Sermon Thanksgiving Sunday 11.19.17

Scripture Lesson: Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Sermon: First Fruits
Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

This week we celebrate the holiday associated with the iconic image of the Pilgrims and the Indians feasting together. It is a day to revel in the abundance of our life and legacy on these shores.

But the beautiful image can overshadow the deprivations and desperation of the Pilgrims as they came to this land. There is an old tradition of starting the meal on Thanksgiving with five kernels of dried corn on each plate at the table. This was to serve as a reminder of the hardships faced by the Pilgrims, including the very real threat of starvation.

The Pilgrims left England in the face of religious conflict which had degenerated into violence, torture, imprisonment, and banishment. Like many immigrants today, they were driven by desperation to emigrate. They thought they could start a new life in Holland, so they headed there even though the language and culture were completely unfamiliar. There were difficulties adjusting to this new homeland, but the younger people began to completely assimilate and the elders realized their community and religious expression was in danger of being swallowed up by Dutch culture, so they determined to head to the New World, new, that is, to Europeans, and start afresh.

The journey to North America was fraught with hardship from the very beginning. The Pilgrims started out in two ships but the smaller one proved not to be seaworthy and had to turn back. On the winter crossing of the ocean, the other ship, the Mayflower, was beset with cross winds and severe weather. Many of the travelers were terribly seasick. When they got to North America, they were initially greeted with snow and rain and a hostile indigenous population. They searched for a safe haven. The mast and rudder of the ship broken, the boat was lost. There was no turning back from these forbidding shores.

The Pilgrims finally arrived at Plymouth on December 11, 1620. Just 4 days before the landing, Dorothy Bradford, spouse of Willam Bradford, drowned. Bradford was soon to become governor after the first governor, John Carver, died, five months into office. During that first winter, half of the Mayflower group died, not of the violence that they faced in England, but from lack of food and water, exposure to the elements and to unknown diseases. They were literally saved by the local indigenous population. The Pilgrims celebrated surviving their first year with a festival of food and games with their native saviors.

No ship for a return voyage. Half the people dead. At the mercy of the local population. It was so bad, that just being alive seemed like a miracle. Now let me ask you, does that sound like a win to you? Hardly. But this week, we will celebrate the persistence of those Pilgrims coming to a new land, depending on the indigenous people, and forming a new society with a religious foundation. We are heirs of their efforts. Heirs as a nation and also as a church since the United Church of Christ traces its roots back to the Pilgrims.

The Pilgrims saw themselves as heirs of the tradition of the people of Israel, brought out of slavery in Egypt to settle in a new land. The scripture that we heard this morning from Deuteronomy tells of the beginning of the settled life of the Israelites as they put down roots and establish a new society. Deuteronomy tells of the process of setting up a new community and the customs, rituals, and practices that will shape this new society. As they begin their settled life together, they are commanded by God, the God that has brought them this far on the way, to bring a basket of the first fruits of the land to the temple as part of the annual harvest festival. All of their eating and drinking and harvest festivities are fine, but they are to be sure to bring a basket of produce to the priest for the altar. This is not a request or a recommendation. It is not a suggested donation. This is not a charitable donation or philanthropy or a gift out of the generosity of the heart. It is a requirement. Like taxes. A commandment.

Now why would this be so important? God does not need the food. Yes, it was used to feed the temple servants and the orphans, widows, and resident aliens, but it is not put across as helping the poor, to so speak. There are other commandments about that. This is a basket of the first fruits at harvest demanded of the people of God who live in the land God has given them.

Surely as the people wandered in the wilderness, they knew their dependence on God. And as they were brought into this new land, they knew they needed God. But now that they are getting established and forming a society, things will change. As a community forms a culture, prospers, and grows into a nation, there is always the temptation to grow “fat and sassy.” A thriving nation can grow arrogant and puffed up with self importance. They can see their success as their due.

A thriving society can easily forget about God. Forget about the land and Creation that sustains them. Forget their dependency. Forget that they are not self sufficient.

We know about this proclivity. We know the temptation to become self satisfied and think that our success is purely of our own making. It is easy to adopt the assumption that we are in control.

That one basket of the fruit of the land, brought to the priest to be placed on the altar at the harvest festival, that one simple requirement was an act of resistance against the delusion of self-sufficiency, of self importance, and of independence.

That one simple commandment, to bring an offering of produce, is to be a reminder that all of the success and prosperity of the people is dependent on the gifts that they have been given. Access to: Land. Water. Animals. Life. Creation. Consciousness. Creativity. All of this is received by humanity. We do not create it. We are not responsible for its existence. We are not responsible for our own existence. We are completely dependent on the web of life. We are dependent on each other. We must live in cooperation, mutuality, and respect if we are to survive.

Just the basket of fruit. The produce of the land. The act of making an offering of
thanksgiving. It is demanded because it is a powerful antidote to the venom of pride and the delusion of being self made.

Our Ritual of Thanksgiving this morning, our tithes and offerings brought to the altar each week, are not simply a nice gesture of generosity out of the goodness of our hearts. This is an act of grounding ourselves in a reality that is honest about all that we are given. It is a command that forces us to stay situated in a framework that tells the truth about all that we receive. It is a powerful way of symbolizing that we know we are not self made, we are not self sufficient, we are not independent. We are all beneficiaries of the blessings of Creation. All gifts. Freely bestowed upon us. And which we humbly acknowledge in gratitude.

Governor Bradford of the Pilgrim community knew this command to give first fruits: to acknowledge the source of life and all that sustains it. He knew of the Pilgrims’ dependency. His words remind us of our need to celebrate all that we have been given and to acknowledge all that is made possible for us. Upon arriving in New England, Bradford makes this offering:

“For summer being done, all things stand upon them [the Pilgrims] with a weatherbeaten face; and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hew. If they looked behind them, there was the mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a maine bar and gulf to separate them from all the civil parts of the world. . . What could now sustain them but the spirit of God and his grace?” [Cited in At All Times and In All Places, Vincent Wayne Leaver, p. 85]

May our thanksgiving be a radical act of resistance to the selfishness, smug superiority and exclusivism, the self absorption and individualism that plagues our times. May we be joyful in our mutuality and celebrate our dependence on Nature – air, water, soil, plants, animals, beauty consciousness, creativity. Gifts freely offered from the hand 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 16 November

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, NOV 19 THIS SUNDAY: With the Thanksgiving holiday ahead, the service is a celebration of gratitude. All are invited to bring something that represents what you are thankful for to be placed on the altar. Children are welcome to bring what they are thankful for and participate in the Ritual of Thanksgiving toward the beginning of the service. Church School and Nursery care will be offered after the Thanksgiving ritual. See Deuteronomy 26:1-11. Come, O Thankful People, Come!
FRI, NOV 17 CIRCUS MCGURKIS POTLUCK: The Quakers have invited the LUCC volunteers to join them for a potluck dinner in celebration of Circus McGurkis on Friday 6pm at the Quaker Friends Meeting House (130 19th Ave SE).
SUN, NOV 26 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: The monthly potluck will be hosted by the Advisors this month on Sunday Nov. 26 hosted by the 50th Anniversary Committee. Several people (some you may not have seen for quite some time) will speak about how growing up in LUCC provided a foundation for their future. Plan to bring some Thanksgiving leftovers to share!
MON, DEC 11 OPERATION ATTACK: The next LUCC volunteer date is December 11th at 6:00pm at Lakeview Presbyterian Church. Donations needed are children’s gently used winter clothing, canned fruits & vegetables, and peanut butter.
LEADERSHIP SELECTION: There are 3-5 LUCC members who serve each year as Advisors at Lakewood. They are charged with seeing that the life and ministry of Lakewood is an embodiment of the mission statement of the church. In November, the congregation is asked to begin suggesting names of people they feel would serve well as Advisors for the coming calendar year. Please e-mail the church with your list or fill out a leadership selection form on Sunday. You may offer as many names as you wish and may suggest yourself.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, NOV 16 MEMORIAL SERVICE: Suncoast Hospice invites you to Celebrating Life, Love & Hope: A Community Memorial Service. A special evening of life, love and hope to support each other and remember those we have cared for over the past 40 years in our community. Special guest speaker Rev. Dr. Carla Cheatham and musical guest Concordia Vocal Ensemble with conductor Dr. Matthew Caine. The service is inclusive of all faith traditions. Thursday, November 16 at 6pm. First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg (1900 Gandy Blvd N). RSVP at (727) 523-3444 or at suncoasthospice.org
FRI, NOV 17 SHABBAT SERVICE AND LECTURE: The Leif Nissen Social Justice Lecture Series of Temple Beth-El, in partnership with Allendale United Methodist Church, presents a Social Justice Shabbat. Investigative journalist, scholar and author Chip Berlet will be giving a lecture titled “White Nationalism, Anti-Semitism, and Neo-Fascism” on Friday 17 November at Allendale United Methodist Church (3803 Haines Rd N). The service begins at 7pm, the lecture at 7:45pm.
FRI, NOV 17 CONCERT: Emma’s Revolution will be doing a concert celebrating the release of their new album, “Revolution Now,” at the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater on Friday, November 17th at 7:30pm. Full details are available on their facebook event page.
MON, NOV 20 RACISM CONFERENCE: Eckerd College is hosting Confronting Our Racism, a conference on Monday, November 20, 2017 from 8:45am to 4:30pm in Fox Hall and Wireman Chapel. Whether you are just thinking about this issue for the first time or have been doing this work all of your life, you are invited to join us for a day long conversation about opposing racism.  We will be asking questions and talking about next steps in dealing with racism in our own local communities.

Guests will be Rev. Paul Roberts, President, Johnson C. Smith, and Prof. Erin Cooley, Colgate University. There is no cost to register for the conference. You will be asked to pay $15 (cash or check) for lunch on the day of the conference. Please register by Friday (11/17) at noon.

WED, NOV 22 INTERFAITH THANKSGIVING SERVICE: The Interfaith Tampa Bay Thanksgiving Celebration will be Wednesday, November 22, 2017 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm at Empath Health (3050 1st Avenue South).
FRI, NOV 24 BUY NOTHING DAY: Since the early 1990s, Buy Nothing Day has inspired worldwide personal and collective action against consumerism. This year why not get your family together and do something wildly different. Ignore Black Friday. Try buying almost nothing for Christmas and you might experience the most joyous holiday season you’ve ever had.
CHRISTMAS CONCERTS: There are quite a few concerts this season!

FRI, DEC 1 – 7pm at the Lealman Community Church, (4090 58th Ave N). The SPC student choral group will perform Schubert’s Mass in G Major and other Christmas music.

SAT, DEC 2 – 5pm at the SPC Music Center on the 66th St. campus.
The Adult Community Chorus will perform Vivaldi’s Gloria and other holiday music.
WED, DEC 6 – 7:30pm Wireman Chapel on campus. The Eckerd College Choir will perform holiday music.
SUN, DEC 10 – 4pm at 1st Presbyterian Church (701 Beach Dr NE). The Chancel Choir of FPC will perform the Many Moods of Christmas St. Petersburg Free Clinic Benefit Concert.

SUN, DEC 10 – 4pm at Lakewood United Methodist Church (5995 Dr. MLK Jr. St. S). The Alumni Singers of St. Petersburg present Sounds of the Season Christmas concert.

ONLINE RESOURCE: The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a new online resource, Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide. All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
IMG_3544
LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
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, Ron Huff, Shirley Locke, Carolyn Moore,
Gertie Pirazzini, Ann Quinn, Earl Waters

 

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Weekly Update 9 November

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, NOV 12 THIS SUNDAY: As the Israelites become settled in a new land, their leader, Joshua, asks them to decide what god they will be loyal to as they establish their community.  We, too, live in a time of transition in human development.  So this is an issue that is timely for us:  “Choose this day whom you will serve.”  Take a look at Joshua 24:1-25.
SAT, NOV 11 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: Circus McGurkis is this Saturday at LUCC! Volunteers are still needed. Please contact the church office if you can spend a few hours contributing to the effort. What a gift to be hosting a people’s fair for justice and peace!
 SUN, NOV 12  ADVISORS MEETING: The Advisors will be meeting Sunday Nov. 12 following worship. All are welcome.
 WED, NOV 15  WESTMINSTER LUNCH: Westminster Suncoast Luncheon Wednesday Nov. 15 at 11:30 in the private dining room at Westminster Suncoast. All residents of the Shores and Suncoast are welcome.
SUN, NOV 19  THANKSGIVING SUNDAY: There will be a Ritual of Thanksgiving to celebrate Thanksgiving Sunday. Participants who would like to are invited to bring something that represents what they are thankful for. As part of the Ritual, congregants may come forward, mention what they are thankful for, and put the object on the altar.
SUN, NOV 26 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: The monthly potluck will be hosted by the Advisors this month on Sunday Nov. 26 hosted by the 50th Anniversary Committee. Plan to bring some Thanksgiving leftovers to share!
MON, DEC 11 OPERATION ATTACK: The next LUCC volunteer date is December 11th at 6:00pm at Lakeview Presbyterian Church. Donations needed are children’s gently used winter clothing, canned fruits & vegetables, and peanut butter.
 BIG EVENT UPDATE: Many thanks to all who have responded to the invitation to support the mission of the church through The BIG Event. For the roof fund, $13,400 has been received and there are additional pledges of $20,000. There have been 23 pledges received for the support of the mission of the church for 2018. Many have offered their time and talent for the work of the church in 2018. You are still welcome to turn in a pledge for the ministry of the church and/or the roof fund. Through these efforts, you are helping to provide a “Foundation for the Future” for LUCC!

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, NOV 9 DIALOGUE: Join Community Tampa Bay for an evening that will include interactive learning, dialogue, and networking focused professional strategies for talking about current events in ways that advocate for inclusion. Free and open to the public. November 9, 6:30pm at the Kaizen Collaborative, (5215 W Laurel St #110, Tampa). Light meal served. Registration required.
SAT, NOV 11 SOLAR TOUR: Join the 2nd annual 100% St Pete Solar Tour to see how neighbors and businesses, such as LEED certified Planet Fitness and USF St. Petersburg, are using solar energy and energy efficiency to reduce monthly utility bills and to help tackle climate change – and how you can too. The tour concludes at the St Pete Eco Village for optional garden lunch and informal Q&A with homeowners and business owners from the tour. Nov 11th, 8:30am at St. Pete Eco-Village, (302 15th St N, St. Petersburg). Hosted by St. Pete Eco-Village, Florida Suncoast Sierra Club and League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area. The St Pete Solar Tour includes $15.00 to cover the transportation. Registration required: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3103169
SUN, NOV 12 CONCERT: A free concert celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation will feature Cantata No. 80, “Ein feste Burg (A mighty fortress),” by Johann Sebastian Bach and Symphony No. 5 in D minor, “Reformation,” by Felix Mendelssohn. Performed by the Concordia Vocal Ensemble, members of the Florida Orchestra, Jack Rain, organist, and Dr. Matt Caine, conductor. Sunday, November 12, 2017, 4pm AT First Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg. The concert is free and tickets are not required. A freewill offering will be received to help offset expenses. Complimentary valet parking will be available.
THU, NOV 16 MEMORIAL SERVICE: Suncoast Hospice invites you to Celebrating Life, Love & Hope: A Community Memorial Service. A special evening of life, love and hope to support each other and remember those we have cared for over the past 40 years in our community. Special guest speaker Rev. Dr. Carla Cheatham and musical guest Concordia Vocal Ensemble with conductor Dr. Matthew Caine. The service is inclusive of all faith traditions. Thursday, November 16 at 6pm. First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg (1900 Gandy Blvd N). RSVP at (727) 523-3444 or at suncoasthospice.org
FRI, NOV 17 CONCERT: Emma’s Revolution will be doing a concert celebrating the release of their new album, “Revolution Now,” at the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater on Friday, November 17th at 7:30pm. Full details are available on their facebook event page.
FRI, NOV 24 BUY NOTHING DAY: Since the early 1990s, Buy Nothing Day has inspired worldwide personal and collective action against consumerism. This year why not get your family together and do something wildly different. Ignore Black Friday. Try buying almost nothing for Christmas and you might experience the most joyous holiday season you’ve ever had.
SUN, DEC 10 CHRISTMAS CONCERT: The Alumni Singers of St. Petersburg present Sounds of the Season Christmas concert at Lakewood United Methodist Church (5995 Dr. MLK Jr. St. S) on December 10th at 4pm.
ONLINE RESOURCE: The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a new online resource, Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide. All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

Betty Harris, Ron Huff, Shirley Locke, Carolyn Moore, Gertie Pirazzini, Ann Quinn, Earl Waters

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Sermon All Saints Sunday 11.5.17

Scripture Lesson: Revelation 7:1-17
Sermon: Saints, All
Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

This past week for All Saints Day on Nov. 1, there was a special commemoration at the Catholic School where my husband, Jeff, is a teacher. The priest talked about how saints are people who do God’s will. In the Catholic Church, there are very specific technical criteria for being named a saint. It is a long process that can take centuries and involves proving things the person has done and then an official declaration by the pope. In the course of the service on Wednesday, the priest mentioned that in addition to the canonized saints of the Catholic Church, there are other people, even of other faiths, who are noteworthy for doing God’s will. Here there was mention of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Yes, he is noteworthy for doing good, but, of course, he will never officially be named a saint because he is not Catholic.

While we Reformed Protestants don’t have official saints, I think we still like to think of saints as special people, different, set apart, beyond the ordinary. Like Martin Luther King, Jr. This kind of perspective keeps sainthood remote, too high a calling for most of us regular folks, which then kind of lets us off the hook from being saints. Sure, we try to be good and do God’s will, but we aren’t concerned with being heroic about it. We don’t expect ourselves to be saints.

Now we come to the Book of Revelation with its vivid images of the end times. It’s a book that we tend to associate with condemnation and a fiery cataclysm of suffering awaiting humanity at the end of days.

But this morning we listened to a beautiful, if surprising, portrayal of the saints of God. First we are shown a God of universal love for all people. Then we hear about the calling forth of the 144,000. These are the 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. The chosen people. The ones called by God to be a model of justice and right relationship. The Jews. The people of Jesus. They are expected to be saints. They are special. But, maybe even to their surprise, they are not the only ones named as saints singing before the throne. There are others. Many others. Too many to be counted. From all nations, tribes, peoples and languages. And they are all praising the God of universal love.

Even the writer of Revelation has his image of the Messiah challenged. In his visions, he expects that Jesus is going to appear as a lion, the classic lion of Judah. He wants the Messiah to appear with a roar. Instead, what John sees in his vision, is a lamb, a young, harmless, gentle creature, and not only that, this lamb has been slain. The depictions in Revelation are not what is expected. They are meant to jolt us out of our normal sensibilities.

So we are given a picture of the masses singing and waving their palm branches before the throne of God and a lamb. This brings to mind the story of Palm Sunday and Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem to a gathered crowd. Jesus is often depicted among the crowds. Crowds of people who are hungry. Crowds who are seeking healing. Crowds eager to learn. Crowds thronging the streets so that a short tax collector, a respectable three piece suit kind of guy, climbs a tree to get a glimpse of Jesus. These crowds don’t go through any screening. There are no entrance requirements. There is no ID check. The universal Divine Love in Jesus is for everyone. No exceptions.

The Bible tells us that the saints are not defined by gender, ethnicity, nationality, political party, religion, race, sexual identity, education, class or income. What seems to characterize those in the crowd in Revelation is that they have resisted. They have resisted the forces that oppose Love. And there is that very precious line that we heard this morning, “Never again will they be hungry or thirsty; the sun and its scorching heat will never beat down on them.” This is said because imaged among the crowd gathered at the throne are those who have been hungry, those who have been thirsty, those who have endured harsh heat with no relief. And they are among the saints. Every single person has the capacity to be a channel of Divine Love and healing in resistance to the forces of hatred, greed, and lust for power.

Saints. A vast, wonderful, beautiful, messy, mismatched, unruly mass of humanity. Resisting – revenge, poverty, persecution, discrimination, illiteracy, misogyny, violence, abuse of power, and everything else that diminishes the sacredness of life. A saint is a single mother that works three jobs to support her family resisting the stereotype that poor people are lazy. She is a saint defending her dignity. A saint is the person who takes the time to listen to the problems of someone who is overwrought by the troubles of life. How just that act of listening dignifies another human being! A saint is someone who sees how help is needed and pitches in. Without being asked and maybe without even being thanked. Because that dignifies the humanity of the person who has given the help.

Several years ago, I had to have a medical procedure done on my knee. This involved the doctor inserting a huge needle into the vicinity of the knee cap and extracting several ounces of fluid. I was lying down, so I wasn’t even watching the goings on. But I could feel what was happening. And, evidently, it was quite painful because the nurse who was in attendance stood beside me and took my hand and held it tightly. I thought, How did she know to do that? How did she know that was just what I needed? How did she know the relief she was giving me? Never before have I had someone from the medical profession touch me in that way. I am sure it was not in her training. In fact, she probably was not supposed to do it. But she simply took my hand and held on and I could not have been more grateful. She offered comfort and compassion human to human through her touch. She completely changed that awful experience for me. Now, I don’t remember the pain. What I remember is the kindness of another human being and how much it meant to me. It is one of the most radiant moments of compassion that I have experienced. And I don’t even know the nurse’s name. And I am sure she does not know my name. And I know she has no idea of the ministry that she provided though I did endeavor to thank her at the moment. That nurse was a saint.

Despite our penchant for ID cards, passports, green cards, diplomas, and certificates, Revelation shows us that to be a saint simply involves flowing into the steady stream of love and resistance, unnamed and unnumbered. Amen.

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

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Weekly Update 2 November

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, NOV 5 THIS SUNDAY: This is All Saints Sunday, a time to remember those who have been saints in our lives and in the world. During the service the congregation is invited to name those they honor as saints – living or having completed life on earth. Please plan to be part of this special service which includes Holy Communion.
SUN, NOV 5 TIME CHANGE:  Don’t forget to “fall back” and change your clocks this Sunday!!
SUN, NOV 5 COMMUNION SUNDAY: The communion offering goes to the Special Needs Fund which is used to help people in our community with basic necessities such as food, rent, utilities, and prescription medication costs. Please be generous as you are able.
MON, NOV 6 OPERATION ATTACK: The next LUCC volunteer date is November 6th at 6:00pm at Lakeview Presbyterian Church. Donations needed are children’s gently used winter clothing, canned fruits & vegetables, and peanut butter.
SAT, NOV 11 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: LUCC will be hosting Circus McGurkis, a peace and justice festival, on Saturday Nov. 11 from 10am – 4pm. Please plan to save the date and volunteer – the sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the narthex.
SUN, NOV 19 THANKSGIVING SUNDAY: There will be a Ritual of Thanksgiving to celebrate Thanksgiving Sunday. Participants who would like to are invited to bring something that represents what they are thankful for. As part of the Ritual, congregants may come forward, mention what they are thankful for, and put the object on the altar.
REAPING THE HARVEST: The results are in from the 27 collected forms. Lakewood UCC members are responsible for 7,792 volunteer hours and $95,015 in charitable giving this past year!
THE BIG EVENT AND RAISING THE ROOF: Many thanks to all who were part of The BIG Event celebration last Sunday. The service was very inspiring. A couple visiting from Fort Myers commented, “Your church is so dynamic!” Yes, it is! Thanks to the wonderful generosity of the congregation, the church is well on the way to a new roof. As of Sunday, 14 pledges had been received for the roof fund totalling gifts of $20,400. Over $10,000 has already been collected. Several additional pledges are still expected.

Special thanks to the LUCC family member who is making the matching gift up to $35,000. That has really inspired the generosity of the congregation!

There will be more information about moving forward with the roof in the weeks to come. The expenditure will need to be approved at a congregational meeting.

At one time, the idea of having the roof replaced looked beyond reach. But we see again that nothing is impossible! As the folks from Fort Myers said, this congregation is “so dynamic!”

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, NOV 9 LECTURE: Scholar and Poet Jennifer Michael Hecht will give a lecture “The Wonder Paradox: Doubting Religion, Believing in Ritual and Poetry” on Monday, November 6 at 7:30pm in Fox Hall at Eckerd College. This talk focuses on how we need to make a place in our lives for the unspeakably beautiful, the unbearable and the absurd — for wonder, and for the sublime paradox that we material beings are the source of all that wonder.
THU, NOV 9 DIALOGUE: Join Community Tampa Bay for an evening that will include interactive learning, dialogue, and networking focused professional strategies for talking about current events in ways that advocate for inclusion. Free and open to the public. November 9, 6:30pm at the Kaizen Collaborative, (5215 W Laurel St #110, Tampa). Light meal served. Registration required.
SAT, NOV 11 SOLAR TOUR: Join the 2nd annual 100% St Pete Solar Tour to see how neighbors and businesses, such as LEED certified Planet Fitness and USF St. Petersburg, are using solar energy and energy efficiency to reduce monthly utility bills and to help tackle climate change – and how you can too. The tour concludes at the St Pete Eco Village for optional garden lunch and informal Q&A with homeowners and business owners from the tour. Nov 11th, 8:30am at St. Pete Eco-Village, (302 15th St N, St. Petersburg). Hosted by St. Pete Eco-Village, Florida Suncoast Sierra Club and League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area. The St Pete Solar Tour includes $15.00 to cover the transportation. Registration required: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3103169
SUN, NOV 12 CONCERT: A free concert celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation will feature Cantata No. 80, “Ein feste Burg (A mighty fortress),” by Johann Sebastian Bach and Symphony No. 5 in D minor, “Reformation,” by Felix Mendelssohn. Performed by the Concordia Vocal Ensemble, members of the Florida Orchestra, Jack Rain, organist, and Dr. Matt Caine, conductor. Sunday, November 12, 2017, 4pm AT First Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg. The concert is free and tickets are not required. A freewill offering will be received to help offset expenses. Complimentary valet parking will be available.
THU, NOV 16 MEMORIAL SERVICE: Suncoast Hospice invites you to Celebrating Life, Love & Hope: A Community Memorial Service. A special evening of life, love and hope to support each other and remember those we have cared for over the past 40 years in our community. Special guest speaker Rev. Dr. Carla Cheatham and musical guest Concordia Vocal Ensemble with conductor Dr. Matthew Caine. The service is inclusive of all faith traditions. Thursday, November 16 at 6pm. First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg (1900 Gandy Blvd N). RSVP at (727) 523-3444 or at suncoasthospice.org
FRI, NOV 17 CONCERT: Emma’s Revolution will be doing a concert celebrating the release of their new album, “Revolution Now,” at the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater on Friday, November 17th at 7:30pm. Full details are available on their facebook event page.
ONLINE RESOURCE: The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a new online resource, Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide. All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

Betty Harris, Ron Huff, Shirley Locke, Carolyn Moore, Gertie Pirazzini, Ann Quinn, Earl Waters

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Love Your Neighbor, Some Concrete Ideas

Love of neighbor can be expressed in many ways. Here are some suggestions:

  • Give a neighbor a hug.
  • Offer to take care of a neighbor’s pets when they need help.
  • Keep your neighbor in your prayers.
  • Introduce your neighbor to other neighbors they don’t know.
  • Send your neighbor a card – birthday, religious holiday, “just thinking of you.”
  • Introduce yourself to someone new.
  • Visit, and talk with your neighbor, regularly.
  • Arrange a neighborhood Kid’s Day.
  • Invite a neighbor to dinner.
  • Volunteer to run errands for your neighbor.
  • Take a neighbor to church.
  • Learn from and actively listen to your neighbors who are culturally and ethnically different; or a different religion than yourself.
  • Start a neighborhood cleanup program.
  • Buy chalk and have a sidewalk chalk contest for neighborhood children.
  • Write a note of encouragement to a public school teacher.
  • Help a neighbor with transportation to the grocery store or doctor’s visits.
  • Volunteer at a local neighborhood school, park, or community center.
  • Check in on your neighbor regularly.
  • Reconcile with your neighbor.
  • Volunteer to serve a community meal at a local church or agency.
  • Show a neighbor how to use a computer to connect via social media.
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Weekly Update 26 October

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, OCT 29 THIS SUNDAY: It’s finally here! The BIG Event is an annual celebration of the ministry of Lakewood United Church of Christ. Friends, guests, and visitors are most welcome. This year the theme is Foundation for the Future: Our Shelter from the Stormy Blast.  The service includes an opportunity to make a financial commitment to the ministry of the church for the year ahead. This year there is a special challenge to make a pledge to the roof fund. A very generous member of the LUCC family has decided to spur your giving by offering to match, dollar for dollar, all donations to the roof fund up to $35,000 collected by April 15, 2018.
Guests and visitors, whether or not you choose to financially contribute to the church, please join in celebrating how LUCC is a Shelter from the Stormy Blast providing a Foundation for the Future.   There will be a Sunday Celebrations potluck lunch after the service.
SUN, OCT 29 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: The monthly potluck will be hosted by the Advisors this month on Sunday Oct. 29 after church. Bring a dish to share and help celebrate October birthdays.
SUN, OCT 29 REAPING THE HARVEST: This Reaping the Harvest 2017 forms have been compiled and the results will be reported to the congregation on Sunday as part of the BIG event. If you’ve not yet submitted one, it is available at online. Email it back to the church by 2pm on Friday, and you can still be included!
SAT, NOV 11 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: LUCC will be hosting Circus McGurkis, a peace and justice festival, on Saturday Nov. 11. Please plan to save the date and volunteer – the sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the narthex.
MON, NOV 6 OPERATION ATTACK: LUCC volunteer dates will be 11/6 and 12/11, 6:00pm at Lakeview Presbyterian Church. Donations needed are children’s gently used winter clothing, canned fruits & vegetables, and peanut butter.
PHOTO DIRECTORY: After waiting for what may have seemed like 50 years, the photo directories are finally done! Pick up your copy at church on Sunday.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: In an effort to be environmentally friendly, shorter bulletins will continue to be used this fall at Lakewood. This means there will be room for only some of the announcements that are posted online. You are encouraged to subscribe to the website (this means you will get new posts emailed to you) in order to stay up to date on everything that’s happening. Alternatively, you can check the website, lakewooducc.org frequently for updates.
VOTING RIGHTS: A petition to restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences will be available to sign after worship on Sunday. Currently, people with prior felony convictions are permanently disqualified to vote unless they receive clemency. Contact Lucille Ruga if you are interested or have any questions.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

FRI, NOV 17 CONCERT: Emma’s Revolution will be doing a concert celebrating the release of their new album, “Revolution Now,” at the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater on Friday, November 17th at 7:30pm. Full details are available on their facebook event page.
THU, NOV 9 DIALOGUE: Join Community Tampa Bay for an evening that will include interactive learning, dialogue, and networking focused professional strategies for talking about current events in ways that advocate for inclusion. Free and open to the public. November 9, 6:30pm at the Kaizen Collaborative, (5215 W Laurel St #110, Tampa). Light meal served. Registration required.
SAT, NOV 11 SOLAR TOUR: Join the 2nd annual 100% St Pete Solar Tour to see how neighbors and businesses, such as LEED certified Planet Fitness and USF St. Petersburg, are using solar energy and energy efficiency to reduce monthly utility bills and to help tackle climate change – and how you can too. The tour concludes at the St Pete Eco Village for optional garden lunch and informal Q&A with homeowners and business owners from the tour. Nov 11th, 8:30am at St. Pete Eco-Village, (302 15th St N, St. Petersburg). Hosted by St. Pete Eco-Village, Florida Suncoast Sierra Club and League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area. The St Pete Solar Tour includes $15.00 to cover the transportation. Registration required: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3103169
ONLINE RESOURCE: The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a new online resource, Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide. All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

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Moment for Mission: The Big Event

Dear Friends,

I would like to talk with you about church finances.  You should have received a letter from the church saying that you are not being asked to increase your pledge for next year.

But we would like you to pledge so that we know what we can count on to run the church and its programs.  Many people make donations each week and some give once a month.  Some like to give automatically on line, and we can help you set up such a plan.

We have a big challenge this year – – we need a new roof.  You have a special pledge form this year just for the roof.  We are most fortunate to have to have a matching grant from a very generous member of the LUCC family who has decided to match dollar for dollar all donations to the roof fund up to $35,000 collected by April 15th, 2018.  What a blessing this is!

One of the tricks of fundraising is to think big – – don’t ask for too little.  We encourage everyone to think big.  We probably have some who can contribute $1,000, $3,000, $5,000 or more.  A few have already indicated that they are up for a challenge at this level.  Not everyone can do this, of course, and every little bit pledged will help.  Please bring your pledge forms to the Big Event on Sunday, October 29, or mail them to the church.

Two ideas to help you in your thinking about this pledge.  You might want to consider giving your pledge before December 31, because tax reform legislation might affect the deductions possible next year.  Or complete your pledge by April 15, our major celebration planned for our 50th anniversary as a congregation with the theme “Foundation for the Future”.  My second idea is that you may have the church remembered in your will, or in my case, I have a CD with the church as the beneficiary.  It might be appropriate to use some of these “funds for the future” now at a time when there is a great need, and opportunity.

As a final note, I urge you to complete this year’s pledge, or perhaps add a little additional.  We are running a bit short as the end of the year approaches.  Blessings.

Bill Parsons, Treasurer

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The Animal Plays, A Climate Change Theatre Action Staged Reading This Tuesday at 6pm

Tuesday
October 24
at 6pm in ES 100

The Animal Plays:
A Climate Change Theatre Action Staged Reading
Directed by Dr. Tonia Krueger
Featuring

Henry Cowhey
Christina Rubinetti
Victoria Bamford
Sahra Carpenter
Amelia Kalagher
Kaley Whipple
Noela Lokolo
Megan Smiley
Shannon Tivona
Caroline Wood
Dr. Joanna Huxster
Dr. Miranda Goodman-Wilson
Dr. Amanda Hagood
Dr. Cynthia Totten

#climatechangetheatreaction
www.climatechangetheatreaction.com

​CCTA 2017 is a collaboration between the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, NoPassport Theatre Alliance, The Arctic Cycle, Theatre Without Borders, and York University.

Modeled on previous NoPassport theatre actions focused on gun control and the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill, CCTA draws on the expertise and resources of local artists, while being global in scope and uniting multiple countries around a common issue.

Fifty playwrights from around the world were asked to write 1- to 5-minute plays about climate change with the following prompt:

Assume your audience knows as much as you do. Assume they are as concerned as you are. But they may not know what to do with this information and those concerns. So how can we turn the challenges of climate change into opportunities?

The plays featured in Eckerd’s reading all have an animal theme and reflect the theme of changing challenges into oppportunities.
Runtime is approximately one hour.

A series of short play readings on the topic of climate change

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40 Countries, 50 States are participating in CCTA 2017. Come see Eckerd’s contribution!

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Climate Change Theatre Action (CCTA) is a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays presented biennially in support of the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP meetings)

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The Animal Plays Include

“Homo Sapiens” by Chantal Bilodeau

“Brackendale” by Elaine Ávila 

“The Penguins” by Elspeth Tilley

“Minor Flood, Major Constellation: Sirius and the Cartographer Map the New World” by Lisa Schlesinger

 “Pond Life” by Elyne Quin

“El Toro Sagrado at the Car Repair Shop” by Mindi Dickstein

“Appreciation” by Katie Pearl

 

Climate Change Theatre Action 2017 at Eckerd College


Environmental Studies Auditorium

climatechangetheatreaction.com

#climatechangetheatreaction

Tues Oct 24 at 6pm

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Some local events of interest to the social conscious

This information is provided by former members of the Women’s March St Pete steering committee to raise awareness about upcoming events that may be of interest.

 

Oct 20.
Sheroes & Heroes Among Us
6 PM @ Enoch Davis Community Center, 1111 18th Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33705

The arrival of a new documentary series shot on location in South Saint Petersburg. Sheroes & Heroes Among Us kicks off with its first premiere “Winnie Foster: The Activist Pollinator.” Mrs. Foster’s contagious energy and tenacity fed the progressive spirit for civil rights . Her courage and willingness to work with bulwarks of integration and the women’s rights movement forever altered the political and socioeconomic landscape in Southern Pinellas County.

This documentary is the first of twelve episodes about Saint Petersburg’s Sheroes & Heroes Among Us who have left an indelible footprint in the advancement of equal rights, education, and the arts. The documentaries are scheduled to be released over the next year. A panel discussion and dinner will follow every viewing.

A $10-plus donation at the door would be most appreciated. Food will be provided.
Oct 21. Petition Picnic2pm @ Capaz Park, 2700 W Aileen St, Tampa, FL 33607

Join Indivisible Action Tampa Bay in downtown Tampa to meet progressive candidates running for office in Hillsborough County and sign petitions to help them get on the 2018 ballot. Bring food to share for a picnic potluck.

Everyone is welcome at this family-friendly event with a terrific playground that will appeal to kids — bring them along! Spend the afternoon hanging out with fellow progressives making a difference in the world.

Oct 25.  Fired Up Pinellas: FL Gun Laws & Issues, Charter Schools6 PM @
Metro Wellness & Community Center, 3251 3rd Ave N, Suite 125, St. Petersburg, Florida 33713

  • FLORIDA GUN LAWS AND ISSUES. Speaker: Patricia Brigham, First Vice President League of Women Voters Florida & Co-Founder Florida Gun Safety Committee & Chair. Learn about gun safety issues, advocacy, and legislative goals.
  • CHARTER SCHOOLS, WHOSE CHOICE?. Speaker: Robin R. Jones – Education Co-Chair, LWV St. Pete. -Charter schools began in the 1990’s as laboratories of innovation within the public education system, supported by teachers and education professionals. Today charter schools have become highly controversial, promoted more as competitors of rather than compliments to public schools and often built and managed by national for-profit charter chains. Last spring the Florida legislature continued its quest to make Florida one of the most charter friendly states in the country with it omnibus HB 7069. As parents and taxpayers we need to understand charters and their proper role in our public education system.
  • METRO HEALTH, WELLNESS & COMMUNITY CENTER – Learn about this center with a mission to provide quality health and wellness services that are inclusive, relevant, supportive and represent the lifetime continuum of the diverse people in our community.
  • CLOTHES TO KIDS – Learn about this great local organization and their mission to provide new and quality used clothing to low-income or in crisis school-age children, free of charge.
  • PLEASE BRING DONATIONS – New or used children’s and teen’s clothing, school uniforms and shoes (especially sneakers). Also, new donations of socks and girls underwear (bikini style) and boys underwear (boxer style).
Nov 2. Brookwood Florida’s 90th Anniversary Celebration6:30 @ Duncan McClellan Gallery, 2342 Emerson Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712

Join the 90th anniversary celebration of Brookwood Florida — an amazing organization providing a home for girls diverted by abuse, neglect or homelessness. At Brookwood, girls learn the life skills they need to lead self-sufficient and independent lives.

This fun-filled evening will include food, craft beers, wonderful wines, music, a special live glass blowing demonstration, and a raffle for an amazing one-of-a-kind piece of glass. All proceeds from ticket sales, raffle and sponsorships wilI directly benefit Brookwood.

Nov 8. Get on the Bus – Advocacy Day in Tallahassee
Guns at the courthouse? Guns in churches and private schools? No thanks! Tell your legislative representatives how you feel in person during Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense Florida Advocacy Day. The round-trip chartered bus ride leaves from Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa and is free to any and all volunteers. Interested?  SIGN UP HERE
November 9, 6:30pm @ Kaizen Collaborative, 5215 W Laurel St #110, Tampa FL  33607
Events like the mass shooting in Las Vegas or the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville weigh heavy on people’s minds and hearts, and it can be difficult to disengage entirely from these critical events and conversations while at work. So how do we talk about current events in ways that strengthen relationships rather than divide them? What happens when someone’s identity feels too “political” to talk about?
Join Community Tampa Bay for an evening that will include interactive learning, dialogue, and networking focused on best practices in inclusion. Free and open to the public. Light meal served.
Nov 11. 100% St Pete Solar Tour. 8:30 AM @ St. Pete Eco-Village, 302 15th St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33705

Join the 2nd annual 100% St Pete Solar Tour to see how neighbors and businesses, such as LEED certified Planet Fitness and USF St. Petersburg, are using solar energy and energy efficiency to reduce monthly utility bills and to help tackle climate change – and how you can too.

The tour concludes at the St Pete Eco Village for optional garden lunch and informal Q&A with homeowners and business owners from the tour.

Hosted by St. Pete Eco-Village, Florida Suncoast Sierra Club and League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area

The St Pete Solar Tour includes $15.00 to cover the transportation. Registration required: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3103169

https://www.facebook.com/events/146728096064202/

Nov 11. Circus McGurkis:
The Next Generation  

Celebrating Peace Education, Diversity, and Community Activism
10am-4pm @ Lakewood United Church of Christ, 2601 54th Ave S St. Petersburg

Featuring arts, crafts, music, games and ideas which celebrate the creativity and activism that makes our community a more beautiful, loving and just place to live. Roving poets and actors, musicians and drummers and art activities for children and families of all ages and types  Circus McGurkis is an expression of Quaker belief in the dignity and worth of each person an in the power of love and nonviolence to bring about change. Sponsored by the Quakers and hosted by Lakewood United Church of Christ
https://www.facebook.com/events/153838005198370/

Nov 16. A Former Skinhead Speaks Out Against Hate, 7 PM @ Eckerd College, 4200 54th Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33711

Frank Meeink, author of “Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead,” will share his personal story.

Frank Meeink was a skinhead at age 13. By age 17, he had his own cable-access TV show, “The Reich” and he was roaming the country as a skinhead leader and Neo-Nazi recruiter, with gangs that would beat people indiscriminately. At age 18, he was finally arrested and convicted of kidnapping and beating a member of a rival skinhead gang.

While in prison he befriended men he used to think he hated, men of different races. After being released from prison, Meeink tried to rejoin his old skinhead pals but couldn’t bring himself to hate those whom he now knew to be his friends.

Now a noted speaker, author, and founder of Harmony Through Hockey, Frank’s life stands for tolerance, diversity, and mutual understanding in racial, political, and all aspects of society.

Presented by Eckerd College. Sponsored by The Florida Holocaust Museum.

Free and open to the public. Please RSVP at 727.820.0100, extension 301.

https://www.facebook.com/events/138055743501304/

Nov 16 & 17. Impact Summit @ USF St. Petersburg Student Center, 200 6th Ave South, St. Petersburg FL 33701

Data is key to the identification of community trends and a basis for addressing health disparities and inequities and to mobilize around other key issues that matter to residents.  Yet, the validity of data is routinely questioned and information is increasingly coming from unreliable sources. Now at growing risk of being eliminated or withheld, community data matters more than ever.

The 2017 Impact Summit will offer a forum to discuss and explore the role of data in supporting community change, on how to facilitate the use of accurate data for democratic decision-making at various scales – locally, regionally, statewide, nationally and internationally – and on opportunities to fortify and intensify our efforts to promote and lead change through the use of community data.   Sponsored by the Community Indicators Consortium.

Registration: http://www.communityindicators.net/2017ImpactSummit

Nov 17. Lecture: White Nationalism, Anti-Semitism, and Neo-Fascism7pm @ Allendale United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Road North, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33703
The Leif Nissen Social Justice Lecture Series of Temple Beth-El, in partnership with Allendale United Methodist Church, presents a Social Justice Shabbat with Investigative Journalist, Scholar & Author Chip Berlet.

  • 7:00 PM Shabbat service
  • 7:45 PM lecture and Q/A

The evening is free and open to the public; dessert reception to follow lecture.

Chip Berlet is a progressive activist, journalist and scholar who has spent over thirty years studying bigoted right-wing movements. He is a co-author of the entry on Neo-Nazism in the current Encyclopedia Judaica and contributed a chapter on Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories to the book The Paranoid Apocalypse: A Hundred-year Retrospective on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In 2000, he co-authored the book Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, which received a Gustavus Myers Center Award for outstanding scholarship on the subject of human rights and intolerance. Berlet has authored numerous peer review articles and book chapters on White Nationalism and Neo-fascism.
Chip blogs at www.researchforprogress.org.

Nov 21. Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos Or Community?
6pm @ Childs Park Rec Center, 4301 13th Avenue South, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33711

During this electoral cycle proverbial shots have been fired, shade has been thrown and relationships have been tested. As sad as it is, the one thing we can all be sure of is, no matter who wins and who loses, the work must continue. With that in mind, we would like to invite you to a post election community conversation and dinner to discuss, “Where do we go from here?” We will highlight the book with the same title by Dr Martin Luther King Jr and work to settle our differences and prepare to move forward.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1428614617259292/

Every Tuesday-Resist Trump Tuesdays10:30 am, Corner of Kennedy and Dale Mabry Blvd, Tampa. Sponsored by Indivisible Tampa – Join us every Tues for our ongoing show of dissent! Bring your favorite sign.
Every Wednesday – Independent Investigation Rally, 12 noon – 1:30pm @ St. Petersburg Judicial Building, 545 1st Ave N, St Petersburg, FL 33711. Ongoing Wednesday rallies to demand a public, independent investigation into Trump/Russia ties. Bring signs! We meet on the sidewalks surrounding the St. Pete Judicial Building.  Organized by Floridians Against Corruption & Treason (FACT).
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Some Gebrauchsmusik (from hiltonkeanjones.com)

CC0 Creative Commons
Free for commercial use
No attribution required

The church where I work, Lakewood United Church of Christ, is in the midst of a fund drive to fix their roof which is badly in need of repair. As part of that, the pastor, Rev. Kim Wells, is having three weeks of sermons that center around a theme of Lakewood UCC as “Our shelter from the stormy blast,” a line from the hymn, “O God Our Help in Ages Past.”

Church musicians are always looking for ways to make what they do “fit” somehow. So, I decided to write three preludes on the hymn tune, ST ANNE, which is the actual name of the melody of “O God Our Help in Ages Past,” playing each one on a different Sunday of the three Sundays.

Links to computer “performances” of each of the three are below. I hope, someday, I can record them because there’s simply no comparison to the subtle changes a human can make in shading of tempo and color and the sterile rendering of a computer. But…ya gotta go with what ya got. So here are links to scores and streaming audio for each.

Prelude on St. Anne #1   score   audio
Prelude on St. Anne #2   score   audio
Prelude on St. Anne #3   score   audio

Here’s a link to the audio of all three as a playlist in the order I would recommend if played as a group.

Note: my teacher’s teacher was Paul Hindemith. Go to this link for a good, SHORT, description of Gebrauchsmusik (Music for Use).

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Weekly Update 19 October

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, OCT 22 THIS SUNDAY: The concept of shelter invites further reflection as we prepare for the BIG Event and the roof challenge. “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” reminds us that God is “Our shelter from the stormy blast.” This Sunday music director Hilton Jones will offer a second original composition that is a variation on the hymn tune used for “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.”
SAT, OCT 21 GROUNDS CLEANUP: Help finish the grounds cleanup after Hurricane Irma. The Southwest portion of the church property still needs some work, so come Saturday October 21st from 8:30-11am and bring rakes, gloves, tarps, etc. to use.
SUN, OCT 22 PHOTO DIRECTORY: After waiting for what may have seemed like 50 years, the photo directories are finally done! Pick up your copy at church on Sunday.
SUN, OCT 22 REAPING THE HARVEST: This Reaping the Harvest 2017 form is available at church and online. As part of the celebration of abundance this fall season, you are invited to fill out this form and bring it/send it/email it back to the church by Sunday, October 22nd. The information will be compiled and reported back at The Big Event on October 29th. This is a way to celebrate the full ministry of this congregation in its many forms including, but not limited to, service within the church. The ministry of the church extends into society through our service and generosity 7 days a week, not just Sunday!!!
SUN, OCT 22 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: LUCC will be hosting Circus McGurkis, a peace and justice festival, on Saturday Nov. 11. Please plan to save the date and volunteer – the sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the narthex. The Site Team meeting after church on the 22nd. The Steering Committee will meet Tuesday Oct. 24 at 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
SUN, OCT 29 THE BIG EVENT: October 29th will be an opportunity to pledge your resources to the ministry of the church in 2018. Special this year, you can make a pledge to the roof fund. In the aftermath of Irma, the church roof must be replaced. Over 100 shingles were blown off during the hurricane. A very generous member of the LUCC family has decided to spur your giving by offering to match, dollar for dollar, all donations to the roof fund up to $35,000 collected by April 15th, 2018. Look for a letter in the mail this week with more information. . .
SUN, OCT 29 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: The monthly potluck will be hosted by the Advisors this month on Sunday Oct. 29 after church. Bring a dish to share and help celebrate October birthdays.
MON, NOV 6 OPERATION ATTACK: LUCC volunteer dates will be 11/6 and 12/11, 6:00pm at Lakeview Presbyterian Church. Donations needed are children’s gently used winter clothing, canned fruits & vegetables, and peanut butter.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: In an effort to be environmentally friendly, shorter bulletins will continue to be used this fall at Lakewood. This means there will be room for only some of the announcements that are posted online. You are encouraged to subscribe to the website (this means you will get new posts emailed to you) in order to stay up to date on everything that’s happening. Alternatively, you can check the website, lakewooducc.org frequently for updates.
VOTING RIGHTS: A petition to restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences will be available to sign after worship on Sunday. Currently, people with prior felony convictions are permanently disqualified to vote unless they receive clemency. Contact Lucille Ruga if you are interested or have any questions.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, OCT 19 & FRI, OCT 20 GRIEF PRESENTATIONS: Suncoast Hospice/Empath Health will be hosting Dr. Alan Wolfelt, Grief Educator and Counselor. Dr. Wolfelt will be presenting two presentations. Exploring Death, Grief and Mourning will be held at 7pm on Thursday, October 19th at North Bay Community Church (3170 N McMullen Booth Rd in Clearwater). The Art of “Companioning” the Mourner will be held at 9 am on Friday, October 20th at Empath Health (3050 1st Ave S in St Petersburg). Call 727.789.2000 to reserve a seat.
FRI, OCT 20 DOCUMENTARY: Many people in the community and in the church know Winnie Foster.  She is a tireless worker for justice and peace.  Her focus now is on the environment.  Winnie is an inspiration.  A documentary has been made about her life and her activism.  Even if you don’t know Winnie, the film will warm your heart and feed your spirit. Enoch Davis Community Center, Friday October 20th at 6pm.
SUN, OCT 22 INSTALLATION OF REV. PAUL WERNER: St. Andrew United Church of Christ cordially invites you to celebrate the installation of Rev. Paul T. Werner Sunday, October 22nd at 3pm as Pastor and Teacher. Clergy are invited to robe and process, gathering at 2:30 PM. (The liturgical color is red.) A reception of celebration will follow in Stewart Hall.
MON, OCT 23 CONFEDERATE MONUMENT LECTURE: Lee Irby, local author and professor of history and American studies at Eckerd College, discusses recent news of cities trying to handle the legacy of the Civil War and the monuments erected to glorify the Lost Cause, one of the themes in his latest book Unreliable. Irby’s lecture, Confederate Monuments in the South: Place, Memory and Lingering Wounds, will be Monday, October 23, 2017 at 7 p.m., in the Dan & Mary Miller Auditorium at Eckerd College.
ONLINE RESOURCE: The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a new online resource, Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide. All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

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Lakewood UCC Members “Attack” Poverty


Members of Lakewood United Church of Christ volunteer at Operation Attack, where the mission is to “attack” poverty! The church members donate non perishable foods and clothing items regularly and Zach Blair-Andrews delivers the donations about once a month. Operation Attack volunteers are able to personally witness the positive impact that they are having on the community when they make the food bags and hand them to those in need. Helping make the community a better place is an enriching experience for everyone involved. Great work is being done at Operation Attack.

The next volunteer date for LUCC is 6 November, 2017 at Lakeview Presbyterian Church. For more information visit operationattack.org

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Coalition for Immokalee Workers Co-Founder Awarded MacArthur Genius Fellowship

Greg Asbed is a human rights strategist developing a new model—worker-driven social responsibility (WSR)—for improving conditions for low-wage workers within the twenty-first-century labor market. WSR is a bottom-up approach that ensures human rights are respected in the workplace; workers play a central role in establishing work condition standards and codes of conduct and have transparent channels for monitoring and enforcing those standards.

WSR emerged from the decades-long work of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), an organization co-founded by Asbed, with Lucas Benitez and Laura Germino, in 1993 to redress injustices in the Florida tomato industry, including forced labor, sexual assault, and wage theft. Asbed was a principal architect of the coalition’s Fair Food Program (FFP), a mechanism by which the purchasing power of consumers and large food companies is tapped to compel growers to improve farmworkers’ working conditions. Growers agree to adhere to a code of conduct in the treatment of workers, and workers are educated (by other workers) about their rights and responsibilities. Purchasers have a zero-tolerance policy for abuses by their suppliers and also agree to pay a penny-per-pound premium that goes directly into growers’ payrolls as a line-item bonus on workers’ paychecks. Asbed helped devise the Fair Foods Standards Council, an independent monitoring organization, to ensure compliance through regular audits and complaint investigations. Since 2010, the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange and over a dozen purchasers, including Walmart, have signed on to the Fair Food Program. With the success of the FFP in the tomato industry, Asbed envisioned the potential for wider economic and social change, and together with colleagues, he designed the WSR framework.

Workforces engaged with other crops in Florida, the garment industry in Bangladesh, and the dairy industry in Vermont have already or are in the process of adopting the WSR approach, and Asbed’s expertise is being sought by international organizations for the development of customized variants of the WSR model to address such issues as child labor in Africa and gender-based violence in domestic work settings in Mexico. Asbed’s visionary strategy for WSR has the potential to transform workplace environments across the global supply chain.

Greg Asbed received a B.S. (1985) from Brown University and an M.A. (1990) from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to co-founding the Coalition for Immokalee Workers (CIW) in 1993, he spent three years in Haiti as part of the Peasant Movement of Papaye. He also harvested watermelons in the southeastern United States for eighteen seasons and is a founding member of the Worker-Driven Social Responsibility Network.

Read more at mic.com about Asbed and the MacArthur ‘Genius’ Award.

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Restoring Respect: A Community Conversation

ST. PETERSBURG–The Cathedral Church of St. Peter will host a five-part series, “Restoring Respect: A Community Conversation,” starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17.
The initial gathering, “Restoring Respect: Where Did It Go?” will offer a panel discussion with President Donald R. Eastman III; Eric Deggans, television critic for National Public Radio; and Dr. Brendan Goff, professor of history at New College, Sarasota.
“Lack of respect for those who look, think, worship or vote differently is one of the compelling issues of the day,” said the Very Rev. Stephen B. Morris, dean of the cathedral. “It is something we all confront, day in and day out, regardless of who we voted for in the presidential election, where we are on the political spectrum, where we get our news,” Dean Morris said. “This is a time of heat without light, shouting without listening. We want to contribute to a community conversation that helps us get beyond that, listen and learn from each other.”
Additional sessions and topics are:
Nov. 14: Restoring Respect: In the Media; Jan. 16: Restoring Respect: In Religion; Feb. 20: Restoring Respect: In Race; March 20: Restoring Respect: In Politics.
All five sessions are free and open to the public. The Cathedral is at 140 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. The entrance is on Second Avenue N, and there is free parking in the city-owned lots on the north side of Second Avenue opposite the Cathedral. Information:(727) 822-4173.
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Confronting Our Racism

Monday, November 20, 2017
8:45am – 4:30pm
Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, Florida
Fox Hall and Wireman Chapel
4200 – 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33711
(727) 864-8587

Whether you are just thinking about this issue for the first time or have been doing this work all of your life, you are invited to join us for a day long conversation about opposing racism. We will be asking questions and talking about next steps in dealing with racism in our own local communities.

Our guests will be the Reverend Paul Roberts, President of Johnson C. Smith Seminary, and Professor Erin Cooley of Colgate University. There is no cost to register for the conference. You will be asked to pay $15 (cash or check) for lunch on the day of the conference. To register for the conference, please visit the following Google link:

https://goo.gl/forms/4nPJrw7vauyFzKPr2

This conference is made possible with funding from the John and Phyllis Ogden Fund of the Synod of the South Atlantic.

Doug McMahon
Director of the Center for Spiritual Life and Chaplain
Wireman Chapel, Eckerd College
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711

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Restoring Respect”, a community conversation, at The Cathedral Church of St. Peter

ST. PETERSBURG–The Cathedral Church of St. Peter will host a five-part series, “Restoring Respect: A Community Conversation,” starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17.

The initial gathering, “Restoring Respect: Where Did It Go?” will offer a panel discussion with President Donald R. Eastman III; Eric Deggans, television critic for National Public Radio; and Dr. Brendan Goff, professor of history at New College, Sarasota.

“Lack of respect for those who look, think, worship or vote differently is one of the compelling issues of the day,” said the Very Rev. Stephen B. Morris, dean of the cathedral. “It is something we all confront, day in and day out, regardless of who we voted for in the presidential election, where we are on the political spectrum, where we get our news,” Dean Morris said. “This is a time of heat without light, shouting without listening. We want to contribute to a community conversation that helps us get beyond that, listen and learn from each other.”

Additional sessions and topics are:

Nov. 14: Restoring Respect: In the Media; Jan. 16: Restoring Respect: In Religion; Feb. 20: Restoring Respect: In Race; March 20: Restoring Respect: In Politics.

All five sessions are free and open to the public. The Cathedral is at 140 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. The entrance is on Second Avenue N, and there is free parking in the city-owned lots on the north side of Second Avenue opposite the Cathedral. Information:(727) 822-4173.

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Weekly Update 12 October

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, OCT 15 THIS SUNDAY: Who is welcome in the church? Is church really safe space for everyone? We’ll explore that on Sunday. Rev. Leslie Etheredge from the Florida Conference will be joining us again this Sunday for another special recognition, this time for Lucille Ruga. Don’t miss the celebration!
FRI, OCT 13 – SAT, OCT 14 CONFERENCE MEETING: The Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ is having its Annual Meeting Friday Oct. 13-Saturday Oct. 14 in Daytona Beach. Rev. Susan Sherwood and Rev. Kim Wells are attending as representatives of LUCC.
SAT, OCT 14 YARD SALE: LUCC member Ed Kaspar is having a yard sale at his home on Saturday, October 14th from 9am to 1pm.
SUN, OCT 15 PHOTO DIRECTORY: After waiting for what may have seemed like 50 years, the photo directories are finally done! Pick up your copy at church on Sunday.
SUN, OCT 15 REAPING THE HARVEST: This Reaping the Harvest 2017 form is available at church and online. As part of the celebration of abundance this fall season, you are invited to fill out this form and bring it/send it/email it back to the church by Sunday, October 22nd. The information will be compiled and reported back at The Big Event on October 29th. This is a way to celebrate the full ministry of this congregation in its many forms including, but not limited to, service within the church. The ministry of the church extends into society through our service and generosity 7 days a week, not just Sunday!!!
MON, OCT 16 OPERATION ATTACK: LUCC volunteer dates will be 10/16, 11/6 and 12/11, 6:00pm at Lakeview Presbyterian Church. Donations needed are children’s gently used winter clothing, canned fruits & vegetables, and peanut butter.
SUN, OCT 15 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: LUCC will be hosting Circus McGurkis, a peace and justice festival, on Saturday Nov. 11. Please plan to save the date and volunteer – the sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the narthex. The Site Team meeting after church on the 15th. The Steering Committee will meet Tuesday Oct. 17 at 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
SUN, OCT 18 WESTMINSTER SUNCOAST LUNCH: Wednesday October 18th at 11:30 in the main dining room at Westminster Suncoast. All residents of the Shores and Suncoast are welcome.
SAT, OCT 21 GROUNDS CLEANUP: Help finish the grounds cleanup after Hurricane Irma. The Southwest portion of the church property still needs some work, so come Saturday October 21st from 8:30-11am and bring rakes, gloves, tarps, etc. to use.
SUN, OCT 29 THE BIG EVENT: October 29th will be an opportunity to pledge your resources to the ministry of the church in 2018. Special this year, you can make a pledge to the roof fund. In the aftermath of Irma, the church roof must be replaced. Over 100 shingles were blown off during the hurricane. A very generous member of the LUCC family has decided to spur your giving by offering to match, dollar for dollar, all donations to the roof fund up to $35,000 collected by April 15th, 2018. Look for a letter in the mail this week with more information. . .
SUN, OCT 29 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: The monthly potluck will be hosted by the Advisors this month on Sunday Oct. 29. Bring a dish to share and help celebrate October birthdays.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: In an effort to be environmentally friendly, shorter bulletins will continue to be used this fall at Lakewood. This means there will be room for only some of the announcements that are posted online. You are encouraged to subscribe to the website (this means you will get new posts emailed to you) in order to stay up to date on everything that’s happening. Alternatively, you can check the website, lakewooducc.org frequently for updates.
VOTING RIGHTS: A petition to restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences will be available to sign after worship on Sunday. Currently, people with prior felony convictions are permanently disqualified to vote unless they receive clemency. Contact Lucille Ruga if you are interested or have any questions.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, OCT 12 COMMUNITY CONVERSATION ON EDUCATION: If there is one thing we can all agree on during this divided time, it is that our children are our community’s most precious resource. And yet, the struggle for an equitable and just education for all of St Pete’s children has continued for decades. The time is now to achieve this victory with and for our youth. Dream Defenders, along with the Childs Park Neighborhood Association, will be hosting a listening and strategy session to learn more about what Southside residents want out of our schools, and how we can collectively achieve this. Dream Defenders will also be sharing some of our strategies that have been effective in our work across the state. Join us for this critical step in demanding justice for our youth! Oct 12. America Divided: St. Pete United – A Community Conversation on Education, 6 PM @ Community Center Child’s Park, 4301 13th Ave S, Saint Petersburg. Please secure your free ticket to the community conversation by registering.
THU, OCT 12 SPIRITUAL LIFE LECTURE: Drawing on decades of social science research, Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute and author of The End of White Christian America, argues that today’s most divisive debates—over immigration, the rise of white supremacy groups, and police violence—can only be understood against the backdrop of demographic, religious, and cultural transformations that are challenging long-standing assumptions about what it means to be an American. If we are to continue to make one out of many, we will need both leadership and practices that can help us all step back from the reactivity of the present and take up the more arduous task of weaving a new national narrative in which all Americans can see themselves. Jones’ lecture, What the End of White Christian America Means for Our Shared Sense of National Identity, will be Thursday, October 12, at 7:30 p.m., in Fox Hall at Eckerd College.
MON, OCT 23 CONFEDERATE MONUMENT LECTURE: Lee Irby, local author and professor of history and American studies at Eckerd College, discusses recent news of cities trying to handle the legacy of the Civil War and the monuments erected to glorify the Lost Cause, one of the themes in his latest book Unreliable. Irby’s lecture, Confederate Monuments in the South: Place, Memory and Lingering Wounds, will be Monday, October 23, 2017 at 7 p.m., in the Dan & Mary Miller Auditorium at Eckerd College.
ONLINE RESOURCE: The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a new online resource, Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide. All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.

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.
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LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. 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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Lakewood UCC is a member of the Florida Coalition to prevent gun violence

Your energy is needed!
The Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence is on the move again with introducing bills that would ban semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity magazines. Senator Linda Stewart and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith brought the bills forward in the 2017 Legislative Session, and they are again sponsoring them for the upcoming 2018 Session. We applaud them for doing so. Read about their announcement here.
These bills did not get a hearing last Session, even though Florida had just experienced what was, at that time, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.
This week with the terrible news out of Las Vegas, now the site of the worst mass shooting in American history, the ban is more relevant than ever. The Nevada shooter possessed 47 guns, and jerry-rigged his semiautomatic rifle so that it would work like a fully automatic weapon. The result was at least 58 people dead and over 500 injured.
We cannot allow the further normalization of gun violence. We should not have to fear getting shot whenever we step into a movie theater, nightclub, or attend a concert.
The fight for smart gun laws remains in the states. Senator Stewart’s and Rep. Smith’s proposals—SB 196 and HB 219—deserve a hearing. The time for debate on responsible gun safety legislation is long overdue. We need your help to encourage Florida Legislative leaders to hear these bills!
Please call the following lawmakers and request that they give Senate Bill 196 and House Bill 219 a fair hearing!
Senate President Joe Negron
Senator Bill Galvano
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Sen. Greg Steube
House Speaker Richard Corcoran
House Rules Chairman Rep. Jose Oliva
House Criminal Justice Committee Chairman, Rep. Ross Spano
Thank you! With the thousands of members under the umbrella of the Coalition and League of Women Voters of Florida, we can affect grassroots change that will make our state safer from gun violence.
In League,
Pamela Goodman
President
Patti Brigham
Co-Chair, Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence

League of Women Voters of Florida

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Sermon World Communion Sunday 10.1.17

Scripture Lesson: Psalm 33
Sermon: Come Union!
Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

There seems to be one thing we can all agree on in this country. We seem to be able to agree that we are divided. Even President Trump sees this. He has said, “In America, we had a totally divided country for eight years and long before that. In all fairness to President Obama, long before President Obama we have had a very divided – I didn’t come along and divide this country. This country was seriously divided before I got here.” Though we may disagree on Trump’s role we can all agree that we are divided.

And some think that the nature of the division is changing. Traditionally, there has been division along economic lines. There has been division along racial lines. There has been division along moral grounds on some issues. But even so, there was an underlying awareness of a similar reality for the most part. Today, we seem to be experiencing the divisions of the past along with a sense of less and less common ground. There seems to be growing disagreement about the very reality that we are in. And this all within the United States, interesting that word, united, before we even get to the differences and divisions involving the rest of the world.

I just finished listening to a book entitled Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the most dangerous place on earth. The book examines Cold War divisions and the crisis over Berlin which resulted in the erection of the Berlin Wall. At the time, there were a few leaders that wanted to stay focussed on the reunification of Berlin and Germany and who were looking toward a unified Europe. Most leaders scoffed at such wild eyed idealism and would only concern themselves with what they saw as the matter at hand – not blowing up the world. But now the Berlin Wall is gone, Germany is reunified, and the European Union, while experiencing challenges, is still to be lauded as one of the greatest initiatives for peace in our time. So, while there is great division in our country and in our world, we are not idiotic optimists when we dream of greater unity and work to eliminate destructive divisions.

The psalm that we heard this morning offers a glorious glimpse of the divine intentions for Creation. We are given a poetic vision of the world, as a whole, functioning in harmonious balance. The psalm speaks of the divine design of goodness, mutuality, and unity. In the psalm God’s fidelity and love are affirmed: ALL of God’s work is done in faithfulness, the earth is FULL of God’s steadfast love. The word “all” is used 9 times. God sees “all” humankind, “all” the inhabitants of the earth, and fashions the hearts of them “all.” The psalm intentionally leaves no part of Creation or humanity out of the picture. The psalm itself has 22 verses because there are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. It expresses God’s design from A to Z, so to speak. The waters, the land, the peoples, the nations, the generations, their hearts, all joined in the unified purposes of a God of steadfast love and faithfulness. We see a great enterprise bursting with diversity yet functioning as a unified whole. The psalm extols a God intimately involved with all of Creation and human history, yet above it – in love, power, and faithfulness. And what is the role of the human in this grand scheme? Gratitude and praise. Sing and rejoice. Who could possibly ask for more than God is giving? That is reality as it should be, as it is intended to be.

As we receive the Lord’s Supper this World Communion Sunday, we are celebrating the all encompassing Divine design. Communion is about sharing in common, being part of a common life, a common reality, a common enterprise. Communion also implies intimacy and solidarity. It is about deep connection, intense sharing, and vulnerability. In the book, In the Beginning Was the Meal, a book about the origins of Christianity around the table, Hal Taussig observes, “Yet many things are generated at meals – ideas, additional relationships, new intentions, more communal fabric.” [p. IX]

This sacrament, this shared experience with a certain framework and pattern, is an embodiment of our commitment, our desire, and our hope for the dreams of God to be our reality. This meal is symbolic of the ideal comprehensive integrated web of Creation in balance and harmony.

The bread and juice before us remind us of our relationship with the earth, the land, the water, the atmosphere, and the sun that all work together so that we can be alive and have food to eat and drink to sustain our bodily lives. We are part of the unity of Creation.

We eat and drink in solidarity with all other animals and plants and life forms that are sustained by nutrition, water, and light. As we eat and drink we experience our oneness with all birds, fish, vines, seaweed, and all other living things that are sustained by Creation. It is a reminder as well that all people eat. We may eat different foods in different ways, but we all eat. Communist or capitalist, democrat or republican, native born or immigrant, we all eat. We are all human beings, one species, amidst a riot of biological diversity within the unity of Creation.

As we taste the bread and the juice, we as humans, with consciousness, and memory, and rationality, know that we did not create this bread. We did not create this juice. We did not create ourselves. We did not design this life sustaining system. We are all heirs, beneficiaries. We are all recipients of gifts untold. Freely given. We cannot sustain ourselves. We are dependent upon Creation and one another. And in our tradition, we acknowledge the gift by celebrating the giver which we name God. For us, Creation is the self-disclosure of God. We know God because we are creatures within the unity of this glorious Creation which reveals God.

As people who have to come to know the story of Jesus, this meal has additional significance. We associate these gifts of bread and cup with Jesus of Galilee, a first century Jew, who we believe is the embodiment of humanness in its fullest expression. The bread reminds us of the generosity of Jesus. We know Jesus as the bread of life. When we live in his spirit and in his way, we are fed and feed others. The bread broken calls forth the need to sacrifice for the good of the whole and the well-being of others and ourselves. In Jesus we see the unity of Creation and our place in it.

The cup in our tradition is a cup of reconciliation and forgiveness. People make mistakes. We are flawed. That is who we are. We cannot be otherwise. So always there is the need for forgiveness of ourselves and others. Our differences create the opportunity for us to pursue reconciliation and so to strengthen our bonds and our understanding of ourselves and others. The juice from grapes reminds us that we are all part of a vine, interconnected, intended to bear fruit.

And we all know from any dinner party or shared meal that eating with others brings us together in ways that often cannot be foreseen or explained. Something more happens when we eat together. There is grace and holiness in our eating together. There is a bonding and a sharing beyond the food. As writer MFK Fisher observes, “There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk.” [Quoted in Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent.]

In this meal, we embody the unity and harmony of a whole with many parts in mutual relationship and balance. This bread and cup remind us that reality is so much more than we may normally be noticing or paying attention to. In this experience we know the sacredness of life, our dependence, and the trust we must have. It is about nurturing and sustaining our common life as part of this sacred Creation. As we eat and drink this day, may our prayer be, “Come, unity.” 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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Reaping the Harvest 2017

As part of the celebration of abundance this fall season, you are invited to fill out this form by Sunday, October 22nd. The information will be compiled and reported back at The Big Event on October 29th. This is a way to celebrate the full ministry of this congregation in its many forms including, but not limited to, service within the church. The ministry of the church extends into society through our service and generosity 7 days a week, not just Sunday!!!.

Please note that the submit button will only work if you are using Adobe Reader. If you use another application (like your internet browser, or Preview) to view pdfs, you’ll need to e-mail it to the church manually. Paper copies of the form will also be distributed at church on Sunday.

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Weekly Update 4 October

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, OCT 8 THIS SUNDAY: The 10 commandments invite thinking about what it means to be a life-affirming community.
SUN, OCT 8 RECOGNITION OF CHAPLAINCY: In morning worship on Sunday Oct. 8, LUCC will recognize the authorized ministry of LUCC member and ordained minister Victoria Long. This is a celebration of a 4-way covenant between Victoria, Lakewood UCC, the Florida Conference of the UCC, and Suncoast Hospice/Empath Health.
SUN, OCT 8 ADVISORS MEETING: The Advisors will meet on Sunday following worship, all are welcome to attend.
SUN, OCT 8 REAPING THE HARVEST: This Sunday the Reaping the Harvest 2017 form will be available at church. As part of the celebration of abundance this fall season, you are invited to fill out this form and bring it/send it/email it back to the church by Sunday, October 22nd. The information will be compiled and reported back at The Big Event on October 29th. This is a way to celebrate the full ministry of this congregation in its many forms including, but not limited to, service within the church. The ministry of the church extends into society through our service and generosity 7 days a week, not just Sunday!!!.
MON, OCT 16 OPERATION ATTACK: LUCC volunteer dates will be 10/16, 11/6 and 12/11, 6:00pm at Lakeview Presbyterian Church. Donations needed are children’s gently used winter clothing, canned fruits & vegetables, and peanut butter.
SUN, OCT 17 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: LUCC will be hosting Circus McGurkis, a peace and justice festival, on Saturday Nov. 11. Please plan to save the date and volunteer – the sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the narthex. The Steering Committee will meet Tuesday Oct. 17 at 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
SAT, OCT 21 GROUNDS CLEANUP: Help finish the grounds cleanup after Hurricane Irma. The Southwest portion of the church property still needs some work, so come Saturday October 21st from 8:30-11am and bring rakes, gloves, tarps, etc. to use.
SUN, OCT 29 THE BIG EVENT: October 29th will be an opportunity to pledge your resources to the ministry of the church in 2018. Special this year, you can make a pledge to the roof fund. In the aftermath of Irma, the church roof must be replaced. Over 100 shingles were blown off during the hurricane. A very generous member of the LUCC family has decided to spur your giving by offering to match, dollar for dollar, all donations to the roof fund up to $35,000 collected by April 15th, 2018.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: In an effort to be environmentally friendly, shorter bulletins will continue to be used this fall at Lakewood. This means there will be room for only some of the announcements that are posted online. You are encouraged to subscribe to the website (this means you will get new posts emailed to you) in order to stay up to date on everything that’s happening. Alternatively, you can check the website, lakewooducc.org frequently for updates.
VOTING RIGHTS: A petition to restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences will be available to sign after worship on Sunday. Currently, people with prior felony convictions are permanently disqualified to vote unless they receive clemency. Contact Lucille Ruga if you are interested or have any questions.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

OCT 1-8 INTERFAITH WEEK: October 1-8 will mark a city-wide, week-long celebration of the sacred, where individuals and families can explore their city – seeing how other people worship, study or pray as well as participating in community panels or roundtable discussions – and we would love for you to be a part of it. See tampabayinterfaithweek.com for a complete schedule of events.
THU, OCT 5 DEATH PENALTY: Governor Scott has ordered the execution of Michael Lambrix for Thursday, October 5th at 6pm. This would be the 25th execution ordered by Gov. Scott, a new record for a Florida governor. Please contact Florida Gov. Rick Scott and ask him to halt the execution of Michael Lambrix and grant a new clemency hearing by phone: 850-488-7146 (Mon-Fri 8am-5pm) or email.
THU, OCT 5 INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY: Reconsider Columbus Day and learn about the Doctrine of Discovery and the impact this doctrine had on the indigenous people of the Americas and exploration and settlement of this country. On this day, from here on out known as Indigenous Peoples Day, celebrate and honor all Native American cultures both past and present. Monday, October 9, 3-8pm at 1700 Park St. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33710. Education from 3-5; Potluck dinner at 5:30 followed by evening celebration and sharing. Register by calling 727-347-0354 or via email. Love offering for Sacred Lands and travel expenses.
TUE, OCT 10 PEACE AND JUSTICE LECTURE: Frances Moore Lappé—author or co-author of 18 books about world hunger, living democracy, and the environment—will share her knowledge on the deep connection between a functioning democracy and a prosperous people. Her writing career started with the three-million-copies-sold Diet for a Small Planet in 1971 and has extended to her new book, Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, co-authored with Adam Eichen (Beacon Press, Sept. 2017). Lappé received the Right Livelihood Award “for revealing the political and economic causes of world hunger and how citizens can help to remedy them.” Her lecture, To End Hunger, Begin With Democracy, will be Tuesday, October 10, at 7:30 p.m., in Fox Hall at Eckerd College.
THU, OCT 12 SPIRITUAL LIFE LECTURE: Drawing on decades of social science research, Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute and author of The End of White Christian America, argues that today’s most divisive debates—over immigration, the rise of white supremacy groups, and police violence—can only be understood against the backdrop of demographic, religious, and cultural transformations that are challenging long-standing assumptions about what it means to be an American. If we are to continue to make one out of many, we will need both leadership and practices that can help us all step back from the reactivity of the present and take up the more arduous task of weaving a new national narrative in which all Americans can see themselves. Jones’ lecture, What the End of White Christian America Means for Our Shared Sense of National Identity, will be Thursday, October 12, at 7:30 p.m., in Fox Hall at Eckerd College.
MON, OCT 23 CONFEDERATE MONUMENT LECTURE: Lee Irby, local author and professor of history and American studies at Eckerd College, discusses recent news of cities trying to handle the legacy of the Civil War and the monuments erected to glorify the Lost Cause, one of the themes in his latest book Unreliable. Irby’s lecture, Confederate Monuments in the South: Place, Memory and Lingering Wounds, will be Monday, October 23, 2017 at 7 p.m., in the Dan & Mary Miller Auditorium at Eckerd College.
ONLINE RESOURCE: The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a new online resource, Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide. All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

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Coming concerts

Below is the list of concerts at St. Petersburg’s 1st Presbyterian Church. Lakewood UCC member, Claire Stiles, will be participating in at least one of these as well as these two concerts of the SPC Community Chorus: November 5 – Sunday at the Palladium at 6:00pm – Veterans Day concert with patriotic music; and, December 2 – Saturday at the SPC Music Center on the 66th St. campus (not certain of time yet, but likely 7:00pm) – Vivaldi Gloria and other holiday music.

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Florida Coalition to end gun violence

Lakewood UCC is a member of Florida Coalition to end gun violence

Media Contact:
Pamela Goodman
President, LWV Florida
Patricia Brigham
Co-Chair, Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
Statement from LWVFL and Coalition on Las Vegas Shooting
Once again, Americans awoke this morning to the news of another horrific mass shooting, this time in Las Vegas. At this writing, at least 58 were killed by a lone gunman. In addition, over 500 people were injured. Just a little more than a year after the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the mass shooting in Las Vegas is now the deadliest in modern U.S. history.
While we are still learning the facts of what happened, the League of Women Voters of Florida and the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence mourn the loss of life of so many innocent people in Las Vegas. However, the response of our elected officials with messages of “thoughts and prayers” is insufficient. We do not elect our government officials for thoughts and prayers. We elect them to make law. We cannot continue to allow easy access to assault weapons in our country. We have seen the consequences of such access too many times. We honor the lives lost today with our unwavering commitment to protect all communities from gun violence.
Pamela S. Goodman
President
LWV Florida
Patricia Brigham
Co-Chair
Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
Andy Pelosi
Co-Chair
Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
###
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Response to Las Vegas Shooting

 

Las Vegas Response, Oct. 2, 2017

 

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here Oct. 2, 2017
 

Conference Call

 

Rev. John VertiganDear Church,

The member congregations and staff of the Florida Conference woke this morning to an all-too-familiar tragedy; a mass shooting. Our hearts break at the thought of more terror being spread by a lone gunman with a high-volume weapon. We are brought back to the morning of June 12, 2016, when the PULSE nightclub became a crime scene and a memorial.

We hold our sister churches in Las Vegas in our prayers, knowing that the path to wholeness is a long one and that the scars of those few minutes of gunfire will stay with the Las Vegas community for years to come. As congregations in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, and Hood, Texas, have taught us, the work of healing goes on long after the cameras are gone and the candles have gone out, and people are left with pain in body and soul.

We are also witnesses to the power of love. We learned from the PULSE shooting that communities can come together to proclaim and live out the gospel news that LOVE WINS. Violence scars and strains our communities, but it is not the final word.

But as faith communities that respond to individual need, to natural disasters and to the specific needs of our local communities, we have to ask ourselves and our nation this question: what are we called to do to help end gun violence? Whatever the motive of this shooter, he had the means to inflict enormous harm in a very short time. Can we continue to wring our hands and accept this violence, or will we seek policies that limit the access of angry people to means of destruction? As contentious as this issue can be, it is one that we must confront if we are to honor the memories of those who have been lost today and each day.

The Florida Conference is a member of the Florida Coalition to End Gun Violence, and we encourage our local settings to act for the safety and security of all God’s children. We hold in prayer those who have lost loved ones, or who face long-term rehabilitation. We ask that our members be sensitive to victims of violence who are re-traumatized by this event. And we pray for the courage to confront the gun violence in our society, believing that change can happen.

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

Rev. John Vertigan

The Rev. John Vertigan
Conference Minister

A pdf version of this letter on Florida Conference letterhead is available here for further distribution.

 


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United Church of Christ in Florida
9300 University Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32817
Like us on Facebook!
(407) 835-7501
(800) 432-8311
flaconf@uccfla.org

 

 

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Speak out for Puerto Ricans in Crisis after Hurricane Maria

As we are reminded in Proverbs 31:8-9, we are called to speak up for the vulnerable:

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
    for the rights of those abandoned by others.
Speak up and judge fairly;
    defend the rights of the homeless and hungry.

Three and a half million Puerto Ricans are facing a devastating humanitarian crisis in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Flooding and mudslides have left millions without power, 40 percent without drinking water, and only 11 of the island’s 69 hospitals in operation.

The United Church of Christ has a long history of walking with the people of Puerto Rico in the form of support for Puerto Rican self-determination through General Synod statements and ties to the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Puerto Rico. In addition UCC and Global Ministries advocates, in partnership with Jubilee USA, have been instrumental in advancing public policies to address the economic crisis, and specifically child poverty, in Puerto Rico, now further exacerbated by the hurricane.

It is time for Congress to act.
Although many lawmakers on Capitol Hill have called for emergency aid for Puerto Rico, similar to the Harvey and Irma disaster responses, the timing and nature of such support is unclear. With the Columbus Day recess approaching, it is critical that policy makers act in the coming days. Any delays or failure to pass such critical humanitarian aid will have a devastating impact on the lives of many. Further, any aid packages must be offered in the form of grants, not loans, to avoid worsening the financial crisis on the island.

Act now to support hurricane relief for Puerto Rico.
Contact your representatives in congress and urge them to act now to help our fellow Americans.

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Weekly Update 27 September

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, OCT 1 THIS SUNDAY: The first Sunday of October is World Communion Sunday. Christians around the world recognize our common bond through this holy meal. This is an opportunity to celebrate what it means to be in communion with the world, the whole world. Your place at the table is waiting!
SUN, OCT 1 COMMUNION OFFERING: The communion offering goes to the Special Needs Fund which is used to help people in our community with basic necessities such as food, rent, utilities, and prescription medication costs. Please be generous as you are able.
SUN, OCT 1 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: LUCC will be hosting Circus McGurkis, a peace and justice festival, on Saturday Nov. 11. Please plan to save the date and volunteer! The LUCC Site Team for Circus McGurkis will meet on Sunday Oct. 1 following morning worship. The Steering Committee will meet Tuesday Oct. 3 at 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
SUN, OCT 8 RECOGNITION OF CHAPLAINCY: In morning worship on Sunday Oct. 8, LUCC will recognize the authorized ministry of LUCC member and ordained minister Victoria Long. This is a celebration of a 4-way covenant between Victoria, Lakewood UCC, the Florida Conference of the UCC, and Suncoast Hospice/Empath Health.
CHURCH SCHOOL CHANGE: Instead of starting the service together, bring your children directly to the church school room and they will join the service at the end so they can participate in the morning prayers and close of the service.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: In an effort to be environmentally friendly, shorter bulletins will continue to be used this fall at Lakewood. This means there will be room for only some of the announcements that are posted online. You are encouraged to subscribe to the website (this means you will get new posts emailed to you) in order to stay up to date on everything that’s happening. Alternatively, you can check the website, lakewooducc.org frequently for updates.
FAMILY PROMISE: Donations are needed! Lawn Bags, Garbage Bags, Work Gloves/Garden Gloves, Bottled Water, Non-perishable Food Items, Cleaning Supplies, Sponges, Buckets, Laundry Detergent, Personal Hygiene Products
Feminine Hygiene Products, Toilet Paper, and Batteries. The donations can be placed in the cart in the narthex. Contact Patti Cooksey if you have any questions.
VOTING RIGHTS: A petition to restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences will be available to sign after worship on Sunday. Currently, people with prior felony convictions are permanently disqualified to vote unless they receive clemency. Contact Lucille Ruga if you are interested or have any questions.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

MON, OCT 2 POVERTY LECTURE: Matthew Desmond, Ph.D., professor of sociology at Princeton University and author of 2017 Pulitzer Prize winning book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, will discuss his research involving eight families from Milwaukee, which focuses on a topic largely unexplored: the role of rising rents and rampant evictions in feeding a cycle of poverty and despair in the U.S. Sponsored by the Class of 1968 Distinguished Visiting Scholar Endowment in partnership with the Foundations Collegium as part of the College Program Series. His lecture, Evicted: An Evening With Matthew Desmond, will be Monday, October 2, 2017 at 7:30 p.m., in Fox Hall at Eckerd College.
WED, OCT 4 FAITH AND RELIGION SERIES: Dana Cosper, LUCC member, will present A Spiritual Toolbox for Healthy Grieving for Eckerd College’s Academy of Senior Professionals (ASPEC) on Wednesday, Oct. 4th at 11 a.m., in the Palmer Room at Lewis House. Contact Vita Uth if you would like to carpool.
THU, OCT 5 DEATH PENALTY: Governor Scott has ordered the execution of Michael Lambrix for Thursday, October 5th at 6pm ET. This would be the 25th execution ordered by Gov. Scott, a new record for a Florida governor. Please contact Florida Gov. Rick Scott and ask him to halt the execution of Michael Lambrix and grant a new clemency hearing by phone: 850-488-7146 (Mon-Fri 8am-5pm) or email.
TUE, OCT 10 PEACE AND JUSTICE LECTURE: Frances Moore Lappé—author or co-author of 18 books about world hunger, living democracy, and the environment—will share her knowledge on the deep connection between a functioning democracy and a prosperous people. Her writing career started with the three-million-copies-sold Diet for a Small Planet in 1971 and has extended to her new book, Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, co-authored with Adam Eichen (Beacon Press, Sept. 2017). Lappé received the Right Livelihood Award “for revealing the political and economic causes of world hunger and how citizens can help to remedy them.” Her lecture, To End Hunger, Begin With Democracy, will be Tuesday, October 10, at 7:30 p.m., in Fox Hall at Eckerd College.
THU, OCT 12 SPIRITUAL LIFE LECTURE: Drawing on decades of social science research, Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute and author of The End of White Christian America, argues that today’s most divisive debates—over immigration, the rise of white supremacy groups, and police violence—can only be understood against the backdrop of demographic, religious, and cultural transformations that are challenging long-standing assumptions about what it means to be an American. If we are to continue to make one out of many, we will need both leadership and practices that can help us all step back from the reactivity of the present and take up the more arduous task of weaving a new national narrative in which all Americans can see themselves. Jones’ lecture, What the End of White Christian America Means for Our Shared Sense of National Identity, will be Thursday, October 12, at 7:30 p.m., in Fox Hall at Eckerd College.
MON, OCT 23 CONFEDERATE MONUMENT LECTURE: Lee Irby, local author and professor of history and American studies at Eckerd College, discusses recent news of cities trying to handle the legacy of the Civil War and the monuments erected to glorify the Lost Cause, one of the themes in his latest book Unreliable. Irby’s lecture, Confederate Monuments in the South: Place, Memory and Lingering Wounds, will be Monday, October 23, 2017 at 7 p.m., in the Dan & Mary Miller Auditorium at Eckerd College.
ONLINE RESOURCE: The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a new online resource, Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide. All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

Betty Harris, Ron Huff, Carolyn Moore, Gertie Pirazzini, Ann Quinn, Earl Waters

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