UCC leaders: Keep Families Together!

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

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

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

Donate, designating your gift to Keep Families Together here. 

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

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50th Anniversary Timeline of the Future

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

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

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Pictures of Gun Violence Die-In Protest at Marco Rubio’s Tampa Office

On Tuesday June 12, Earl Waters and Rev. Kim Wells participated in the “Die In” in front of Marco Rubio’s office in the federal court house in Tampa.

Most Americans support stronger gun laws — laws that would reduce deaths.

Rubio is one of the top 10 career recipients of NRA funding – through donations or spending to benefit the candidate – among both current House and Senate members. The New York Times estimates the NRA has spent $3,303,355 to support Rubio.

The demonstration in front of Rubio’s Tampa office included about 30 people most of whom were teenagers. In addition to signs and chants, the event included thoughtful remarks from several of the high school students.

The event was held on the second anniversary of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Participants in the “Die In” were invited to lay down on the sidewalk, as if they had been shot, for 12 minutes. Those who did not lie down carried signs for the benefit of passing cars.

 

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Weekly Update 14 June

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, JUN 17 THIS SUNDAY:  The Father’s Day service includes the opportunity to for the naming of those who have been father figures. This Sunday provides a time to think about the nurturing and cultivating of boys and men in our society. Take a look at Mark 4:26-34.

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

THU, JUN 19 SINGING: Anyone interested in singing in the Interfaith Pride Service (7:00pm on June 21st at First Presbyterian Church) should go to the “y’all come sing” rehearsal in their choir room on Tuesday, June 19th at 7:00pm (701 Beach Dr NE).
SUN, JUN 24 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: This potluck lunch will give the opportunity for fellowship and celebration of May and June birthdays. Dessert will be provided. Please bring other dishes to share. Many thanks to Earl Waters who will be the host for Sunday Celebrations in June. Those who are involved in volunteering for Family Promise will sit together and hear updates about the program. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer and helping homeless families with children become financially stable, please join in the conversation!
MAY-JUN THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: Ministry items for months of May and June will benefit Covenant House Florida. The items being collected are as follows:

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

COMMUNITY EVENTS

JUN 1-30 UCC GLOBAL MINISTRIES: Introducing the Global Ministries FESTIVAL OF STORIES! It’s happening during the month of June on various online platforms . Throughout the Festival of Stories, you’ll learn about how individuals and churches are supporting Global Ministries and international partners in unique ways. You’ll also have opportunities to share stories about how you and/or your congregation, region/conference are involved, too!
THU, JUN 14 LGBTQ FILM: Join the Gulfport Public Library for a special viewing of “Reel in the Closet.” This film was created by Filmmaker Stu Maddux who reveals a treasure trove of rare home movies made by gay people – some dating back to the 1920s – that have long languished in the backs of people’s closets. This free screening starts at 7pm today (June 14th) at Gulfport Public Library (5501 28th Ave S).
SAT, JUN 16 RAPID RESPONSE TRAINING: Alarming headlines week after week remind us of the current unstable political climate, and the upcoming midterm elections have the potential to be one of the most transformation elections ever for Florida. We need to be an active force for positive change now more than ever. Equality Florida and Planned Parenthood are partnering to hold Rapid Response Corps boot camps across Florida to prepare our supporters to engage on critical issues that intersect with access to safe and legal abortion, reproductive justice, and LGBTQ equality. This training event will include a legislative update from our staff and partners, a space for questions, and a comprehensive volunteer training. Each attendee will walk away with an action plan that they can use to make their local community and the state of Florida safer and more inclusive. Saturday, June 16 from 9:00am – 1:00pm in St. Petersburg, FL. Register here.
THU, JUN 21 INTERFAITH PRIDE SERVICE: Mark your calendars for June 21st at 7:00 PM for the interfaith pride service at First Presbyterian Church (701 Beach Dr NE). The Guest Speaker will be Imam Daayiee Abdullah, one of only 4 openly gay imams in the world.
FRI, JUN 22 WORLD REFUGEE DAY: Please save the date for this important event which will combine a citizenship ceremony of former refugees conducted by USCIS, voter registration drive, and a celebration of the contributions of refugees in our community. Pinellas Technical College (901 34th St. S) from 1 to 3:30pm Friday, 22 June. All are welcome.
WED, JUN 27 SOLAR CO_OP: There will be a St. Pete Solar Co-op Info Session on Wednesday, June 27 at 1:30pm at Allendale United Methodist Church (3803 Haines Rd N). If you live in south Pinellas County and want to go solar, now’s your chance! Neighbors across the area have formed a Solar Co-op with the help of the League of Women Voters, Solar United Neighbors of Florida, the City of St. Petersburg, and Suncoast Sierra Club. Co-ops make it easier to save money on the purchase of solar panels, while building a community of local solar supporters. Learn about solar energy, as well as how co-op membership simplifies the process of going solar while providing a discount through its bulk purchasing power. RSVP here.
TUE, JUL 10 LGBTQ PROGRAMS: Teacher and children’s book author Rob Sanders will be featured in a pair of programs at the Gulfport Public Library (5501 28th Ave S) on Tuesday July 10th in which he will read from his new children’s book, Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag. The new book has already been praised by Publishers Weekly as a “poignant and uplifting biography.” There will be one afternoon program geared to children and their families from 4 – 5pm, as well as an evening program geared to adults from 7 – 8pm. Both programs are free and open to the public and all ages.
CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS
AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON: If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. School age children are invited to participate in Summer Sundays church services. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez following Children’s Time. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

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

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Weekly Update 7 June

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, JUN 10 THIS SUNDAY: Genesis chapter 3 invites reflection about original sin.  Is the serpent guilty?  Are our eyes opened?  Come be part of exploring this foundational story of our faith. Summer Sunday services are more informal and relaxed and include the singing of favorite hymns suggested by the congregation. Children will attend the beginning of the service and may go to the Nursery following Children’s Time.
MON, JUN 11 IN MEMORIAM:  Betty Harris of the LUCC congregation and a resident of Westminster Suncoast died Sunday June 3rd.  Sincere sympathy is expressed to her family and friends. Services for Betty Harris will be held on Monday June 11 at the Hiers-Baxley Funeral Home, 910 E. Silver Springs Blvd in Ocala.  There will be a viewing from 10-11am and a service at 11:00 followed by burial in the Bushnell Cemetery. Rev. Wells will be officiating.
SAT, JUN 9 YARD SALE: New Philadelphia Ministries will hold their annual yard sale from 8am to 2pm on LUCC church grounds Saturday, June 9th. Proceeds go to fund their various mission projects.
THU, JUN 19 SINGING: Anyone interested in singing in the Interfaith Pride Service (7:00pm on June 21st at First Presbyterian Church) should go to the “y’all come sing” rehearsal in their choir room on Tuesday, June 19th at 7:00pm (701 Beach Dr NE).
SUN, JUN 24 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: The next Sunday celebrations will be held in June. This potluck lunch will give the opportunity for fellowship and celebration of May and June birthdays.
MAY-JUN THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: Ministry items for months of May and June will benefit Covenant House Florida. The items being collected are as follows:

  • Travel or trial size hygiene supplies (e.g. shampoo, body wash, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste)
  • New or used bath towels
  • Notebooks, pens and pencils
In July Wally LeBlanc will bring these items  to Covenant House Florida shelters in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. There will be a box in the back of Sanctuary where items may be placed. Thank you for all the donations thus far!
ROOF UPDATE: Roof work has begun!

NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.
OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month. Contact Ian Blair-Catala for upcoming volunteer dates.
SPECIAL VISITORS: An update on the mockingbird nest in the bush in front of the church office – the babies are getting bigger and keeping mom very busy!

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SCHOOL SHOOTER VIDEO GAME PETITION: Valve Corporation of Bellevue is planning to launch a video game on June 6 that is a school shooting simulator. This is horrific. Let the company know you think it’s wrong for them to profit from turning tragedy into entertainment and profit this way by signing this online petition.
JUN 1-30 UCC GLOBAL MINISTRIES: Introducing the Global Ministries FESTIVAL OF STORIES! It’s happening during the month of June on various online platforms . Throughout the Festival of Stories, you’ll learn about how individuals and churches are supporting Global Ministries and international partners in unique ways. You’ll also have opportunities to share stories about how you and/or your congregation, region/conference are involved, too!
FRI, JUN 8 WORLD OCEAN DAY: A free, family-friendly waterfront festival and celebration of the waters in and around Tampa Bay on Friday June 8th from 5 to 9pm at the Marine Exploration Center (250 8th Ave SE).
FRI, JUN 8 FILM: Celebrate World Oceans Day with the Suncoast Rise Above Plastics Coalition by the pool with the documentary film Straws highlighting the threat of single use plastics to the oceans. Friday, June 8th from 8 to 10pm at the downtown Hyatt (25 2nd St. N).
SAT, JUN 9 FILM: The Coral Reef Research Group will screen the documentary Chasing Coral on Saturday June 9th at 2pm at the PMFWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (100 8th Ave SE). This film will be followed by a Q&A session about Florida’s reefs with biologists from FWC, NOAA and USGS.
MON, JUN 11 POOR PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN: Join Fight for 15 Florida for a trip to Tallahassee to stand in solidarity with the Poor People’s Campaign on Monday June 11th. Reserve your seat here. Please keep Rose Robie and the others from St. Petersburg who have gone to Washington for the Poor People’s March in your prayers. They were so grateful for the financial support that the church provided. When she returns, Rose will share about her experience with the congregation.
TUE, JUN 12 DIE-IN: Keep the movement for common sense gun laws going; join March for Our Lives Tampa Bay at Marco Rubio’s office (801 N Florida Ave, Tampa) from 11am to 1pm for National Die In Day June 12th. For more information visit facebook.
TUE, JUN 12 RAPID RESPONSE TRAINING: Alarming headlines week after week remind us of the current unstable political climate, and the upcoming midterm elections have the potential to be one of the most transformation elections ever for Florida. We need to be an active force for positive change now more than ever. Equality Florida and Planned Parenthood are partnering to hold Rapid Response Corps boot camps across Florida to prepare our supporters to engage on critical issues that intersect with access to safe and legal abortion, reproductive justice, and LGBTQ equality. This training event will include a legislative update from our staff and partners, a space for questions, and a comprehensive volunteer training. Each attendee will walk away with an action plan that they can use to make their local community and the state of Florida safer and more inclusive. Saturday, June 16 from 9:00AM – 1:00PM in St. Petersburg, FL. Register here.
THU, JUN 21 INTERFAITH PRIDE SERVICE: Mark your calendars for June 21st at 7:00 PM for the interfaith pride service at First Presbyterian Church (701 Beach Dr NE). The Guest Speaker will be Imam Daayiee Abdullah, one of only 4 openly gay imams in the world.
CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS
AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON: If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. School age children are invited to participate in Summer Sundays church services. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez following Children’s Time. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

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Weekly Update 24 May

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, MAY 27 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday of Memorial Day weekend is a time to reflect on the importance of peace. Every war, every armed conflict, is explained as a way to secure peace. What do the Christian faith and human experience teach about peace? This Sunday is also the start of Summer Sundays at LUCC! Services are more informal and relaxed and include the singing of favorite hymns suggested by the congregation. Children will attend the beginning of the service and may go to the Nursery following Children’s Time which will be returning for the summer!
SUN, MAY 27 POOR PEOPLE’S MARCH: The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign is planning a march to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign and Resurrection City erected in 1968 on the National Mall. The march will begin on June 2nd from the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia and end on June 12th at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. where they will be joined by the Homeless Marathon. LUCC is supporting the local Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign’s participation in this March by making a donation to offset their travel expenses. Checks may be made out to the church with the memo Human Rights, the deadline for donations is Sunday May 27. See economichumanrights.org and facebook for more information.
WED, MAY 30 IFTAR DINNER: A reminder to all those who signed up for this dinner, it is Wednesday, 30 May from 6-9pm at the The Coliseum (535 4th Ave N).
SUN, JUN 3 ADVISORS MEETING: The advisors will meet following worship on Sunday, June 3rd. All are welcome to attend.
SUN, JUN 3 CHOIR PARTY: The choir will be having an end of the season party at Yoko’s house on Sunday June 3 from 5-10pm. Contact Yoko for more information.
SUN, JUN 24 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: The next Sunday celebrations will be held in June. This potluck lunch gives the opportunity for fellowship and celebration of May and June birthdays.
MAY-JUN THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: Ministry items for months of May and June will benefit Covenant House Florida. The items being collected are as follows:

  • Travel or trial size hygiene supplies (e.g. shampoo, body wash, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste)
  • New or used bath towels
  • Notebooks, pens and pencils
In July Wally LeBlanc will bring these items  to Covenant House Florida shelters in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. There will be a box in the back of Sanctuary where items may be placed. Thank you for all the donations thus far!
ROOF UPDATE: As I write, trees are being trimmed in preparation for the new roof, set to be installed next week. MANY THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR THEIR GENEROSITY WHICH IS MAKING THIS NEW ROOF POSSIBLE. Special thanks to the anonymous donor who inspired the generosity of the rest of the congregation!
NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.
OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month. Contact Ian Blair-Catala for upcoming volunteer dates.
SPECIAL VISITORS: A Mockingbird has made her nest in the bush in front of the church office!

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SAT, MAY 29 – JUN 3 TIBETAN MANDALAS: Tibetan monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery in India bring teachings of global peace, nonviolent conflict resolution, compassion, and wisdom. Highlighting their trip is the creation of a Sacred Sand Mandala in Florida CraftArt’s exhibition gallery (501 Central Ave). It will be on display from 29 May – 3 June. The Sacred Art Tour supports the 2,000 monks in Mundgod, India, with funds for their education, healthcare and nutrition. For more information see floridacraftart.org.
WED, JUN 6 WORKSHOP: The free “Examining Privilege” Workshop on June 6 from 10am to 3pm at the Florida Church House (9300 University Blvd. in Orlando) will feature Rev. Dr. Alice Hunt, President and Associate Professor of Biblical Hermeneutics & Religious Leadership at Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS). “Racism is the pre-eminent social justice issue of our time. The purpose of this spot is to challenge people to see the oppressive ubiquity of racism in our world — and inspire dialogue.” The registration deadline is June 4, and you can register online. Rev. Wells plans to attend, contact her if you would like to carpool.
THU, JUN 21 INTERFAITH PRIDE SERVICE: Mark your calendars for June 21st at 7:00 PM for the interfaith pride service at First Presbyterian Church (701 Beach Dr NE). The Guest Speaker will be Imam Daayiee Abdullah, one of only 4 openly gay imams in the world.
WED, MAY 30 GOING SOLAR WEBINAR: As part of the monthly Creation Justice Webinar Series, the UCC has teamed with GreenFaith to offer a webinar designed to assist churches who are interested in going solar. On May 30, the Rev. Fletcher Harper will address issues related to technology, finance, physical plant, communications and more. Sign-up today for this webinar!
JUSTICE MINISTRY EDUCATION: Join a learning community of people turning the world upside down! In June, Auburn Seminary will offer six-month training course for those who care about social justice issues and realize the importance of Florida, and in particular the I-4 corridor during the Mid Term elections this year. Gun control, immigration, equal pay, affordable housing and restoring voting rights for the formerly incarcerated are just a few of the issues facing our communities. E-mail Rev. Pritchett if you are interested in participating.
MLK VIDEO: On April 4th, 2018, the nation marked 50 years since the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In observance of the lasting impact of Dr. King’s ministry, Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City is offering a new video curriculum free of charge. Martin Luther King Jr.: Epistles & Prophets  brings together an interview with Civil Rights icon and theologian Ruby Sales and expert speakers exploring contemporary black/white relationships through writings by James Baldwin, Thomas Merton, and King that resonate powerfully today.
ONLINE PETITIONS: Urge your lawmakers to vote in ways that promote peace! Visit Equal Justice USA to support an end to the death penalty,  Move On to support a ban on military-style assault weapons and large capacity magazines, and Phone2Action to urge congress to undo the harm that mass incarceration has inflicted on families, individuals and the country.
CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS
AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON: If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. 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, Genevieve Jackle, Bill Lindsay,
Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Dee Dee Young, Willy Zessoules

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Earth Sunday at Lakewood UCC

In honor of Earth Day, the service focused on the healing of Earth and the healing of humanity. The Bible tells of a God that forgives people for the crucifixion of Jesus. Can there also be forgiveness for the damage being done to Earth? Divine forgiveness is important to the healing process. Using a Vidui (a Jewish prayer of confession) for the twenty-first century, the congregation participated in a healing ritual:

We confess our sins against the earth.
We commit ourselves to saving it.
We have assaulted our planet in countless ways
We have blamed others for the spiraling, deepening crisis
We have consumed thoughtlessly and irresponsibly
We have driven myriad species to the point of extinction
We have exhausted irreplaceable resources
We have failed to transcend borders and act unselfishly
We have given in to our many appetites and our gluttony
We have harmed beyond repair the habitats of living beings
We have ignored the signs of change in our climate and our seasons
We have jeopardized the well-being of future generations
We have known the problem but left problem-solving to others
We have lost sight of our role as God’s partners in creation
We have mocked, cynically, those who love creatures great and small
We have neglected the environment, most of all, in places of poverty
We had over-populated our cities and over-fished our oceans
We have polluted seashore and sky, fertile soil and freshwater springs
We have questioned and doubted solid evidence of danger
We have ravaged the old growth forests – ecosystems created over centuries
We have spewed poison into the bloodstream of our land: its rivers, lakes, and estuaries
We have transformed dazzling beauty into industrial ugliness
We have used shared resources for personal gain and corporate profit
We have violated the commandment “Do not destroy”
We have wasted precious treasures, our God-given gifts
We have exploited the weakest and most vulnerable in our midst

And yet we yearn to be better guardians of this earth and the fullness thereof
Let us be zealous now to care for this unique corner of the cosmos, this planet – our sacred home.

Let us be zealous now to care for this unique corner of the cosmos –
We commit ourselves to the healing of the air.
We commit ourselves to the healing of the waters.
We commit ourselves to the healing of the forests, trees, and plants.
We commit ourselves to the healing of the healing and restoration of animal life. We commit ourselves to the healing of the earth.
We commit ourselves to the healing of humanity.

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United Against Racism: Churches for Change

Available Now for Just $12!!

United Against Racism: Churches for Change

Authentic Christianity requires the loving inclusion of all God’s creation. An inclusive, beloved community is a community free from racism. United Against Racism is a call to an authentic Christianity, a religion that strives to become God’s inclusive, beloved community. It summons Christians to pray, think, and act to end racism. This resource aims to support churches, communions, and those who endeavor to share the journey of the Christian faith in the pursuit of an unfinished agenda to embody a more excellent way of racial equity. Church leaders from many backgrounds have praised United Against Racism:

 

United Against Racism is a huge gift from the church to the church. Its generative format invites every Christian and Christian community to hear the call and assume the vocation of being ambassadors of reconciliation. Without apology I encourage its wide use.

–Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer
Ohio West Episcopal Area, United Methodist Church

 

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, after marching alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., wrote, ‘When I marched in Selma, my feet are praying.’ This resource presents a compelling chorus of diverse Christian voices that will inspire our feet to pray with people of other religions and worldviews for an end to racism in our time.

–Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

It is the essential role of the church to speak out against the sin of racism and mend the persisting divides it has caused in our society. This resource is a valuable tool in provoking thoughtful responses on the meaning of repentance for the sin of racism and helpful as Christians seek to live faithfully to God’s call to love our neighbors and seek the common good.

–Jim Wallis
New York Times bestselling author, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America
President and Founder, Sojourners

 

A heartwarming and inspiring ensemble of voices inviting the Church and our nation to re-engage America’s sin of racism. The National Council of Churches spurs the conscience of every American in the quest for a more just and equal America.

–Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley
General Secretary Emeritus
American Baptist Churches USA

 

Get your copy today for the discouted price of just $12! This is a limited time offer so make sure you buy your copy soon. Special discounts are also available for orders of 10 copies or more, just email ks@natcc.us. Use it for your Sunday School class, area conference pastor gatherings, youth groups, small groups – or just use it yourself.

Order your copy online at http://bit.ly/unitedagainstracismbook

 

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Weekly Update 17 May

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, MAY 13 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday is Pentecost. It was originally a Jewish harvest festival 40 days after Passover. In the Christian church it is one of the three great festivals of the year: Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. For the church it is the celebration of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon the frightened disciples after the crucifixion marking their transformation into a bold, courageous community of faith. Christians consider Pentecost the “birthday” of the church. It is customary to wear red, the liturgical color for the Holy Spirit.

At LUCC, the service will include a “crowd sourced” sermon. The story of Pentecost tells of many people from different backgrounds hearing the good news of the gospel in their own tongue. What good news does the church have to share today? What good news do people of faith have for the world? If we think of a crowd from many different experiences, conditions, identities, and circumstances, what kinds of good news does the church have to share? Please come ready to share your thoughts!

SUN, MAY 20 GRADUATION PARTY: LUCC’S Zach Blair-Andrews will celebrate his high school graduation this Sunday! Join Zach for a luncheon/party in the church fellowship hall immediately following the service. You are invited to consider a gift to help Zach with his college education. All are welcome.
TUE, MAY 22 CREATION JUSTICE: The taskforce plans to meet on May 22, Tuesday at 3:00pm in the church library. All are welcome to attend.
SUN, MAY 27 SUMMER SUNDAYS: On Sunday May 27th summer Sundays begin. Services will be more informal and favorite hymns will be sung each week. Children will attend the beginning of the service and may go to the Nursery following Children’s Time which will be returning for the summer!
SUN, MAY 27 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: There will be no Sunday Celebrations in May because of the luncheon for Zach the week before. There will be a Sunday celebrations in June.
 MAY POOR PEOPLE’S MARCH: The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign is planning a march to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign and Resurrection City erected in 1968 on the National Mall. The march will begin on June 2nd from the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia and end on June 12th at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. where they will be joined by the Homeless Marathon. Help the local Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign participate in this March by making a donation to offset their travel expenses. Checks may be made out to the church with the memo Human Rights, donations will be collected throughout May. See economichumanrights.org and facebook for more information
MAY-JUN THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: Ministry items for months of May and June are travel or trial size hygiene supplies (e.g. shampoo, body wash, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste) these will be given to Covenant House Florida shelters in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. There will be a box in the back of Sanctuary where items may be placed.
SUN, JUN 3 ADVISORS MEETING: The advisors will meet following worship on Sunday, June 3rd. All are welcome to attend.
WED, JUN 6 WORKSHOP: The free “Examining Privilege” Workshop on June 6 from 10am to 3pm at the Florida Church House (9300 University Blvd. in Orlando) will feature Rev. Dr. Alice Hunt, President and Associate Professor of Biblical Hermeneutics & Religious Leadership at Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS). “Racism is the pre-eminent social justice issue of our time. The purpose of this spot is to challenge people to see the oppressive ubiquity of racism in our world — and inspire dialogue.” The registration deadline is June 4, and you can register online. Rev. Wells plans to attend, contact her if you would like to carpool.
NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.
OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month. Contact Ian Blair-Catala for upcoming volunteer dates.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

FRI, MAY 18 ONE CITY CHORUS: Mark your calendars for May 18th at 7:00 PM for a concert at the Allendale United Methodist Church (3803 Haines Rd). It’s free, but a goodwill collection will be taken to help support the family of Plant City construction worker Luis Blanco. After 20 (law abiding) years in the United States, Luis was deported to Mexico leaving behind a pregnant wife and six children.
SAT, MAY 19 HANDS ACROSS THE SAND 2018: On May 19, communities all over the world—including nearly 30 Southeastern coastal communities—will participate in the 9th annual Hands Across the Sand day of action by gathering at their local beach and joining hands to “draw a line in the sand.” Stand up against offshore drilling at this event by joining hands for 15 minutes at 12:00pm at Indian Rocks Beach (between 17th and 18th Ave) or Treasure Island Beach (behind the Bilmar Beach Resort).
SAT, MAY 19 FILMS AND DISCUSSION: Sea Level Rise in the Time of Climate Change will be held on Saturday, May 19th at 6pm at the Quaker Meeting House (130 19th Ave. SE). Two short films will be shown: “Major Sea Level Rise in Near Future”, a TED talk by Jason Briner, Associate Professor of Geology at the University of Buffalo and “Life in a Sea-Level Hotspot”, a newscast of interviews with local Miami residents. These films will be followed by a discussion led by Beverly Ward, Quaker Field Secretary for Earthcare. Free and open to the public, refreshments will be served. For more information, email or call 727 895-6878.
SUN, MAY 20 ALUMNI SINGERS: The Alumni Singers of St. Petersburg will have their annual Spring Concert at 4pm on Sunday May 20 at Lakewood United Methodist Church (5995 9th St S). The choir is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the African-American experience through choral arrangements of spirituals, anthems and gospel music.
WED, MAY 30 GOING SOLAR WEBINAR: As part of the monthly Creation Justice Webinar Series, the UCC has teamed with GreenFaith to offer a webinar designed to assist churches who are interested in going solar. On May 30, the Rev. Fletcher Harper will address issues related to technology, finance, physical plant, communications and more. Sign-up today for this webinar!
JUSTICE MINISTRY EDUCATION: Join a learning community of people turning the world upside down! In June, Auburn Seminary will offer six-month training course for those who care about social justice issues and realize the importance of Florida, and in particular the I-4 corridor during the Mid Term elections this year. Gun control, immigration, equal pay, affordable housing and restoring voting rights for the formerly incarcerated are just a few of the issues facing our communities. E-mail Rev. Pritchett if you are interested in participating.
MLK VIDEO: On April 4th, 2018, the nation marked 50 years since the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In observance of the lasting impact of Dr. King’s ministry, Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City is offering a new video curriculum free of charge. Martin Luther King Jr.: Epistles & Prophets  brings together an interview with Civil Rights icon and theologian Ruby Sales and expert speakers exploring contemporary black/white relationships through writings by James Baldwin, Thomas Merton, and King that resonate powerfully today.
ONLINE PETITIONS: Urge your lawmakers to vote in ways that promote peace! Visit Equal Justice USA to support an end to the death penalty,  Move On to support a ban on military-style assault weapons and large capacity magazines, and Phone2Action to urge congress to undo the harm that mass incarceration has inflicted on families, individuals and the country.
CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS
AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON: If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. 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!
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Join with the Poor People’s Campaign

 

 

We hope you will review these events by the Poor People’s Campaign and join!

Today, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival will launch a season of nonviolent moral fusion direct action in Washington, DC and across the country, and we need you to join us. In communities across America—Black, white, brown and Native—we have built a Poor People’s Campaign to become what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called “a new and unsettling force in our complacent national life.”
The Poor Peoples Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival is uniting tens of thousands of people across the country to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy and ecological devastation.  Each week of the 40 days of action will have an issue focus.

 Weekly Themes of 40 Days of Action

WEEK ONE (May 13-19) – SOMEBODY’S HURTING OUR PEOPLE: Children, Women, and People with Disabilities in Poverty
WEEK TWO (May 20-26) – LINKING SYSTEMIC RACISM AND POVERTY: Voting Rights, Immigration, Xenophobia, Islamophobia, and the Mistreatment of Indigenous Communities
WEEK THREE (May 27-June 2) – THE WAR ECONOMY: Militarism and the Proliferation of Gun Violence
WEEK FOUR (June 3-9) – THE RIGHT TO HEALTH AND A HEALTHY PLANET: Ecological Devastation and Health Care
WEEK FIVE (June 10-16) – EVERYBODY’S GOT THE RIGHT TO LIVE: Education, Living Wage Jobs, Income, Housing
WEEK SIX (June 17-22) – A NEW AND UNSETTLING FORCE: Confronting the Distorted Moral Narrative
June 23 – Global Day of Solidarity and Sending Forth Call to Action Mass Rally in Washington DC
40 Days: Weekly Schedule
Sundays: Mass Meetings: National Broadcast @TBD
Mondays: Nonviolent Moral Fusion Direct Action @ 2 pm in State Capitols
Tuesdays: Teaching Tuesdays – National Webinar 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm EST
Thursdays: Theomusicology and Movements Arts Culture
By engaging in highly publicized, nonviolent moral fusion direct action, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival will force a serious national examination of the enmeshed evils of systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and our distorted moral narrative. These enmeshed evils know no boundaries. That’s why we need people who care about this nation to build something better.
 

Action Kit

###

Serving as a leading voice of witness to the living Christ in the public square since 1950, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) brings together 38 member communions and more than 40 million Christians in a common commitment to God’s love and promise of unity.

NCC News contact: Steven D. Martin: 202.412.4323 or steven.martin@nationalcouncilofchurches.us.

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Text of the anthem, “The Lost”

Recently, at the request of a few folk, I posted the text I wrote for an anthem the choir sang. There were several very positive, and quite unexpected, responses to the post.

I’ve only ever consider myself a lyricist-by-necessity, since anthems need texts and I’m too cheap to pay for new ones and to lazy to go to the trouble of applying for copyright permission. So…I’m amazed that anyone would show an interests in my anthem (hymn, song) texts.

Here’s another one, and it’s sung to an original tune. The choir has done it a few times.


As the sheep wandered lost ‘midst the cold and the dark.
it did hear its shepherd’s voice and know that love was near.
Peace and closeness and safety as it felt the embrace
and was lifted and carried to a home free of fear.

And the coin once lost that is valued and prized
by the woman who sweeps her home,
has been found and shown to the neighbors in joy
as she holds her lamp up high.

And the child returned from a life of despair
now is fêted and welcomed home,
for the acts that matter are not our mistakes
but our taking the gift that’s giv’n,

that we not push away God’s love…
that we not push away God’s love.

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Weekly Update 10 May

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, MAY 13 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday, Mother’s Day, the service includes the opportunity for the naming of Mothers. Come be part of this celebration of A Mother’s Love. At the request of someone in the congregation, Rev. Wells will be preaching on the theme “Why Women Voted for Trump.” Several people in the congregation have mentioned that they do not like to hear or use the word “Trump.” There will not be heavy use of the word in the sermon despite the topic.
SUN, MAY 13 MISSION: This Sunday there will also be a Moment for Mission about the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. This is the initiative that drew Dr. Martin Luther King to the March on Washington in June of 1968. In honor of the 50th anniversary, there will be another poor people’s march on Washington in June. A delegation from the local Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign will be going. The LUCC Advisors have decided to encourage the congregation to financially support the efforts of the local group to attend the March. Donations will be received to help defray the expenses of the folks going from St. Pete to participate in DC. Checks may be made out to the church with the memo Human Rights. Or put a donation in an envelope and write Human Rights on the envelope. Donations will be received through the end of May. See economichumanrights.org and facebook for more information
MAY 13 – 19 FAMILY PROMISE: LUCC is serving as a support congregation at Lakewood Methodist Church the week of May 13th. If you would like to become involved in this important ministry helping homeless families with children achieve financial stability, please speak with LUCC Family Promise Coordinator Patti Cooksey.
SUN, MAY 20 PENTECOST: Sunday May 20 is the annual observance of Pentecost. This is a Christian holy day honoring the story of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon the friends of Jesus who then invited others to be part of the Jesus community. See the story in the second chapter of Acts. The liturgical color for the Holy Spirit is red, so Pentecost is a Sunday to wear red if you would like to! The followers of Jesus extolled “God’s deeds of power.” During the service, there will be a time for the congregation to say something about the power of faith. How is the way of Jesus needed in the world today? How do we see faith at work for good in the world? Please consider sharing your thoughts on Sunday May 20 during morning worship.
SUN, MAY 20 NEW MEMBERS: The church is planning to receive new members on Pentecost Sunday May 20. Those considering church membership may speak with Rev. Wells.
SUN, MAY 20 GRADUATION PARTY: LUCC’S Zach Blair-Andrews will celebrate his high school graduation on Sunday, May 20th! Join Zach for a luncheon/party in the church fellowship hall immediately following the service.You are invited to consider a gift to help Zach with his college education. All are welcome.
SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: There will be no Sunday Celebrations in May because of the luncheon for Zach the week before. There will be a Sunday celebrations in June.
TUE, MAY 22 CREATION JUSTICE: The taskforce plans to meet on May 22, Tuesday at 3:00pm in the church library. All are welcome to attend.
SUN, MAY 27 SUMMER SUNDAYS: On Sunday May 27th summer Sundays begin. Services will be more informal and favorite hymns will be sung each week. Children will attend the beginning of the service and may go to the Nursery following Children’s Time which will be returning for the summer!
AWARD: LUCC’s Yoko Nogami’s student won an award for his art that includes a scholarship for his continuing education. See wtsp.com for a short video featuring Yoko and her student. Congratulations!
NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.
OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month. Contact Ian Blair-Catala for upcoming volunteer dates.
BOXES: Ed Kaspar is moving and needs boxes, get in touch with him if you can help out.
LAPTOP: The church was able to meet Christy’s need for a laptop for her daughters. Thanks to all who offered to help out!

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, May 10 FILM AND TALK: The Florida Holocaust Museum presents a special screening of Lea and Mira, followed by a Holocaust Survivor talk at 6:30pm tonight, May 10th at The Studio@620 (620 1st Ave S). Lea and Mira, a Spanish film with English subtitles, tells the story of two elderly Polish Jewish women living in Argentina who were taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp as children. The movie depicts the thoughts of these two Holocaust Survivors: their wisdom, their resilience, and their way of looking at the world and life after trauma and horror. Following the film, local Holocaust Survivor Pieter Kohnstam will share his personal experience of escaping Nazi Europe to Argentina. Pieter was born in the Netherlands and lived in the same building as Anne Frank and her family. When his family was scheduled for transport to Theresienstadt, they fled Amsterdam and arrived in Argentina one year later in 1943. To reserve your seat, call 727.820.0100 ext. 301. This program is free and open to the public.
FRI, MAY 18 ONE CITY CHORUS: Mark your calendars for May 18th at 7:00 PM for a concert at the Allendale United Methodist Church (3803 Haines Rd). It’s free, but a goodwill collection will be taken to help support the family of Plant City construction worker Luis Blanco. After 20 (law abiding) years in the United States, Luis was deported to Mexico leaving behind a pregnant wife and six children.
SUN, MAY 20 ALUMNI SINGERS: The Alumni Singers of St. Petersburg will have their annual Spring Concert at 4pm on Sunday May 20 at Lakewood United Methodist Church (5995 9th St S). The choir is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the African-American experience through choral arrangements of spirituals, anthems and gospel music.
WED, MAY 30 IFTAR DINNER:  On Wednesday, May 30th at The Coliseum (535 4th Ave N) Mayor Rick Kriseman and Muslim leaders from throughout Tampa Bay will host the 2nd Annual Iftar dinner welcoming residents of all faiths to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset. Doors open at 6pm, prayer at sundown (8:21pm). Sign up in the narthex if you plan to attend by May 13th.
WED, MAY 30 GOING SOLAR WEBINAR: As part of the monthly Creation Justice Webinar Series, the UCC has teamed with GreenFaith to offer a webinar designed to assist churches who are interested in going solar. On May 30, the Rev. Fletcher Harper will address issues related to technology, finance, physical plant, communications and more. Sign-up today for this webinar!
JUN 2-12 MARCH: The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign is planning a march to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign and Resurrection City erected in 1968 on the National Mall. The march will begin on June 2nd from the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia and end on June 12th at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. where they will be joined by the Homeless Marathon. Sign up to join the Poor People’s March.
JUSTICE MINISTRY EDUCATION: Join a learning community of people turning the world upside down! In June, Auburn Seminary will offer six-month training course for those who care about social justice issues and realize the importance of Florida, and in particular the I-4 corridor during the Mid Term elections this year. Gun control, immigration, equal pay, affordable housing and restoring voting rights for the formerly incarcerated are just a few of the issues facing our communities. E-mail Rev. Pritchett if you are interested in participating.
MLK VIDEO: On April 4th, 2018, the nation marked 50 years since the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In observance of the lasting impact of Dr. King’s ministry, Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City is offering a new video curriculum free of charge. Martin Luther King Jr.: Epistles & Prophets  brings together an interview with Civil Rights icon and theologian Ruby Sales and expert speakers exploring contemporary black/white relationships through writings by James Baldwin, Thomas Merton, and King that resonate powerfully today.
ONLINE PETITIONS: Urge your lawmakers to vote in ways that promote peace! Visit Equal Justice USA to support an end to the death penalty,  Move On to support a ban on military-style assault weapons and large capacity magazines, and Phone2Action to urge congress to undo the harm that mass incarceration has inflicted on families, individuals and the country.
CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS
AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON: If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. 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, Genevieve Jackle, Bill Lindsay, Shirley Locke,
Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Antin Young, Willy Zessoules

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Weekly Update 3 May

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, MAY 6 THIS SUNDAY: The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news if it is good news for everyone not just some people. A beautiful story from Acts reminds us of the lavish scope of the gospel. See Acts 8:26-40.
SUN, MAY 6 COMMUNION: All are welcome to participate in communion at Lakewood UCC, children at the discretion of the adults who brought them. The communion offering goes to the Special Needs Fund which is used to help people in our community and the congregation with basic necessities such as food, rent, utilities, and prescription medication costs. Please be generous as you are able.
SUN, MAY 6 ADVISORS MEETING: The Advisors will meet following worship on Sunday, all are welcome to attend.
SUN, MAY 6 THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: Wally LeBlanc will have cards available for sale on Sun. May 6th. The mission for May card sales is Lakewood Methodist Counseling Center. Ministry item for months of May and June is travel or trial size hygiene supplies (e.g. shampoo, body wash, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste) these will be given to Covenant House Florida shelters in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. There will be a box in the back of Sanctuary for items to be placed in.
LAPTOP TO DONATE: Does anyone have a laptop they can donate to Christy Martin? Her daughters could really use one for their homework assignments.
SUN, MAY 13 MOTHER’S DAY: On Sunday May 13, the service will include the Naming of Mothers. Those who would like to will have the opportunity to name those who have offered mothering love and support. Also, Rev. Wells was asked to preach a sermon about why women voted for Donald Trump. She will offer some thoughts about this on Mother’s Day.
MAY 13 – 19 FAMILY PROMISE: LUCC is serving as a support congregation at Lakewood Methodist Church the week of May 13th. If you would like to become involved in this important ministry helping homeless families with children achieve financial stability, please speak with LUCC Family Promise Coordinator Patti Cooksey.
SUN, MAY 20 PENTECOST: Sunday May 20 is the annual observance of Pentecost. This is a Christian holy day honoring the story of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon the friends of Jesus who then invited others to be part of the Jesus community. See the story in the second chapter of Acts. The liturgical color for the Holy Spirit is red, so Pentecost is a Sunday to wear red if you would like to! The followers of Jesus extolled “God’s deeds of power.” During the service, there will be a time for the congregation to say something about the power of faith. How is the way of Jesus needed in the world today? How do we see faith at work for good in the world? Please consider sharing your thoughts on Sunday May 20 during morning worship.
SUN, MAY 20 NEW MEMBERS: The church is planning to receive new members on Pentecost Sunday May 20. Those considering church membership may speak with Rev. Wells.
SUN, MAY 20 GRADUATION PARTY: LUCC’S Zach Blair-Andrews will celebrate his high school graduation on Sunday, May 20th! Join Zach for a luncheon/party in the church fellowship hall immediately following the service.You are invited to consider a gift to help Zach with his college education. All are welcome.
TUE, MAY 22 CREATION JUSTICE: The taskforce plans to meet on May 22, Tuesday at 3:00pm in the church library. All are welcome to attend.
SUN, MAY 27 SUMMER SUNDAYS: On Sunday May 27th summer Sundays begin. Services will be more informal and favorite hymns will be sung each week. Children will attend the beginning of the service and may go to the Nursery following Children’s Time which will be returning for the summer!
AWARD: LUCC’s Charles Lewis recently received the E.F. Lindquist Award in educational measurement. This award is presented jointly by American Educational Research Association and ACT in recognition of outstanding applied or theoretical research in the field of testing and measurement. Congratulations!
NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SAT, May 5 CLEAN CLAM BAYOU: Come help clean this park in Gulfport (Miriam St) on Saturday, 5 May at 10am. Tools and garbage bags provided.
FRI, MAY 18 ONE CITY CHORUS: Mark your calendars for May 18th at 7:00 PM for a concert at the Allendale United Methodist Church (3803 Haines Rd). It’s free, but a goodwill collection will be taken to help support the family of Plant City construction worker Luis Blanco. After 20 (law abiding) years in the United States, Luis was deported to Mexico leaving behind a pregnant wife and six children.
SUN, MAY 20 ALUMNI SINGERS: The Alumni Singers of St. Petersburg will have their annual Spring Concert at 4pm on Sunday May 20 at Lakewood United Methodist Church (5995 9th St S). The choir is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the African-American experience through choral arrangements of spirituals, anthems and gospel music.
WED, MAY 30 IFTAR DINNER:  On Wednesday, May 30th at The Coliseum (535 4th Ave N) Mayor Rick Kriseman and Muslim leaders from throughout Tampa Bay will host the 2nd Annual Iftar dinner welcoming residents of all faiths to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset. Doors open at 6pm, prayer at sundown (8:21pm). Sign up in the narthex if you plan to attend by May 13th.
JUSTICE MINISTRY EDUCATION: Join a learning community of people turning the world upside down! In June, Auburn Seminary will offer six-month training course for those who care about social justice issues and realize the importance of Florida, and in particular the I-4 corridor during the Mid Term elections this year. Gun control, immigration, equal pay, affordable housing and restoring voting rights for the formerly incarcerated are just a few of the issues facing our communities. E-mail Rev. Pritchett if you are interested in participating.
MLK VIDEO: On April 4th, 2018, the nation marked 50 years since the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In observance of the lasting impact of Dr. King’s ministry, Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City is offering a new video curriculum free of charge. Martin Luther King Jr.: Epistles & Prophets  brings together an interview with Civil Rights icon and theologian Ruby Sales and expert speakers exploring contemporary black/white relationships through writings by James Baldwin, Thomas Merton, and King that resonate powerfully today.
ONLINE PETITIONS: Urge your lawmakers to vote in ways that promote peace! Visit Equal Justice USA to support an end to the death penalty,  Move On to support a ban on military-style assault weapons and large capacity magazines, and Phone2Action to urge congress to undo the harm that mass incarceration has inflicted on families, individuals and the country.
CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS
AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON: If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. 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, Genevieve Jackle, Bill Lindsay, Shirley Locke,
Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Willy Zessoules

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Text of the anthem, “Fully Known”

There have been several requests for the text of the anthem the choir sang Sunday, “Fully Known.” Here it is…

Immortalized, sung, painted,
the Easter stories tell
when at the grave Christ met her,
until He said her name,
that Mary felt known fully
and recognized Him well.
For in the name there’s knowing.
whence people truly came.

He’s known for fully knowing
what others not remark,
or we ourselves have falsely
not credited our worth.
In Him is a true knowing,
in full not just in part,
the full sense of our being
His loving gives love birth.

In story after story
his love for us is shown:
as with no condemnation
the woman at the well
is giv’n the living water
e’vn though her past is known.
And as with us he knows this,
as living waters tell.

Zacchaeus is another.
So too the woman scorned.
As is the rich young ruler.
The thieves received goodwill
as Jesus fully knew them.
So too are we adored,
known fully and loved fully,
Christ Jesus loves us still.

© 2018 Kim P. Wells & Hilton Kean Jones

It’s sung to the old Irish tune, “Sally Gardens.” The words are based on this past Easter Sunrise Service sermon of Rev. Kim Wells. The text of that sermon can be read here: http://lakewooducc.org/2018/04/01/sermon-easter-sunrise-fully-known-fully-loved/.

As you will clearly see if your read her sermon, the poem I wrote for the anthem is based entirely on Kim’s premise and order of construction and contains so many fragments of her sentences, that the only honorable thing to do is to credit her as co-author of this poem, for without her thoughts and words the poem would not exit!

–Hilton

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Weekly Update 26 April

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, APR 29 THIS SUNDAY: What does it mean to love? We use the word all the time but what does it mean? There are some thoughts about this in 1 John 3:16-24. How might the world be different if Christians routinely quoted 1 John 3:16 instead of John 3:16?
SUN, APR 29 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS:  On Sunday April 29 there will be a luncheon following morning worship hosted by the Creation Justice Taskforce. Please bring salads, vegetables, and desserts to share. The main dish will be provided. During lunch, Claire Stiles will offer a presentation that she has prepared on sea level rise in the Tampa Bay area. This is a very stimulating and provocative topic Claire has researched. Plan to come and see this challenge from new perspectives. All are welcome!
SUN, MAY 6 THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: Wally LeBlanc will have cards available for sale on Sun. May 6th. The mission for May card sales is Lakewood Methodist Counseling Center.
THU, MAY 10 MEETING: The Creation Justice Taskforce will meet May 10 at 11am in the Church Library. All are welcome to attend.
SUN, MAY 20 GRADUATION PARTY: LUCC’S Zach Blair-Andrews will celebrate his high school graduation on Sunday, May 20th! Join Zach for a luncheon/party in the church fellowship hall immediately following the service. All are welcome.
SUN, MAY 20 NEW MEMBERS: The church is planning to receive new members on Pentecost Sunday May 20. Those considering church membership may speak with Rev. Wells.
NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, APR 26 ENVIRONMENTAL FILM: A Plastic Ocean: A Screening & Discussion with Natural Resources Agent, Lara Milligan will be held April 26 from 6:30 to 8:30pm at the Seminole Campus Digitorium of St. Petersburg College (9200 113th St. N, Seminole). Seating is limited and online registration is requested or call 727-394-6942 for more information.
THU, APR 26 ECKERD LECTURE: Delores Huerta will be speaking at Eckerd College on April 26. The 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom winner has spent her life organizing and advocating on behalf of the disenfranchised. From gathering her students’ parents into a labor movement that would become the National Farmworkers Association to working alongside Gloria Steinem to get more women into office, Huerta’s eight-decade life is a testament to the work and commitment social activism requires. This living legend and labor icon will share her story and thoughts with the Eckerd community during this special event on Thursday, April 26th at 7:30pm in Fox Hall.
FRI, APR 27 VISUAL ACTIVISM: USF St. Petersburg graphic design students will be taking over The Studio@620 (620 1st Ave S) Friday night from 5-9pm for their senior exhibition. “Re:spond” is a collective call to action from newly minted graphic designers. The exhibition highlights innovative responses to issues ranging from cultural appropriation to cures for the common loneliness. “Re:spond” defines itself through a variety of forms and diversity of media, including video, photography, code-based works, and performance. Admission is free and open to the public.
APR 28-29 GREEN THUMB FESTIVAL: Join in the fun and excitement on April 28 and 29, from 9am to 4pm at Walter Fuller Park (7891 26th Ave. N). The festival features: Environmental and horticultural exhibits and vendors, Diagnostic soil and water sample clinic, Recycling rally, Children’s Tree Climbing, Garden Wagon Parade, Free mulch, Variety of environmental programs, Food court and more.
SUN, APR 29 CLIMATE CHANGE PANEL: The Buddhist Climate Action Network is very happy to welcome Heather Lyn Mann and to sponsor an interfaith conversation on Sunday, April 29th from 6:30 to 8:30pm at the Tampa Friends Meeting House (1502 W. Sligh Ave.). This panel discussion features an interfaith cross-section of religious and thought leaders interested in developing an effective, spiritual response to the climate challenge. Be part of the conversation to hear about transformative initiatives in America’s coastal cities, and discover how faith communities of all kinds are joining together to re-frame the climate challenge not merely as a scientific, economic, or political crisis but as a spiritual opportunity. Kim Wells plans to attend, contact her if you would like to carpool.
MON, APR 30 JUSTICE DOCUMENTARY: On April 30th at 10:00, PBS will air the television premiere of Jamie Meltzer’s documentary True Conviction, which follows the detective agency started by Christopher Scott, the late Johnnie Lindsey, and Steven Phill—three wrongly convicted Dallas men who were exonerated after spending a combined 60 years in prison—as they work to attempt to free death-sentenced Max Soffar and other wrongly convicted prisoners. Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, co-founders and co-directors of the Innocence Project have hailed the film as “unprecedented” in its approach, “focusing on the experiences of a group of exonerees who are themselves learning to investigate” and “highlight[ing] the challenges and roadblocks of investigating and proving another man’s innocence.”
WED, MAY 30 IFTAR DINNER:  On Wednesday, May 30th at The Coliseum (535 4th Ave N) Mayor Rick Kriseman and Muslim leaders from throughout Tampa Bay will host the 2nd Annual Iftar dinner welcoming residents of all faiths to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset. Doors open at 6pm, prayer at sundown (8:21pm). Sign up in the narthex if you plan to attend.
JUSTICE MINISTRY EDUCATION: Join a learning community of people turning the world upside down! In June, Auburn Seminary will offer six-month training course for those who care about social justice issues and realize the importance of Florida, and in particular the I-4 corridor during the Mid Term elections this year. Gun control, immigration, equal pay, affordable housing and restoring voting rights for the formerly incarcerated are just a few of the issues facing our communities. E-mail Rev. Pritchett if you are interested in participating.
MLK VIDEO: On April 4th, 2018, the nation marked 50 years since the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In observance of the lasting impact of Dr. King’s ministry, Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City is offering a new video curriculum free of charge. Martin Luther King Jr.: Epistles & Prophets  brings together an interview with Civil Rights icon and theologian Ruby Sales and expert speakers exploring contemporary black/white relationships through writings by James Baldwin, Thomas Merton, and King that resonate powerfully today.
ONLINE PETITIONS: Urge your lawmakers to vote in ways that promote peace! Visit Equal Justice USA to support an end to the death penalty,  Move On to support a ban on military-style assault weapons and large capacity magazines, and Phone2Action to urge congress to undo the harm that mass incarceration has inflicted on families, individuals and the country.
CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS
AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: Wally LeBlanc will have cards available for sale on Sun. May 6th. The mission for May card sales is Lakewood Methodist Counseling Center. Ministry item for months of March and April is deodorant, these will be given to Daystar to be used for their work. There will be a box in the back of Sanctuary for items to be placed in.
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON: If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. 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, Genevieve Jackle, Bill Lindsay, Shirley Locke,
Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Amaiya Washington, Willy Zessoules

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Gibbs Students Create a Powerful Memorial for Victims of School Shootings

LUCC Members Yoko Nogami and Roxanne McGlashan worked with students at the Pinellas County Center of the Arts at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg to turn the lobby of the school’s theater into an extension of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris for the school’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, staged through Friday at 7pm. Portraits of 103 students and staffers who were the victims of school shootings, from the 1999 columbine High School shooting to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS are part of the installation. For tickets call (727) 893-5452, ext. 2029.

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Amaiya Awarded Take Stock in Children Scholarship!!

On April 10th at the Coliseum, Lakewood’s own Amaiya Washington was inducted into the Take Stock in Children scholarship program in a ceremony attended by the Mayor and the Superintendent for Pinellas county schools. She will be provided college tuition funds when the time comes, but this comprehensive program offers much more including mentors  and enrichment activities designed to prepare her to succeed in College. We’re all very proud of you Amaiya, keep up the good work!

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Sermon 50th Anniversary – Rev. Angela V. Wells

Scripture Lesson: Colossians 3:12-17
Sermon: A Third Way
Pastor: Rev. Angela V. Wells

I went to Union Theological Seminary in New York City for graduate school from 2009-2012. My entering class had probably 150 or so people in it. The first-year Master of Divinity students took a lot of classes together, including Introduction to the Old Testament, Introduction to the New Testament, Systematic Theology, Church History, and so on and so forth.

During our class discussions, and in the library, and other informal gatherings around campus, I could see that my classmates were struggling in a way that I was not. Now, I was no expert, I was one of the youngest in our class, fresh out of college. I had less life experience and formal education than many of the people in our entering class, so I tried to figure out what in the world these people were grappling with that I… wasn’t.

It turned out that many of my classmates were raised in Christian traditions that were, well, suffice it to say, different from the context in which I was raised. They were from the Presbyterian Church, the Lutheran Church, the American Baptist church, the Episcopal church, the Methodist church, the African Methodist Episcopal church and the list went on. What I eventually came to understand was that my classmates were struggling with trying to reconcile what they’d been taught in their home churches with what they were learning in seminary.

At home, they had either implicitly or explicitly been taught that Christianity was the only right way, now in seminary, we were being taught classes by a man named Paul Knitter, who wrote a book entitled, Without Buddha, I Could Not Be a Christian. At home, they’d been taught that the Gospel stories about Jesus’ life were historically accurate, that these events, these miracles literally took place.

In seminary, we were being taught that the different Gospel accounts of the same stories were written at different times, by different people, with different political motivations. So these facts made it really hard for anyone to know what literally took place, what didn’t, and how Jesus’ life actually played out. Not to mention the fact that in our language classes, we were learning that one Hebrew or Greek word could have upwards of 10 or more English equivalents, and the English word that the biblical translator chose could significantly affect the meaning of the whole sentence or larger story. AND, remember that the first texts written down, Paul’s writings, were written starting about 30 years after Jesus died, so we can be pretty sure that none of the Gospel accounts were written by first-hand witnesses because they were all long dead by the time any of this was put on paper.

I was fine with all this information. I absorbed it, with varying levels of enthusiasm or interest, but I certainly wasn’t bothered by any of it, I wasn’t struggling with this new information. But my classmates were another story. Some of them were even having crises of faith, questioning all that they’d been taught in their churches up to that point, questioning so many of the sermons they’d heard, Bible studies they’d sat through, and so on. They were trying to figure out whether what they’d been taught by beloved pastors, mentors, parents, friends, and Sunday School teachers was “right,” or what they were learning in seminary was “right,” because they couldn’t reconcile the two.

My experience was vastly different. What I was learning in seminary completely aligned with all that I had been raised with. It resonated with the sermons I heard, the family discussions we had around the dinner table. All the puzzle pieces fit together for me.

For example, one day, in our Preaching and Worship class, our professor spent the day talking about the hymnal that we used in our chapel at seminary, also the hymnal that you all use, the New Century Hymnal. She talked about the controversy over changing the words to hymns. She talked about the theological reasoning behind removing militaristic imagery and regal imagery like king and kingdom. She talked about why they removed the word Lord and didn’t use the male pronoun for God in any of the hymns, unless the female pronoun was used as well. Some of my classmates were aghast, they thought this was sacrilegious. The editors had butchered their beloved hymns that they had memorized from childhood.

I sheepishly raised my hand and offered another perspective. I told them that I was raised with this hymnal. That my home church didn’t use male pronouns for God and I liked that our hymnal’s vocabulary matched the language we used in the rest of the service. I said that the words to the beloved hymns that I had memorized were the words of the New Century Hymnal. They were my “original” version of the hymns. The new way, the new vocabulary, it wasn’t new to me, because it was all I knew.

They say that you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone, and I can admit that I didn’t fully appreciate Lakewood until I was exposed to the wider world of churches and Christianity. You see, this church is a gift to Christianity because in a black and white world of dichotomies and either/ors, Lakewood presents a third way. I didn’t know it was a third way until much later in life, because, during my childhood it as all I knew, I thought it was just how church was done. But most Christians in the world know of two ways, and the problem is that an increasing number of people can’t see themselves in either of those two ways. The third way is a lifeline for people who are seeking something, who want to be part of a Christian community, but can’t find belonging in either of the two ways our society offers. So, what are these two ways?

The first way is dogmatic Christianity as we hear about it in the news and from traditional/conservative preachers and public speakers. It’s the Christianity, which professes that Jesus is God-incarnate and rose from the dead on the third day. This Christianity professes the doctrinal truth of the trinity, that God is 3-in-one, Father, Holy Spirit, and Son. This Christianity subscribes to substitutionary atonement, or the belief that Jesus died to take away the sins of the world, to atone for the original sin that Adam and Eve committed. This Christianity teaches that God loved the world so much that God sent his only son to die for us. This Christianity usually takes the Bible literally, lifting it up as the inerrant word of God. This Christianity professes that God is a theistic being which created the world and still has control over something so vast as the cosmos and something so minute as our individual lives. This Christianity teaches that prayer is a way to appeal to, or talk to this God. We ask for what we want and if we don’t get it, it’s because we are not faithful enough, didn’t pray hard enough, or it’s just not God’s will for us.

I can understand if some of this is making you bristle or cringe, which is why you feel at home at Lakewood and not any of the other thousands of churches in our country. Lots of people who are looking for a community of faith can’t get on board with most of this, regardless of whether they were raised Christian. They can’t subscribe to the magical thinking, suspension of reason and logic, ignorance of historical and scientific truths, not to mention the exclusiveness of it, because in this first way, Christianity is the only way. So, people who just can’t be part of this faith tradition, they either cobble together something on their own such as “spiritual but not religious,” or they do away with all of it and call themselves an Atheist.

This is the second way. Such people back up their argument with all the statistics about how many wars have been fought in the name of religion, and that we’d be better off not having any organized religion at all. They might tell you how religious people meddle in politics to the detriment of society and, by the way, there is no God, so let’s stop pretending there is and just get rid of all houses of worship.

I can understand if this second way also makes you cringe because, since you are part of a faith community, I presume you see the value in it. You see the importance of coming together with people that have the same values to celebrate all that is good in the world, lament when things aren’t good, and work together to change them. We happen to do all this in the name of Jesus, whom we follow.

This is the third way that Lakewood is following, which is a lifeline to people who want to be part of a faith tradition, who want to be part of a community that recognizes all that around us is sacred and so we’re committed to protecting it for the sake of all life.

You all engage our Holy Scriptures, but you don’t believe that critiquing them, questioning them, or learning about their origins is somehow threatening to their inherent worth. The fact that you all can say that the Bible is valuable because of all that it teaches us through its stories, not because it’s historically accurate or because it was written by God through men, is revolutionary.

The fact that you all engage scientific advancements as being amazing and awe-inspiring because they reveal more and more to us about the vast, unknown universe, and that science isn’t threatening to our beliefs but reinforces what we know to be true, that we are not the center of the universe, is reassuring and humbling.

The fact that you all don’t ask people to check their critical thinking skills or their rationality at the door, and that you all put on your shoes and use your hands and turn your “thoughts and prayers” into action, you all are what Christianity needs.

If the church continues to insist that people buy into the first way, well, Christianity might continue to exist in some form, but it’ll be small and irrelevant because most people won’t buy into the that myth anymore. But if we continue to expand the third way, that people can have a faith practice that aligns with their worldview and encourages their political participation, in the name of following Jesus, then the church will thrive in the future.

Lakewood is so needed at this moment in time, because you all, church and pastor, encourage engaging our faith with our lived reality. As the famous theologian Karl Barth said that, “one must do theology with the Bible in one hand, and the newspaper in the other.”

Now, I know that Lakewood is a small church, always has been for as long as I have been around. But I lovingly call it “the little church that could.” Because I know you all worry about finances and getting a new roof and paying bills and staff salaries, and maybe there have been times when you’ve wondered whether Lakewood could stay solvent long enough to have a future.

Well let me tell you, it’s lonely at the front. You are at the forefront of a religious sea change, the rest of us just haven’t caught up yet. The third way that this congregation offers is life-giving to people who are longing for community, critical thinking and social justice through following Jesus Christ.
Don’t tell my church this, but you’re also having an impact up north because a lot of what I do, and much of the information that I share with my colleagues in the Boston area, is inspired by what you all are doing, down here. So your influence extends far and wide beyond St. Pete.

Sometimes the future might seem bleak, and the road ahead won’t always be easy, but it is necessary for the future of our faith. So please, keep being you, keep being trail-blazers, because the rest of us, who also are seeking a 3rd way, we are looking to you all to set the pace.

Thanks be to God for this community of faith, Lakewood United Church of Christ, as it was, as it is, and as it is yet to be. Amen.

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Weekly Update 19 April

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, APR 22 THIS SUNDAY: In honor of Earth Day, the service will focus on the healing of Earth and the healing of humanity. The Bible tells of a God that forgives people for the crucifixion of Jesus. Can there also be forgiveness for the damage being done to Earth? Divine forgiveness is important to the healing process. The gathering Sunday will be a refreshing time of healing.
NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.
SUN, APR 15 ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: The culmination of the 50th Anniversary celebration last week was a great success! If you missed it, be sure to listen to Rev. Angela Wells’ sermon and check out these great pictures from the event. Many thanks to the Anniversary committee (Mark Gibson, Bill Parsons, Lucille Ruga, Earl Waters, and Kim Wells), Anniversary Sponsors (Mark Gibson, Ed Kaspar, Martha Lamar, Charlie and Mary Beth Lewis, Bill Parsons, Don Ritchie, Lucille Ruga, Earl Waters, Kim and Jeff Wells) and the many others who helped including Sally Purvis, Emily and Bob Bell, Fran Whitney, Ruth Pettis, Claire Stiles, Yoko Nogami, Marg Radens, Dina Gamma, Denise Williams, Zach Blair-Andrews, Jim Andrews, Christy Martin, Vita uth, and the children of LUCC.
APR 18-20 CATHEDRAL OF REMEMBRANCE: LUCC Member Yoko Nogami and her students at the Pinellas County Center of the Arts at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg have turned the lobby of the school’s theater into an extension of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris for the school’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, staged through Friday at 7pm. Portraits of 103 students and staffers who were the victims of school shootings, from the 1999 columbine High School shooting to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS are part of the installation. For tickets call (727) 893-5452, ext. 2029.
SUN, MAY 20 NEW MEMBERS: The church is planning to receive new members on Pentecost Sunday May 20. Those considering church membership may speak with Rev. Wells.
SUN, APR 29 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS:  On Sunday April 29 there will be a luncheon following morning worship hosted by the Creation Justice Taskforce. Please bring salads, vegetables, and desserts to share. The main dish will be provided. During lunch, Claire Stiles will offer a presentation that she has prepared on sea level rise in the Tampa Bay area. This is a very stimulating and provocative topic Claire has researched. Plan to come and see this challenge from new perspectives. All are welcome!

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, APR 19 GUN CONTROL ACTION: Support Mayor Kriseman today! He is asking St. Pete City Council to approve his proposal that St. Petersburg join together with other Florida cities in a lawsuit against Rick Scott to allow municipalities to pass gun control legislation that may be more restrictive than state policy. Fired Up Pinellas has asked that we pack the city council chambers wearing orange to show support. Arrive at 2:45pm to go through security, the council meeting begins at 3pm. See facebook for more information. If you are unable to attend, write to the council by following the link on their webpage:  stpete.org/council.
JUSTICE MINISTRY EDUCATION: Join a learning community of people turning the world upside down! In June, Auburn Seminary will offer six-month training course for those who care about social justice issues and realize the importance of Florida, and in particular the I-4 corridor during the Mid Term elections this year. Gun control, immigration, equal pay, affordable housing and restoring voting rights for the formerly incarcerated are just a few of the issues facing our communities. E-mail Rev. Pritchett if you are interested in participating.
MLK VIDEO: On April 4th, 2018, the nation marked 50 years since the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In observance of the lasting impact of Dr. King’s ministry, Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City is offering a new video curriculum free of charge. Martin Luther King Jr.: Epistles & Prophets  brings together an interview with Civil Rights icon and theologian Ruby Sales and expert speakers exploring contemporary black/white relationships through writings by James Baldwin, Thomas Merton, and King that resonate powerfully today.
ONLINE PETITIONS: Urge your lawmakers to vote in ways that promote peace! Visit Equal Justice USA to support an end to the death penalty,  Move On to support a ban on military-style assault weapons and large capacity magazines, and Phone2Action to urge congress to undo the harm that mass incarceration has inflicted on families, individuals and the country.
THU, APR 19 ENVIRONMENTAL FILM: St Pete Earth Day, the Suncoast Sierra Club and The St Petersburg Museum of History will screen The Age of Consequences Thursday, April 19th at the St Petersburg Museum of History (335 2nd Ave. NE). The film explores how climate change impacts resource scarcity, migration and conflict through the lens of US national security and global stability. Social begins at 6:00 PM – Heavy hors d’oeuvres, desserts and a cash bar. Panel Discussion Begins at 6:30pm, Movie Begins at 7:00pm and ends at 8:30pm. This is a FREE event, donations are gratefully accepted at the door. RSVP Requested.
THU, APR 19 GUN VIOLENCE RALLY: On the anniversary of City of the Columbine High School shooting, students in Pinellas county will join others across the nation in a school walkout to protest government inaction on gun violence. On April 20th at noon public and private school students are encouraged to gather in front of St. Petersburg City Hall for a rally and to register to vote. Hear from student leaders, Mayor Rick Kriseman, and other officials and register to vote. Street parking available along 1st Avenue N, 2nd Avenue N, on Mirror Lake Drive, and at the nearby Sundial garage located at 117 2nd St N.
FRI, APR 20 FILM SCREENING: As the legal fights over access to abortion escalate, what remains of a woman’s right to choose? Pinellas National Organization for Women presents Trapped, a documentary that follows providers at reproductive health clinics throughout the South struggling to comply with TRAP laws put in place to prevent abortions. Friday, April 20 at 6:45pm at Good Samaritan Church (6085 Park Blvd).
SAT, APR 21 ST PETE EARTH DAY: The Fifth Annual Earth Day Festival In Williams Park will take place Saturday, April 21st. Vendors will offer green and sustainable living products and services, arts and crafts, information and demonstrations. Children’s activities, live music, tiny homes exhibit, electric vehicle display, wildlife, community orgs and city of St. Pete will also be on hand. Don’t miss this amazing free event! For more information, go to earthdaysp.com.
THU, APR 26 ENVIRONMENTAL FILM: A Plastic Ocean: A Screening & Discussion with Natural Resources Agent, Lara Milligan will be held April 26 from 6:30 to 8:30pm at the Seminole Campus Digitorium of St. Petersburg College (9200 113th St. N, Seminole). Seating is limited and online registration is requested or call 727-394-6942 for more information.
THU, APR 26 ECKERD LECTURE: Delores Huerta will be speaking at Eckerd College on April 26. The 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom winner has spent her life organizing and advocating on behalf of the disenfranchised. From gathering her students’ parents into a labor movement that would become the National Farmworkers Association to working alongside Gloria Steinem to get more women into office, Huerta’s eight-decade life is a testament to the work and commitment social activism requires. This living legend and labor icon will share her story and thoughts with the Eckerd community during this special event on Thursday, April 26th at 7:30pm in Fox Hall.
WED, MAY 30 IFTAR DINNER:  On Wednesday, May 30th at The Coliseum (535 4th Ave N) Mayor Rick Kriseman and Muslim leaders from throughout Tampa Bay will host the 2nd Annual Iftar dinner welcoming residents of all faiths to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset. Doors open at 6pm, prayer at sundown (8:21pm). Sign up in the narthex if you plan to attend.
CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS
AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: Wally LeBlanc will have cards available for sale on Sun. May 6th. The mission for May card sales is Lakewood Methodist Counseling Center. Ministry item for months of March and April is deodorant, these will be given to Daystar to be used for their work. There will be a box in the back of Sanctuary for items to be placed in.
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON: If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. 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

Mim Carle and family, Betty Harris, Genevieve Jackle, Shirley Locke,
Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Ron Spivack, Willy Zessoules

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Podcast: 50th Anniversary Celebration — Guest preacher, Rev. Angela Wells

Rev. Angela Wells, photo by Yoko Nogami

Sunday, April 15th, 2018 Lakewood UCC celebrated its 50th Anniversary! The anniversary celebration included a beautiful worship service with guest preacher Rev. Angela Wells. In the 50 year history of the church, Angela is the one person from the congregation to become an ordained pastor. After the service, a group picture was taken around the Peace Pole, followed by a festive lunch.


Click on the orange circle in the widget above to listen to Angela’s sermon!
To download Rev. Angela Wells’ sermon click HERE.

GUEST PREACHER: The Rev. Angela Wells grew up in Lakewood United Church of Christ, the daughter of Kim and Jeff Wells. Following graduation from New College of Florida in Sarasota, she attended Union Theological Seminary in New York City. During seminary, she served two Florida churches over the summer while the pastors were on sabbatical leave: The Venice United Church of Christ and St. Andrew United Church of Christ, Sarasota. After graduating from Union, Angela was called to serve the United Church of Christ Congregational in Burlington, MA and ordained into the ministry of the United Church of Christ at Lakewood, her home church. Angela continues to serve in Burlington. As part of that ministry, Angela serves on the Board of Directors of People Helping People, a non profit organization established to meet the needs of the residents of Burlington. She is a past president of the board. Angela serves on the Metropolitan Boston Association Committee on Ministerial Standing. She is a former chairperson. Angela is part of NGLI, Next Generation Leadership Initiative, of the Pension Boards of the United Church of Christ. This program equips select young pastors for future leadership in the UCC especially in light of the changing landscape of ministry. Angela is active in the Burlington Interfaith Clergy group. She is an on call chaplain for the Lahey Clinic. AND, Angela is a newly elected commissioner of the Housing Authority of Burlington which oversees managing affordable senior housing. Angela is engaged to Andy Bean, director of the Boston Climate Action Network, a community organizer and public policy specialist. And Andy is a newly elected town meeting member in Burlington.

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Weekly Update 12 April

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, APR 15 THIS SUNDAY: Happy 50th Anniversary, LUCC! The anniversary celebration includes a beautiful worship service with guest preacher Rev. Angela Wells. In the 50 year history of the church, Angela is the one person from the congregation to become an ordained pastor. After the service, a group picture will be taken around the Peace Pole. And there is a festive lunch planned for after the picture. You are encouraged to wear your LUCC t shirt to church if you would like to. Don’t miss the celebration!
SUN, APR 15 GUEST PREACHER: The Rev. Angela Wells grew up in Lakewood United Church of Christ, the daughter of Kim and Jeff Wells. Following graduation from New College of Florida in Sarasota, she attended Union Theological Seminary in New York City. During seminary, she served two Florida churches over the summer while the pastors were on sabbatical leave: The Venice United Church of Christ and St. Andrew United Church of Christ, Sarasota. After graduating from Union, Angela was called to serve the United Church of Christ Congregational in Burlington, MA and ordained into the ministry of the United Church of Christ at Lakewood, her home church. Angela continues to serve in Burlington. As part of that ministry, Angela serves on the Board of Directors of People Helping People, a non profit organization established to meet the needs of the residents of Burlington. She is a past president of the board. Angela serves on the Metropolitan Boston Association Committee on Ministerial Standing. She is a former chairperson. Angela is part of NGLI, Next Generation Leadership Initiative, of the Pension Boards of the United Church of Christ. This program equips select young pastors for future leadership in the UCC especially in light of the changing landscape of ministry. Angela is active in the Burlington Interfaith Clergy group. She is an on call chaplain for the Lahey Clinic. AND, Angela is a newly elected commissioner of the Housing Authority of Burlington which oversees managing affordable senior housing. Angela is engaged to Andy Bean, director of the Boston Climate Action Network, a community organizer and public policy specialist. And Andy is a newly elected town meeting member in Burlington.
SUN, APR 15 ALTAR CLOTH: The cloth on the altar for Sunday was made by Fran Whitney in honor of the 50th anniversary of Lakewood UCC, her church home. Many thanks to Fran for this beautiful gift!
SUN, APR 15 PICTURE TIME: Immediately following worship this Sunday, please head out to the Peace Pole for a group picture in honor of the 50th anniversary. Thank you!
SUN, APR 15 ANNIVERSARY SHIRTS & BAGS: There are t-shirts and tote bags for sale with the anniversary logo. The cost is $10. Please see Amaiya and Kai’Lyn on Sunday to make your purchase.
WED, APR 18 WESTMINSTER LUNCH: Westminster Suncoast Luncheon Wednesday Apr 18 at 11:30 in the private dining room at Westminster Suncoast. All residents of the Shores and Suncoast are welcome.
SUN, MAY 20 NEW MEMBERS: The church is planning to receive new members on Pentecost Sunday May 20. Those considering church membership may speak with Rev. Wells.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

MLK VIDEO: On April 4th, 2018, the nation marked 50 years since the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In observance of the lasting impact of Dr. King’s ministry, Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City is offering a new video curriculum free of charge. Martin Luther King Jr.: Epistles & Prophets  brings together an interview with Civil Rights icon and theologian Ruby Sales and expert speakers exploring contemporary black/white relationships through writings by James Baldwin, Thomas Merton, and King that resonate powerfully today.
ONLINE PETITIONS: Urge your lawmakers to vote in ways that promote peace! Visit Equal Justice USA to support an end to the death penalty,  Move On to support a ban on military-style assault weapons and large capacity magazines, and Phone2Action to urge congress to undo the harm that mass incarceration has inflicted on families, individuals and the country.
THU, APR 19 ENVIRONMENTAL FILM: St Pete Earth Day, the Suncoast Sierra Club and The St Petersburg Museum of History will screen The Age of Consequences Thursday, April 19th at the St Petersburg Museum of History (335 2nd Ave. NE). The film explores how climate change impacts resource scarcity, migration and conflict through the lens of US national security and global stability. Social begins at 6:00 PM – Heavy hors d’oeuvres, desserts and a cash bar. Panel Discussion Begins at 6:30pm, Movie Begins at 7:00pm and ends at 8:30pm. This is a FREE event, donations are gratefully accepted at the door. RSVP Requested.
SAT, APR 21 ST PETE EARTH DAY: The Fifth Annual Earth Day Festival In Williams Park will take place Saturday, April 21st. Vendors will offer green and sustainable living products and services, arts and crafts, information and demonstrations. Children’s activities, live music, tiny homes exhibit, electric vehicle display, wildlife, community orgs and city of St. Pete will also be on hand. Don’t miss this amazing free event! For more information, go to earthdaysp.com.
THU, APR 26 ENVIRONMENTAL FILM: A Plastic Ocean: A Screening & Discussion with Natural Resources Agent, Lara Milligan will be held April 26 from 6:30 to 8:30pm at the Seminole Campus Digitorium of St. Petersburg College (9200 113th St. N, Seminole). Seating is limited and online registration is requested or call 727-394-6942 for more information.
THU, APR 26 ECKERD LECTURE: Delores Huerta will be speaking at Eckerd College on April 26. The 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom winner has spent her life organizing and advocating on behalf of the disenfranchised. From gathering her students’ parents into a labor movement that would become the National Farmworkers Association to working alongside Gloria Steinem to get more women into office, Huerta’s eight-decade life is a testament to the work and commitment social activism requires. This living legend and labor icon will share her story and thoughts with the Eckerd community during this special event on Thursday, April 26th at 7:30pm in Fox Hall.
WED, MAY 30 IFTAR DINNER:  On Wednesday, May 30th at The Coliseum (535 4th Ave N) Mayor Rick Kriseman and Muslim leaders from throughout Tampa Bay will host the 2nd Annual Iftar dinner welcoming residents of all faiths to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset. Doors open at 6pm, prayer at sundown (8:21pm). Sign up in the narthex if you plan to attend.
CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS
AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: Wally LeBlanc will have cards available for sale on Sun. May 6th. The mission for May card sales is still yet to be determined. Ministry item for months of March and April is deodorant, these will be given to Daystar to be used for their work. There will be a box in the back of Sanctuary for items to be placed in.
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON: If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. 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

Mim Carle and family, Betty Harris, Genevieve Jackle, Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn,
Ron Spivack, Willy Zessoules

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Weekly Update 5 April

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, APR 8 THIS SUNDAY: In the aftermath of the resurrection, there is the opportunity to reflect on faith and fact. The story of Thomas leads the way. See John 20:19-31 and Acts 4:32-35.
SUN, APR 8 CONGREGATIONAL MEETING: There will be a brief congregational meeting following worship on Sunday, 8 April for the purpose of presenting, discussing, and taking action on the roof proposal. Everyone is encouraged to attend.
SUN, APR 15 ANNIVERSARY SUNDAY: Plan to be part of celebrating the first 50 years of LUCC’s ministry in preparation for at least the next 50 years! The bash is on Sunday April 15. The preacher for the morning is the Rev. Angela Wells, pastor of the United Church of Christ in Burlington, MA. Angela is the one person in the history of the church to go into the ministry. The theme will be “Foundation for the Future.” Rev. John Vertigan, Conference Minister of the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ will be part of the festivities. Founding pastor, Rev. Richard Wiggins and Mae are planning to attend. At the catered luncheon after the service, memories of past years and hopes and dreams for the future will be shared. Contact the Church Office or Bill Parsons to make your reservation.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

MLK VIDEO: On April 4th, 2018, the nation marked 50 years since the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In observance of the lasting impact of Dr. King’s ministry, Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City is offering a new video curriculum free of charge. Martin Luther King Jr.: Epistles & Prophets  brings together an interview with Civil Rights icon and theologian Ruby Sales and expert speakers exploring contemporary black/white relationships through writings by James Baldwin, Thomas Merton, and King that resonate powerfully today.
ONLINE PETITIONS: Urge your lawmakers to vote in ways that promote peace! Visit Equal Justice USA to support an end to the death penalty,  Move On to support a ban on military-style assault weapons and large capacity magazines, and Phone2Action to urge congress to undo the harm that mass incarceration has inflicted on families, individuals and the country.
SUN, APR 8 SOCIAL JUSTICE LECTURE: Les Leopold, co-founder of the Labor Institute and author of Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice will give a lecture on causes and solutions to economic inequality at 4:30pm Sunday, April 8th at Temple Beth El (400 Pasadena Ave S). For more information call the Temple office at (727) 347-613.
MON, APR 9 IMMIGRATION DISCUSSION: Join Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Immigration Attorney Mayra Calo and Isabel Sousa-Rodriquez from the Florida Immigration Coalition in a community dialog about immigration hosted by WMNF’s Mitch Perry. Monday, April 9 from 7:00 – 8:30pm at Allendale United Methodist Church (3803 Haines Rd. N).
WED, APR 11 ORGANIZING MEETING: The Poor People’s Campaign, A National Call for a Moral Revival, is building a movement to overcome systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and the war economy. Come hear about this movement and how you can be involved Wednesday, April 11th at the Quaker Meeting Hall (130 19th Ave SE).
THU, APR 26 ENVIRONMENTAL FILM: A Plastic Ocean: A Screening & Discussion with Natural Resources Agent, Lara Milligan will be held April 26 from 6:30 to 8:30pm at the Seminole Campus Digitorium of St. Petersburg College (9200 113th St. N, Seminole). Seating is limited and online registration is requested or call 727-394-6942 for more information.
CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS
AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: Wally LeBlanc will have cards available for sale on Sun. May 6th. The mission for May card sales is still yet to be determined.
Ministry item for months of March and April is deodorant, these will be given to
Daystar to be used for their work. There will be a box in the back of Sanctuary for items to be placed in.
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON: If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. 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

Mim Carle and family, Betty Harris, Genevieve Jackle, Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn,
Ron Spivack, Willy Zessoules

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Sermon Easter Sunrise – Fully Known, Fully Loved

Easter Sunday April 1, 2018
Scripture Lesson: John 20:1-18
Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

It is painted, sung about, and immortalized. That moment in the Easter story from the Gospel of John when Mary meets Jesus in the graveyard. She does not recognize him until he says her name. Mary. In the name is the knowing. It just takes the name and we know that this is a reference to the identity of the person, the history, the experiences, the inner feelings, the relationships, the habits, the quirks, the foibles, the full sense of Mary’s being. In that moment, Mary is made aware that she is fully known.

Jesus is known for fully knowing. He is known for knowing people as they truly are, not as they may perceive themselves nor as they may be perceived by others. His is a true knowing. A knowing in full not in part.

We see this in story after story in the New Testament. In the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well, he mentions that she has had five husbands. That is not something that she would have been advertising about herself. Yet he knew. Probably everyone else in her town was spreading the word. And we are shown a Jesus who knows this. And he still asks her for water. And he still gives her living water. And she goes to offer this saving gift to the people of her town who have doubtless tormented her. Fully known.

The gospels share a story of Jesus finding a group of men ready to stone a woman for adultery. She makes no plea of innocence. Fully known. But in the story, Jesus turns to those with the rocks at the ready, arms drawn back, and says, “Let the one without sin cast the first stone.” They, too, are fully known.

In another story, Zacchaeus, a notorious hated upper crust financial functionary, climbs a tree to get a glimpse of Jesus. And Jesus stops and invites himself to Zacchaeus’ house. Jesus knows all about Zacchaeus and his cheating and his greed. Zacchaeus is fully known.

And there is the story of a rich young ruler. He comes to Jesus desperately seeking life in God. Jesus knows this man. He knows there is just one thing. And the rich young man cannot accept Jesus’ offer. And Jesus is sad, so sad, for he knows this man.

We are told that Jesus knows those who initiate his execution. He knows those who adjudicate his trial. He knows the governor who can stay his execution, but does not. He knows the thieves that are crucified with him. Jesus knows them all. They are fully know.

Just that one word, in the cemetery, “Mary.” She is fully known. As are so many others. Nothing is hidden.

And what of these people who are fully known? With their past. With the evil intentions of their hearts. With their cheating and stealing. With their self absorption and greed. With their lust for power. With their self protectionist proclivities. What of this sorry lot? We are shown a Jesus who knows it all. They are fully known. Not in a clairvoyant, woo woo, supernatural way. But in a sincere, insightful, honest way that comes from paying attention and listening and caring.

We are also shown something else about Jesus. All of these people, all of the people healed and forgiven. The crowds. The women. The townspeople. The corrupt leaders. The hypocritical priests. The executioners. The disciples. All of them are fully known. And they are also fully loved. Loved for their full humanity and all of its imperfections. Loved for all of their misguided schemes. Loved for all of their hopes and dreams. Loved for all of their pain, grief, and guilt. Loved because of who they are. Loved in spite of who
they are. Fully known. Fully loved.

We may not know all about Jesus. We may hardly know his story. But all we really need to know is about the love. For each and every person. Because at the core, each and every one of us is holy and sacred. And because of that, we are worthy to be loved. Before anything we do or say, we are beloved. Because of everything we do and say, we are beloved. In spite what we do and say, we are beloved. And there’s nothing we can do about it. We are fully known and fully loved in the reality of God.

In the book, The Song of the Bird, Anthony De Mello shares this story:

I was a neurotic for years. I was anxious and depressed and selfish. And everyone kept telling me to change. And everyone kept telling me how neurotic I was. And I resented them, and I agreed with them, and I wanted to change, but I just couldn’t bring myself to change, no matter how hard I tried.
What hurt the most was that my best friend also kept telling me how neurotic I was. He too kept insisting that I change. And I agreed with him too, though I couldn’t bring myself to resent him. And I felt so powerless and so trapped.
Then one day he said to me, “Don’t change. Stay as you are. It really doesn’t matter whether you change or not. I love you just as you are; I cannot help loving you.”
These words sounded like music to my ears: “Don’t change. Don’t change. Don’t change. I love you.”
And I relaxed. And I came alive. And, oh wondrous marvel, I changed.

[Quoted in 25 Windows into the Soul: Praying with the Psalms, from the writings of Joan Chittister, p. 78]

Yes, the story of the encounter between Jesus and Mary in the garden is famous for that one word, “Mary,” showing us that we are fully known and fully loved. But there is another phrase in that story that is also well-remembered. Jesus asks Mary, “Why are you weeping?” Why are you weeping?

Do we weep because of this great love? We are fully known and fully loved. Does the enormity of it bring us to tears? Why are we weeping? Are we weeping in repentance? Seeking the healing of forgiving love? Why are we weeping? Are we weeping because the awareness that we are fully known and fully loved makes our compassion for ourselves, others and the world well up? Why are we weeping? Is it because in spite of this love, we will continue to hurt ourselves and others? Why are we weeping? Is it because we have not been able to say yes to this belovedness?

Why are we weeping? This Easter, may we know that we are fully known and fully loved and may we weep tears of joy. Amen.

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

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Weekly Update 28 March

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, APR 1 THIS SUNDAY: We celebrate the power of Love that is stronger than death this Easter Sunday. There is an outdoor Sunrise Service at 7am followed by breakfast in the fellowship hall. The 10:30am Festival Service is designed as an intergenerational service: children and youth are encouraged to participate for the whole service.  There will also be childcare provided in the Nursery for the very young. The celebrations conclude with an egg hunt and refreshments on the church grounds.
THU, MAR 29 MAUNDY THURSDAY: This is a night to remember Jesus’ last supper with his friends and followers. A light soup supper will be served at 6:00pm in the Fellowship Hall followed by a service of communion and Tenebrae in the sanctuary at 7:00. All are welcome at this solemn service of remembrance.
FRI, MAR 30 GOOD FRIDAY: There will be a guided labyrinth walk at noon related to the crucifixion of Jesus. The sanctuary will be open for meditation and prayer from noon until 3:00pm.
SUN, APR 1 EASTER: The celebration of Easter begins with a sunrise service at 7:00am outdoors on the church grounds followed by breakfast in the Fellowship Hall.
The Festival Service begins at 10:30am. This is an intergenerational service celebrating the power of Love that is stronger than death. The season of spring is a reminder that new life bursts forth even in the least expected places.
An Easter Egg hunt will be held following the Festival Service along with refreshments on the church grounds.
SUN, APR 8 CONGREGATIONAL MEETING: There will be a brief congregational meeting following worship on Sunday, 8 April for the purpose of presenting, discussing, and taking action on the roof proposal. Everyone is encouraged to attend.
SUN, APR 15 ANNIVERSARY SUNDAY: Plan to be part of celebrating the first 50 years of LUCC’s ministry in preparation for at least the next 50 years! The bash is on Sunday April 15. The preacher for the morning is the Rev. Angela Wells, pastor of the United Church of Christ in Burlington, MA. Angela is the one person in the history of the church to go into the ministry. The theme will be “Foundation for the Future.” Rev. John Vertigan, Conference Minister of the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ will be part of the festivities. Founding pastor, Rev. Richard Wiggins and Mae are planning to attend. At the catered luncheon after the service, memories of past years and hopes and dreams for the future will be shared. Contact the Church Office or Bill Parsons to make your reservation.
 LOST AND FOUND: There was a battery and a small piece to a hearing aid found on the floor of the sanctuary following the PalmSunday service March 25.  Please contact the church office for details.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

CIW ACTION: Five-day fast to fight sexual violence against women farmworkers underway outside Manhattan office of Wendy’s Board Chairman Nelson Peltz. Read more on the coalition website.
ONLINE PETITIONS: Urge your lawmakers to vote in ways that promote peace! Visit Equal Justice USA to support an end to the death penalty and  Move On to support a ban on military-style assault weapons and large capacity magazines.
WED, APR 4 MLK REMEMBRANCE: The community is invited to come together to commemorate the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of that terrible event April 4th, 7pm at The Palladium Theater (253 5th Ave N). The evening will include readings of excerpts from Dr. King’s writings and speeches, recollections of historic events in St. Petersburg, and musical performances. Participants include Bob Devin Jones, City Administrator Kanika Tomalin, Terri Lipsey Scott, Sharon Scott, Alex Harris and One City Chorus.
SUN, APR 8 SOCIAL JUSTICE LECTURE: Les Leopold, co-founder of the Labor Institute and author of Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice will give a lecture on causes and solutions to economic inequality at 4:30pm Sunday, April 8th at Temple Beth El (400 Pasadena Ave S). For more information call the Temple office at (727) 347-613.
WED, APR 11 ORGANIZING MEETING: The Poor People’s Campaign, A National Call for a Moral Revival, is building a movement to overcome systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and the war economy. Come hear about this movement and how you can be involved Wednesday, April 11th at the Quaker Meeting Hall (130 19th Ave SE).
CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS
AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: Wally LeBlanc will have cards available for sale on Sun. May 6th. The mission for May card sales is still yet to be determined.
Ministry item for months of March and April is deodorant, these will be given to
Daystar to be used for their work. There will be a box in the back of Sanctuary for items to be placed in.
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON: If you are interested in calling, emailing or writing your representatives in congress, here is some contact information:

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. 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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Sermon Palm Sunday – Ashes to Ashes: Life Before Death

Sunday March 25, 2018

Rev. Kim P. Wells

We began the Lenten season with ashes on Ash Wednesday. We reminded ourselves that we are dust and to dust we shall return. Death is the great fact of life. Real. True. Undisputed. No fake news, here. Death is democratic and egalitarian and inclusive. If you’re alive, there is one thing you can be sure of. You will die. Everyone dies.

This week, we remember one particular death. One very specific, cruel death. And this, too, is real. Factual. No fake news. While there is not much that can be historically verified about the life of Jesus, about his death, there is agreement. He was put to death on a cross. This was the Roman punishment for traitors, insurrectionists, and people who were thought to be threats to the Empire. Apparently, Jesus’ influence had become so great, that the Roman authorities could be convinced that he was a threat to their power in the territory of Palestine, already known for being rebellious.

So this week, we remember the death of Jesus. His death on the cross. But his death only really matters, only really is remembered, only really has meaning for us today, because of his life. Jesus lived his life in the reality of God. He breathed in and out unconditional, universal love. When he looked at a person, any person, he could only see a beloved, sacred, Divine being. And he, himself, was the most fully human human being.

Jesus knew that he was a wanted man by the authorities in Jerusalem. He knew they wanted him dead. We know from books and movies and TV that when there is a death threat, the person heads the other way, hides out, steers clear of the source of the threat. Not Jesus. He knew the threat was in Jerusalem. The capital. Where there was a concentration of religious power and political power. In collusion. Which typically results in corruption. And that is where he goes. And he doesn’t sneak in. We’re told he makes an entrance. In a parade. Not military style on a strapping steed with armaments in tow but on a donkey, the way strewn cloaks and with branches from nearby trees. Jesus imbues a traditional image, the military procession, with new meaning. He is not coming from having killed others in defense of the Empire. He is coming to be killed, to face his own death, because he is perceived as a threat to the Empire.

When we think of facing fear or a threat with our natural human instincts our response is typically fight or flight. Jesus chooses another way. He chooses the way of sacrificial love. He proceeds to his death not with resignation, but with strength, courage, and defiance, infused with compassion, meekness, and humility. It a rare and beautiful combination. Because of the way Jesus lived, because of the way he faces his death, because in him we see love conquering fear, the death penalty, the crucifixion, will not silence his voice, as his killers hope, but will amplify it so that his message is still powerfully heard today.

According to the gospel of John, in his last evening with his friends, his last opportunity to get across the main point, the big picture, the core concept, Jesus washes the feet of his friends. A humble, servile act. And he gives a new commandment – to “love one another as I have loved you.” Love and serve. That’s what he did. He didn’t just talk about it. He did it.

And he did this up to the very last moment of his life. We are given the tradition of Jesus forgiving even those responsible for his execution. We remember his death because of the way he lived his life.

The way you live is the way you die. Jesus shows us Divine Love that is not intimidated by fear or violence or hatred. When we live in that love, we need have no fear. Not even of death. Amen.

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