Bill Ryland leads special tour of Sunken Gardens for Lakewood

Bill Ryland lead a special tour of Sunken Gardens for Lakewood United Church of Christ. There were about 20 people in attendance and the tour was slightly more than two hours long. Bill’s command of the subject, the history of the gardens and the myriad plants growing there, was very impressive.

[slideshow_deploy id=’9328′]

photos by Melanie Moore and Hilton Jones


Colleen Coughenour directed play April 18 through May 4, 2014 at West Coast Players

Winner! 1982 American Theatre Critics Association Award, Best Regional Play

Now is the time to buy tickets for what will be an evening of phenomenal performances!
Do not miss this opportunity to join these nine celebrated actresses as they bring Jane Martin’s “idiosyncratic characters who amuse, move and frighten, always speaking
from the depths of their souls” to the West Coat Players stage.
 This remarkable cast and director has a total of 38 Lary/STAR awards between them.  Prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey! 
The cast of Jane Martin’s Talking With
(in order of appearance)
Donna Donnelly
Susan Demers
Margee Sapowsky
Kimen Mitchell
Janice Creneti
Susan O’Gara
Tara Fuller
Nonie White
Linda Weir
Colleen Coughenour, Director

This production marks the debut of another event: the long-awaited installation of our comfortable new theatre seats.  You will not believe the transformation!


April 18 through May 4, 2014
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm
Sunday matinees at 2 pm
Tickets: $17
Groups 10+: $15

All seating is reserved.

Click here to buy your tickets now! 

Presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

For Box Office call 727 437-2363 




Buddhist Peace Fellowship’s “Change Your Mind Day”

Change Your Mind Day – Tampa Bay – April 12, 2014

  • Saturday, April 12, 2014
  •  to 
  • 2525 Philippe parkway, Safety Harbor, FL (map)


    Banner at Shelter #1: Buddhist Peace Fellowship

  • Change Your Mind Day Tampa Bay 2014

    An annual gathering of friends of Buddha’s teachings.

    Sharing ideas, practices and experiences.

    Change Your Mind Day Tampa Bay is an opportunity for people interested in Buddhism to meet and interact. Buddhist teachings have much to offer. By working together, we can better alleviate suffering.


    When: Saturday, April 12, 2014, 10 am to 3 pm (arrive & leave at any time)

    Shelter #1
    Philippe Park
    2525 Philippe Pkwy,
    Safety Harbor, FL 34695

    Presentations and conversations about Buddhism.
    Pot-luck vegetarian lunch.
    Free books and other literature.
    Buddhist art and music.

    Who: Anyone interested in Buddhism

    Cost: No charge or obligation

    Sponsored by: Buddhist Peace Fellowship of Tampa Bay (

    10:00 : 108 bells (Clear Water Zen)

    10:10 : Pali chanting by Ven Saddhasara of Mahamevnawa Meditation Monastery

    10:15 : Discussion session on Meditation:

    Gene Healy, AP, DOM   “Approaching the Dharma: From Yoga to Mindfulness, to Zen.” (10:15 to 10:30 Presentation, 10:30 to 10:45 Q&A)

    Buddhist Global Relief Work (10:45-11:15 )

    Rev. Frank Tedesco, Ph.D., Buddhist Chaplaincy/Pastoral Work (11:15-11:45)

    11:45-1:15 : pot-luck vegetarian lunch, followed by entertainment and activities, including music, bathing the baby Buddha, and walking meditation.

    1:15-2:00 : Panel and Discussion: Emptiness Teachings

    Essay by Susan Kahn, An Introduction to Buddhist Wisdom

    2:00-2:45 Discussion session: What Buddhism means to me and why am I a Buddhist? This is an open discussion to get to know each other. We will sit around in a circle on chairs or cushions. Tom will moderate.

    2:45-3:00 : Closing ceremony : chanting and 108 bells

    The morning session will start with three 15-minute meditation sessions. For each, the presenter will briefly describe their group and tradition, and then give a short guided introduction to a meditation technique.

    In the afternoon session, panelists will address questions such as: How can Buddhists better reach out to people not actively involved in Buddhism? How can Buddhist groups better help those who already are involved? Are there needs and populations that are not being served?

    In both the morning and afternoon, after the program we will have a general discussion, welcoming comments and questions from anyone who would like to speak.

    We look forward to:

    * Volunteers to help provide lunch-time entertainment (music, dance, poetry, mindful movement, etc).
    * Volunteers to help with the event on April 12, including lunch and tea coordinators.
    * Groups to offer free literature, information, art exhibits, etc.
    (unfortunately, Parks Department rules prohibit sales or soliciting of donations)
    * Volunteers to help staff the BPF literature table.
    * Updated literature from local groups for the BPF literature table — please bring it on April 12 or email to arrange mailing or pickup.



The Bookclub will meet, 4-25, at 12:30 in the church fellowship hall, please bring your own sandwich, drinks and dessert will be provided by Mary Stokes. The book is Please Look After Mom, By Kyung-Sook Shin. It is a story of a familial dilemma in South Korea and also experienced throughout the World.


Lunch Bunch Snapshots

On Sundays after fellowship an informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation. You are welcome at this gathering of friends old and new. Please check with one of the regulars–Melanie Moore, Bill Ryland, Carol Shores, or Ruth Halderman–about the details for this week. Pictured on the right is an example of some of the folks who sometimes lunch as a bunch. (PhotoS by Melanie Moore and Sue Sherwood — click photos for larger images)


The Bookclub

   The bookclub will meet in the church fellowship hall at 12:30, Friday, February 28. Please bring your own sandwich, drinks and dessert will be provided by Jean Johnson

The book is: The Dovekeepers, by Alice Hoffman. This novel takes place in 70 C.E. as 900 Jews help out against the Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert.
Everyone is welcome.


Lakewood Bookclub News

Several of us are planning to go to the Pass-a-grille beach community church for the live presentation of Nan Coltons performance of Catherine the Great on Tuesday, Jan. 21,at 1pm. (See for details.) A 5 dollar donation is requested.

    Our regular bookclub meeting will be at the church fellowship hall, Friday Jan. 24th at 12:30. Please bring your own sandwich, drinks and dessert will be provided by Vita Uth. The book is “The Eco-Barons” by Edward Humes.

Everyone is invited.

— Vita Uth


A Book Club Event: Catherine the Great

The Pass-a-Grille Beach Community Church invites you to a live presentation of Nan Colton’s performance of Catherine the Great on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:00 P.M. This event will be held in the church at 107 16th Avenue, St. Pete Beach, FL. Parking is available in lot and on the street. A $5.00 donation is requested.

The church book club recommends the book, Catherine the Great, by Robert K. Massie, however you will thoroughly enjoy the performance if you have not read the book.

This live performance by Nan Colton will portray the Empress of Russia as a ruler and a woman. Many of her decisions are relevant to the world today. Come hear why this woman was named, “great.”

Nan Colton is a playwright, director, storyteller, actress, and arts educator having performed and lectured professionally on stages through South Africa, Great Britain, and the United States. Nan has been the Performing-Artist-in-Residence at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, for the the past 14 years, having researched, produced, and performed over 37 vastly different original scripted presentations that explain the art and the exhibition.

For more information, please contact Ann(

Door prizes!


Pathfinder Open Tree Climb to Benefit Operation Attack

Pathfinder Open Tree Climb to Benefit Operation Attack: Saturday, December 7th 10 am to 2 pm — Climb for only $5.00 with a food, clothing or cash donation to Operation Attack. OA will be open for tours so you can see all the good work they do. Please feel free to come by with donations even if you don’t climb.
Open Tree Climb and OAOperation Attack’s mission is to counteract the damaging forces of poverty. Their outreach helps low income families with children who are referred in times of need by partnering organizations.
OA is supported entirely by donations from churches, individuals and charitable organizations and has been in continuous operation on the same corner since 1967!
OA always needs:

  • Canned vegetables, fruits, canned meat, breakfast cereals, peanut butter, jelly, pasta, etc.
  • Children’s clothes, particularly new underwear and socks
  • Cash donations
  • Volunteers!

Pathfinder Outdoor Education 1310 22nd Avenue South · St. Petersburg, FL · 33705 727-328-0300 ·


Hanging of the Greens

Many folks were busy today, December 1, decorating the sanctuary for Christmas. Denise and Bill are considering the placement of an angel’s wings. Mark and Kai’lyn are taking a well-deserved break. Somehow one of the chief coordinators escaped the eye of the camera this year – you know who you are.

Click on any picture for a larger image and then again for a closeup.


Lakewood goes to the Trop for the Rays

A group of 28 from Lakewood went to the Rays game together on Sunday afternoon, September 22. The age range was 5 to 86!

Click on any picture for a larger image and then again for a closeup.


Rowell Family Reunion

Family Reunion 1 Family Reunion 2

On Sunday July 21, Lakewood UCC hosted the Rowell family as part of their family reunion festivities. LUCC member Mary Stokes organized this first ever family reunion for this branch of her family. On Sunday, all were invited to come to church and there were over 50 visitors. Katie Aurcremann played the euphonium. After the service, the Rowell family and the LUCC family shared lunch together in the Fellowship Hall. It was a wonderful celebration. Many thanks to Mary for including her church family in her family reunion. Katie
Katie Aurcremann, euphoniums soloist

Stan Hunter Trio Live at the Palladium

Thursday, Jul. 25, 7:30p — Some of the Bay area’s best jazz musicians come together to celebrate Stan Hunter, the pianist and Hammond B3 player. Patrick Bettison leads an all-star band and Stan himself joins in the concert for the finale. A night of jazz standards and original music by this legendary jazz master.

Tickets $18, $20 day of show. Go to to buy tickets and for more information.


Russian Festival Concert

Some LUCC members have expressed an interest in attending the Russian Festival Concert. We are attempting to arrange car pooling to the Sarasota Opera House. If you are planning to go and have space in your vehicle, or if you need a ride, contact Bill Parsons (

Tickets to the concert are $20 at the door. Members and friends of LUCC may purchase tickets in advance for $15. Contact Bill Parsons by July 7 for further information.

click picture for larger image
RH July 2013 News.f



Team Tampa Bay

Here we go again! Get ready as we look to the summer of 2013 when you can be a part of a trip that will make a difference in the lives of so many people. This adventure will take you to La Romana in the Dominican Republic for one week to work with people in one of the poorest regions in the western hemisphere. We will be primarily conducting medical clinics for the Haitian families who live in the bateys (villages in the middle of the sugar cane fields). Our group will also be involved in building projects at Good Samaritan Hospital .We would love to have you join us! Here are a few answers to the questions you may have as you make your decision.

When? Saturday June 8th to Saturday June 15th, 2013
Leaving out of Tampa International Airport, flying into Santo Domingo.

Where? When we arrive we will be staying in dorm style accommodations sponsored by the Good Samaritan Project in La Romana. They will also take care of all of our meals, transportation, and translators where needed.

Who? The group will be made up of adults and teenagers. A team of medical personnel and myself from All Children’s Hospital will be leading the team from Tampa Bay.

What? The cost of the trip will be $1350. This will cover the cost of airfare, transportation while in La Romana, room and board, as well as medical supplies that we will purchase and bring with us. The cost of airfare on American Airlines is $523.50. We will need a $100.deposit by monday February 11th 2013 to reserve a seat for you. Your deposit will be applied to the total cost of the trip. The balance of the airfare ($423.50) is due March 25th. The remaining balance of $926.50.will be due April 15th, 2013. All payments should be made out to Lakewood UCC and mailed to my address at 491 22nd Ave. S.E. St. Petersburg 33705.

Once you have decided to join us for Project Dominican Republic, we will provide you with all of the specifics necessary to prepare you for a safe and rewarding experience. Take a look at the website, to get a better idea of the world you will be a part of for a week. If you have any questions please feel free to call me at 727-744-7910. I look forward to the possibility of traveling with you on this summer adventure.

Rev. Dr. David R. Pitt
Chaplain, All Children’s Hospital
Member, Lakewood United Church of Christ


Drum Circle Against Gun Violence UPDATE

When and Where:
3PM, Sunday, February 17
Lakewood UCC
St. Pete, FL

Over twenty years ago, Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart defined “drum circles” during testimony before the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging:

“Typically, people gather to drum in drum ‘circles’ with others from the surrounding community. The drum circle offers equality because there is no head or tail. It includes people of all ages. The main objective is to share rhythm and get in tune with each other and themselves. To form a group consciousness. To entrain and resonate. By entrainment, I mean that a new voice, a collective voice, emerges from the group as they drum together.”

In this Spirit, a community-wide “Drumming for Peace to Stop Gun Violence” will be held on Sunday, February 17 at 3pm at Lakewood UCC in St. Petersburg. Drummers hope to create a positive space, connect with each other, and be spiritually grounded as we work together to promote peace in our communities.

“Drumming for Peace to Stop Gun Violence” is free and open to the public. Lakewood UCC ( is located at 2601 54th Avenue. Bring your own drum (BYOD) and other percussion instruments to share. The event is hosted by the UCC Pinellas Plus Clergy Group. For more information, contact the Rev. Kim Wells at 727-867-7961.


22 kids from 74th Street Elementary

IMG_1016The presents under this tree at church this morning are the presents bought for some very needy kids at my school. Thank you to the many Lakewood folks that eagerly helped me out –you came through with abundant giving and thoughtfulness. The generosity of the people of Lakewood UCC is evident all year, but it was especially evident this Christmas season when I came at the last minute with a huge request for help for students at my school.

For Christmas this year another church had planned to adopt 56 kids from 74th Street Elementary, where I teach First Grade. Families were referred by teachers and staff based on known need, and the names and ages of children were collected However, the plans fell through for that church to donate. Our school staff was left in a panic – they did not want to have to tell the families that we could not provide gifts for their children after all. My principal sent an email explaining the dilemma. She immediately had some of the children “adopted” by teachers and staff, and another elementary and church helped out with some too, but 22 of the children were quickly “adopted” by the people of Lakewood United Church of Christ. You didn’t just go buy gifts to fulfill an obligation – you shopped with each child in mind, calling me to find out more about him or her. Thank you so much for doing what you do time and again – giving cheerfully and thoughtfully to those less fortunate. Much love, Melanie


Hanging of the greens

“HANGING OF THE GREENS” — Nothing says “Glad Tidings” like Christmas decorations! Each year, the church family enjoys the process of transforming the sanctuary for the Advent/Christmas season. In the hanging of wreaths and assembling of trees, there is the symbolic participation in the transformation of the world that we celebrate at Christmas. This year, the “Hanging of the Greens” will be held on Sunday Dec. 2, immediately following worship. All ages and abilities are welcome to be part of the fun.


Christmas Caroling

Be part of bringing the Glad Tidings of the season to the members and friends of the church who are homebound through Christmas caroling. All ages are welcome to come and share songs of the season that lift the spirits. Gather at church on Saturday Dec. 14 at 4:00 p.m. and we will carpool to various homes concluding with refreshments and good cheer.