Meditations & Reflections for solo piano 04 – Window Of Stones


Simply click on the arrow in the orange circle above to play Window Of Stones — it’s free to play. It is one of the pieces I wrote to play for a series on contemplative moments during a past season at Lakewood UCC. If you wish to hear the complete set of pieces, Meditations & Reflections for solo piano, you may stream the audio at https://soundcloud.com/hilton-kean-jones/sets/meditations-reflections-for-solo-piano. If you want to play them at home on the piano, yourself, you can download the sheet music at hiltonkeanjones.com/music. To buy the CD click on the following link.

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Weekly Update 15 February

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, FEB 18 THIS SUNDAY: .The focus will be on new directions in Christian expression that can form a solid “Foundation for the Future” as the church seeks to serve the world in the years ahead.
SUN, FEB 18 ADVISORS MEETING: The advisors will meet following worship on Sunday. All are welcome to attend.
WED, FEB 21 WESTMINSTER LUNCH: Westminster Suncoast Luncheon Wednesday Feb. 21 at 11:30 in the private dining room at Westminster Suncoast. All residents of the Shores and Suncoast are welcome.
SUN, FEB 25 UNBROKEN CIRCLES MEETING: There will be a meeting following worship on Sunday, 25 February. All are welcome to attend.
BATH TOWELS WANTED: Wally LeBlanc is need of bath towels to distribute to various shelters and others in need. Bath towels can be used or new – if used no stains or holes. Please bring towels to the church or contact Wally to make arrangements for getting them to him.
MANY THANKS: Bill (a retired electrician) and Kim Grant have come to St. Petersburg to visit Martha Lamar for the week. While they are here from Indiana, they expressed the desire to volunteer at the church. Here are some of the projects and repairs that have been done so far:  they worked with Claire Stiles and others (Joyce Lee, Lynn Young, Don Ritchie, Bill Parsons) helping to clean out the garage, installed new LED lights above the piano in the sanctuary, installed a motion detector light near the Fellowship Hall exit, put up new swings on the playground, fixed the faucet in the bathroom off of the library, fixed the communion room door and the northeast door of the sanctuary. Kim and Bill are a delight and the church is so GRATEFUL for their service!  Blessings abound!
ASH WEDNESDAY: Many thanks to the Cospers for hosting the beautiful Ash Wednesday service around a fire, lakeside, in their backyard. Music was provided by Yoko Nogami and her daughter, Tora Alexander (see the video at the website). Jim Andrews had planned to lead music but was sick. Hopefully he is feeling better. Thanks to Janet Blair for preparing communion and to Colleen Coughenour and Mark Gibson for providing s’mores. And many thanks to the 29 people that attended!
SUN, FEB 18 – MAR 18 SUNDAYS IN LENT: Services begin at 10:30 and focus on new directions in Christian expression that can form a solid “Foundation for the Future” as the church seeks to serve the world in the years ahead.
WED, FEB 21 – MAR 21 WEDNESDAY PRAYERS: Gatherings from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. for the ancient prayer practice of lectio divina, praying the scriptures. Lectio Divina is not a Bible study. It matters not whether a person knows very little about the Bible or is a biblical scholar. Led by Rev. Emily Bell.
SUN, MAR 25 PALM SUNDAY: The service begins outside with the blessing of the palms. Please bring a palm branch and some to share if you can.
THU, MAR 29 MAUNDY THURSDAY: This is a night to remember Jesus’ last supper with his friends and followers. A light soup supper will be served at 6:00pm in the Fellowship Hall followed by a service of communion and Tenebrae in the sanctuary at 7:00. All are welcome at this solemn service of remembrance.
FRI, MAR 30 GOOD FRIDAY: There will be a guided labyrinth walk at noon related to the crucifixion of Jesus. The sanctuary will be open for meditation and prayer from noon until 3:00pm.
SUN, APR 1 EASTER: The celebration of Easter begins with a sunrise service at 7:00am outdoors on the church grounds followed by breakfast in the Fellowship Hall.
The Festival Service begins at 10:30am. This is an intergenerational service celebrating the power of Love that is stronger than death. The season of spring is a reminder that new life bursts forth even in the least expected places.
An Easter Egg hunt will be held following the Festival Service along with refreshments on the church grounds.
SAT, MAR 3 MEMORIAL SERVICE: Gertrude (Gertie) Pirazzini died on Wednesday January 17th, she was 89 years old. Condolences go to her family and friends, especially Kim and Jeff Wells, her daughter and son-in-law. A service to celebrate her life will be held on Saturday, March 3rd here in Lakewood’s Sanctuary at 11am with luncheon to follow in Fellowship Hall.
SAT, MAR 24 GREENFEST: Wally LeBlanc is considering having a booth once again at IRB Greenfest representing LUCC. If you are interested in volunteering for 2 or 3 hours on the day of the event or assisting with preparations beforehand please email Wally. The 11th Annual Indian Rocks Beach Greenfest will be March 24th from 10am to 5pm on the block of 24th Avenue & 1st Street in Indian Rocks Beach.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

GUN VIOLENCE: LUCC was a co-sponsor of the League of Women Voters Event on Tuesday night sharing conversations about how to reduce gun violence in St. Petersburg.  Church brochures and the gun violence brochures created by Grace Lewis we handed out at the event. Many thanks to Earl Waters, Patti Cooksey, Sue Sherwood, Lucille Ruga, and Kim Wells for attending. There will be follow up with the congregation about things that can be done to continue to address this important issue especially in light of the Parkland shooting.
PETITION: Legislation to end the death penalty has just been introduced in the Florida Legislature. Urge your lawmakers to co-sponsor the bills and support ending the use of the death penalty. Visit Equal Justice USA for more information.
FRI, FEB 16 CONCERT: One City Chorus Concert featuring the One City Chorus and the Urban Gypsies will be Friday, 16 February at 7:30pm at the Palladium (253 5th Ave N). Music is themed around justice and civil rights. Jeff Wells from LUCC and Leslie Ethredge from the UCC Florida Conference staff sing with the One City Chorus. The Chorus also rehearses occasionally at LUCC when the Carter Woodson Museum is not available.
FEB 20 – 23 CONFERENCE: The St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs is a cooperative venture of a group of civic-minded St. Petersburg residents and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. The conference will begin with the Keynote Address on February 20th at 6:30 PM. Panels will be February 21-23, 2018 from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. All panels will be held in the USFSP University Student Center. For more information visit stpetersburgconferenceonworldaffairs.com.
FEB 16-24 FILM FESTIVAL:The 2018 “Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature,” Environmental Film Festival will be held February 16-24. For 20 years, the Environmental Film Festival has brought compelling and important films to the Tampa Bay area to raise awareness and promote discussion of matters relating to nature, place and the environment. Film scholars and filmmakers from around the world engage the audience in a lively dialogue about the environmental perspectives contained in documentary, animated, experimental and feature films. Free and open to the public. Visit environmentalfilmfest.com to see the schedule.
SAT, MAR 3 UCC WOMEN’S LUNCH: The Central West Coast Annual Regional Meeting & Luncheon for UCC Women will be March 3rd from 10:00am to 1:30pm at Pilgrim UCC (6315 Central Ave). The theme will be: “Untold Stories: The Unconquered Seminoles” Presented by Barb Coons, State Treasurer. 9:15am Registration in Fellowship Hall. Program begins at 10:00 a.m. Lunch will be served, Cost is $8.00 per person. Please bring nonperishable food items for the Good Samaritan UCC food pantry in Pinellas Park. To ensure there is enough lunch for everyone, please submit your registration with Payment by February 24th. Registration forms are on the bulletin board in the narthex. If you don’t get it mailed in time and plan on attending, please contact Eleanor Rouse by phone (727.215.4752) or email.
SUN, MAR 18 FLORIDA AIDS WALK: Wally LeBlanc is participating in the Florida AIDS Walk as a sleepwalker meaning he won’t be walking but is fundraising. If you would like to donate, you can do so online or if you would like to donate with cash or check see Wally on Sunday after church.

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.
THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: Wally LeBlanc has cards and paintings featuring his artwork for sale. The proceeds will be donated to the roof fund and other community ministries. Thank you, Wally!
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON: If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
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, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. Middle School age children and younger are invited to participate in Church School with Grace Lewis. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. All children return to the sanctuary during the offering so they can participate at the end of the worship service. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

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Open and Affirming Coalition of the UCC 2018 Gathering

February 15, 2018

Registration is now open for National Open and Affirming Gathering, June 27-30 at the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, TX! Join us for this annual family reunion of our growing movement of LGBTQ-affirming communities in the United Church of Christ. Help us welcome ONA church #1500, and renew our commitment to become a church where everyone is welcome, wanted and needed, and no one left behind!

This year’s theme: “Living Our Covenant Beyond Boundaries.” We live in a time of great danger and great opportunity. The Trump Administration is threatening the basic rights for which the LGBTQ community and our allies fought for years. Violence against transgender Americans is on the rise. Research shows that anti-LGBTQ feelings  ——–  which had been declining steadily for two decades  ——–  is creeping upward again. And ONA congregations are challenged not only to defend their LGBTQ neighbors, but all whose lives and human dignity are under attack.

If there was ever a year when National ONA Gathering was needed, this is it!

We’ll tell you more about the program in the coming weeks. Our keynoter is the Rev. Justo González II, a leader in the UCC’s Sanctuary Movement, who will challenge us to renew and expand our ONA covenants. While we’re still working on the schedule, every National Gathering is an opportunity to:

  • meet and develop friendships with LGBTQ people and our allies throughout the United Church of Christ.
  • learn new ways we can be effective advocates for the Gospel of God’s love in our communities.
  • celebrate, sing, and have fun!

More information and registration are at www.openandaffirming.org/ona-gathering. If you’ve any questions, please contact us at ona@openandaffirming.org.

Help us build our scholarship fund to help people with financial needs attend this life-changing event! Tax-deductible support for scholarships is an option on your registration form.

Open and Affirming Coalition | United Church of Christ | 216-926-6262
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Free Luis

Rev. Kim Wells, Rev. Victoria Long, and Susan Pomeroy from LUCC attended a rally in support of Luis Blanco and just immigration policies at Allendale United Methodist church in St. Petersburg on Feb. 1. It was a great way to begin Black History Month!

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Ash Wednesday

Imposition of Ashes at the Ash Wednesday service.

Tora Alexander is playing “Ashokan Farewell” on the violin. It was a beautiful beginning to the Lenten season. Many thanks to Chip and Dana Cosper for hosting the service and continuing the vision of Jean Johnson of an Ash Wednesday service around a fire at the waterfront. With the warmer weather this year there were many more people at the service. Yes, there were s’mores afterwards! Lenten blessings to all!

(video also available at https://youtu.be/L4KNZT2kJTs)

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Community Conversation on Gun Violence

LUCC was one of the Community Partners sponsoring the League of Women Voters’ “Community Conversation on Gun Violence” at Allendale United Methodist Church on the evening of Feb. 13th.

Patti Cooksey, Sue Sherwood, Earl Waters, Kim Wells, Lucille Ruga

Gun Violence pamphlet created by Grace Lewis

Lucille Ruga, Earl Waters, Kim Wells, Patti Cooksey

Speakers: Ryan Mitchell (firefighter paramedic facilitator), City Council member Lisa Wheeler-Brown, Amanda Thalji-Raitano (licensed psychologist/school counselor), Dr. David Berman (physician at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital)

Sue Sherwood at the LUCC table with church brochures, UCC “firsts,” and the Gun Violence pamphlet created by Grace Lewis.

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Pastoral Letter in Response to the Parkland Shooting

Ash Wednesday Evening 2018

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51)

We are desperately in need of mercy. We are painfully in need of knowledge of God’s unfailing love. We are a nation in need of forgiveness and the cleansing of our sin.

Today, on a day of repentance, Parkland, Florida experienced a shooting. A school shooting. A massacre. A national sin. Our hearts break at the news of the twelfth (12!) school shooting of 2018 and the loss of life the scope of which is still unfolding.

Our condolences go out to all involved, but our condolences are not enough. That said, the emptiness we feel in the face of this tragedy can easily cause us to shut down, to isolate ourselves, and to turn from the news in despair. I understand the emptiness because I feel it, too. And so, I pray, ‘have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love,’ and I strive to keep faith with a hurting people, a devastated community, and a nation in need of repentance at our lack of resolve to bring an end to the senseless gun violence that continues to scar the lives of so many young people and their families who start each school day with a hug they hope will be returned later that very same day.

The Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ is a member of the Florida Coalition for the Prevention of Gun Violence and today proves that membership is not enough. Activism and advocacy are essential. It’s past time for the Church to act. It’s past time to stand up to the gun lobbies and to advocate for Jesus’ way of peace that just can’t imagine how sisters and brothers or a nation can dwell together in unity while doing nothing to train our common spirit in the ways of justice, while doing nothing to mitigate the availability of weapons that enable such rampant violence, while doing nothing to stand in the public square and shout with a prophet’s heart that our prayers are not adequate and our faith demands more. We cannot pray “How long, O God, how long!?” and stand by doing nothing in the face of evil.

Pastors, find your people today and console them. People, find your pastors today and ask them to lead with you in a movement to end violence in our communities. Remember especially the people of Parkland, Florida whose anguish cries out and whose pain demands justice. Help build communities where this doesn’t happen. Use your own compassion and power to heal this national sin. And, yes, continue to pray.

Be at peace and be in touch, won’t you.

John Vertigan
Conference Minister

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Meditations & Reflections for solo piano 03 – The Missing Dream


Simply click on the arrow in the orange circle above to play The Missing Dream — it’s free to play. It is one of the pieces I wrote to play for a series on contemplative moments during a past season at Lakewood UCC. If you wish to hear the complete set of pieces, Meditations & Reflections for solo piano, you may stream the audio at https://soundcloud.com/hilton-kean-jones/sets/meditations-reflections-for-solo-piano. If you want to play them at home on the piano, yourself, you can download the sheet music at hiltonkeanjones.com/music. To buy the CD click on the following link.

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Meditations & Reflections for solo piano 02 – Dancing In The Shadows


Simply click on the arrow in the orange circle above to play Dancing In The Shadows — it’s free to play. It is one of the pieces I wrote to play for a series on contemplative moments during a past season at Lakewood UCC. If you wish to hear the complete set of pieces, Meditations & Reflections for solo piano, you may stream the audio at https://soundcloud.com/hilton-kean-jones/sets/meditations-reflections-for-solo-piano. If you want to play them at home on the piano, yourself, you can download the sheet music at hiltonkeanjones.com/music. To buy the CD click on the following link.

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Sermon 2.4.18 Healing Faith

Scripture Lesson: Mark 1:29-39

Rev. Kim P. Wells

This week we heard the heart breaking story of Luis Blanco and his family. Blanco is married and the father of 6 children with another one on the way. The children are US citizens. He has been living and working in the US for 20 years, contributing to the community and taking care of his family.

But as we know, Blanco is not in the US legally. He doesn’t have citizenship or a green card. So he is being held by the authorities and expected to be deported back to Mexico. It is a heart breaking situation for this family and many others like them. It’s amazing, isn’t it, that we can send a person to the moon, a probe to Mars, we can carry the world in our pocket in the form of a cell phone with the Internet, but we don’t seem to be able to come up with a way for longterm residents of the US who work and contribute to their communities, to live here legally. Can we really not come up with a solution? Are we really just too dumb to resolve this? My brother lives in Wisconsin, and he says that if all the undocumented agricultural workers in that state are deported, the dairy industry will collapse. He assures me there will be far less cheese on the shelves here in our Florida grocery stores.

This is just one of many situations in the world around us that show us that we are not well. Our society is not healthy. In the US, there are 29.7 homicides by firearm per one million people a year. The next closest country is Switzerland, with 7.7 homicides per million people a year. [The Christian Century, 11/8/17, p. 9]  There is a gun problem in this country. There is a violence problem. With #metoo, and the recent revelations about sports doctors, we are reminded that there is a sexual misconduct problem of epic proportions in this country. We know of the opioid crisis and addiction problems. We know of rising poverty in spite of the rising stock market. The statistics say there are more jobs and higher wages, but people still keep coming to the church for help with rent and food and  medication and bus transportation. The economy is only healthy for some. We know that there are racial problems in our country. We know of the problems in families where everyone is on their phone and their screen device and there is little to no communication and involvement among family members. And while we know about global warming, did you know that pollution kills at least 9 million people a year and not just in impoverished countries; Japan and the US are among the top ten countries with deaths due to fossil fuel and chemical pollution.  [The Christian Century, 11/22/17, p. 9]   We see sickness around us in so many ways. We experience dis-ease in our own lives and in our families as well as in the world around us.

In the beautiful first chapter of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus starts his ministry full force. We hear of John the Baptizer preparing the way. Jesus is among the crowds that head out to the wilderness to be baptized. Then Jesus is tempted by evil in the wilderness for 40 days. After that, he begins his ministry saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the realm of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” Jesus recruits a few odd folks working in the fishing industry, and it’s off to teach in the synagogue, and exorcise demons, and heal. All in chapter one. Healing, healing, healing. We are told of Simon’s mother in law. Then, “they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door.” People so in need of healing. Then the next day, as Jesus prays alone in the dark, Simon comes to find him and announces, “Everyone is searching for you.” The people are so in need of the healing Jesus has to offer. So we are given this testimony of a beautiful ministry of teaching, preaching, and healing.

We see so much need for healing around us and the beautiful passage from Mark that we heard this morning reminds us that the ministry of Jesus, and so the ministry of the church, is a ministry of healing. Through worship, prayer, ritual, teaching, visiting, advocacy, and preaching, the church is about offering the healing ministry of Jesus to the world. From Jesus, we don’t see condemnation, we don’t see judgment, we don’t see people being castigated and vilified. There is no threat of punishment or violence. Jesus offers healing through forgiveness and love. His healing is based on love not fear. And it is not only available to those who can pay. Jesus freely offers healing to everyone. He shows us that love is the most powerful force there is. It is more potent than nuclear power, political power, or economic power. Because love is transformational.

While the world wants to keep accounts, and the world wants to promote success in the form of looking young and being rich, while the world promotes looking out for number one, and domination through competition, while the world is consumed with commodifying people and goods, Jesus comes and heals. And not for acclamation or fame or wealth. He willingly dies on a cross. Creating no victims. No collateral damage. No revenge.

Jesus heals by dispelling the delusions and fake realities of the day. He teaches people to be enchanted by the world, by reality, by life. Jesus invites us to experience our full humanity. And that means being real about all of our amazing imperfections. Without imperfections, without mistakes, we are not fully human. And our mistakes and imperfections are our teachers. They teach us to love ourselves, to forgive ourselves, and to forgive others. That is the way we are created. We have this in common. There is common ground for compassion among all people. And when we accept our humanity, we see this bond with others and our compassion increases. When we deny our full humanity, we experience dis-ease, sickness, fear, alienation, and pain.

I was recently reading a list of books by presidents of the US. Three books attributed to the current president include, “How to Get Rich,” “Time to Get Tough,” and “Think Like a Billionaire.” Being tough and single minded in the pursuit of money, this is evidence of dis-ease. This is sickness. This is distorting and denying our true humanity. And the election of someone with this orientation to the presidency shows a sickness in the soul of America. The fixation on winning and being rich is the kind of condition that Jesus came to relieve. He came to save us from that kind of folly which only makes our souls and our bodies sick. Jesus offers an alternative kind of life that is focussed not on promoting yourself, but believing in the goodness of humanity, life, and Creation as gifts to be enjoyed and shared.

In the first chapter of Mark, Jesus is sought out as a healer and performs many healings. But he also teaches and preaches. He shares a vision of a different kind of reality, the commonwealth of God, a reality that doesn’t make you sick, that confronts evil with love. A reality that is based not on domination but transformation. In our world today, sometimes it seems like we just can’t get out of these rip tides of consumerism, individualism, glorification of wealth, selfish egotism, fear, competition, and violence. Jesus invites us to a different way of seeing reality that extricates us from these systems and values that make us sick and result in evil. Jesus doesn’t just heal people and send them on their way. He offers teaching about how to be a healthy human being and how to create healthy communities that promote the well-being of all. The church is blessed to have that treasure to share with the world so in need of healing. We have the teachings of Jesus that invite us to experience our full humanity to share with the world.

With so many competing realities and claims in society and within the church, how can we know what is real? What is authentically of Love? We are given an insight in the lesson we heard this morning. When Simon’s mother in law is healed, what does she immediately do? Does she pay Jesus? Does she tell everyone about her miracle and capitalize on her fame? Does she use her experience to improve her status in the community? No. As soon as she is well, the mother in law takes up her duties serving her guests. She chooses to serve others, to help others. To make a contribution to the community. That is a sign of health. That is evidence of healing. When we are healthy, we take delight in life and in our capacity to serve. We glory in what we can give not in what we will get. May we invite the healing power of love into our lives. May we line up at Jesus’ door with our need. And may we minister to the dis-ease of the world, the people and the systems around us, with the healing power of Love. 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 8 February

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, FEB 11 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday marks the end of the season of Epiphany in the church year.  The assigned scripture lesson is the story of the transfiguration, this year, from Mark 9:2-10.  It is a time of transition from Epiphany celebrating the coming of Jesus, the light of the world, and Lent commemorating Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem and the crucifixion.  What does it mean to follow Jesus, the light of the world?  We will all have different answers.
SAT, FEB 10 YARD SALE: Ed Kaspar is having a yard sale on Saturday Feb. 10 from 9-1 at his home (2993 61st Ave S). Items for sale include: household items, kitchen appliances, miscellaneous, jewelry, and clothing.
FEB 12 & 13 GARAGE CLEANING: Claire Stiles and others will be working on cleaning out the church garage on Monday Feb. 12 and Tuesday Feb. 13 from 9am to noon. Please contact Claire if you can help or for more information. Thank you!
WED, FEB 14 ASH WEDNESDAY: There will be a beautiful outdoor service on Wednesday, February 14th from 7-8pm around a fire next to the lake at Chip and Dana Coper’s home. It is a service of reflection on the season of Lent as a time of repentance and renewal. The service will include communion and the imposition of ashes. Bring an outdoor chair if you can. And a stick. If transportation is needed, please contact the church office by phone (727.867.7961) or email.
SUN, FEB 18 – MAR 18 SUNDAYS IN LENT: Services begin at 10:30 and focus on new directions in Christian expression that can form a solid “Foundation for the Future” as the church seeks to serve the world in the years ahead.
WED, FEB 21 – MAR 21 WEDNESDAY PRAYERS: Gatherings from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. for the ancient prayer practice of lectio divina, praying the scriptures. Led by Rev. Emily Bell.
SUN, MAR 25 PALM SUNDAY: The service begins outside with the blessing of the palms. Please bring a palm branch and some to share if you can.
THU, MAR 29 MAUNDY THURSDAY: This is a night to remember Jesus’ last supper with his friends and followers. A light soup supper will be served at 6:00pm in the Fellowship Hall followed by a service of communion and Tenebrae in the sanctuary at 7:00. All are welcome at this solemn service of remembrance.
FRI, MAR 30 GOOD FRIDAY: There will be a guided labyrinth walk at noon related to the crucifixion of Jesus. The sanctuary will be open for meditation and prayer from noon until 3:00pm.
SUN, APR 1 EASTER: The celebration of Easter begins with a sunrise service at 7:00am outdoors on the church grounds followed by breakfast in the Fellowship Hall.
The Festival Service begins at 10:30am. This is an intergenerational service celebrating the power of Love that is stronger than death. The season of spring is a reminder that new life bursts forth even in the least expected places.
An Easter Egg hunt will be held following the Festival Service along with refreshments on the church grounds.
SAT, MAR 3 MEMORIAL SERVICE: Gertrude (Gertie) Pirazzini died on Wednesday January 17th, she was 89 years old. Condolences go to her family and friends, especially Kim and Jeff Wells, her daughter and son-in-law. A service to celebrate her life will be held on Saturday, March 3rd here in Lakewood’s Sanctuary at 11am with luncheon to follow in Fellowship Hall.
SAT, MAR 24 GREENFEST: Wally is considering having a booth once again at IRB Greenfest representing LUCC. If you are interested in volunteering for 2 or 3 hours on the day of the event or assisting with preparations beforehand please email Wally. The 11th Annual Indian Rocks Beach Greenfest will be March 24th from 10am to 5pm on the block of 24th Avenue & 1st Street in Indian Rocks Beach.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SAT, FEB 10 FILM: The Other Side of Hope, the newest film from Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismäki applies the director’s signature deadpan humor to the contemporary refugee crisis. Kaurismäki won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival for this comic meditation on home. Free and open to the public. Friday 7-9pm Eckerd College (4200 54th Ave S) Miller Auditorium.
SAT, FEB 10 EXHIBITION: Operation Finale: The Capture and Trial of Adolf Eichmann opens to the public on Saturday 10 February at the Florida Holocaust Museum (55 5th St S). The exhibit is the first in the United States to fully document the pursuit, capture, extradition, and trial of a Nazi war criminal. Visit flholocaustmuseum.org for more information.
SAT, FEB 10 PRAYER BREAKFAST: Celebrate Black History by attending the Legacy Prayer Breakfast on Saturday, 10 February at 10am at Maximo Presbyterian Church (3200 58th Ave S). Aramis Ayala, the State Attorney for for Orange and Seminole Counties, will be speaking. Admission is $15 per person.
TUE, FEB 13 GUN VIOLENCE EVENT: Gun violence has touched a broad cross section of our city and our country, and remains a persistent public safety issue. The League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area invites you to hear local community leaders share their personal stories and professional insights and then join in exploring how we can take personal and collective action.  A primary focus will be the impact on families, children and adolescents. LUCC is a community partner for Preventing Gun Violence: A Community Conversation. It will be held Tuesday, 13 February from 7-8:30pm at Allendale United Methodist Church sanctuary (3803 Haines Rd).
FRI, FEB 16 CONCERT: One City Chorus Concert featuring the One City Chorus and the Urban Gypsies will be Friday, 16 February at 7:30pm at the Palladium (253 5th Ave N). Music is themed around justice and civil rights. Jeff Wells from LUCC and Leslie Ethredge from the UCC Florida Conference staff sing with the One City Chorus. The Chorus also rehearses occasionally at LUCC when the Carter Woodson Museum is not available.
FEB 16-24 FILM FESTIVAL:The 2018 “Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature,” Environmental Film Festival will be held February 16-24. For 20 years, the Environmental Film Festival has brought compelling and important films to the Tampa Bay area to raise awareness and promote discussion of matters relating to nature, place and the environment. Film scholars and filmmakers from around the world engage the audience in a lively dialogue about the environmental perspectives contained in documentary, animated, experimental and feature films. Free and open to the public. Visit environmentalfilmfest.com to see the schedule.
SAT, MAR 3 UCC WOMEN’S LUNCH: The Central West Coast Annual Regional Meeting & Luncheon for UCC Women will be March 3rd from 10:00am to 1:30pm at Pilgrim UCC (6315 Central Ave). The theme will be: “Untold Stories: The Unconquered Seminoles” Presented by Barb Coons, State Treasurer. 9:15am Registration in Fellowship Hall. Program begins at 10:00 a.m. Lunch will be served, Cost is $8.00 per person. Please bring nonperishable food items for the Good Samaritan UCC food pantry in Pinellas Park. To ensure there is enough lunch for everyone, please submit your registration with Payment by February 24th. Registration forms are on the bulletin board in the narthex. If you don’t get it mailed in time and plan on attending, please contact Eleanor Rouse by phone (727.215.4752) or email.

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.
THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: Wally LeBlanc has cards and paintings featuring his artwork for sale. The proceeds will be donated to the roof fund and other community ministries. Thank you, Wally!
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON: If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
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, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. Middle School age children and younger are invited to participate in Church School with Grace Lewis. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. All children return to the sanctuary during the offering so they can participate at the end of the worship service. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

Betty Harris, Ruth Halderman, Ruth Harrington, Ron Huff, Carolyn Moore, Willy Zessoules, Genevieve Jackle, Gertie Pirazzini’s family and friends, Ann Quinn

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Meditations & Reflections for solo piano 01 – Jasmine


Simply click on the arrow in the orange circle above to play Jasmine — it’s free to play. It is one of the pieces I wrote to play for a series on contemplative moments during a past season at Lakewood UCC. If you wish to hear the complete set of pieces, Meditations & Reflections for solo piano, you may stream the audio at https://soundcloud.com/hilton-kean-jones/sets/meditations-reflections-for-solo-piano. If you want to play them at home on the piano, yourself, you can download the sheet music at hiltonkeanjones.com/music. To buy the CD click on the following link.

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Weekly Update 1 February

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, FEB 4 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday the service focuses on one of the healing stories in the first chapter of Mark. How can faith be healing today?  See Mark 1:29-39.
SUN, FEB 4 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 which is 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, FEB 4 CONGREGATIONAL MEETING: There will be a congregational meeting following worship on Sunday February 4th. All are encouraged to participate! Here is the tentative agenda:

Call to Order
Opening reading/prayer
Presentation of the budget
Q and A on the budget
Taking action on the budget
Updates on:

  • The roof
  • Family Promise
  • Operation Attack
  • Unbroken Circles
  • Creation Justice
  • Solar panels for the church
  • CROP Walk Feb. 25 – any one want to be LUCC coordinator?

Other comments, suggestions, etc.
Closing song

WED, FEB 14 ASH WEDNESDAY: There will be a beautiful outdoor service on Wednesday, February 14th from 7-8pm around a fire next to the lake at Chip and Dana Coper’s home. It is a service of reflection on the season of Lent as a time of repentance and renewal. The service will include communion and the imposition of ashes. Bring an outdoor chair if you can. And a stick. If transportation is needed, please contact the church office by phone (727.867.7961) or email.
SAT, MAR 3 MEMORIAL SERVICE: Gertrude (Gertie) Pirazzini died on Wednesday January 17th, she was 89 years old. Condolences go to her family and friends, especially Kim and Jeff Wells, her daughter and son-in-law. A service to celebrate her life will be held on Saturday, March 3rd here in Lakewood’s Sanctuary at 11am with luncheon to follow in Fellowship Hall.
SAT, MAR 24 GREENFEST: Wally is considering having a booth once again at IRB Greenfest representing LUCC. If you are interested in volunteering for 2 or 3 hours on the day of the event or assisting with preparations beforehand please email Wally. The 11th Annual Indian Rocks Beach Greenfest will be March 24th from 10am to 5pm on the block of 24th Avenue & 1st Street in Indian Rocks Beach.
SUN, FEB 28 MANY THANKS: Wally LeBlanc dedicated a painting entitled “Beyond the Rainbow” at Lakewood UCC last Sunday. See photos here.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SAT, FEB 3 STORYTELLING WORKSHOP: First Congregational United Church of Christ in Sarasota and the Florida Conference will sponsor a workshop by acclaimed storyteller Valerie Tutson Saturday, 3 February from 10am to 3pm at First Congregational UCC (1031 S. Euclid Ave. in Sarasota). During the workshop, “Storytelling as a Spiritual Practice,” Valerie will invite participants to explore and experience the wonder of stories — our own and others. Admission is free, and lunch will be served. However, registration is required, and the registration deadline is 31 January. A free will offering will take place at the end of the workshop to defray costs. For more information, you may call the church at (941) 953-7044. Visit uccfla to register.
SAT, FEB 10 PRAYER BREAKFAST: Celebrate Black History by attending the Legacy Prayer Breakfast on Saturday, 10 February at 10am at Maximo Presbyterian Church (3200 58th Ave S). Aramis Ayala, the State Attorney for for Orange and Seminole Counties, will be speaking. Admission is $15 per person.
TUE, FEB 13 GUN VIOLENCE EVENT: Gun violence has touched a broad cross section of our city and our country, and remains a persistent public safety issue. The League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area invites you to hear local community leaders share their personal stories and professional insights and then join in exploring how we can take personal and collective action.  A primary focus will be the impact on families, children and adolescents. LUCC is a community partner for Preventing Gun Violence: A Community Conversation. It will be held Tuesday, 13 February from 7-8:30pm at Allendale United Methodist Church sanctuary (3803 Haines Rd).
FRI, FEB 16 CONCERT: One City Chorus Concert featuring the One City Chorus and the Urban Gypsies will be Friday, 16 February at 7:30pm at the Palladium (253 5th Ave N). Music is themed around justice and civil rights. Jeff Wells from LUCC and Leslie Ethredge from the UCC Florida Conference staff sing with the One City Chorus. The Chorus also rehearses occasionally at LUCC when the Carter Woodson Museum is not available.
FEB 16-24 FILM FESTIVAL:The 2018 “Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature,” Environmental Film Festival will be held February 16-24. For 20 years, the Environmental Film Festival has brought compelling and important films to the Tampa Bay area to raise awareness and promote discussion of matters relating to nature, place and the environment. Film scholars and filmmakers from around the world engage the audience in a lively dialogue about the environmental perspectives contained in documentary, animated, experimental and feature films. Free and open to the public. Visit environmentalfilmfest.com to see the schedule.
SAT, MAR 3 UCC WOMEN’S LUNCH: The Central West Coast Annual Regional Meeting & Luncheon for UCC Women will be March 3rd from 10:00am to 1:30pm at Pilgrim UCC (6315 Central Ave). The theme will be: “Untold Stories: The Unconquered Seminoles” Presented by Barb Coons, State Treasurer. 9:15am Registration in Fellowship Hall. Program begins at 10:00 a.m. Lunch will be served, Cost is $8.00 per person. Please bring nonperishable food items for the Good Samaritan UCC food pantry in Pinellas Park. To ensure there is enough lunch for everyone, please submit your registration with Payment by February 24th. Registration forms are on the bulletin board in the narthex. If you don’t get it mailed in time and plan on attending, please contact Eleanor Rouse by phone (727.215.4752) or email.

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.
THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: Wally LeBlanc has cards and paintings featuring his artwork for sale. The proceeds will be donated to the roof fund and other community ministries. Thank you, Wally!
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON: If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
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, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. Middle School age children and younger are invited to participate in Church School with Grace Lewis. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. All children return to the sanctuary during the offering so they can participate at the end of the worship service. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

Betty Harris, Ruth Halderman, Ruth Harrington, Ron Huff, Carolyn Moore, Willy Zessoules, Genevieve Jackle, Gertie Pirazzini’s family and friends, Ann Quinn, Earl Waters

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Painting Dedication

Wally LeBlanc dedicated a painting entitled “Beyond the Rainbow” at Lakewood UCC last Sunday. He read the following prayer, adapted from the lyrics of “Bless Us All”

Life is full of sweet surprises Every day is a gift The sun comes up and I can feel it lift my spirit Fills me up with laughter, fills me up with joy I look into the eyes of love and know that I belong Bless us all, who gather here The loving family we hold dear No place on earth, compares with home And every path we take will bring us back from where we roam Bless us all, that as we live We always comfort and forgive We have so much, that we can share With all those in need we see around us everywhere Let us always love each other Lead us to the light Let us be and hear the voice of reason, shining in the darkness Let us run from anger and catch us when we fall Teach us in our lives and please, yes please Bless us one and all Bless us all with joyous years With wonderful moments and joyful tears We reach for You and we stand tall And in our prayers and our lives We ask You bless us all. Amen.

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Weekly Update 25 January

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, JAN 28 THIS SUNDAY: What happens when fear is the driving force in our lives?  In society?  In religion?  Jesus was about love not fear. Now that is a radical, counter-cultural reality orientation.  See you Sunday for more reflection on these themes.  Focus scripture: Mark 1:21-28.  There will also be a special surprise presentation during the service.  And then, stay for lunch – Sunday Celebrations this week!
SUN, JAN 28 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: The theme for this month’s potluck lunch, after church on January 28th, will be a New Year’s Feast. Bring food that you traditionally eat on your New Year’s celebration! There will also be an open music jam after lunch, so bring your instruments and play along to peace songs.
SUN, FEB 1 CONGREGATIONAL MEETING: There will be a congregational meeting following worship on Sunday Feb. 4 to take action on the proposed budget for 2018 and to take action on any other matters as needed. All are encouraged to participate!
WED, FEB 14 ASH WEDNESDAY: There will be a beautiful outdoor service on Wednesday, February 14th from 7-8pm around a fire next to the lake at Chip and Dana Coper’s home. It is a service of reflection on the season of Lent as a time of repentance and renewal. The service will include communion and the imposition of ashes. Bring an outdoor chair if you can. And a stick. If transportation is needed, please contact the church office by phone (727.867.7961) or email.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

TUE, FEB 13 GUN VIOLENCE EVENT: Gun violence has touched a broad cross section of our city and our country, and remains a persistent public safety issue. The League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area invites you to hear local community leaders share their personal stories and professional insights and then join in exploring how we can take personal and collective action.  A primary focus will be the impact on families, children and adolescents. Preventing Gun Violence: A Community Conversation will be held Tuesday, 13 February from 7-8:30pm at Allendale United Methodist Church sanctuary (3803 Haines Rd).
SAT, FEB 3 STORYTELLING WORKSHOP: First Congregational United Church of Christ in Sarasota and the Florida Conference will sponsor a workshop by acclaimed storyteller Valerie Tutson Saturday, 3 February from 10am to 3pm at First Congregational UCC (1031 S. Euclid Ave. in Sarasota). During the workshop, “Storytelling as a Spiritual Practice,” Valerie will invite participants to explore and experience the wonder of stories — our own and others. Admission is free, and lunch will be served. However, registration is required, and the registration deadline is 31 January. A free will offering will take place at the end of the workshop to defray costs. For more information, you may call the church at (941) 953-7044. Visit uccfla to register.
SAT, FEB 10 PRAYER BREAKFAST: Celebrate Black History by attending the Legacy Prayer Breakfast on Saturday, 10 February at 10am at Maximo Presbyterian Church (3200 58th Ave S). Aramis Ayala, the State Attorney for for Orange and Seminole Counties, will be speaking. Admission is $15 per person.
FRI, FEB 16 CONCERT: One City Chorus Concert featuring the One City Chorus and the Urban Gypsies will be Friday, 16 February at 7:30pm at the Palladium (253 5th Ave N). Music is themed around justice and civil rights. Jeff Wells from LUCC and Leslie Ethredge from the UCC Florida Conference staff sing with the One City Chorus. The Chorus also rehearses occasionally at LUCC when the Carter Woodson Museum is not available.
SAT, MAR 3 UCC WOMEN’S LUNCH: The Central West Coast Annual Regional Meeting & Luncheon for UCC Women will be March 3rd from 10:00am to 1:30pm at Pilgrim UCC (6315 Central Ave). The theme will be: “Untold Stories: The Unconquered Seminoles” Presented by Barb Coons, State Treasurer. 9:15am Registration in Fellowship Hall. Program begins at 10:00 a.m. Lunch will be served, Cost is $8.00 per person. Please bring nonperishable food items for the Good Samaritan UCC food pantry in Pinellas Park. To ensure there is enough lunch for everyone, please submit your registration with Payment by February 24th. If you don’t get it mailed in time and plan on attending, please contact Eleanor Rouse by phone (727.215.4752) or email.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
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, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. Middle School age children and younger are invited to participate in Church School with Grace Lewis. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. All children return to the sanctuary during the offering so they can participate at the end of the worship service. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

Betty Harris, Ruth Halderman, Ruth Harrington, Ron Huff, Carolyn Moore,
Willy Zessoules, Genevieve Jackle, 
Gertie Pirazzini’s family and friends,
Ann Quinn, Earl Waters, Vita Uth & family

RECENT POSTS

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Preventing Gun Violence: A Community Conversation

Gun violence has touched a broad cross section of our city and our country, and remains a persistent public safety issue. The League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area invites you to hear local community leaders share their personal stories and professional insights and then join us in exploring how we can take personal and collective action.  A primary focus will be the impact on families, children and adolescents.

This event is purposefully scheduled during the 2018 Florida legislative session and will be outcome and action-oriented.

Panelists:
• Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, Chair, St. Petersburg City Counci
• Amanda Thalji-Raitano, PhD, licensed psychologist, BeSMART for Kids
• Rev. Dr. Manuel L. Sykes, Bethel Community Baptist Church
• Dr. David Berman, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
• Facilitator: Ryan Mitchell, Lieutenant Firefighter Paramedic

Doors open at 6:30pm
See Facebook for more information. Please register at constant contact.

Community partners:
• Allendale United Methodist Church
• American Civil Liberties Union of Pinellas
• Bethel Community Baptist Church
• City of St. Petersburg
• Leif Nissen Foundation
• Lakewood United Church of Christ
• Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America/St. Pete
• Pinellas County Urban League
• St. Petersburg Quakers
• Zonta Club of Pinellas County

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Weekly Update 18 January

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, JAN 21 THIS SUNDAY: During morning worship, those who will serve as Advisors for the coming year will be affirmed in this important leadership role in the church.  Please plan to show your support for Martha Lamar, Patti Cooksey, Melanie Moore, Don Ritchie, and Charlie Lewis this Sunday and throughout the year ahead.
WED, JAN 17 IN MEMORIAM: Gertrude (Gertie) Pirazzini died on Wednesday January 17th, she was 89 years old. Condolences go to her family and friends, especially Kim and Jeff Wells, her daughter and son-in-law. A service to celebrate her life will be held at Lakewood UCC, date and time yet to be determined.
SUN, JAN 21 BUDGET WORKSHOP: The congregation is invited to participate in a Budget Workshop with the Advisors after church on Sunday Jan. 21 in the Fellowship Hall. All are welcome!
SUN, JAN 28 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: Folks are needed to host this potluck lunch! Who would like to help with set up and clean up? Please contact the church office by phone: (727)867-7961 or e-mail: lakewooducc@gmail.com
SUN, FEB 1 CONGREGATIONAL MEETING: There will be a congregational meeting following worship on Sunday Feb. 4 to take action on the proposed budget for 2018 and to take action on any other matters as needed. All are encouraged to participate!

COMMUNITY EVENTS

 THU, JAN 18 VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Can you take a shift at a cold weather shelter? Shifts are typically 4 hours in duration. Duties include registering guests, preparing meals, serving meals, handing out blankets/mats, and serving as a shelter monitor during the evening hours. Training is on-site, just show up and you will be partnered with an experienced volunteer. If you are able to help at the Northwest Presbyterian Church shelter (6330 54th Ave. N) please contact Cliff Smith, Manager of Veterans, Social and Homeless Services for the City of St. Petersburg by phone: 727-893-7627 or email: clifford.smith@stpete.org.
THU, JAN 18 FASTING: National day of fasting planned to support the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and their boycott of Wendy’s. On Jan. 18th, faith leaders from around the country will join together for National Day of Fasting and Witness in protest of Wendy’s executives’ ongoing refusal to join the Fair Food Program. The fast will take place on the 20th anniversary of the breaking of the 30-day hunger strike undertaken by six workers in 1998, when the CIW was calling for a dialogue with growers to end poverty and violence in the fields. The hunger strike was finally broken when former President Jimmy Carter and Bishop John Nevins of the Catholic Diocese of Venice intervened, and called upon people to join with farmworkers to bring justice to U.S. agriculture. Learn more at ucc.org
THU, JAN 18 LECTURE: Author Thomas Moore will speak at First Unity Sanctuary (460 46th Ave N) on Thursday, January 18th at 7pm. His lecture is titled Ageless Soul: Ripening Maturing and Feeling Fulfilled as We Get Older. A love offering will be collected.
SUN, JAN 21  WOMEN’S MARCH 2018: January 21st from 12:30-4:30 in Williams Park (330 2nd Ave N). This anniversary event in St. Petersburg will be a community event focusing on voter registration, ending voter suppression in Florida and supporting our marginalized communities. For more information visit womensmarchfl.org.
THU, JAN 25 EXTREMISM EVENT: A dinner forum on Jan. 25th, sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College titled Full of Hate: The Toll of Violent Extremism, will be from 6-8:15 pm in the Conference Center at the Seminole campus (9200 113th St N). Tickets are $25, or $20 for students and educators. Advanced registration required. See the Full of Hate flyer for more information.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
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, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. Middle School age children and younger are invited to participate in Church School with Grace Lewis. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. All children return to the sanctuary during the offering so they can participate at the end of the worship service. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

Betty Harris, Ruth Halderman, Ruth Harrington, Ron Huff, Carolyn Moore,
Willy Zessoules, Genevieve Jackle, 
Gertie Pirazzini’s family and friends,
Ann Quinn, Earl Waters, Vita Uth & family

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Go, Granny D!

Tonight from 7-8:30 at Allendale United Methodist Church experience the wonderfully unique true story of Doris “Granny D” Haddock, who walked across America at the age of 90 to secure democracy for future generations.
Picture this: “Granny D” dressed as a mermaid registering voters at Weeki Wachee Springs, at Bikers Week in Daytona and from the Little Rock pulpit where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once preached!
You’ll laugh and be thoroughly entertained as off-Broadway actress Barbara Bates Smith and musician Jeff Sebens share the story of this warm witty crusader, whose steel determination took the world by surprise and elevated her to national fame.
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Weekly Update 11 January

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, JAN 14 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday is a moment to remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His vision was not limited to equal rights for African Americans in the United States. How could it be? He was first and foremost a Christian. His vision was a comprehensive manifestation of the commonwealth of God on Earth. That is something to celebrate! Looking forward to Sunday.
JAN 14 – 21 FAMILY PROMISE: LUCC is serving as a support congregation at Lakewood Methodist Church this coming week – Jan. 14-21. If you would like to become involved in this important ministry helping homeless families with children achieve financial stability, please speak with LUCC Family Promise Coordinator Patti Cooksey.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: The recent cold weather has meant that the cold weather shelters have been in use several nights this past week. In order to keep offering these places if temperatures drop again, volunteers are needed! Shifts are typically 4 hours in duration. Duties include registering guests, preparing meals, serving meals, handing out blankets/mats, and serving as a shelter monitor during the evening hours. Training is on-site, just show up and you will be partnered with an experienced volunteer. If you are able to help at the Northwest Presbyterian Church shelter (6330 54th Ave. N) please contact Cliff Smith, Manager of Veterans, Social and Homeless Services for the City of St. Petersburg by phone: 727-893-7627 or email: clifford.smith@stpete.org.
WED, JAN 17 WESTMINSTER LUNCH: Westminster Suncoast Luncheon Wednesday Jan. 17 at 11:30 in the private dining room at Westminster Suncoast. All residents of the Shores and Suncoast are welcome.
SUN, JAN 21 BUDGET WORKSHOP: The congregation is invited to participate in a Budget Workshop with the Advisors after church on Sunday Jan. 21 in the Fellowship Hall. All are welcome!
SUN, JAN 28 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: Folks are needed to host this potluck lunch! Who would like to help with set up and clean up? Please contact the church office by phone: (727)867-7961 or e-mail: lakewooducc@gmail.com
SUN, FEB 1 CONGREGATIONAL MEETING: There will be a congregational meeting following worship on Sunday Feb. 1 to take action on the proposed budget for 2018 and to take action on any other matters as needed. All are encouraged to participate!

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, JAN 11 FILM: This screening features the 2012 film Cloudburst, in which a lesbian couple escape from a nursing home and flee to Canada to get married. Thursday, January 11th, at 7pm in the Gulfport Public Library (5501 28th Ave. S).
SAT, JAN 13 VOLUNTEER: Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Saturday, January 13th. Meet at Tomlinson Park (1820 55th St S, Gulfport) for opening ceremonies at 8am before departing to participate in various community service projects.
SAT, JAN 13 MLK VIGIL: The Martin Luther King Jr. Vigil will take place this Saturday at 4:30pm at the Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum (2240 9th Ave S). Music will be provided by The One City Chorus singing songs from the Civil Rights Era. The candlelit vigil will follow in the beautiful Museum gardens..
JAN 13-15 GARDENING: Volunteer restoring gardens and planting winter vegetables at the Sojourner Truth Center, Inc. (311 57th Ave S) on Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 2pm. And visit their table at the MLK Family Fun Day at Tropicana Field from 3-6pm to paint a plant pot and take home soil and seeds to fill your pot.
SAT, JAN 13 ECKERD LECTURE: Writers in Paradise Evening Reading Series on Saturday, January 13th, 8pm in the Dan and Mary Miller Auditorium at Eckerd College (4200 54th Ave. S). Keynote speaker, Ana Menendez with an on stage Q and A with Les Standiford following. The authors will present readings from their works followed by book signings.
THU, JAN 18 FASTING: National day of fasting planned to support the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and their boycott of Wendy’s. On Jan. 18th, faith leaders from around the country will join together for National Day of Fasting and Witness in protest of Wendy’s executives’ ongoing refusal to join the Fair Food Program. The fast will take place on the 20th anniversary of the breaking of the 30-day hunger strike undertaken by six workers in 1998, when the CIW was calling for a dialogue with growers to end poverty and violence in the fields. The hunger strike was finally broken when former President Jimmy Carter and Bishop John Nevins of the Catholic Diocese of Venice intervened, and called upon people to join with farmworkers to bring justice to U.S. agriculture. Learn more at ucc.org
THU, JAN 18 LECTURE: Author Thomas Moore will speak at First Unity Sanctuary (460 46th Ave N) on Thursday, January 18th at 7pm. His lecture is titled Ageless Soul: Ripening Maturing and Feeling Fulfilled as We Get Older. A love offering will be collected.
THU, JAN 25 EXTREMISM EVENT: A dinner forum on Jan. 25th, sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College titled Full of Hate: The Toll of Violent Extremism, will be from 6-8:15 pm in the Conference Center at the Seminole campus (9200 113th St N). Tickets are $25, or $20 for students and educators. Advanced registration required. See the Full of Hate flyer for more information.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
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, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. Middle School age children and younger are invited to participate in Church School with Grace Lewis. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. All children return to the sanctuary during the offering so they can participate at the end of the worship service. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

Betty Harris, Ruth Halderman, Ruth Harrington, Ron Huff, Carolyn Moore, Willy Zessoules, Genevieve Jackle, Gertie Pirazzini, Ann Quinn, Earl Waters, Vita Uth & family

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Volunteers Needed at Cold Night Shelters

The recent cold weather has meant that the cold weather shelters have been in use several nights this past week. Unfortunately, the need for assistance is still continuing. Without the cold night shelters, many individuals and families do not have a place to go when it is bitter cold outside. In order to keep offering these places, volunteers are needed!

Below you will find a list of some shelter locations. The locations with the greatest need for volunteers is at Northwest Presbyterian Church in St. Pete and the Boys and Girls Club in Pinellas Park. Shifts are typically 4 hours in duration. Duties include registering guests, preparing meals, serving meals, handing out blankets/mats, and serving as a shelter monitor during the evening hours. Training is on-site-just show up and you will be partnered with an experienced volunteer. Adult volunteers only.

If you, or anyone you know, is interested, please reach out directly to:

Cliff Smith
Manager of Veterans, Social and Homeless Services
City of St. Petersburg
175 5th Street North
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Work: 727-893-7627 / Cell: 727-698-1809 / Fax: 727-892-5365
clifford.smith@stpete.org

Thank you for all you do, and thank you for spreading the word about this need in our community!

Northwest Presbyterian Church
6330 54th Ave. North
St. Petersburg, FL 33706
Phone: (727) 544-4551

The Turning Point
1810 5th Avenue N
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
Phone: (727) 823-7811

Salvation Army
1400 4th Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (727) 822-4954

My Place in Recovery 
1655 16th Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33705

Boys and Girls Club of the Suncoast in Pinellas Park
7790 61st Street N
Pinellas Park, FL 33781
Phone: (727) 547-5437

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Register Now for Event on Violent Extremism

Hate groups are on the rise – as is the violence their members generate. Since the violent marches last August in Charlottesville, Va., white nationalists, neo-Nazis and sovereign militias have moved out of the shadows, spewing messages of hate on the street, in mass media and on the internet. Why do people join violent hate groups, and how do they affect American politics? Moreover, how do they impact the lives of those they hate?

A former member of a violent right-wing extremist group who left that lifestyle and now promotes love will be the featured speaker at a dinner program on Jan. 25, 2018, sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College.Titled Full of Hate: The Toll of Violent Extremism, the forum will be from 6-8:15 p.m. in the Conference Center at the Seminole campus, 9200 113th St. N.

Tickets are $25, or $20 for students and educators. Advanced registration required. See the Full of Hate flyer for more information.

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Interfaith MLK Service

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Memorial Service
Sunday, January 14, 2018 from 3-4:30 PM
St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Cathedral
5815 5th Ave. North, St. Petersburg FL 33710

Keynote speaker: Rev. Dr. Russell Meyer.

“Stand Up Together” Winner of the 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Organization, Inc. Essay and Oratorical Contest will be presented.

Performers: St. Petersburg’s Christ Gospel Choir and Tampa Bay Lumina Aurora Children’s Chorus.

A Love Offering will be taken to benefit Fairmount Park Elementary School.

Contact Imam Abdul K. Ali 727-560-2567 for more information.

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Sermon 12.31.17 Get Directions

Scripture Lesson: Luke 2:22-40
Sermon: Get Directions
Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

Like most of you, I imagine, I have come to love the maps program on my phone. Where would we be without GPS or Navi as they all it in Europe? We went to Los Angeles recently and I took a paper map to give me the lay of the land and the big picture, but we loved Apple maps, Google maps, and Waze helping us get around.

To get directions from a maps program you just put in the address that you want to go to, and you can choose walking, driving, biking, or public transport, and your route is laid out for you. Almost. You also have to put in a starting location. The program can’t take you somewhere unless it knows where you are starting from. That may be where you are – the current location of the device. Or you can choose another starting place depending on your plans. But you have to start somewhere to get to where you want to go.

As we come to the end of one year and prepare to begin 2018 [How did it already get to be 2018?] we want to create the space to reflect on where we are and where we would like to be going in the year ahead. The story of the dedication in the Temple and the encounters with Simeon and Anna in the gospel of Luke beautifully inspire such reflection.

We want to note that the story takes place in the Temple with Joseph and Mary fulfilling the ritual obligations of their religious tradition. Simeon and Anna, too, are devout, pious people, completely committed to living out their religious commitment which put them at the right place at the right time to bear witness, to be used by God, to serve, and to be fulfilled in their calling. All of the figures in this story take very seriously their religious observance. There is no “spiritual but not religious” in this story. These figures are all spiritual and religious because the two are meant to go together. When spiritual and religious are separate, when only one is of importance, then the function of each suffers. Spirituality is incomplete without religion. Religion is hollow without spirituality. In this story of this young family and these seasoned elders in the Temple, we see the beautiful partnership, the complementarity of spirituality and religion.

So as this year transitions and we think about where we are, it is a time to assess our devotion to our spiritual journey and to our religious observance. The story reminds us that it is in the context of customary, mundane religious practice that these amazing insights and revelations take place. So when we truly practice our religion, we are creating the space and making room for the Spirit to enter our lives.

Recently, Christy Martin, a young mom in our church, told me about mentioning to some soccer parents that she went to church. They were amazed, saying, “How do you have time for that?” I thought that response was very interesting. They didn’t comment on church being irrelevant or archaic or quaint or superstitious or anachronistic. Why bother? It was about time. How do you have time?

With all of our technology and labor saving devices, we were supposed to have more time – for leisure, for hobbies, for religious practice, and other enriching activities. But it hasn’t happened, has it? We all just seem to feel that we have more to do not less. Used to be families at least worked church into their lives at Christmas, Easter, baptisms, weddings, and funerals. Now, not even that happens with many people who label themselves as Christians.

Mary, Joseph, Anna, and Simeon make religious expression a priority in their lives. And later in the gospels we see that Jesus, even with all those endless people to heal and save and feed and forgive, still works religious practice into his daily life. He is a fully observant Jew. Religious practices help us know how to look for the Divine in ourselves, in others, and the world. This helps us identity and experience the holiness of life each and every day. Religious practice shows us openings to the transcendent in our lives. It takes us beyond ourselves and our individual concerns and the tyranny of the self. It frames and shapes who we are and how we function and how we experience being alive. Religious observance coupled with sincere spirituality fosters the best of our humanness.

As involvement in religious practice has gone down in our country, we have seen mass shootings, addiction, suicide, and greed go up. Religion helps to feed the spirit in ways that promote wholeness and well-being for the individual and for society. The church needs to be more responsive and open to offering religious practice that is relevant for these days so that religion can have more of a positive impact on the human experience because it is very much needed.

So as 2018 lies ahead, we want to be thinking about our own religious practice and how we can invite others to deepen their experience through religious devotion and participation. Mary, Joseph, Anna, and Simeon, showed up at the Temple. That had to happen for the story to unfold. So we want to think about our commitment to “showing up” when it comes not only to church attendance but religious practice in our day to day lives.

In the story of the dedication in the Temple, we see that in the course of everyday religious practice, the world opens up for all of those involved. Joseph and Mary are given needed counsel about their child and his role in God’s unfolding purposes of liberation for all of humanity and Creation. Such a life will be fraught, as it must be, when power structures are confronted and challenged. Fraught not only for Jesus, but for his family. Simeon has waited his whole life for this moment and now his purpose is fulfilled. He can die in peace. And Anna who has also been patient in her devotion finally has good news to share with all who will listen about the faithfulness and devotion of God. Religion provides the context for good news, joy, and delight, not only for the individuals involved, not only for their faith community, but for everyone, all people, and all the Earth.

As 2018 begins, we are invited to think about where we have been, where we are, but also what is ahead. This story encourages us to think about our roles in the unfolding purposes of Divine Love to create peace in the world. We want to think about how we will position ourselves to be used for the healing of the world; for the restoration of justice and dignity for every person. Our religious observance should help us to see where we fit in, how we are needed, and what our role is. As we see in the story from Luke, there is a place for everyone – an aging widow, an elderly man, young parents, those made poor, even a baby. Wherever we are on our life’s journey, there is a place for us in the Divine drama of redemption and love. And our religious observance will help to make that clearer to us if we are open to it.

Steve Biko was a well-known anti-apartheid leader and a leading proponent of ‘black consciousness’ in South Africa. In 1977, while he was in the custody of the South African police, he was brutally tortured and murdered. His death became the rallying point for many in the freedom struggle.

I remember when my father read Biko the story of his life and his involvement in the freedom movement. My father was so moved I can remember him telling us about this man, Steve Biko. After that, my father was determined to work through the church to help put an end to apartheid. And the United Church of Christ was very involved in that movement.

Alice Biko, Steve’s mother, talked openly about both the anguish and the hope that were part of being the mother of such a son. . . . In one of her last conversations with her son, Alice told him how difficult it was to be always worried about him being arrested and put in jail, how she never slept at night until she knew he was home. He had responded by reminding her that Jesus had come to redeem his people and set them free. The Bikos were well-grounded in their religious observance.

“Are you Jesus?” she asked impatiently.

Steve had gently answered her, “No, I’m not. But I have the same job to do.” [Quoted in Resources for Preaching and Worship, Year B, compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, p. 32.]

As 2017 comes to an end and 2018 is about to begin, here, in this context of religious ritual and observance we take time for reflection about our role in carrying out the purposes of Divine Love at work for the liberation and restoration of all of humanity and the Creation itself. We are not Jesus, but we, too, have his work to continue. So as the calendar changes and we take stock, we pause to get directions. 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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