by dignity and respect for all life and for the cosmos that sustains life.  The seeds will grow communities of justice, peace, and creativity.  They will grow communities of acceptance, choice, and self-determination .  Essentially, the seeds of the way of Love will produce communities that are truly free – characterized by freedom from want, hunger, poverty, abuse, violence, fear and domination;  communities embracing freedom of expression and self determination.  The seeds that have been sown will yield the way of full humanity.  

Given the past, maybe one message we need to hear is that sometimes we need to get out of the way because well-intentioned as we may be, sometimes we are creating obstacles and restrictions to the growing of seeds of Divine Love even in the church.   Sometimes our humanly conceived machinations and constructs get in the way of growth.

Seeds buried by a squirrel in the Ice Age 32,000 years ago, found 128 feet below the permafrost have germinated and produced flowering plants.  [https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/02/120221-oldest-seeds-regenerated-plants-science/]  On the space station, seeds have grown zinnias in zero gravity.  Seeds are life.  The seeds of Divine love and community that have been planted will grow.  They cannot be stopped.  Wonderful fathers, boys, and men will be raised.  And all of humanity as well as all of Creation will flourish.  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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UCC leaders: Keep Families Together!

A message from the National Officers of the United Church of Christ and the Council of Conference Ministers of the United Church of Christ:

We must resist the evil of dehumanization enacted upon the vulnerable among us. The United Church of Christ strongly condemns the dismantling of families, the criminalization of the quest for freedom, and the caging of those whose only crime is to seek shelter from harm. How we treat those who seek shelter in our midst is a direct reflection of how we treat God. We call upon our 5,000 member churches to write letters to your representatives in Congress as an act of worship this month. Refugee Justice Sunday is June 17, World Refugee Day is June 20. Remind Congress there is a law that supersedes partisanship and political bantering, and that is the sanctity of all people of God.

Call on Congress to Keep Families Together! Use this link.

Donate, designating your gift to Keep Families Together here. 

Learn what the Bible has to say about how to treat immigrants and refugees here.

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50th Anniversary Timeline of the Future

As part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Lakewood UCC this past year, the congregation was invited to write down their hopes for the next 50 years of Lakewood:

Peace and harmony
Prosperity
Increasing the number of youth
Increased racial diversity
Caring
Let the 3rd way guide us on our journey through life
Boycott Wendy’s
Open and honest
Become a community leader promoting environmental justice
Continued growth with youth involvement
Working to overcome racism
Diversity
No one died because of random violence
Familia
Accepting
Freedom from the financial burdens of a capitalist economy
A visible active leadership in actions for justice
Continue light of inclusive love
Peace
Off the grid
Influencing the community
A leader of other UCC churches
Continue to promote peace, love, and happiness
A church orchestra
That we continue to live out our mission statement in ways that speak to the emerging realities of our future
No one died of gun violence
Greater economic diversity
Grace, happiness, goodwill
More anniversaries
Lead the city in bridging the racial divide and dismantling white privilege
Peace

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