Photo Directory

Be part of the new Lakewood UCC photo directory. Our goal is to include everyone! Make an appointment online to have your picture taken at lifetouch appointment plus. Or call the church office (727-867-7961) Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday between 9 am and noon and we’ll make an appointment for you. If you need transportation to and from your appointment, contact the church office and we’ll arrange it.

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Weekly Update 15 February

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, FEB 12 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday, February 19th, the Sermon on the Mount continues to speak to us. What about this, “Love your enemies…”? I don’t know about you, but I don’t really feel like I have any enemies, so love your enemies seems pretty easy when you don’t think you have any. See: Matthew 5:38-48.
MON, FEB 13 – MON JUN 12 FAMILY PROMISE VOLUNTEER TRAINING: If you are interested in participating in this program that provides meals and compassion for helping low-income families “achieve lasting independence” by providing shelter, meals, and support services to “redress the underlying causes of homelessness,” you are invited to attend one of the upcoming volunteer trainings. The next training session is scheduled for Monday, 2/13/17, and will be from 6:30-8:30 pm at Central Christian Church, 6161 22nd Ave. N in St. Petersburg FL. For more information, please contact Patti Cooksey.
FRI, FEB 17 – SAT, FEB 25 ECKERD COLLEGE ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL: The Creation Justice Task Force at LUCC invites you to attend as many of these free films as possible to raise our awareness of creation justice issues locally and throughout the world. If you need a ride to a film, call the office at church at 727-867-7961. The church will help connect those planning to attend with folks needing rides. After each film, whoever is interested in further discussion will walk over to the Triton Pub café on campus and enjoy sharing a beverage and their thoughts. On Sunday, February 26th there will be a potluck lunch and discussion after church of the environmental films and related concerns including: what I learned about the environment; what impressed, surprised, or motivated me to act; and what LUCC as an organization might address or how we might follow up on our concerns. Please join be part of raisingawareness about this beautiful and endangered planet and our role in caring for the creation. Visit environmentalfilmfest.com for the film schedule.
SUN, FEB 26 SUNDAY CELEBRATION: There will be a potluck lunch following worship in the fellowship hall. We will celebrate February birthdays, and anyone who would like to can join in the environmental film festival discussion.
THU, FEB 23 ISLAMOPHOBIA LECTURE: What does it mean to freely and voluntarily participate in public life? Is it sufficient to have legal equality? Or do we need something more for this essential component of democratic life? This talk will explore these questions in light of hate in the contemporary United States, focusing especially on how Islamophobia affects the nature of American Muslims’ participation in the public sphere. Visit eckerd.edu for more information.
FRI, FEB 24 BOOK CLUB: The Book Club will meet Friday, February 24th at 12:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall. Please bring your own sandwich, drinks and dessert will be provided by Jean Johnson. The book is “The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough, a true story of the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly. Vita Uth will have extra copies available after church. Everyone is welcome.
SAT, FEB 25 FL CONFERENCE UCC WOMEN: Join in a lighthearted day of fellowship, food and fun at Lakewood UCC in St. Petersburg on Saturday, February 25th. For more information and/or to rsvp, please contact Marty Synnott, Central West Coast Representative, at martysynnott@yahoo.com.
SAT, FEB 25 LUCC WOMEN’S SPIRITUALITY GROUP: Learn a meditative and centering practice called Feldenkrais Awareness through Movement on Saturday, February 25th at 2:00 pm in the sanctuary. Fon Nguyen, a physical therapist and Feldenkrais teacher, will lead the workshop. This involves gentle movements done from a seated position, all abilities welcome.
MON, FEB 27 – MON APR 24 OPERATION ATTACK: 2017 Volunteer nights – February 27th, March 27th, and April 24th. Hours 6-7 p.m.
TUE, FEB 28 PHOTO DIRECTORY: Be part of the new Lakewood UCC photo directory. Our goal is to include everyone! Make an appointment online to have your picture taken at lifetouch appointment plus. Or call the church office (727-867-7961) Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday between 9 am and noon and we’ll make an appointment for you. If you need transportation to and from your appointment, contact the church office and we’ll arrange transportation for you.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

WED, FEB 15 (T)ERROR FILM AND DISCUSSION: see the first ever movie to capture an FBI sting as it unfolds. Following the movie filmmaker David Sutcliffe will answer questions. Described by Sight and Sound Magazine as “a stunning, infuriating indictment of the… war on terror.” First United Church of Christ 7308 E. Fowler Ave. Wednesday March 15th 6:00-9:00 pm. A potluck dinner will begin at 6:00 pm. Admission is free but a love offering will be accepted.
WED, FEB 15 & 22 PARTNERING FOR PEACE WITH ST PETE QUAKERS: Looking at tragic moments in history, one could ask, “What would I have done if I were there?” It’s happening here. It’s happening now. We must #Resist now. Peace First, a faithful group that have been maintaining a presence and protesting for years, continues for the month of February on Wednesday afternoons from 4:30 to 5:30pm. Our location for February is 34th St. N. and 22nd Ave. N.. There is plenty of parking in the Winn Dixie parking lot on the southwest corner. We will have a variety of signs, especially protesting the new anti-immigration policy. We usually have many positive responses to our presence and welcome all to join us in speaking out for peace and justice.
THU, FEB 16 REFUGEE PANEL DISCUSSION:will bring awareness to relevant and thought-provoking information on refugees, local refugee programs, overviews on incoming refugee populations, and more. Joining the panel will be two refugee speakers, Felicien from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Aida from Cuba, giving insight on their journey and their views on current issues surrounding our refugee communities. Panelists include Suvada Gulan, former Bosnian refugee and current manager of the refugee resettlement program at Lutheran Services, Florida. Sylvia Acevedo, director of the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture and Refugee Resettlement Program at Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services. And LUCC member Janet Blair, Community Liaison for Refugee Services, Department of Children and Family Services.
FRI, FEB 17 – SAT, FEB 18 “EVERY STEP A PRAYER” RETREAT WITH THOMAS HAWKINS:  Despite our North American romance with automobiles, walking is making a comeback. Nearly two-thirds of Americans report they regularly walk for leisure, exercise, or transportation. Beneath this renewed interest in walking lies a yearning to slow down in a 24/7 world, to reconnect to the natural world in a wired, technological society, and to express our protest in a political climate where many feel they may have a vote but do not have a voice. These yearnings have deep connections to Christian spirituality’s century-old understanding of walking as a spiritual practice that brings us into the presence of God, and heightens our awareness of the Spirit’s movement both in our own hearts as well as the world around us. This retreat will explore the rich resource of the Bible and Christian spirituality for walking as a spiritual practice. It will include Bible study, personal reflection, and guided experiences in walking as a form of prayer and spiritual practice. February 17 & 18 at Pass-a-Grille Beach Community Church Registra on Fee: $20 (includes refreshments and light lunch) For more information and to register, visit pagchurch.org. or contact the church office at 360-5508.
SUN, FEB 19 ONE CITY CHORUS CONCERT: This is a new community chorus that rehearses at the Carter Woodson Museum and specialized in music of the Civil Rights Movement and protest songs. The first concert will be Sunday Feb. 19 at 3:00 p.m. at the Carter Woodson Museum, 2240 9th Ave S, St. Petersburg. There will be a freewill offering. Jeff Wells of LUCC and Leslie Ethredge of the Florida Conference UCC are part of this new chorus.
THU, FEB 23 – SAT FEB 25 FLORIDA INTERFAITH CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK: This year’s assembly, which will explore the theme “water is life,” is scheduled for February 23-25, 2017, at First United Methodist Church in downtown Orlando. This Assembly will give participants a working knowledge of Florida’s critical water system issues and will provide opportunity for participants to collaborate in networks with others to protect Florida water. Visit interfaithflorida.com to register.
SAT, FEB 25 FAMILY PROMISE FUNDRAISER: Saturday, February 25th from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm at the First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg (1900 Gandy Blvd.). Games, food, entertainment, silent auction and raffle. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for school-aged kids and free for 5 and under. To purchase tickets, make reservations, or ask questions contact Family Promise of Pinellas at 727-201-9571 or familypromisepinellas.org
SUN, FEB 26 CROP WALK: The walk will be Sunday, Feb. 26 starting and ending at First Presbyterian, 701 Beach DR NE – registration at 1:30, Walk begins at 2! Registration materials are available at church.
WED, MAR 22 – FRI, MAR 24 2017 CREATION JUSTICE WORKSHOP SCHEDULED: There has never been a more important time for people of faith to come together to talk about what is happening to our beloved environment here in Florida. If the topic of creation justice is something you would like to explore further, either for your own interest or on behalf of your faith community, please consider attending this workshop! The event has been scheduled tentatively for March 22-24 at the Florida Conference Offices at 9300 University Blvd., Orlando, FL 32817. Alternate dates are March 23-25. Cost varies depending on the rooming option selected: $295 for a single-occupancy room, $215 for double occupancy, or $95 for those who don’t need accommodations. The workshop is limited to the first 12-15 people who register, so register today! If you have any questions, please contact any of the facilitators: Kim Wells, Mike MacMillan, or Bill Wealand.
WED, MAR 29 SUPPORT FARM WORKERS’ HUMAN RIGHTS: The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a group of farm workers based in Immokalee, FL, continues to struggle to improve conditions in the fields. Last year the CIW called a boycott of fast-food chain Wendy’s to pressure the firm to join the Fair Food Program to ensure farm workers’ human rights are protected. The UCC Board of Directors has endorsed the boycott. In March, the CIW’s Human Rights Tour will visit multiple cities to build support for the boycott. It will come to Tampa on Wednesday, March 29. Visit boycott-wendys.org for more information.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
ART FOR HOPE: Wally LeBlanc has cards and paintings featuring his artwork for sale. The proceeds will be donated to the roof fund and other community ministries. Thank you, Wally! He is in need of bottle caps, soda can tabs and old keys for his current art project. If you have any to donate, please bring them to church and give them to Wally.
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
CIRCLES OF CARING: Lakewood UCC has chosen to be one of the three local congregations participating in “Creating Unbroken Circles of Caring,” a program to help seriously ill people maintain meaningful contact with their spiritual communities. If you are interested in participating in this project contact Lakewood UCC member, Jim Andrews, Director of Spiritual Care at Suncoast Hospice.
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. Please take them and share them.
LOCAL ACTION ON REFUGEES: LUCC member Janet Blair works for the state in Refugee Resettlement. She shares this information:

Most of us are aware of the federal issues concerning refugee arrival now–but many are not aware of the actions being taken within our state. I’m hoping we can spread the news on two ways that our congregation can support refugees here in FL.

The Florida State Legislature has introduced a bill that will end our state government’s involvement in refugee services by the end of this year. Information on this initiative and a letter of support for refugee work can be found at Floridians Standing with Refugees – Support for Refugee Resettlement and Entrant Assistance in Florida.

Secondly, I am collecting letters of support locally for refugees from individuals, civic groups and faith organizations. People of all ages–kids included–can email to express their support for refugees and how they want to welcome them here in the Tampa Bay area. A compilation of these emails will be sent to the office of Gov. Scott.

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LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
UPDATE ON A FORMERLY HOMELESS FRIEND OF THE CHURCH: The formerly homeless couple that the church has been helping are continuing to live indoors. They are grateful for all the church has done for them. At the moment, they are in need of a few additional things: AA and AAA batteries, fix a flat for a bike tire, two inner tubes for a bike tire (size 700 X 35-43C), and candles.
USHERS NEEDED: Please sign up to usher for services during the month of December. The signup sheet is on the bulletin board at the back of the church.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. All children participate in the beginning of the worship service. Elementary age children and younger are invited to participate in Children’s Time during the service. After Children’s Time elementary children are welcome in Church School Grace Lewis with assistance from others in the congregation are the teachers this year. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. Middle and High School students participate in the Lakewood service on Sunday morning and attend the youth groups at Pass A Grille Beach Community United Church of Christ on Sunday evening during the school year. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN
Virginia Bodendorfer, Lloyd Conover,Jill Presley Cox and family,
friends and family of Phil Crowe,  Betty Harris, Carolyn Moore, Gertie Pirazzini,
friends and family of Max Wells, The USA

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Sermon – Feb. 5, 2017 Salt and Light

Scriptures: Isaiah 58:1-12 and Matthew 5:13-20
Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

It seems like many people I talk to feel out of kilter, adrift, and disoriented. Maybe the pictures of people being turned away at airports under the temporary travel ban on certain Muslim countries hit home because in some sense we feel troubled, alienated, and dispossessed as America we knew it seems to be eroding. . . I imagine that for people who support what is going on, the protests and demonstrations seem confusing. People are supposedly getting what was voted for, why are they agitating so passionately? In any case, many feel disoriented.

In a 1995 commentary about the Isaiah lesson for today, a Biblical scholar remarks, “There are clues here about rehabilitation of a society in disarray!” [Texts for Preaching: A Lectionary Commentary Based on NRSV – Year A, Brueggemann, Cousar, Gaventa, and Newsome, p. 129] How appropriate for us today!

In the book, The Sellout: A Novel, by Paul Beatty, which won the Man Booker prize, unusual for an American, the father of the main character, a psychologist, an eccentric sort, tells his son, “You have to ask yourself two questions: Who am I? and How may I become myself?” [p. 250]

So in this time of shifting sands beneath us, we turn to the scriptures with these questions: Who am I? and How do I become myself? In the lesson from Matthew, Jesus tells us that we are salt and light. Notice we are told that Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth. . . You are the light of the world.” [Emphasis added.] It doesn’t say, if you do this, then you will be the salt of the earth. If you believe that, then you will be the light of the world. It doesn’t say, you could be the salt of the earth. Or you might be the light of the world. It says, “You are the salt of the earth. . . You are the light of the world.” [Matthew 5: 13,14] That is who we are.

We are here today, in this church, some of us Christians, some Jewish, some Buddhist, some agnostic, some atheist, some “other,” because somehow, in some way, we have experienced the stirrings inside us telling us that we are salt and light. We have been called to, as theologian Carter Heyward puts it, “. . . join Jesus and many others in giving God a voice, giving God an embodied life on earth.” [Resources for Preaching and Worship Year A: Quotations, Meditations, Poetry, and Prayers, compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, p. 66] We are here to enflesh love.

Now we know who we are. So we turn to, “How may I become myself?” How do we function as light and salt? How do we embody Divine love in the world, the world that we are in, the world as we know it, the world that is shifting under our feet, the world that seems to be becoming more and more divided?

From both Matthew and Isaiah, we hear that our calling is to make a difference in the world. We are to take action in the public realm. To make a concrete response to public issues, to human need, to dehumanization, oppression, and poverty. One scholar says it this way, “. . . the direct, immediate engagement with self and neighbor with clearheaded awareness of systemic issues.” [Texts for Preaching, p. 129]

I know that you are not the crowd that needs to be convinced of our call to do good in the world, make a difference, and show God’s love for all people. But sometimes we need help moving from our minds and hearts to our hands, feet, and wallets.

This week, I was inspired by the Rev. Bernard Lafayette who spoke at the University of South Florida. Rev. Lafayette was an advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement. In his last conversation with King on the day King was killed, King told Lafayette that they needed to take the movement from civil rights in the United States to human rights around the world. He told Lafayette that the agenda was to go global with nonviolent direct action. And Rev. Lafayette has spent his life doing just that leading workshops on nonviolent action around the world, including in Israel, Niger, and Columbia where he had to laugh when they referred to him as a “gringo.” In his remarks, Lafayette reminded us: “Don’t sit on the couch, the rocking chair, the floor, and grieve. . . Don’t be weak and pitiful and just complain. . . Don’t wait and see what’s going to happen next, make something happen. . . Look for cracks in the system and use your crowbar to pry. . . Don’t burn down the bus station.”

In these times of great challenge and peril, it can be hard to be salt and light, to be ourselves. We can feel so out of step with what is going on around us. In the face of fake news, alternative reality, deceit, lies, delusion, and the complexity of every problem that we face, we must resist the temptation to crawl under a rock! We are needed to be discerning and responsive, following in the way of Jesus. We know that to be salt and light is to act with love. It is, as one commentary suggests, to embody “unheard-of reconciliation, simple truth-telling, outrageous generosity, and love of one’s enemies.” [Texts for Preaching, p. 136]

It’s a challenge at the best of times. To do this, to embody “unheard of reconciliation, simple truth-telling, outrageous generosity, and love of one’s enemies,” to be salt and light, we want to keep three things in mind.

One is feed the soul. We need to be sure that we are feeding our souls and nourishing our spirits. This means coming to church, daily prayer, turning to scripture, meditating, journaling, walking the labyrinth, going on silent retreat, whatever it is that keeps you connected and grounded in the transcendent, the Divine, the greater good, the larger reality. Feeding the soul is critical to being salt and light.

And we want to keep in mind that there are many people who may feel the urging of God, the sense of the transcendent in their lives, but they are not connected to a faith community. They have not yet found a way to feed the soul through a church or religious community. They may be needing that connection now, and it is up to us to let people know about this church and invite people to see what is here because it may be just what they need to help them be the salt and light they are called to be. So don’t be shy about mentioning the church to your friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. Let them know that being part of this church grounds you in your world view, your activism and your service. Invite others to come and see. This is another way of giving food to the hungry and clothes to the naked; it is meeting the core human needs of others.

So, we maintain our ability to be light and salt by nourishing the soul and that can take many forms. We also want to be clear that as we seek to stay grounded so that we can radiate Divine, universal, unconditional love, we may need to ration our intake of negativism, hate, and delusion. Yes, I am talking about turning off the news. Spending less time on Facebook and Twitter. Giving the radio a rest even if it is National Public Radio. And maybe even limiting exposure to certain people – friends and even family. The constant frenetic pace of unfolding events can lure us into being almost voyeuristic – we want to see what is going on. We don’t want to miss anything. But we have to exert our power to limit the negative material we allow to enter our beings or it will take us over. We are in danger of being overwhelmed, drowned, and held hostage. We want to maintain our freedom to stay true to our Divine calling as salt and light. We cannot let our light be put out and we cannot let our salt be trampled underfoot. So we must take responsibility for what enters our minds and hearts just as we do with our bodies. I know that I listen to NPR far less than I used to. I have stopped catching up on Twitter before I go to bed because I get too worked up to sleep well. And we need to be well-rested and in good form, physically and spiritually, to be the salt and light that we are needed to be right now.

So, we need to feed our souls, limit negative influences, and lastly, confront our fears. Much of what is going on around us is fear-driven. There are economic fears. There are fears of those who are different. There are fears of other countries. There are fears of losing freedoms. There are fears of hastening environmental collapse. There are fears of violent attack. There are fears around access to health care. Every day, there are more things for us to be afraid of. And when people are afraid, they give up control and power. And the darkness grows.

We are salt and light. Salt and light are naturally occurring, part of Creation, of God. Their power is derived from the Divine. As salt and light, we are powerful. Think of living without light. Or life without salt. We would die. Salt and light are images of power. Power that stands down fear.

In his remarks on Thursday night, Rev. Lafayette spoke of fear. He said, “You have to overcome the fear of death. Then you can operate nonviolently. You are going to die anyway. Don’t wait. Do some good. The greater fear is that you’ll die before you do some good.”

We are salt and light. We are to fulfill the vision presented in Isaiah:

“to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke.
To share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house:
when you see the naked, to cover them. . .” [Isaiah 58:6-7]

We are needed in the world as the embodiment of God working for reconciliation, justice, compassion, and peace. For each and every individual. And for the whole Creation.

As we revisit the poetic words of the prophet Isaiah let us remember what is promised. He tells the people to give up their hollow, showy piety, and to get down to business caring for others, and creating a just society. In other words, be salt and light. But when the people are true to their God-given nature, when they fulfill God’s desires and intentions, then they experience the fullness of life. The prophet tells us:

“Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly,
God will guide you continually
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.” [Isaiah 58: 10-11]

When we are true to ourselves, when we are the salt and light we have been called to be, we find our deepest joy and strength. We find our highest good. We find our healing and wholeness.

The Gospel in Solentiname by Ernesto Cardenal shares the responses of a community of campesinos in rural Nicaragua to stories in the Gospels. It was written in 1976. In her response to the teaching about being the salt of the earth, Dona Adela, a little old woman, calls to mind the preservative properties of salt. With a weak voice, she says: “We are the salt of the world because we have been placed in it so the world won’t rot.” [p. 94] And we can add, so that we don’t rot with it. Amen.

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

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Weekly Update 8 February

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, FEB 12 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday, February 12th, is the birthday of Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln. They will help us explore the theme of spiritual evolution. See: 1 Corinthians 3:1-9 and Matthew 5:21-37.
SAT, FEB 10 MEMORIAL SERVICE: There will be a memorial service celebrating the life of Max Wells on Friday, February 10th at 11:00 am in the sanctuary. Wake begins at 10:00 am.
SAT, FEB 11 MEMORIAL SERVICE: There will be a memorial service celebrating the life of Phil Crowe on Saturday, February 11th at 11:00 am in the sanctuary.
SUN, FEB 12 ADVISORS MEETING: There will be an Advisors Meeting following morning worship
MON, FEB 13 – MON JUN 12 FAMILY PROMISE VOLUNTEER TRAINING: If you are interested in participating in this program that provides meals and compassion for helping low-income families “achieve lasting independence” by providing shelter, meals, and support services to “redress the underlying causes of homelessness,” you are invited to attend one of the upcoming volunteer trainings. The next training session is scheduled for Monday, 2/13/17, and will be from 6:30-8:30 pm at Central Christian Church, 6161 22nd Ave. N in St. Petersburg FL. For more information, please contact Patti Cooksey.
WED, FEB 15 LUNCH AT WESTMINSTER SUNCOAST: Join Pastor Kim Wells for lunch on Wednesday, February 15 from 11:30am to 1:00pm.
FRI, FEB 17 – SAT, FEB 25 ECKERD COLLEGE ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL: The Creation Justice Task Force at LUCC invites you to attend as many of these free films as possible to raise our awareness of creation justice issues locally and throughout the world. If you need a ride to a film, call the office at church at 727-867-7961. The church will help connect those planning to attend with folks needing rides. After each film, whoever is interested in further discussion will walk over to the Triton Pub café on campus and enjoy sharing a beverage and their thoughts. On Sunday, February 26th there will be a potluck lunch and discussion after church of the environmental films and related concerns including: what I learned about the environment; what impressed, surprised, or motivated me to act; and what LUCC as an organization might address or how we might follow up on our concerns. Please join be part of raisingawareness about this beautiful and endangered planet and our role in caring for the creation. Visit environmentalfilmfest.com for the film schedule.
FRI, FEB 24 BOOK CLUB: The Book Club will meet Friday, February 24th at 12:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall. Please bring your own sandwich, drinks and dessert will be provided by Jean Johnson. The book is “The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough, a true story of the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly. Vita Uth will have extra copies available after church. Everyone is welcome.
SAT, FEB 25 FL CONFERENCE UCC WOMEN: Join in a lighthearted day of fellowship, food and fun at Lakewood UCC in St. Petersburg on Saturday, February 25th. For more information and/or to rsvp, please contact Marty Synnott, Central West Coast Representative, at martysynnott@yahoo.com.
SAT, FEB 25 LUCC WOMEN’S SPIRITUALITY GROUP: Learn a meditative and centering practice called Feldenkrais Awareness through Movement on Saturday, February 25th at 2:00 pm in the sanctuary. Fon Nguyen, a physical therapist and Feldenkrais teacher, will lead the workshop. This involves gentle movements done from a seated position, all abilities welcome.
MON, FEB 27 – MON APR 24 OPERATION ATTACK: 2017 Volunteer nights – February 27th, March 27th, and April 24th. Hours 6-7 p.m.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

WED, FEB 8, 15 & 22 PARTNERING FOR PEACE WITH ST PETE QUAKERS: Looking at tragic moments in history, one could ask, “What would I have done if I were there?” It’s happening here. It’s happening now. We must #Resist now. Peace First, a faithful group that have been maintaining a presence and protesting for years, continues for the month of February on Wednesday afternoons from 4:30 to 5:30pm. Our location for February is 34th St. N. and 22nd Ave. N.. There is plenty of parking in the Winn Dixie parking lot on the southwest corner. We will have a variety of signs, especially protesting the new anti-immigration policy. We usually have many positive responses to our presence and welcome all to join us in speaking out for peace and justice.
SAT, FEB 11
SING OUT! TAMPA BAY: 
This is the second annual concert given by the Florida Orchestra and a volunteer community chorus. Claire Stiles and Mark Gibson from LUCC are singing in the chorus. The free concert will be Saturday, February 11th at 7:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg, 1900 Gandy Blvd.
SAT, FEB 11 CROP WALK: The walk will be Sunday, Feb. 26 starting and ending at First Presbyterian, 701 Beach DR NE – registration at 1:30, Walk begins at 2! Registration materials are available at church.
FRI, FEB 17 – SAT, FEB 18 “EVERY STEP A PRAYER” RETREAT WITH THOMAS HAWKINS:  Despite our North American romance with automobiles, walking is making a comeback. Nearly two-thirds of Americans report they regularly walk for leisure, exercise, or transportation. Beneath this renewed interest in walking lies a yearning to slow down in a 24/7 world, to reconnect to the natural world in a wired, technological society, and to express our protest in a political climate where many feel they may have a vote but do not have a voice. These yearnings have deep connections to Christian spirituality’s century-old understanding of walking as a spiritual practice that brings us into the presence of God, and heightens our awareness of the Spirit’s movement both in our own hearts as well as the world around us. This retreat will explore the rich resource of the Bible and Christian spirituality for walking as a spiritual practice. It will include Bible study, personal reflection, and guided experiences in walking as a form of prayer and spiritual practice. February 17 & 18 at Pass-a-Grille Beach Community Church Registra on Fee: $20 (includes refreshments and light lunch) For more information and to register, visit pagchurch.org. or contact the church office at 360-5508.
SUN, FEB 19 ONE CITY CHORUS CONCERT: This is a new community chorus that rehearses at the Carter Woodson Museum and specialized in music of the Civil Rights Movement and protest songs. The first concert will be Sunday Feb. 19 at 3:00 p.m. at the Carter Woodson Museum, 2240 9th Ave S, St. Petersburg. There will be a freewill offering. Jeff Wells of LUCC and Leslie Ethredge of the Florida Conference UCC are part of this new chorus.
THU, FEB 23 – SAT FEB 25 FLORIDA INTERFAITH CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK: This year’s assembly, which will explore the theme “water is life,” is scheduled for February 23-25, 2017, at First United Methodist Church in downtown Orlando. This Assembly will give participants a working knowledge of Florida’s critical water system issues and will provide opportunity for participants to collaborate in networks with others to protect Florida water. Visit interfaithflorida.com to register.
SAT, FEB 25 FAMILY PROMISE FUNDRAISER: Saturday, February 25th from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm at the First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg (1900 Gandy Blvd.). Games, food, entertainment, silent auction and raffle. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for school-aged kids and free for 5 and under. To purchase tickets, make reservations, or ask questions contact Family Promise of Pinellas at 727-201-9571 or familypromisepinellas.org
WED, MAR 22 – FRI, MAR 24 2017 CREATION JUSTICE WORKSHOP SCHEDULED: There has never been a more important time for people of faith to come together to talk about what is happening to our beloved environment here in Florida. If the topic of creation justice is something you would like to explore further, either for your own interest or on behalf of your faith community, please consider attending this workshop! The event has been scheduled tentatively for March 22-24 at the Florida Conference Offices at 9300 University Blvd., Orlando, FL 32817. Alternate dates are March 23-25. Cost varies depending on the rooming option selected: $295 for a single-occupancy room, $215 for double occupancy, or $95 for those who don’t need accommodations. The workshop is limited to the first 12-15 people who register, so register today! If you have any questions, please contact any of the facilitators: Kim Wells, Mike MacMillan, or Bill Wealand.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
ART FOR HOPE: Wally LeBlanc has cards and paintings featuring his artwork for sale. The proceeds will be donated to the roof fund and other community ministries. Thank you, Wally! He is in need of bottle caps, soda can tabs and old keys for his current art project. If you have any to donate, please bring them to church and give them to Wally.
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
BUDGET MEETING REPORT: The proposed budget for 2017 was endorsed unanimously at the Congregational Meeting last Sunday. The budget is posted on the bulletin board at church. Notes from the meeting as well as the budget will also be available on the church website. The budget that was affirmed includes a deficit. This is an opportunity for those who are able to consider increasing their regular giving to the church to make up this difference. Please consider increasing your pledge $10 a month, or $5 a week, or $2,000 a year or whatever will work for you in response to God’s goodness in your life.
CIRCLES OF CARING: Lakewood UCC has chosen to be one of the three local congregations participating in “Creating Unbroken Circles of Caring,” a program to help seriously ill people maintain meaningful contact with their spiritual communities. If you are interested in participating in this project contact Lakewood UCC member, Jim Andrews, Director of Spiritual Care at Suncoast Hospice.
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. Please take them and share them.
LOCAL ACTION ON REFUGEES: LUCC member Janet Blair works for the state in Refugee Resettlement. She shares this information:

Most of us are aware of the federal issues concerning refugee arrival now–but many are not aware of the actions being taken within our state. I’m hoping we can spread the news on two ways that our congregation can support refugees here in FL.

The Florida State Legislature has introduced a bill that will end our state government’s involvement in refugee services by the end of this year. Information on this initiative and a letter of support for refugee work can be found at Floridians Standing with Refugees – Support for Refugee Resettlement and Entrant Assistance in Florida.

Secondly, I am collecting letters of support locally for refugees from individuals, civic groups and faith organizations. People of all ages–kids included–can email to express their support for refugees and how they want to welcome them here in the Tampa Bay area. A compilation of these emails will be sent to the office of Gov. Scott.

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LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
UPDATE ON A FORMERLY HOMELESS FRIEND OF THE CHURCH: The formerly homeless couple that the church has been helping are continuing to live indoors. They are grateful for all the church has done for them. At the moment, they are in need of a few additional things: AA and AAA batteries, fix a flat for a bike tire, two inner tubes for a bike tire (size 700 X 35-43C), and candles.
USHERS NEEDED: Please sign up to usher for services during the month of December. The signup sheet is on the bulletin board at the back of the church.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. All children participate in the beginning of the worship service. Elementary age children and younger are invited to participate in Children’s Time during the service. After Children’s Time elementary children are welcome in Church School Grace Lewis with assistance from others in the congregation are the teachers this year. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. Middle and High School students participate in the Lakewood service on Sunday morning and attend the youth groups at Pass A Grille Beach Community United Church of Christ on Sunday evening during the school year. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN
Virginia Bodendorfer, Lloyd Conover,Jill Presley Cox and family,
friends and family of Phil Crowe,  Betty Harris, Carolyn Moore, Gertie Pirazzini,
friends and family of Max Wells, The USA

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Environmental Film Festival

The Creation Justice Task Force at LUCC invites you to attend as many of these free films as possible to raise our awareness of creation justice issues locally and throughout the world. If you need a ride to the film, call the office at church at 727-867-7961. The church will help connect those planning to attend with folks needing rides.

After the film, whoever is interested in further discussion will walk over to the Triton Pub café on campus and enjoy sharing a beverage and our thoughts.

On Sunday, February 26th we will host a potluck lunch and discussion after church of the environmental films and related concerns.

  1. What I learned about the environment
  2. What impressed, surprised, or motivated to act
  3. What LUCC as an organization might address or how we might follow up on our concerns

Please join us in raising our awareness about our beautiful and endangered planet and our role in caring for our creation.

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Support for Refugee Resettlement and Entrant Assistance in Florida


A letter from Janet Blair, a member of Lakewood UCC:
Most of us are aware of the federal issues concerning refugee arrival now–but many are not aware of the actions being taken within our state.  I’m hoping we can spread the news on two ways that our congregation can support refugees here in FL. The Florida State Legislature has introduced a bill that will end our state government’s involvement in refugee services by the end of this year.  Information on this initiative and a letter of support for refugee work can be found at: Floridians Standing with Refugees – Support for Refugee Resettlement and Entrant Assistance in Florida.
All who want to speak out in support of refugees can email our local Refugee Services office at: Janet.Blair@myflfamilies.com
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Report on congregational meeting

Notes from the Congregational Meeting 1/29/17
Lakewood United Church of Christ

Those in attendance: Yoko Nogami, Colleen Coughenour, Mark Gibson, Chip Cosper, Dana Cosper, Jackson Cosper, Lucille Ruga, Mardie Chapman, Sally Purvis, Adrien Helm, Fran Whitney, Genie Terrell, Wally LeBlanc, JoAnne Reid, Wilbur Reid, Martha Lamar, Earl Waters, Don Ritchie, Claire Stiles, Ruth Halderman, Jean Johnson, Mary Beth Lewis, Charlie Lewis, Victoria Long, Preston Poe, Kim Wells.

Bill Lindsay called the meeting to order at noon.

Sally Purvis offered an inspiring opening prayer.

Charlie Lewis introduced the new advisors for 2017: Yoko Nogami, Sally Purvis, Bill Lindsay, Victoria Long who are joining Charlie as advisors for the year.

Victoria Long offered a beautiful expression of gratitude to those who served as advisors for 2016 (Dana Cosper, Claire Stiles, and Jim Andrews) incorporating the thoughtful writings of Ann Weems.

Adrien Helm presented the proposed budget for 2017. She also explained the designated giving report and the balances report. There was a time for questions and comments.

Charlie Lewis called for a voice vote on the budget (a motion was not needed or a second, since it comes from the governing body). The budget was passed unanimously.

Claire Stiles presented an update on the Creation Justice process. This involves a study process that culminates in voting to become a Creation Justice Church. Those involved include Adrien Helm, Ed Helm, Denise Williams, Wally LeBlanc, Patti Cooksey, Earl Waters, Charlie Lewis, Marg Radens, and Ann Quinn.

Yoko Nogami asked those who were present who would like to to offer comments, suggestions, ideas, etc. for the good of the church.

There was discussion about reflecting the racial diversity of the neighborhood in the church.

There was conversation about the upcoming eBay/Craig’s List fundraiser. There was talk about combining selling things on Craig’s List with a breakfast. There was interest in selling books on Amazon to benefit the church. An event that combines singing, letter-writing, and hot chocolate was suggested.

Wally LeBlanc reported that Art for Hope had contributed $387 to the LUCC roof fund, the Micah Center, a gift card for a homeless neighbor, and the Lakewood Methodist Church counseling center.

Yoko Nogami led the group in forming a circle and singing “Weave Us Together” which concluded the congregational meeting.

Click on links below for financial reports.

LUCC Budget 2017 Inc & Exp as of 1-27-17.xls
LUCC Budget 2017 Desig & Assets as of 1-27-17.xls

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Writers Resist: Stand Up For Standing Rock

Saturday, February 4 at 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Lakewood United Church of Christ
2601 54th Ave. S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
lakewooducc.org

This gathering will allow a space for community voices to be heard in support of water protectors at Standing Rock. Bring your poems, speeches, songs, and words of solidarity. We will be collecting donations for Standing Rock (specific organization to be announced soon). We will also be making a large banner with our collective words of hope and healing for those who are peacefully inhabiting their treaty-protected land.

The Executive Order has been signed for the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and according to Mother Jones on 2/1/2017, “Clashes broke out today near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota following the announcement that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) would be completed. Seventy-six protesters were arrested near the town of Cannon Ball after setting up a camp on land owned by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company overseeing construction of the 1,172-mile pipeline.” (Source: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/02/dakota-access-pipeline-standing-rock-trump) This information has been verified with multiple other sources.

For more information see https://www.facebook.com/events/256232794815500/.

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Celebrate Florida February/March 2017 issue

We hope you will find this issue informative, especially the info about:

+ The Women’s March on Washington … and in Florida (beginning on page 1)
+ Your Board of Directors’ January meeting (pages 1 and 11)
+ “Time for Conversations” (beginning on page 16)
+ The WOW Youth Retreat and upcoming Quest Youth Retreat (pages 32-33)
+ Advent and Christmas Florida-style (beginning on page 36)
+ The many opportunities open to our Florida congregations, clergy and members (see box on page 1)

Click HERE for PDF.

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Weekly Update 2 February

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SAT, FEB 4 FUNDRAISER: The church is planning to do a fundraiser February 4th involving Craig’s List and eBay. If you have things to donate, please bring them to the church on Thursday between 9 am and noon or Friday between 3 and 5 pm. If there are large items that need to be picked up, please make arrangements with Preston Poe. Items for Resale to Benefit Lakewood United Church of Christ include:

  • Tools/ Power Tools/Hand Tools/Woodworking
  • Electric Kitchen Tools: Blenders/Food Processors/Mixers/Microwave/Toaster Oven
  • Cameras/Video Cameras
  • Air Conditioners/Dehumidifiers/Fans
  • Sporting Goods / Exercise Equipment
  • Vintage Clothing / Coats in great shape- Unusual Items!
  • Furniture & Luggage in Excellent Condition
  • Musical Instruments

Please place items in your trunk, help unloading will be provided after the
church service as you pull around to the storage shed behind the Fellowship Hall. (Only items in Good Condition!)

SUN, FEB 5 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday, February 5th, The familiar images of salt and light invite reflection on the nature of discipleship. With so much turmoil and need in the world, how do people of faith live in a way that is pleasing to God and makes a difference? See Matthew 5:13-20 and Isaiah 58:1-12.
SUN, FEB 5 CREATION JUSTICE TASK FORCE: The Creation Justice Task Force has begun meeting on a regular basis in order to shepherd the congregation through a process of declaring itself a Creation Justice Congregation. The next meeting will be Sunday, February 5th following morning worship. Lunch will be provided. Please speak with Claire Stiles if you would like to be part of this important initiative in the life of the church.
SAT, FEB 11 MEMORIAL SERVICE: There will be a memorial service celebrating the life of Phil Crowe on Saturday, February 11th at 11:00 am in the sanctuary.
IN MEMORIAM: Max Wells, part of the LUCC family for over 20 years, was found dead in his home this past week. Please keep his family and loved ones in your prayers. This dear brother in Christ will be greatly missed by the church.
MON, FEB 13 – MON JUN 12 FAMILY PROMISE VOLUNTEER TRAINING: If you are interested in participating in this program that provides meals and compassion for helping low-income families “achieve lasting independence” by providing shelter, meals, and support services to “redress the underlying causes of homelessness,” you are invited to attend one of the upcoming volunteer trainings. The training sessions are scheduled for 2/13/17, 3/13/17, 4/10/17, 5/8/17, and 6/12/17. All sessions will be held on Monday evenings from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Central Christian Church, 6161 22nd Ave. N in St. Petersburg FL.

LUCC has been serving Family Promise as a support church for 2 years and has seen many families graduate from the program and enter into new lives with opportunity, life skills, and hope. We support Lakewood United Methodist Church (LUMC), a host church, by providing meals and evening coverage at LUMC. For more information, please contact Patti Cooksey.

FRI, FEB 24 BOOK CLUB: The Book Club will meet Friday, February 24th at 12:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall. Please bring your own sandwich, drinks and dessert will be provided by Jean Johnson. The book is “The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough, a true story of the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly. Vita Uth will have extra copies available after church. Everyone is welcome.
SAT, FEB 25 FL CONFERENCE UCC WOMEN: Join in a lighthearted day of fellowship, food and fun at Lakewood UCC in St. Petersburg on Saturday, February 25th. For more information and/or to rsvp, please contact Marty Synnott, Central West Coast Representative, at martysynnott@yahoo.com.
SAT, FEB 25 LUCC WOMEN’S SPIRITUALITY GROUP: Learn a meditative and centering practice called Feldenkrais Awareness through Movement on Saturday, February 25th at 2:00 pm in the sanctuary. Fon Nguyen, a physical therapist and Feldenkrais teacher, will lead the workshop. This involves gentle movements done from a seated position, all abilities welcome.
MON, FEB 27 – MON APR 24 OPERATION ATTACK: 2017 Volunteer nights – February 27th, March 27th, and April 24th. Hours 6-7 p.m.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, FEB 2 I AM A MAN: Dr. Bernard Lafayette, a Freedom Rider and advisor to Dr. Martin L. King Jr. will discuss the history and status of black males with USFSP professor Ray Arsenault. February 2, Thursday – 6:00PM, at USFSP 140 7th Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL
WED, FEB 1 PARTNERING FOR PEACE WITH ST PETE QUAKERS: Looking at tragic moments in history, one could ask, “What would I have done if I were there?” It’s happening here. It’s happening now. We must #Resist now. Peace First, a faithful group that have been maintaining a presence and protesting for years, continues for the month of February on Wednesday afternoons from 4:30 to 5:30pm. Our location for February is 34th St. N. and 22nd Ave. N.. There is plenty of parking in the Winn Dixie parking lot on the southwest corner. We will have a variety of signs, especially protesting the new anti-immigration policy. We usually have many positive responses to our presence and welcome all to join us in speaking out for peace and justice.
SAT, JAN 19 – SUN, FEB 5 WORLD PEACE MANDALA: Eight Tibetan monks from the Drepung Gomang monastery in India will create the sacred mandala, which was designed by the Dalai Lama and depicts all religions in harmony. They will share Tibetan cultures and traditions, and offer lessons on compassion. Tibetan works of art will also be for sale. Tuesday January 31st through Sunday February 5th. There will be daily chanting at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.floridacraftart.org/events/sacred-art-tour-of-tibetan-monks-2017/
SAT, FEB 11
SING OUT! TAMPA BAY: 
This is the second annual concert given by the Florida Orchestra and a volunteer community chorus. Claire Stiles and Mark Gibson from LUCC are singing in the chorus. The free concert will be Saturday, February 11th at 7:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg, 1900 Gandy Blvd.
SAT, FEB 11 CROP WALK: The walk will be Sunday, Feb. 26 starting and ending at First Presbyterian, 701 Beach DR NE – registration at 1:30, Walk begins at 2! Registration materials are available at church.
FRI, FEB 17 – SAT, FEB 18 “EVERY STEP A PRAYER” RETREAT WITH THOMAS HAWKINS: Despite our North American romance with automobiles, walking is making a comeback. Nearly two-thirds of Americans report they regularly walk for leisure, exercise, or transportation. Beneath this renewed interest in walking lies a yearning to slow down in a 24/7 world, to reconnect to the natural world in a wired, technological society, and to express our protest in a political climate where many feel they may have a vote but do not have a voice. These yearnings have deep connections to Christian spirituality’s century-old understanding of walking as a spiritual practice that brings us into the presence of God, and heightens our awareness of the Spirit’s movement both in our own hearts as well as the world around us. This retreat will explore the rich resource of the Bible and Christian spirituality for walking as a spiritual practice. It will include Bible study, personal reflection, and guided experiences in walking as a form of prayer and spiritual practice. February 17 & 18 at Pass-a-Grille Beach Community Church Registra on Fee: $20 (includes refreshments and light lunch) For more information and to register, visit pagchurch.org. or contact the church office at 360-5508.
FRI, FEB 17 – SAT, FEB 25 ECKERD COLLEGE ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL: For 19 years, the Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature Environmental Film Festival has brought compelling and important films to the Tampa Bay area to raise awareness and promote discussion of matters relating to nature, place and the environment. Film scholars and filmmakers from around the world engage the audience in a lively dialogue about the environmental perspectives contained in documentary, animated, experimental and feature films. All films are free and open to the public. Visit environmentalfilmfest.com for the film schedule.
THU, FEB 23 – SAT FEB 25 FLORIDA INTERFAITH CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK: This year’s assembly, which will explore the theme “water is life,” is scheduled for February 23-25, 2017, at First United Methodist Church in downtown Orlando. This Assembly will give participants a working knowledge of Florida’s critical water system issues and will provide opportunity for participants to collaborate in networks with others to protect Florida water. Visit interfaithflorida.com to register.
SAT, FEB 25 FAMILY PROMISE FUNDRAISER: Saturday, February 25th from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm at the First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg (1900 Gandy Blvd.). Games, food, entertainment, silent auction and raffle. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for school-aged kids and free for 5 and under. To purchase tickets, make reservations, or ask questions contact Family Promise of Pinellas at 727-201-9571 or familypromisepinellas.org
WED, MAR 22 – FRI, MAR 24 2017 CREATION JUSTICE WORKSHOP SCHEDULED: There has never been a more important time for people of faith to come together to talk about what is happening to our beloved environment here in Florida. If the topic of creation justice is something you would like to explore further, either for your own interest or on behalf of your faith community, please consider attending this workshop! The event has been scheduled tentatively for March 22-24 at the Florida Conference Offices at 9300 University Blvd., Orlando, FL 32817. Alternate dates are March 23-25. Cost varies depending on the rooming option selected: $295 for a single-occupancy room, $215 for double occupancy, or $95 for those who don’t need accommodations. The workshop is limited to the first 12-15 people who register, so register today! If you have any questions, please contact any of the facilitators: Kim Wells, Mike MacMillan, or Bill Wealand.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.
ANNOUNCEMENTS WELCOME: To have an announcement put in the bulletin or weekly update, please turn it into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Email, or voicemail, as well as written material is welcome. The church is glad to share activities and news from members and friends.
ART FOR HOPE: Wally LeBlanc has cards and paintings featuring his artwork for sale. The proceeds will be donated to the roof fund and other community ministries. Thank you, Wally! He is in need of bottle caps, soda can tabs and old keys for his current art project. If you have any to donate, please bring them to church and give them to Wally.
THE BIBLE ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. Visit ucc.org for a list of biblical references to immigrants and refugees.
BUDGET MEETING REPORT: The proposed budget for 2017 was endorsed unanimously at the Congregational Meeting last Sunday. The budget is posted on the bulletin board at church. Notes from the meeting as well as the budget will also be available on the church website. The budget that was affirmed includes a deficit. This is an opportunity for those who are able to consider increasing their regular giving to the church to make up this difference. Please consider increasing your pledge $10 a month, or $5 a week, or $2,000 a year or whatever will work for you in response to God’s goodness in your life.
CIRCLES OF CARING: Lakewood UCC has chosen to be one of the three local congregations participating in “Creating Unbroken Circles of Caring,” a program to help seriously ill people maintain meaningful contact with their spiritual communities. If you are interested in participating in this project contact Lakewood UCC member, Jim Andrews, Director of Spiritual Care at Suncoast Hospice.
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. Please take them and share them.
IMG_3544
LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
UPDATE ON A FORMERLY HOMELESS FRIEND OF THE CHURCH: The formerly homeless couple that the church has been helping are continuing to live indoors. They are grateful for all the church has done for them. At the moment, they are in need of a few additional things: AA and AAA batteries, fix a flat for a bike tire, two inner tubes for a bike tire (size 700 X 35-43C), and candles.
USHERS NEEDED: Please sign up to usher for services during the month of December. The signup sheet is on the bulletin board at the back of the church.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. All children participate in the beginning of the worship service. Elementary age children and younger are invited to participate in Children’s Time during the service. After Children’s Time elementary children are welcome in Church School Grace Lewis with assistance from others in the congregation are the teachers this year. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. Middle and High School students participate in the Lakewood service on Sunday morning and attend the youth groups at Pass A Grille Beach Community United Church of Christ on Sunday evening during the school year. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN
Virginia Bodendorfer, Lloyd Conover,Jill Presley Cox and family,
friends and family of Phil Crowe,  Betty Harris, Carolyn Moore, Gertie Pirazzini,
friends and family of Max Wells, The USA

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Weekly Update 18 January

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, JAN 22 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday, January 22, God’s words of encouragement and hope through the prophet Isaiah speak to people today. Rev. Victoria Long is preaching and Genie Terrell is offering the ministry of music. Be part of inaugurating God’s future. Rev. Wells is away until Tuesday Jan. 24. For pastoral care during her absence, please contact Sally Purvis at sallybpurvis@icloud.com
TUE, Jan 17 Office Manager Position Filled The church is delighted to welcome Grace Lewis as the new office manager. Grace has been preparing the bulletins for the past month. Now she will be working in the office Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings from nine until noon. Gratitude is expressed to Grace for being willing to serve the church in this capacity.
Please communicate with Grace about office business during the week by phone or email or dropping in at the office. Or leave a note on the office desk. Please try to refrain from discussing office matters with Grace on Sunday mornings. Thank you!
MON, JAN 23 OPERATION ATTACK: 2017 Volunteer nights – Jan 23rd, Feb 27th, March 27th, and April 24th. Hours 6-7 p.m.
FRI, JAN 27 BOOK CLUB: The church Book Club will meet at church, Friday Jan. 27, 2017 at 12:30 p.m.. Please bring your own sandwich, drinks and dessert will be provided. All are welcome! The book is Americanah by Ngozi Adichie, a great story (2013) about a young couple growing up in Nigeria. She moved to America, where she finds out what it’s like to be black. He had planned to join her, but after 9/11 America is closed to him. He winds up in London. 15 years later they are reunited in newly Democratic Nigeria. A wonderful story about race, love and identity.
SUN, JAN 29 CONGREGATIONAL MEETING: There will be a congregational meeting on Sunday Jan. 29 following morning worship for the purpose of endorsing a budget for 2017. All are welcome to participate. If there are other things that you would like to have discussed at the meeting, please speak with Rev. Wells.
SUN, FEB 5 CREATION JUSTICE TASK FORCE: The Creation Justice Task Force has begun meeting on a regular basis in order to shepherd the congregation through a process of declaring itself a Creation Justice Congregation. The next meeting will be Sunday Feb. 5 following morning worship. Lunch will be provided. Please speak with Claire Stiles if you would like to be part of this important initiative in the life of the church.
MON, FEB 13 FAMILY PROMISE VOLUNTEER TRAINING: If you are interested in participating in this program that provides meals and compassion for helping low-income families “achieve lasting independence” by providing shelter, meals, and support services to “redress the underlying causes of homelessness,” you are invited to attend one of the upcoming volunteer trainings. The training sessions are scheduled for 2/13/17, 3/13/17, 4/10/17, 5/8/17, and June 12/17. All sessions will be held on Monday evenings from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Central Christian Church, 6161 22 nd Ave. N in St. Petersburg FL.

LUCC has been serving Family Promise as a support church for 2 years and has seen many families graduate from the program and enter into new lives with opportunity, life skills, and hope. We support Lakewood United Methodist Church (LUMC), a host church, by providing meals and evening coverage at LUMC. For more information, please contact Patti Cooksey.

FUNDRAISER IN FEBRUARY: The church is planning to do a fundraiser in February involving Craig’s List and eBay. If you have things to donate, please bring them to the church. If there are large items that need to be picked up, please let us know so we can assist with arrangement. Items for Resale to Benefit Lakewood United Church of Christ include:

  • Tools/ Power Tools/Hand Tools/Woodworking
  • Electric Kitchen Tools: Blenders/Food Processors/Mixers/Microwave/Toaster Oven
  • Cameras/Video Cameras
  • Air Conditioners/Dehumidifiers/Fans
  • Sporting Goods / Exercise Equipment
  • Vintage Clothing / Coats in great shape- Unusual Items!
  • Furniture & Luggage in Excellent Condition

Please place items in your trunk, We will help you unload after the
church service as you pull around to the storage shed behind the Fellowship Hall. (Only items in Good Condition!)

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SAT, JAN 19 YOU CAN’T SAY THAT: St. Petersburg College presents Free Speech and the Social Sensitivity Movement, January 19, 2017, 6-8:15 p.m., Seminole Campus Conference Center, St. Petersburg College, 9200 113th St. N. Seating is limited and online registration is required. http://solutions.spcollege.edu or call 727-394-6942 for more information.
SAT, JAN 21 ST. PETE WOMEN’S MARCH: St. Pete Women’s Solidarity March for Social Justice — Everyone is welcome – MEN too! Saturday, January 21, 2017, 12:00 to 3 PM. March Gathering at 12 Noon, Starting and Ending at Demen’s Landing, Bayshore Drive & 1st Avenue South. Marching on Sidewalks. Our Mission: To create an inclusive community regardless of race, nationality, faith or sexual orientation for a common vision of freedom, equality and social justice. For on-line donations, click on site and follow instructions: http://tinyurl.com/WomensMarchStPete. People need to sign up to participate.
SAT, JAN 21 WOMEN’S MARCH: Realizing that women’s rights are human rights, on Saturday, January 21st, several hundred thousand women will be gathering outside the Capitol Building for a Women’s March on Washington. Beginning at 10 a.m. there will be a rally with speakers raising their voices for justice (whether racial, climate, reproductive, LGBTQ, etc.). The women (and supportive men, youth, and families) will then begin a peaceful march from the Capitol, walking the talk and standing up for “our rights, our health, our safety, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

You can find the guiding principles of the march, which align with those of the UCC and LUCC, at womensmarch.com (About/Mission & Guiding Principles). Rev. Kim Wells and several members of Lakewood will be participating in the March. The hope is that the March will inspire and empower more women to speak up and take action for justice in the months and years to come. There will also be a Solidarity March in St. Petersburg that same day – with details to be announced. Hopefully many people from the LUCC family will participate in the local March. Please hold the marchers and the common values and hopes for the United States in your prayers.

MON, JAN 23 HOLOCAUST PRESENTATION: The Holocaust – Never Again — A life story of an actual Holocaust Survivor – You are invited to listen to one of the steadfast few remaining. Presenter: Marie Silverman (Inspirational Speaker). Monday, January 23rd at 7:00 p.m. at the Baha’i Center in Clearwater, 2898 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater, FL 33759. For more information please contact Jaleh at 727-643-6404.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

CIRCLES OF CARING: Lakewood UCC has chosen to be one of the three local congregations participating in “Creating Unbroken Circles of Caring,” a program to help seriously ill people maintain meaningful contact with their spiritual communities. If you are interested in participating in this project contact Lakewood UCC member, Jim Andrews, Director of Spiritual Care at Suncoast Hospice (JamesAndrews@thehospice.org).
USHERS NEEDED: Please sign up to usher for services during the month of December. The signup sheet is on the bulletin board at the back of the church.
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. Please take them and share them.
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.
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 athttps://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. All children participate in the beginning of the worship service. Elementary age children and younger are invited to participate in Children’s Time during the service. After Children’s Time elementary children are welcome in Church School Grace Lewis with assistance from others in the congregation are the teachers this year. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. Middle and High School students participate in the Lakewood service on Sunday morning and attend the youth groups at Pass A Grille Beach Community United Church of Christ on Sunday evening during the school year. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
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.
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 at www.facebook.com/LakewoodUCC and on Twitter at twitter.com/lakewoodUCC.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
IMG_3544
LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.


CIRCLE OF CONCERN
Lloyd Conover, Phil Crowe, Jill Presley Cox and family, Betty Harris
Gertie Pirazzini, Carolyn Moore, Virginia Bodendorfer, The USA

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Sermon – Jan. 15, 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday

Sermon: Taking the Plunge – Making a Pledge
Scripture: John 1: 29-42
Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

Jesus lived in a time when his people, the Jews, were being oppressed by the Romans. The Jews had their rights of self determination curtailed by the Romans. They were being exploited economically by the Romans. And their labor was being abused by the Romans. In first century Palestine, Roman rule was being imposed upon the Jews by force. Cooperation was mandated through intimidation. It was a system maintained by violence.

And in these circumstances, Jesus comes to foment rebellion: A rebellion of love rooted in justice for each and every person. Jesus knew that beloved community, community of mutual dignity and respect, cannot be created through violence means. The hopes and dreams of God cannot be fulfilled through violence.

When people use violence they are betraying the sacred image of God within themselves. They are defying their true, core identity as a human being. They are acting in contradiction to the divine love that is at the heart of life.

In addition, when violence is inflicted, it is a betrayal of the sacred image of the Divine in the ones who are harmed. It is a denial of the true, core identity of others. And this dynamic is present whatever the nature of the violence – domestic violence, economic violence, military violence, a barroom brawl, a playground scuffle, a shooting, drone bombings – it is all part of the dynamic of the betrayal and denial of the sacredness of life. And we all suffer for it: Those directly engaged in the violence as well as those who are part of the society in which the violence takes place. Violence takes its toll on everyone.

Jesus, as one wholly imbued with the Divinity of God, cannot advocate or engage in violence. To do so would be a betrayal of his identity, his humanity, and his God.

Jesus invites his followers to experience beloved community, the commonwealth of God. As we heard this morning, those who are wondering if Jesus is the Messiah are invited to “come and see.” Experience the community. See the behavior and values in practice. Hear the teachings. Then decide. While Jesus is a freedom fighter seeking the freedom of his people, he is committed to building the reign of God which embraces all people. And this can NEVER be achieved through violent means. To use violence to implement the realm of God is to deny the foundational premise of that realm. So Jesus never uses violence: Not against the everyday people who denied him. Not against the religious leaders who were afraid he was undermining their power and sought his death. And he never advocated the use of violence against the Romans who were occupying the country and denying the human rights of the Jews as well as extorting their money and labor. No violence. Period.

There were plenty of Jews who wanted to violently overthrow the Romans and kick them out of Palestine. There were people who wanted to violently rebel. But Jesus teaches, love your enemy. Pray for those who persecute you. Do good to those who seek to harm you. He knew that was ultimately the way to convert and transform reality. Violence will always beget more of the same. Love has the power to transform. That’s what Jesus invited people to come and see. And they do. And, as we heard this morning, many follow.

This weekend we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While we are reminded that King was a civil rights leader, we want to remember that first and foremost, King was a Christian, and a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was a follower of Jesus. He was committed to the Gospel. In his book about King, Tavis Smiley describes King’s message as “justice for all, service to others, and a love that liberates, no matter the cost.” (Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Final Year, Tavis Smiley with David Ritz, p. 4) That is a beautiful, concise description of the Gospel of Jesus. In the story of Jesus, King saw the parallels between the condition of the Negro in America and the situation of the Jews under the Roman Empire in first century Palestine. He also saw that Jesus’ commitment to nonviolence, in spite of the resistance around him, was the way of faithfulness in the face of oppression and injustice. King knew from Jesus that there was no way to justify the use of violence if you’re following Jesus. From Jesus, King knew that only love and nonviolence can transform an individual and bring forth our truest humanity. And only love and nonviolence can transform a society and bring forth justice and peace. That was the foundation of King’s life.

King pursued the commonwealth of God for all of creation through nonviolent means. He worked to eradicate racism, poverty, and militarism all through nonviolent action. Yes, it was practical since blacks would easily be outgunned and overpowered by whites, the poor by the rich. And nonviolence was a tool available to the masses. But it was not just practicality that motivated King’s commitment to nonviolence. It was the message of Jesus and the goal of authentic transformation. It was the moral demand that compelled King to root himself in nonviolence. And that commitment extended beyond gaining human rights for blacks to the protection of human rights for all people in all places.

In his famous sermon at The Riverside Church in New York, King declared his thorough going commitment to nonviolence as a moral commitment not just a convenient tactic for gaining rights for blacks: “They applauded us on the freedom rides when we accepted blows without retaliation. They praised us in Albany and Birmingham and Selma, Alabama. Oh, the press was so noble in its applause and so noble in its praise that I was saying be nonviolent toward Bull Connor. There is something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that will praise you when you say be nonviolent toward Jim Clark, but will curse you and damn you when you say be nonviolent toward little brown Vietnamese children! There is something wrong with that.” (The King Years by Taylor Branch, p. 160)

The legacy of Dr. King reminds us that the gospel of nonviolence applies to all of life and all situations, personal as well as political and international. Life is life. And love is love. Regardless of the circumstances.

As we reflect on the Christian commitment to nonviolence, we want to remember that nonviolence is not about being passive and sitting back and accepting your fate. Nonviolence is not about sitting back and watching your favorite news channel, or being glued to your siloed newsfeed online. Nonviolence is about active engagement with people and power. It is about disarming injustice and oppression. Jesus was known for getting out and engaging with people, dealing with those considered enemies, engaging with foreigners, healing on the sabbath, telling stories about defying the power structures of the day. In a similar manner, King and those engaged in the civil rights movement were not sitting at home wringing their hands. They were organizing sit ins, protests, marches, demonstrations, boycotts, and voter registration drives. They were nonviolent, but they were not passive. They were taking direct action. And direct action was being taken against them. There were beatings, bombings, and murders. There were violent enemies of civil rights and Dr. King just as there were violent enemies of Jesus. Nonviolence does not necessarily guarantee personal safety at least not in the short run.

Knowing this, when there was going to be a civil rights action, the people were taught about nonviolence. They were schooled in the philosophy and the techniques of nonviolent resistance. And they were asked to take a pledge of nonviolence. There was much preparation for this and not every one agreed to it. In fact, only a small percentage of the people involved in the civil rights movement committed themselves to nonviolence. Maybe that is why the goals of the movement have yet to be realized.

It’s a big commitment, the commitment to nonviolence. We see what it cost Jesus. We know what it cost King and others who committed their lives to nonviolent social transformation. King reminds us that Christians desiring to follow Jesus must take seriously the commitment to nonviolent resistance. Following Jesus means seeking the transformation of ourselves, our communities, our religion, our country, and our world through nonviolent action.

When those involved in the civil rights movement were preparing for an action, they were asked to consider signing a pledge of nonviolence. That pledge is printed in your bulletin. Take a look at it. In a moment we will read it together. Notice that that the pledge was to be signed like a mortgage or a lease or a contract. It was a commitment. There is a space for noting Nearest Relative, yes, next-of-kin because there could be serious consequences to committing to nonviolence. This was not to be taken lightly. The pledge also included many ways to serve. Marching, demonstrating, and sitting in were not the only options. There was day to day work, background work that was important, too. The commitment to nonviolence was comprehensive.

We are just beginning a new year. It is a time of transition in our country as new lawmakers begins their service and a new administration moves into the White House. We are in the midst of a major transition in human history and development that won’t be understood until well into the future. We need to ask ourselves where we stand in relationship to injustice, oppression, inequity, and the violence and greed around us. Will we be passive observers? Or will we take seriously the model we have been given in Jesus as King did?

In our context, we hear Jesus’ invitation to come and see: Experience the transforming power of radical love. See the results of nonviolent action in pursuit of God’s dreams for Creation. Become part of passionate, active engagement with the world promoting a vision of universal justice. Work for the transformation and healing of individual lives, social arrangements, economic systems, educational settings, and religious institutions. Protect the planet itself. Come and see another way that honors the sacredness of life and trusts the power of love not weapons, might, fear, hatred and greed. Come and see. Find where you are being called. Look for where you can plug in. See where your voice needs to be heard. And take action. Nonviolent action. So that others may come and see the power of love. Amen.

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

Commitment Card

I hereby pledge myself—my person and body—to the nonviolent movement.

Therefore I will keep the following ten commandments:

Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.

Remember always that the non—violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation
not victory.

Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.

Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.

Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.

Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.

Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.

Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.

Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.

I sign this pledge, having seriously considered what I do and with the determination and will to persevere.

Name______________________________________

Address____________________________________

Phone_____________________________________

Nearest Relative_____________________________

Address____________________________________

Besides demonstrations, I could also help the movement by (Circle the proper items): Run errands, Drive my car, Fix food for volunteers, Clerical work, Make phone calls, Answer phones, Mimeograph, Type, Print Signs, Distribute leaflets.

ALABAMA CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Birmingham Affiliate of S.C.L.C.
505 1/2 North 17th Street
F.L. Shuttlesworth, President

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Weekly Update

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, JAN 8 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday, January 15, The service this Sunday will be a celebration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his advocacy which was rooted in Jesus’ gospel of non-violence.
JAN 13 FAMILY PROMISE REQUEST: LUCC is a support congregation for Family Promise, a coalition of congregations in the St. Petersburg area seeking to help homeless families with children become financially self sufficient and stable. Family Promise has requested that LUCC collect laundry detergent. Do, if you are able, please consider donating a jug of laundry soap. Donations may be placed in the Operation Attack shopping cart in the hallway at church. It will be taken to Family Promise. LUCC is scheduled to staff Family Promise the week of Jan. 8-13. Patti Cooksey is the new LUCC coordinator for Family Promise. Please contact Patti if you are interested in volunteering. Many thanks!
TUE, JAN 17 ADVISORS’ MEETING: There will be a meeting of the 2016 and 2017 Advisors to work on preparing the budget for the year ahead. Everyone from the church family is invited to part of this conversation which will be held Tuesday Jan. 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the church library. The congregational will have the opportunity to vote on the proposed budget after church on Sunday Jan. 29.
SAT, JAN 21 ST. PETE WOMEN’S MARCH: St. Pete Women’s Solidarity March for Social Justice — Everyone is welcome – MEN too! Saturday, January 21, 2017, 12:00 to 3 PM. March Gathering at 12 Noon, Starting and Ending at Demen’s Landing, Bayshore Drive & 1st Avenue South. Marching on Sidewalks. Our Mission: To create an inclusive community regardless of race, nationality, faith or sexual orientation for a common vision of freedom, equality and social justice. For on-line donations, click on site and follow instructions: http://tinyurl.com/WomensMarchStPete. People need to sign up to participate.
SAT, JAN 21 WOMEN’S MARCH: Realizing that women’s rights are human rights, on Saturday, January 21st, several hundred thousand women will be gathering outside the Capitol Building for a Women’s March on Washington. Beginning at 10 a.m. there will be a rally with speakers raising their voices for justice (whether racial, climate, reproductive, LGBTQ, etc.). The women (and supportive men, youth, and families) will then begin a peaceful march from the Capitol, walking the talk and standing up for “our rights, our health, our safety, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

You can find the guiding principles of the march, which align with those of the UCC and LUCC, at womensmarch.com (About/Mission & Guiding Principles). Rev. Kim Wells and several members of Lakewood will be participating in the March. The hope is that the March will inspire and empower more women to speak up and take action for justice in the months and years to come. There will also be a Solidarity March in St. Petersburg that same day – with details to be announced. Hopefully many people from the LUCC family will participate in the local March. Please hold the marchers and the common values and hopes for the United States in your prayers.

SUN, JAN 22 LOOKING AHEAD: Sunday Jan. 22, Rev. Victoria Long will be preaching while Rev. Wells is in Washington, D.C. for the Women’s March. Rev. Wells will be away from Friday Jan. 20-Tuesday Jan. 24. For pastoral care during her absence, please contact Sally Purvis at 678-428-3920 or sallybpurvis@icloud.com
MON, JAN 23 HOLOCAUST PRESENTATION: The Holocaust – Never Again — A life story of an actual Holocaust Survivor – You are invited to listen to one of the steadfast few remaining. Presenter: Marie Silverman (Inspirational Speaker). Monday, January 23rd at 7:00 p.m. at the Baha’i Center in Clearwater, 2898 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater, FL 33759. For more information please contact Jaleh at 727-643-6404.
MON, JAN 23 OPERATION ATTACK: 2017 Volunteer nights – Jan 23rd, Feb 27th, March 27th, and April 24th. Hours 6-7 p.m.
FRI, JAN 27 BOOK CLUB: The church Book Club will meet at church, Friday Jan. 27, 2017 at 12:30 p.m.. Please bring your own sandwich, drinks and dessert will be provided. All are welcome! The book is Americanah by Ngozi Adichie, a great story (2013) about a young couple growing up in Nigeria. She moved to America, where she finds out what it’s like to be black. He had planned to join her, but after 9/11 America is closed to him. He winds up in London. 15 years later they are reunited in newly Democratic Nigeria. A wonderful story about race, love and identity.
SUN, JAN 29 CONGREGATIONAL MEETING: There will be a congregational meeting on Sunday Jan. 29 following morning worship for the purpose of endorsing a budget for 2017. All are welcome to participate. If there are other things that you would like to have discussed at the meeting, please speak with Rev. Wells.
SUN, FEB 5 CREATION JUSTICE TASK FORCE: The Creation Justice Task Force has begun meeting on a regular basis in order to shepherd the congregation through a process of declaring itself a Creation Justice Congregation. The next meeting will be Sunday Feb. 5 following morning worship. Lunch will be provided. Please speak with Claire Stiles if you would like to be part of this important initiative in the life of the church.
MON, FEB 13 FAMILY PROMISE VOLUNTEER TRAINING: If you are interested in participating in this program that provides meals and compassion for helping low-income families “achieve lasting independence” by providing shelter, meals, and support services to “redress the underlying causes of homelessness,” you are invited to attend one of the upcoming volunteer trainings. The training sessions are scheduled for 2/13/17, 3/13/17, 4/10/17, 5/8/17, and June 12/17. All sessions will be held on Monday evenings from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Central Christian Church, 6161 22 nd Ave. N in St. Petersburg FL.

LUCC has been serving Family Promise as a support church for 2 years and has seen many families graduate from the program and enter into new lives with opportunity, life skills, and hope. We support Lakewood United Methodist Church (LUMC), a host church, by providing meals and evening coverage at LUMC. For more information, please contact Patti Cooksey.

FUNDRAISER IN FEBRUARY: The church is planning to do a fundraiser in February involving Craig’s List and eBay. If you have things to donate, please bring them to the church. If there are large items that need to be picked up, please let us know so we can assist with arrangement. Items for Resale to Benefit Lakewood United Church of Christ include:

  • Tools/ Power Tools/Hand Tools/Woodworking
  • Electric Kitchen Tools: Blenders/Food Processors/Mixers/Microwave/Toaster Oven
  • Cameras/Video Cameras
  • Air Conditioners/Dehumidifiers/Fans
  • Sporting Goods / Exercise Equipment
  • Vintage Clothing / Coats in great shape- Unusual Items!
  • Furniture & Luggage in Excellent Condition

Please place items in your trunk, We will help you unload after the
church service as you pull around to the storage shed behind the Fellowship Hall. (Only items in Good Condition!)

COMING NEARBY EVENTS

SAT, JAN 14 EVENT DATE CHANGED: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Candlelight Vigil changed to Saturday, January 14, 6:00 p.m. In light of the many events scheduled on Sunday, January 15, the Woodson Museum has rescheduled the Dr. M.L. King Candlelight Vigil to Saturday, January 14 beginning at 6pm. We hope that you can join us.
SUN, JAN 15 MLK EVENT: The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Service, sponsored by Interfaith Tampa Bay (formerly known at the St. Petersburg Interfaith Association) will be held Sunday, January 15, at 4 p.m. at Christ Gospel Church, 2512 22nd Ave. S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712. The service will feature a speaker from Gibbs High School as well as the Tampa Bay Area Youth Choir.
SUN, JAN 15 WRITERS RESIST: Writers Resist is an international event taking place around the world. Locally, writers and musicians will offer music and the spoken word as a “reinauguration” of the principles of free expression and human rights. All are welcome to participate in this event which is being coordinated by Sarah Lain, Vita Uth’s granddaughter. Sarah read a beautiful poem at the dedication of the Peace Pole at LUCC in September. The event will be held at Mt Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, 955 20th St S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712, on Sunday, January 15th, 2017 from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
MON, JAN 16 STILL I RISE-STORIES OF RESILIENCE: This event, presented by Living Mirror Playback Theater, is sponsored by the Alternatives to Violence Project. It is inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the poetry of Maya Angelou. This rejuvenating evening of theater involves enacting true stories of resilience and transformation. It will take place on Monday Jan. 16, 2017 at the Friends Meeting House, 130 19th Ave. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33705. The evening begins with a potluck dinner at 5:30. Please bring a dish to share. The theater presentation begins at 6:45 p.m.
SUN, JAN 19 YOU CAN’T SAY THAT: St. Petersburg College presents Free Speech and the Social Sensitivity Movement, January 19, 2017, 6-8:15 p.m., Seminole Campus Conference Center, St. Petersburg College, 9200 113th St. N. Seating is limited and online registration is required. http://solutions.spcollege.edu or call 727-394-6942 for more information.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

CIRCLES OF CARING: Lakewood UCC has chosen to be one of the three local congregations participating in “Creating Unbroken Circles of Caring,” a program to help seriously ill people maintain meaningful contact with their spiritual communities. If you are interested in participating in this project contact Lakewood UCC member, Jim Andrews, Director of Spiritual Care at Suncoast Hospice (JamesAndrews@thehospice.org).
USHERS NEEDED: Please sign up to usher for services during the month of December. The signup sheet is on the bulletin board at the back of the church.
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. Please take them and share them.
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.
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 athttps://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. All children participate in the beginning of the worship service. Elementary age children and younger are invited to participate in Children’s Time during the service. After Children’s Time elementary children are welcome in Church School Grace Lewis with assistance from others in the congregation are the teachers this year. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. Middle and High School students participate in the Lakewood service on Sunday morning and attend the youth groups at Pass A Grille Beach Community United Church of Christ on Sunday evening during the school year. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
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.
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 at www.facebook.com/LakewoodUCC and on Twitter at twitter.com/lakewoodUCC.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
IMG_3544
LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.


CIRCLE OF CONCERN
Mary Beth Lewis, Jean Johnson, Lloyd Conover,
Jill Presley Cox and family, Betty Harris,
Gertie Pirazzini, Carolyn Moore, Virginia Bodendorfer,
The USA
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Weekly Update addenda

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

WEEKLY UPDATE ADDENDA

SUN, JAN 8 NEW ADVISORS FOR 2017: This morning,Sunday, January 8, the new Advisors for 2017 will be affirmed. The Advisors are suggested by the congregation. Church members may also volunteer to be an Advisor. The church by laws call for 3-5 people to serve as Advisors each year. Advisors serve a one year term and are welcome to serve for multiple terms. The Advisors for 2017 are Charlie Lewis, Victoria Long, Sally Purvis, Yoko Nogami, and Bill Lindsay. Many thanks for serving!
SUN, JAN 8 CREATION JUSTICE TASK FORCE: The Creation Justice Task Force will meet after the service this coming Sunday, January 8. Lunch will be included in the gathering. All those interested in working on the process of exploring LUCC becoming a Creation Justice Church are invited to participate.
SUN, JAN 8 CREATION JUSTICE TASK FORCE: The Creation Justice Task Force will meet after the service this coming Sunday, January 8. Lunch will be included in the gathering. All those interested in working on the process of exploring LUCC becoming a Creation Justice Church are invited to participate.
SUN, JAN 15 MLK CELEBRATION: Sunday, January 15, will be a celebration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
SUN, JAN 22 VICTORIA LONG: Sunday Jan. 22, Rev. Victoria Long will be preaching while Rev. Wells is in Washington, D.C. for the Women’s March.
SUN, JAN 29 CONGREGATIONAL MEETING: There will be a congregational meeting on Sunday Jan. 29 following morning worship for the purpose of endorsing a budget for 2017. All are welcome to participate. If there are other things that you would like to have discussed at the meeting, please speak with Rev. Wells.
Share

Weekly Update

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, JAN 8 THIS SUNDAY: “Light to All Creation” is the theme for the day. [See Isaiah 60:1-6 and John 1:1-18] This service concludes the Advent-Christmas season of the church year. Inspired, renewed, with spirits lifted and light shining, we take joy into the New Year.
SUN, JAN 8 CHOIR: Sunday, January 8th, rehearsal and anthem as usual.
JAN 8-13 FAMILY PROMISE REQUEST: LUCC is a support congregation for Family Promise, a coalition of congregations in the St. Petersburg area seeking to help homeless families with children become financially self sufficient and stable. Family Promise has requested that LUCC collect laundry detergent. Do, if you are able, please consider donating a jug of laundry soap. Donations may be placed in the Operation Attack shopping cart in the hallway at church. It will be taken to Family Promise. LUCC is scheduled to staff Family Promise the week of Jan. 8-13. Patti Cooksey is the new LUCC coordinator for Family Promise. Please contact Patti if you are interested in volunteering. Many thanks!
SAT, JAN 21 WOMEN’S MARCH: Realizing that women’s rights are human rights, on Saturday, January 21st, several hundred thousand women will be gathering outside the Capitol Building for a Women’s March on Washington. Beginning at 10 a.m. there will be a rally with speakers raising their voices for justice (whether racial, climate, reproductive, LGBTQ, etc.). The women (and supportive men, youth, and families) will then begin a peaceful march from the Capitol, walking the talk and standing up for “our rights, our health, our safety, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

You can find the guiding principles of the march, which align with those of the UCC and LUCC, at womensmarch.com (About/Mission & Guiding Principles). Rev. Kim Wells and several members of Lakewood will be participating in the March. The hope is that the March will inspire and empower more women to speak up and take action for justice in the months and years to come. There will also be a Solidarity March in St. Petersburg that same day – with details to be announced. Hopefully many people from the LUCC family will participate in the local March. Please hold the marchers and the common values and hopes for the United States in your prayers.

MON, JAN 23 OPERATION ATTACK: 2017 Volunteer nights – Jan 23rd, Feb 27th, March 27th, and April 24th. Hours 6-7 p.m.
FRI, JAN 27 BOOK CLUB: The church Book Club will meet at church, Friday Jan. 27, 2017 at 12:30 p.m.. Please bring your own sandwich, drinks and dessert will be provided. All are welcome! The book is Americanah by Ngozi Adichie, a great story (2013) about a young couple growing up in Nigeria. She moved to America, where she finds out what it’s like to be black. He had planned to join her, but after 9/11 America is closed to him. He winds up in London. 15 years later they are reunited in newly Democratic Nigeria. A wonderful story about race, love and identity.
FINANCE ANNOUNCEMENT: As we approach the end of the year there are many demands on our financial resources. There are even many good causes that we all want to support in this holiday season. We hope that you will do your best to remember your pledges and tithes to Lakewood UCC at this time, and if possible, consider giving a little extra to help us meet our 2016 budget in a year when we have had some unexpected expenses.
FUNDRAISER IN JANUARY: The church is planning to do some kind of fundraiser in January probably involving Craig’s List and eBay. If you have things to donate, please bring them to the church. If there are large items that need to be picked up, please let us know so we can assist with arrangement.

COMING NEARBY EVENTS

SUN, JAN 15 WRITERS RESIST: Writers Resist is an international event taking place around the world. Locally, writers and musicians will offer music and the spoken word as a “reinauguration” of the principles of free expression and human rights. All are welcome to participate in this event which is being coordinated by Sarah Lain, Vita Uth’s granddaughter. Sarah read a beautiful poem at the dedication of the Peace Pole at LUCC in September. The event will be held at Mt Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, 955 20th St S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712, on Sunday, January 15th, 2017 from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
SUN, JAN 15 MLK EVENT: The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Service, sponsored by Interfaith Tampa Bay (formerly known at the St. Petersburg Interfaith Association) will be held Sunday, January 15, at 4 p.m. at Christ Gospel Church, 2512 22nd Ave. S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712. The service will feature a speaker from Gibbs High School as well as the Tampa Bay Area Youth Choir.
MON, JAN 16 STILL I RISE-STORIES OF RESILIENCE: This event, presented by Living Mirror Playback Theater, is sponsored by the Alternatives to Violence Project. It is inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the poetry of Maya Angelou. This rejuvenating evening of theater involves enacting true stories of resilience and transformation. It will take place on Monday Jan. 16, 2017 at the Friends Meeting House, 130 19th Ave. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33705. The evening begins with a potluck dinner at 5:30. Please bring a dish to share. The theater presentation begins at 6:45 p.m.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

CIRCLES OF CARING: Lakewood UCC has chosen to be one of the three local congregations participating in “Creating Unbroken Circles of Caring,” a program to help seriously ill people maintain meaningful contact with their spiritual communities. If you are interested in participating in this project contact Lakewood UCC member, Jim Andrews, Director of Spiritual Care at Suncoast Hospice (JamesAndrews@thehospice.org).
USHERS NEEDED: Please sign up to usher for services during the month of December. The signup sheet is on the bulletin board at the back of the church.
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. Please take them and share them.
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.
CREATION CARE TASK FORCE BEING FORMED: The church is forming a group to encourage ways that we can impact global climate change and the condition of the environment. This will include consideration of LUCC becoming a Creation Justice Church, a covenant process similar to Just Peace and Open and Affirming. Those who would like to work on creation care at LUCC are asked to speak with Claire Stiles. The first meeting will be Sunday, January 8, after morning worship. Lunch will be provided.
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 athttps://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. All children participate in the beginning of the worship service. Elementary age children and younger are invited to participate in Children’s Time during the service. After Children’s Time elementary children are welcome in Church School Grace Lewis with assistance from others in the congregation are the teachers this year. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. Middle and High School students participate in the Lakewood service on Sunday morning and attend the youth groups at Pass A Grille Beach Community United Church of Christ on Sunday evening during the school year. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
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.
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 at www.facebook.com/LakewoodUCC and on Twitter at twitter.com/lakewoodUCC.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
IMG_3544
LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.


CIRCLE OF CONCERN
Mary Beth Lewis, Jean Johnson, Lloyd Conover,
Jill Presley Cox and family, Betty Harris,
Gertie Pirazzini, Carolyn Moore, Virginia Bodendorfer,
The USA

Share

Weekly Update

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, JAN 1 THIS SUNDAY – NEW YEAR’S DAY: On New Year’s Day, the service will be outside around the labyrinth, weather permitting. Bring a lawn chair, if you have one. The theme of the service is Sharing Love’s Pure Light in the New Year. The service will include communion and the opportunity to walk the labyrinth if you care to. There is assistance available to traverse the grass. This will be a beautiful opportunity to set the intention of your heart on Love’s Pure Light for the New Year. This is an intergenerational service. Children are welcome to participate. There will be no nursery care provided.
SUN, JAN 1 & 8 CHOIR: No choir rehearsal or choir anthem this coming Sunday, January 1st, New Year’s Day. However, next Sunday, January 8th, rehearsal and anthem as usual.
TUE, JAN 3 WOMEN’S SPIRITUALITY GROUP: The next gathering of the Women’s Spirituality Group with be on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the home of Claire Stiles and Ruth Pettis This gathering to welcome the New Year will be led by Claire and Victoria Long. Contact the church office for additional information. All are welcome!
SUN, JAN 8 EPIPHANY: “Light to All Creation” is the theme for the day. [See Isaiah 60:1-6 and John 1:1-18] This service concludes the Advent-Christmas season of the church year. Inspired, renewed, with spirits lifted and light shining, we take joy into the New Year.
JAN 8-13 FAMILY PROMISE REQUEST: LUCC is a support congregation for Family Promise, a coalition of congregations in the St. Petersburg area seeking to help homeless families with children become financially self sufficient and stable. Family Promise has requested that LUCC collect laundry detergent. Do, if you are able, please consider donating a jug of laundry soap. Donations may be placed in the Operation Attack shopping cart in the hallway at church. It will be taken to Family Promise. LUCC is scheduled to staff Family Promise the week of Jan. 8-13. Patti Cooksey is the new LUCC coordinator for Family Promise. Please contact Patti if you are interested in volunteering. Many thanks!
SAT, JAN 21 WOMEN’S MARCH: Realizing that women’s rights are human rights, on Saturday, January 21st, several hundred thousand women will be gathering outside the Capitol Building for a Women’s March on Washington. Beginning at 10 a.m. there will be a rally with speakers raising their voices for justice (whether racial, climate, reproductive, LGBTQ, etc.). The women (and supportive men, youth, and families) will then begin a peaceful march from the Capitol, walking the talk and standing up for “our rights, our health, our safety, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

You can find the guiding principles of the march, which align with those of the UCC and LUCC, at womensmarch.com (About/Mission & Guiding Principles). Rev. Kim Wells and several members of Lakewood will be participating in the March. The hope is that the March will inspire and empower more women to speak up and take action for justice in the months and years to come. There will also be a Solidarity March in St. Petersburg that same day – with details to be announced. Hopefully many people from the LUCC family will participate in the local March. Please hold the marchers and the common values and hopes for the United States in your prayers.

FRI, JAN 27 BOOK CLUB: The church Book Club will meet at church, Friday Jan. 27, 2017 at 12:30 p.m.. Please bring your own sandwich, drinks and dessert will be provided. All are welcome! The book is Americanah by Ngozi Adichie, a great story (2013) about a young couple growing up in Nigeria. She moved to America, where she finds out what it’s like to be black. He had planned to join her, but after 9/11 America is closed to him. He winds up in London. 15 years later they are reunited in newly Democratic Nigeria. A wonderful story about race, love and identity.
NEIGHBORS IN NEED OFFERING REPORT: The Thanksgiving offering at LUCC this year was designated to support Neighbors in Need. This offering is used for empowerment projects especially involving Native American Indian churches and projects. The classic Thanksgiving story tells of the indigenous peoples helping the European immigrants. This was an opportunity to return the gesture by helping our Native American friends. $340 was collected at LUCC and will be a part of the annual offering of the United Church of Christ nationwide.
HELPING A HOMELESS NEIGHBOR: The church has been helping a homeless couple that has been staying outside in the vicinity of the church. They have now been able to move to a hotel. Their situation is much more stable in large measure because of the generosity of the LUCC congregation. Please know that your help is greatly appreciated by our neighbors who have been able to move inside.
FINANCE ANNOUNCEMENT: As we approach the end of the year there are many demands on our financial resources. There are even many good causes that we all want to support in this holiday season. We hope that you will do your best to remember your pledges and tithes to Lakewood UCC at this time, and if possible, consider giving a little extra to help us meet our 2016 budget in a year when we have had some unexpected expenses.
FUNDRAISER IN JANUARY: The church is planning to do some kind of fundraiser in January probably involving Craig’s List and eBay. If you have things to donate, please bring them to the church. If there are large items that need to be picked up, please let us know so we can assist with arrangement.

COMING NEARBY EVENTS

SAT, DEC 31 LABYRINTH AT FIRST NIGHT – SAT, DEC 31: Gary Crosby, a friend of LUCC, will be setting up the labyrinth for First Night in North Straub Park right next to the MFA across from Paciugo’s gelato. 9 a.m.-12P p.m.for set up, evening shifts to hand out wish ribbons, 6 p.m.-12A a.m..
Those who are interested in helping may contact Yoko Nogami.
SUN, JAN 15 WRITERS RESIST: Writers Resist is an international event taking place around the world. Locally, writers and musicians will offer music and the spoken word as a “reinauguration” of the principles of free expression and human rights. All are welcome to participate in this event which is being coordinated by Sarah Lain, Vita Uth’s granddaughter. Sarah read a beautiful poem at the dedication of the Peace Pole at LUCC in September. The event will be held at Mt Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, 955 20th St S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712, on Sunday, January 15th, 2017 from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
SUN, JAN 15 MLK EVENT: The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Service, sponsored by Interfaith Tampa Bay (formerly known at the St. Petersburg Interfaith Association) will be held Sunday, January 15, at 4 p.m. at Christ Gospel Church, 2512 22nd Ave. S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712. The service will feature a speaker from Gibbs High School as well as the Tampa Bay Area Youth Choir.
MON, JAN 16 STILL I RISE-STORIES OF RESILIENCE: This event, presented by Living Mirror Playback Theater, is sponsored by the Alternatives to Violence Project. It is inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the poetry of Maya Angelou. This rejuvenating evening of theater involves enacting true stories of resilience and transformation. It will take place on Monday Jan. 16, 2017 at the Friends Meeting House, 130 19th Ave. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33705. The evening begins with a potluck dinner at 5:30. Please bring a dish to share. The theater presentation begins at 6:45 p.m.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

CIRCLES OF CARING: Lakewood UCC has chosen to be one of the three local congregations participating in “Creating Unbroken Circles of Caring,” a program to help seriously ill people maintain meaningful contact with their spiritual communities. If you are interested in participating in this project contact Lakewood UCC member, Jim Andrews, Director of Spiritual Care at Suncoast Hospice (JamesAndrews@thehospice.org).
USHERS NEEDED: Please sign up to usher for services during the month of December. The signup sheet is on the bulletin board at the back of the church.
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. Please take them and share them.
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.
CREATION CARE TASK FORCE BEING FORMED: The church is forming a group to encourage ways that we can impact global climate change and the condition of the environment. This will include consideration of LUCC becoming a Creation Justice Church, a covenant process similar to Just Peace and Open and Affirming. Those who would like to work on creation care at LUCC are asked to speak with Claire Stiles. The first meeting will be Sunday, January 8, after morning worship. Lunch will be provided.
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 athttps://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. All children participate in the beginning of the worship service. Elementary age children and younger are invited to participate in Children’s Time during the service. After Children’s Time elementary children are welcome in Church School Grace Lewis with assistance from others in the congregation are the teachers this year. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. Middle and High School students participate in the Lakewood service on Sunday morning and attend the youth groups at Pass A Grille Beach Community United Church of Christ on Sunday evening during the school year. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
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.
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 at www.facebook.com/LakewoodUCC and on Twitter at twitter.com/lakewoodUCC.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
IMG_3544
LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.


CIRCLE OF CONCERN
Mary Beth Lewis, Jean Johnson, Lloyd Conover,
Jill Presley Cox and family, Betty Harris,
Gertie Pirazzini, Carolyn Moore, Virginia Bodendorfer,
The USA

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Weekly Update

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SAT, DEC 24 CHRISTMAS EVE
Childcare is provided.

  • 6:30 p.m. – Music of the Season
  • 7:00 p.m. – Service of Candlelight and Communion

This service will be a celebration of the light that shines in the darkness, something deeply needed in a time of shortened daylight and dark times in the world. The LIGHT still shines! Please remember to bring your Christmas Offering for The Micah Center. You may bring your Advent can and place it on the altar during the offering.

The Micah Center offers an after school program with homework help, literacy, math development and mentoring free of charge for children on the free/reduced lunch program in Pinellas County schools. It takes $10 to fund a child for a day in this innovative independently organized non-profit ministry program housed at The American Baptist Church of the Beatitudes in St. Petersburg. Zach Blair-Andrews of the LUCC congregation is serving as an intern at The Micah Center. Help break the cycle of poverty. Support The Micah Center!

SUN, DEC 25 CHRISTMAS DAY : The service will be a beautiful celebration of the gift of peace that is given through Jesus. [See Isaiah 9:2-7 and Psalm 148]. Christmas blessings to all as we celebrate the birth of Jesus at this beautiful service! Please note that children are welcome to participate in the whole service. There is no nursery care available this morning.
DEC 26-29 REV. WELLS AWAY: Rev. Wells will be on vacation Dec. 26-29. If pastoral assistance is needed, please contact Sally Purvis (sallybpurvis@icloud.com).
SUN, JAN 1 NEW YEAR’S DAY: On New Year’s Day, the service will be outside around the labyrinth, weather permitting. Bring a lawn chair, if you have one. The theme of the service is Sharing Love’s Pure Light in the New Year. The service will include communion and the opportunity to walk the labyrinth if you care to. There is assistance available to traverse the grass. This will be a beautiful opportunity to set the intention of your heart on Love’s Pure Light for the New Year. This is an intergenerational service. Children are welcome to participate. There will be no nursery care provided.
TUE, JAN 3 WOMEN’S SPIRITUALITY GROUP: The next gathering of the Women’s Spirituality Group with be on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the home of Claire Stiles and Ruth Pettis This gathering to welcome the New Year will be led by Claire and Victoria Long. Contact the church office for additional information. All are welcome!
SUN, JAN 8 EPIPHANY: “Light to All Creation” is the theme for the day. [See Isaiah 60:1-6 and John 1:1-18] This service concludes the Advent-Christmas season of the church year. Inspired, renewed, with spirits lifted and light shining, we take joy into the New Year.
JAN 8-13 FAMILY PROMISE REQUEST: LUCC is a support congregation for Family Promise, a coalition of congregations in the St. Petersburg area seeking to help homeless families with children become financially self sufficient and stable. Family Promise has requested that LUCC collect laundry detergent. Do, if you are able, please consider donating a jug of laundry soap. Donations may be placed in the Operation Attack shopping cart in the hallway at church. It will be taken to Family Promise. LUCC is scheduled to staff Family Promise the week of Jan. 8-13. Patti Cooksey is the new LUCC coordinator for Family Promise. Please contact Patti if you are interested in volunteering. Many thanks!
SAT, JAN 21 WOMEN’S MARCH: Realizing that women’s rights are human rights, on Saturday, January 21st, several hundred thousand women will be gathering outside the Capitol Building for a Women’s March on Washington. Beginning at 10 a.m. there will be a rally with speakers raising their voices for justice (whether racial, climate, reproductive, LGBTQ, etc.). The women (and supportive men, youth, and families) will then begin a peaceful march from the Capitol, walking the talk and standing up for “our rights, our health, our safety, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

You can find the guiding principles of the march, which align with those of the UCC and LUCC, at womensmarch.com (About/Mission & Guiding Principles). Rev. Kim Wells and several members of Lakewood will be participating in the March. The hope is that the March will inspire and empower more women to speak up and take action for justice in the months and years to come. There will also be a Solidarity March in St. Petersburg that same day – with details to be announced. Hopefully many people from the LUCC family will participate in the local March. Please hold the marchers and the common values and hopes for the United States in your prayers.

FRI, JAN 27 BOOK CLUB: The church Book Club will meet at church, Friday Jan. 27, 2017 at 12:30 p.m.. Please bring your own sandwich, drinks and dessert will be provided. All are welcome! The book is Americanah by Ngozi Adichie, a great story (2013) about a young couple growing up in Nigeria. She moved to America, where she finds out what it’s like to be black. He had planned to join her, but after 9/11 America is closed to him. He winds up in London. 15 years later they are reunited in newly Democratic Nigeria. A wonderful story about race, love and identity.
NEIGHBORS IN NEED OFFERING REPORT: The Thanksgiving offering at LUCC this year was designated to support Neighbors in Need. This offering is used for empowerment projects especially involving Native American Indian churches and projects. The classic Thanksgiving story tells of the indigenous peoples helping the European immigrants. This was an opportunity to return the gesture by helping our Native American friends. $340 was collected at LUCC and will be a part of the annual offering of the United Church of Christ nationwide.
HELPING A HOMELESS NEIGHBOR: The church has been helping a homeless couple that has been staying outside in the vicinity of the church. They have now been able to move to a hotel. Their situation is much more stable in large measure because of the generosity of the LUCC congregation. Please know that your help is greatly appreciated by our neighbors who have been able to move inside.
FINANCE ANNOUNCEMENT: As we approach the end of the year there are many demands on our financial resources. There are even many good causes that we all want to support in this holiday season. We hope that you will do your best to remember your pledges and tithes to Lakewood UCC at this time, and if possible, consider giving a little extra to help us meet our 2016 budget in a year when we have had some unexpected expenses.
FUNDRAISER IN JANUARY: The church is planning to do some kind of fundraiser in January probably involving Craig’s List and eBay. If you have things to donate, please bring them to the church. If there are large items that need to be picked up, please let us know so we can assist with arrangement.

COMING NEARBY EVENTS

THU, DEC 29 SABAL TRAIL PIPELINE: Several months ago, church members signed a petition against the construction of the Sabal Trail Pipeline which is to carry natural gas through the state of Florida to the east coast to be shipped abroad. The construction of the pipeline has caused several sinkholes and continues to be a threat to the Florida aquifer. On Thursday, December 29th, activists across Florida will be taking to the streets and offices of those who have the power to stop Sabal Trail Pipeline from destroying our beautiful aquifer system.

There is an event taking place in St. Petersburg. You are encouraged to participate Thursday Dec. 29 from 4-6 p.m. in Williams Park, 330 2nd Ave. N.

SAT, DEC 31 LABYRINTH AT FIRST NIGHT – SAT, DEC 31: Gary Crosby, a friend of LUCC, will be setting up the labyrinth for First Night in South Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday morning, Dec. 31. Those who are interested in helping may contact Yoko Nogami.
SUN, JAN 15 WRITERS RESIST: Writers Resist is an international event taking place around the world. Locally, writers and musicians will offer music and the spoken word as a “reinauguration” of the principles of free expression and human rights. All are welcome to participate in this event which is being coordinated by Sarah Lain, Vita Uth’s granddaughter. Sarah read a beautiful poem at the dedication of the Peace Pole at LUCC in September. The event will be held at Mt Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, 955 20th St S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712, on Sunday, January 15th, 2017 from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
SUN, JAN 15 MLK EVENT: The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Service, sponsored by Interfaith Tampa Bay (formerly known at the St. Petersburg Interfaith Association) will be held Sunday, January 15, at 4 p.m. at Christ Gospel Church, 2512 22nd Ave. S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712. The service will feature a speaker from Gibbs High School as well as the Tampa Bay Area Youth Choir.
MON, JAN 16 STILL I RISE-STORIES OF RESILIENCE: This event, presented by Living Mirror Playback Theater, is sponsored by the Alternatives to Violence Project. It is inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the poetry of Maya Angelou. This rejuvenating evening of theater involves enacting true stories of resilience and transformation. It will take place on Monday Jan. 16, 2017 at the Friends Meeting House, 130 19th Ave. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33705. The evening begins with a potluck dinner at 5:30. Please bring a dish to share. The theater presentation begins at 6:45 p.m.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

CIRCLES OF CARING: Lakewood UCC has chosen to be one of the three local congregations participating in “Creating Unbroken Circles of Caring,” a program to help seriously ill people maintain meaningful contact with their spiritual communities. If you are interested in participating in this project contact Lakewood UCC member, Jim Andrews, Director of Spiritual Care at Suncoast Hospice (JamesAndrews@thehospice.org).
USHERS NEEDED: Please sign up to usher for services during the month of December. The signup sheet is on the bulletin board at the back of the church.
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. Please take them and share them.
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.
CREATION CARE TASK FORCE BEING FORMED: The church is forming a group to encourage ways that we can impact global climate change and the condition of the environment. This will include consideration of LUCC becoming a Creation Justice Church, a covenant process similar to Just Peace and Open and Affirming. Those who would like to work on creation care at LUCC are asked to speak with Claire Stiles. The first meeting will be Sunday, January 8, after morning worship. Lunch will be provided.
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 athttps://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. All children participate in the beginning of the worship service. Elementary age children and younger are invited to participate in Children’s Time during the service. After Children’s Time elementary children are welcome in Church School Grace Lewis with assistance from others in the congregation are the teachers this year. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. Middle and High School students participate in the Lakewood service on Sunday morning and attend the youth groups at Pass A Grille Beach Community United Church of Christ on Sunday evening during the school year. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
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.
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 at www.facebook.com/LakewoodUCC and on Twitter at twitter.com/lakewoodUCC.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
IMG_3544
LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
AA: In the Fellowship Hall Thursdays at 7:45 p.m.


CIRCLE OF CONCERN
Jean Johnson, Lloyd Conover, Jill Presley Cox and family,
Betty Harris, Gertie Pirazzini, Carolyn Moore,
Virginia Bodendorfer, The USA

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Advent Devotion Twenty-Six 12.22.16

untitled In comics there is the symbol of the light bulb above a character’s head to show they have a bright idea. Lightening strikes and there is a huge, bright flash. We flip a switch and a room lights up. In many of the ways we think of light, the illumination is immediate. A stage was dark and then suddenly it is lit.

When we think of our faith shining light, it is often a more subtle, incremental, evolutionary process. It can be an abrupt transformation. But more typically, the light of faith “works” on us over the process of our lives and when we look back we see that we have been changing and being transformed.

Also, when we think of shining our light, as in “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,” the change created may be very slow and gradual. We may not see drastic transformation and receive immediate gratification from our good works. We may be doing good and impacting lives but the world still seems to be going on as is. We may be addressing ourselves to systemic change and advocacy, but not seem to see any wins. Change can be extremely slow when it comes to institutions and society. The fact is, we may be serving others and the world in a dedicated manner and never really see much of the fruits of our labors. Maybe we get a “thank you” here or there, but we may not see any real change.

That is how it is with light. Yes, it can be drastic and dramatic. But it can also be slow and emergent. Here we may think of dawn or twilight. The change in light is gradual, subtle, and slow. We may not even notice that change is happening – until we realize, “Oh, it’s day time.” Or, “Oh, it’s dark outside.” We may not see the effects of the light in our lives or in the world in dramatic ways on a regular basis. Sometimes we have to look carefully, attune ourselves to minute shifts, take a long view.

So don’t be discouraged if you don’t see your faith producing sudden, dramatic change in your life, the lives of others, or the world. The light sometimes creeps in, virtually unnoticed.

Prayer: May we welcome the Light of the Divine and let it show us the way. Amen.

In your journal, think about how the Light has created change in your life over time.

Sometimes students improve slowly. Help the students at The Micah Center with your donation.

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Christmas Caroling photos


Click on any picture for a larger image.
Photos by Janet Blair

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New Members

Sunday Dec. 11, Lakewood UCC received 2 new members into the church family. Wally LeBlanc joined the church. He lives across the street from the church and is transferring his membership from Church of the Isles, Indian Rocks Beach. Wally’s sponsor was Preston Poe. The second new member was Emily Gibson. Emily started coming to LUCC when she was about 3. Now, she joins the church as an adult. Emily’s sponsor is Dana Cosper. Rev. Kim Wells was assisted in the liturgy by Advisor Charlie Lewis. The church is blessed to welcome these wonderful new members!


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

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