America – A Poem for July 4

This is the text of the original poem written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893 that became the basis for the song, “America the Beautiful.”   Happy Fourth of July!

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife,
When once or twice, for man’s avail,
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain,
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

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Weekly Update 28 June

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

 SUN, JUL 2 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday Emily Bell will be preaching on Matthew 10: 40-42;11:1. Her sermon is titled Living a Welcoming Life. There will be two special music events: Zach Blair Andrews will perform Sorrow and Sadness by Toshiro Masuda and Yvonne Riesen, Marg Radens, and Claire Stiles will sing Come to the Water by John Foley.
SUN JUL 2 COMMUNION SUNDAY: The first Sunday of the month is Communion Sunday. All are welcome to participate including children. The communion offering goes to the Special Needs Fund that is used to help people with basic necessities such as food, rent, utilities, and prescription medication costs. Please be generous as you are able.
MON, JUN 5 – SAT, JUL 22 REV. WELLS AWAY: This summer Kim and Jeff Wells will be walking the Portuguese Route of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. This involves walking from Lisbon, Portugal to Santiago, Spain, a distance of about 370 miles.  Following the Camino, they will be visiting relatives in Germany.  Kim will be gone from June 5 – July 22.  When pastoral care is needed, please call or email Sally Purvis.
ANNIVERSARY: This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of Lakewood UCC. A committee has been formed to help plan this celebration consisting of Kim Wells, Bill Parsons, Mark Gibson, Colleen Coughenour, and Lucille Ruga. If you would like to participate in this committee, or if you have suggestions, please contact Bill Parsons.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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United Church of Christ presence at St. Pete Pride 2017

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Sermon UCC Identity 2014

Date: June 22, 2014
Scripture Lesson: Genesis 21:8-21
Sermon: Faith and Freedom
Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

In 1839, a group of Africans who had been brought to Havana by Spanish slave traders were sold at auction. They were being transported down the coast of Cuba when they revolted. The boat they were on, the Amistad, eventually ended up off the shores of Connecticut. The saga of the capture, imprisonment, and legal battles went on for years. Former President John Quincy Adams argued the case before the Supreme Court. The Amistad was constantly in the papers, trinkets were sold, masks of the Africans were on display, people came out to see them and were charged a fee to do so. Members of the Congregational Church, a predecessor to the United Church of Christ, became involved helping the Africans to ultimately attain their freedom and return to Africa. This case provided a great deal of publicity and inspiration for the abolitionist movement in the US which ultimately succeeded in dismantling the slave system in this country.

The United Church of Christ formed in 1957 and its 4 predecessor denominations have deep roots in this country and in Europe linking faith and freedom. Yes, there was support of the abolitionist movement. There was empowerment of former slaves in the aftermath of the Civil War. Over 500 primary and secondary schools were started by the UCC ancestors as well as numerous colleges including Tougaloo, Talledega, LeMoyne-Owen, Fisk, Dillard, and Houston-Tillotson. The focus was on education because of the belief that knowledge sets you free.

The UCC and its predecessors have worked for freedom for women supporting voting rights, reproductive rights, ordination, and equal pay for women.

The UCC has worked for freedom of the airwaves. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to the UCC and asked that we come up with a strategy for getting black people and the civil rights movement on the news and on TV. The UCC took the issue to the courts and won. The airwaves were public property and had to reflect the diversity of the population.

The UCC has promoted freedom for sexual minorities supporting civil rights, social rights, and the freedom to marry. The UCC was the first mainline denomination to support equal rights in marriage for same gender couples and continues that ministry through the court case in North Carolina today.

The UCC and its predecessors have worked for freedom for Native American Indians, Asians and Pacific Islanders, as well as other ethnic groups and cultures.

Why is freedom so important to our faith and specifically to the UCC faith tradition? Again and again, our scriptures show us a God committed to freedom. Judeo/Christian creation myths tell of a God that gives the human species free will. There you have it. Freedom from the beginning. God chooses in freedom to give free will to the people. We are intended to be free. Again and again in scripture we see the freedom of God. God freely choosing to forgive. God choosing to change God’s mind. God choosing to share in human life and human history. God liberating people from limiting circumstances and social constructs that deny dignity, take advantage, and abuse. Our faith tradition shows us a God that freely chooses involvement with humanity in ways that promote freedom. And we, the human species, are created in the image of that free and freeing God.

We listened to a beautiful and awful story of God and freedom this morning. Hagar and her son, Ishmael, are in an untenable situation. God chooses Abraham and Sarah to be the forebears of many nations. But no babies come. Sarah, getting up in years, gives her personal maid to Abraham as a surrogate mother. Thus Ishmael is born. He is the apple of his father’s eye. Until, years later, Sarah does have a child, Isaac. Then Isaac is the favored one. And Sarah wants to protect Isaac’s interests, his inheritance, and his position. So she treats Hagar and Ishmael miserably. While all that goes on is well within the social constructs of the day, the situation has gone from bad to worse. Finally, Sarah demands that Abraham put them out – of the home, of the family, of the clan, of the future. And Hagar and Ishmael are abandoned to the wilderness.

There, Hagar laments the impending death of her teen age son, Ishmael. But a well of water appears, a sign that they will not die. Hagar cares for Ishmael, finds him a wife from her home country of Egypt, and Ishmael becomes an expert hunter. They not only survive, but they are able to thrive. Tradition holds that they become the forebears of a great nation. From Hagar and Ishmael come Islam and the Muslim tradition.

Yes, Hagar and Ishmael are banished into the threatening wilderness. But the Hebrew verb used for their situation is also the same verb used in reference to the Exodus and the Hebrews leaving slavery in Egypt. As Pharaoh sent away the Hebrew slaves, so Hagar and Ishmael are sent away. They too, will wander in the wilderness and be sustained by God. In other words, they are banished but they are also freed. For one thing, they are freed from the painful, abusive family context they were in. They are freed from being slaves to Sarah and Abraham. They are freed from being cheated by the favoritism shown to Isaac. They are freed to create a new future for themselves. They are freed to become the ancestors of a great people. God’s hopes and dreams are realized through Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael as well as through Abraham, Sarah and Isaac. Both families are blessed. Abraham does indeed become the parent of many nations, the 12 tribes of Israel, the Christian community which emerges from Judaism, and the multitudes of Arabs and others who embrace Islam. God freely fulfills God’s promises to Abraham through Isaac and Ishmael. God is not confined by national or tribal boundaries. God blesses not only one stream of people, but many streams of people, religions, traditions, and cultures. God is a god of all, all people and all creation. God is free to love all and is not limited to caring for one people or one group or one place. In freedom, God acts in new, unexpected ways that outpace our imaginations.

In the gospel of John, we are told that Jesus teaches, “The Holy Spirit blows where it wills.” That unpredictable, uncontrollable Spirit is at work in the world. Doing new things. Fanning the flames of justice, integrity, dignity, peace, and compassion. In seeking to be open to that Spirit, the United Church of Christ desires to be a church that is free, open to the future, ready to act, responding to the needs of the world. It is a church seeking to be receptive to the magnificent scope and creativity of God’s blessing.

While we are a relatively new denomination, a mere 57 years old this week, our commitment to freedom lies deeply in the predecessor churches from which the United Church of Christ was formed. Our ancestors in the United Church of Christ were committed to freedom – of belief, of conviction, and of conscience.

The UCC has its roots in several reformation and separatist movements that were seeking greater freedom in the expression of their faith. Among them the Protestants of Germany and Switzerland who came to this country bringing their versions of Christianity including the Evangelical Church and the Reformed Church. There were also the Pilgrims and Puritans of England seeking a context in which to practice their faith freely. We all learn in school of the Pilgrims traveling from England to Holland where they were targeted by the Dutch. Then they determined to come to this continent, this wilderness, self exiled from the confines of their former culture, seeking the freedom to live out their faith. We learn of the trials and hardships they faced. And yet they were sustained on their journey. God provided through the help of the Indians who taught these refugees, these immigrants, to hunt and fish and farm. We have our roots among those who have been seeking to embrace the liberating spirit of God.

As a blend of four different denominations and many cultures and ethnicities, the United Church of Christ offers an expression of Christianity that reflects the freedom of God to bless in many ways. An important part of the freedom embedded in the UCC is theological freedom. When the UCC was formed in 1957 from its several streams the decision was made not to insist on a creed for this new communion. Instead, there would be a statement of faith; an affirmation of belief without insisting on personal commitment to a specific set of theological tenets which would include some people and not others. There would not be insistence on only one right way to believe. So, in the UCC we have the Statement of Faith that shares a version of how God is known. This Statement was originally written with masculine language for God. That was customary in the 1950‘s and early 60‘s when it was written. But as the awareness of God’s freedom increased the church moved away from exclusively male language for God in the 1970’s. A new version of the Statement of Faith was prepared that is in the form of a hymn of praise in which God is referred to as “you”, in the second person – no gender specific pronoun necessary! Again, this is an example of the UCC embracing the Spirit and the new things God is doing to promote freedom and blessing.

In the spirit of freedom, the UCC promotes debate and encourages inquiry and exploration. We are a church seeking to integrate the many new developments in science and technology as well as in theology and culture.

At a local UCC clergy gathering several years ago, someone asked who believed in the resurrection of the body of Jesus. Guess what? The group was split about 50-50. So not only do we have diversity in terms of ethnicity and culture, we also have theological diversity as an expression of our freedom.

In the UCC, our commitment to freedom extends to every congregation in the form of congregational polity. Each congregation is responsible for its own affairs. The wider church does not tell the congregation what to do, how to worship, how to be organized, what to do with its money, what curriculum or hymnals to use. None of that is dictated to the local church. The local church is responsible for listening and discerning its calling and fulfilling God’s dreams for that church in its service to the world. The local congregation has the freedom to fulfill God’s intentions for that congregation.

At our recent orientation for new members, we noted certain things are customary in the UCC overall but are done differently at LUCC. For instance, it is customary in the UCC for communion to be open to any and all baptized Christians. Here at LUCC, we welcome everyone to participate who would like to. We don’t draw a line at baptized Christians. That is our choice as we feel led to embody the universal love of God in Christ Jesus. And we are free in our tradition to do this. There is a UCC church in Oregon with an ordained UCC pastor that meets weekly for worship on Monday nights for a drum circle and Reiki for those who would like it. In the UCC we have this freedom because our wider church family has entrusted to us the responsibility to be who God calls us to be. So we encourage freedom – in our social ministry as well as our theological orientation and our practical engagement.

The prophet Jeremiah gives us the image of clay being shaped and used by God. Our tradition seeks to be an expression of flexibility and adaptability in changing times. A church willing and receptive to integrating the sciences as well as the arts with faith is a free church ready to respond and grow and carry the gospel into the uncharted territory of the future while learning from the past. A church willing to listen to many differing voices is a church ready to serve the world in whatever ways God intends. We seek to be malleable, open to God’s leading and shaping of us as individuals, as congregations, and as a wider church so that we may be used by God to meet the needs of the world in each and every age and location.

Hagar and Ishmael, were trapped in a bad situation. They saw no hope in their future. There are many people, the world over today, who feel trapped in a society and cultural context that is hopeless. There are many, even in our communities and neighborhoods who feel they have been abandoned in the wilderness. We are being strangled by greed, consumerism, self absorption, poverty, and violence. We are trapped by economic systems, social attitudes, and even religious beliefs that are outmoded and outdated for our time. We are overwhelmed with information and yet unable to apply our morals and principles to our decisions as individuals or as a country. The speed of change in our society makes us feel like aliens and strangers in our own context because we cannot keep up. We are trapped by the confines of hierarchy and patriarchy. Outmoded thinking does not keep up with new developments in and out of the church. Many, many people today are untethered, wandering, and feeling disconnected despite ubiquitous access to the Internet. This is not freedom. This is abandonment and alienation.

Yet in this situation, as God provided for Hagar and Ishmael, God provides the church to sustain people on their journey. As God provided water for the Hebrews in the wilderness, for Hagar and Ishmael, and for the Samaritans of Jesus’ day, God is sustaining us today. Through the church, God provides us a home, a place to belong, an oasis, a foundation, direction for our lives. In freedom, God chooses to offer the church as a place to feel rooted and yet to grow. The church liberates us from the confines of social and economic systems that promote abuse and harm. The church has good news for the world.

My brother is a UCC pastor, and at a recent conference, he was in conversation with a theologian and church leader with extensive knowledge of the church in the US and world wide. This expert, who is not UCC, told him, that among Protestant churches, the denominations that would have staying power for the future were the Episcopal church and the UCC. The Episcopal because there are people who simply love the liturgy. And the UCC because of the horizontal, egalitarian, democratic character of the church that makes the church nimble, flexible, and able to offer the gospel in ways that have authenticity for a specific setting.

And guess what? In the latest Still Speaking Magazine put out by the UCC, I read: “More new congregations have been welcomed into the United Church of Christ in the last 7 years than at any time since the 1960’s.” [Still Speaking Magazine Spring/Summer 2014]

Faith is that living water, that water of blessing we celebrate at baptism, that pool of refreshment that sustains us in the freedom to co-create a world in which all can enjoy the blessings God is giving to the whole world in ways beyond our wildest imaginings. The well is deep. The water is free. Happy anniversary UCC. May there be many more good years ahead. 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 21 June

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

 SUN, JUN 25 THIS SUNDAY: This service will be a celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the United Church of Christ. Several people from the church family will be sharing what they appreciate about the UCC. Sally Purvis will be the liturgist and Lucille Ruga will be leading Children’s Time.
.
 SUN, JUN 25 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: The Celebration Sunday potluck lunch, hosted by the choir, will be June 25th following worship. Bring a dish to share and celebrate June birthdays!
MON, JUN 5 – SAT, JUL 22 REV. WELLS AWAY: This summer Kim and Jeff Wells will be walking the Portuguese Route of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. This involves walking from Lisbon, Portugal to Santiago, Spain, a distance of about 370 miles.  Following the Camino, they will be visiting relatives in Germany.  Kim will be gone from June 5 – July 22.  When pastoral care is needed, please call or email Sally Purvis.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, JUN 22 INTERFAITH PRIDE WORSHIP SERVICE: Thursday, June 22, 7 p.m. at Eckerd College, Wireman Chapel, 4200 54th Ave. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33711.
TUE, JUN 27 INTERFAITH POTLUCK: Interfaith Tampa Bay is sponsoring a vegetarian potluck on Tuesday June 27 at 7:00 p.m at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 570 62nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg. Bring a vegetarian dish to share. All are welcome to this event which provides the opportunity for people of differing faiths to discuss their beliefs and their religious expression with one another. This event is free and open to the public.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Weekly Update 8 June

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

 SUN, JUN 11 THIS SUNDAY: Rev. Leslie Ethredge will be preaching this Sunday. Leslie is the Western Regional Conference Minister of the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ. Her sermon, Hope for Humanity, will reflect on Genesis 1:26-31 and Matthew 28:16-20.
SUN, JUN 11 ADVISORS MEETING: The Advisors will meet on Sunday following morning worship. All are welcome to attend!
 SUN, JUN 25 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: The Celebration Sunday potluck lunch, hosted by the choir, will be June 25th following worship. Bring a dish to share and celebrate June birthdays!
MON, JUN 5 – SAT, JUL 22 REV. WELLS AWAY: This summer Kim and Jeff Wells will be walking the Portuguese Route of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. This involves walking from Lisbon, Portugal to Santiago, Spain, a distance of about 370 miles.  Following the Camino, they will be visiting relatives in Germany.  Kim will be gone from June 5 – July 22.  When pastoral care is needed, please call or email Sally Purvis.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SAT, JUN 3 FAMILY PROMISE GALA: Family Promise of Pinellas County presents Reach for the Stars 2017 Gala honoring those who share their light with homeless children and their families on Saturday, June 3, 6pm at St. Jude the Apostle Cathedral. Come and celebrate with dinner a silent auction and lively entertainment. $50 per ticket, $400 for a table of 8. For registration details visit fppinellas.org to purchase tickets visit eventbrite.com. If you cannot attend but are interested in purchasing a star for the event, order forms are available on the bulletin board in the narthex.
WED, JUN 14 IFTAR DINNER: On June 14, 2017, Mayor Rick Kriseman and Muslim leaders from throughout Tampa Bay will host St. Petersburg’s first ever Iftar Dinner welcoming residents of all faiths to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The event will be held at St. Petersburg’s historic Coliseum, doors open at 6:30. Mayor Kriseman said “Now more than ever, we must be expressive in our love and respect for people of all faiths. I am excited to bring the community together to honor our Muslim brothers and sisters.” Abdul Karim Ali, the president of the Tampa Bay Area Muslim Association, said: “We know that breaking bread together helps a community work together for a common cause, and so we thank Mayor Kriseman and his team for their leadership in ensuring that the sun shines bright on all residents and faiths in St. Petersburg.” Please sign up on the bulletin board in the narthex. Help fill the LUCC table at this important local event – an opportunity to show solidarity with the Muslim community.
THU, JUN 22 INTERFAITH PRIDE WORSHIP SERVICE: Thursday, June 22, 7 p.m. at Eckerd College, Wireman Chapel, 4200 54th Ave. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33711.
TUE, JUN 27 INTERFAITH POTLUCK: Interfaith Tampa Bay is sponsoring a vegetarian potluck on Tuesday June 27 at 7:00 p.m at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 570 62nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg. Bring a vegetarian dish to share. All are welcome to this event which provides the opportunity for people of differing faiths to discuss their beliefs and their religious expression with one another. This event is free and open to the public.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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World Refugee Day Commemoration

Each year the Tampa Bay Refugee Task Force hosts a local event to commemorate World Refugee Day.
This is one day set aside internationally to recognize the courage and resilience of refugees.

This year’s local event will be held on June 16th at 1:00pm at Pinellas Technical College located at 901 34th Street South in St. Petersburg.

The event will begin at 1:00pm with a networking time in the lobby area featuring heavy hors d’oeuvres from the PTC Culinary Arts Department and live music from Lakewood High School’s 54th Ave Jazz Combo.

At 2:00pm a short program will be held in the main auditorium featuring Al Ruechel of Bay News 9 as the Master of Ceremonies, Mayor Kriseman of St Petersburg providing opening remarks and a Dance of Hope by refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A brief awards ceremony will also recognize 5 former refugees/immigrants who have distinguished themselves by giving back to our refugee population in our community through our “Making a World of Difference” awards. These awards highlight the fact that our community is stronger and more welcoming because of the former refugees/immigrants who invest their time and resources here by giving back.

Finally, a citizenship ceremony will be held with 30 former refugees becoming U.S. citizens. The keynote speaker will be Sandra Grudic, a Pinellas County high school teacher, former refugee from Bosnia and current volunteer for refugees in our community.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Doug Haskitt at HASKITTD@pcsb.org

World Refugee Day Celebration:

“Yesterday, Refugees–

Today, Americans”

When:   June 16, 2017, 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Where: Pinellas Technical College, 901 34th Street South, St. Petersburg, FL, 33711. From 34th Street South, go westbound on 11th Ave. S. (across from Gibb’s High School), go past the Commercial Trucking Training Area on your right, and take your 2nd right into our Main Parking Lot. The Main Entrance and Reception Area will be on the north side of the Main Parking Lot in the center of the building.

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Celebrate Florida June-July 2017



Celebrate Florida newsletter

 

 

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  May 31, 2017  
 

Greetings Florida UCC members,

Here are the links to the June/July issue of Celebrate Florida. You will find two versions of this document; one is the standard PDF, and the other is the interactive version, which requires that your computer has a Flash player.

Standard version

Interactive version

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

• Earth Day, Easter and “Time for Conversations.”

• Congregational activities around music, the arts, movies, books … and food!

• Creative ideas to energize, motivate and expand your ministry; this issue is chock full of possibilities.

• The many opportunities open to our Florida congregations, clergy and members (see box on page 1).

Thanks to all those churches that share information about what has been happening in their congregations. But if you aren’t, maybe the reason your church isn’t mentioned is because we don’t hear from you. If your church is one that does not share with us, there’s a simple solution: add us to your mailing list, either electronic or hard copy. Mail us your information — hard copy (to 9300 University Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32817) or electronic (to celebrateflorida@uccfla.org). Yes, we do want to know what you are doing; there is always room for more good news.

We especially appreciate your providing the Celebrate Florida link information above to church members via your Sunday bulletin, newsletters, e-communications and your website. Please help spread all the good news about the United Church of Christ in Florida among your church members.

With blessings and appreciation for our covenant,

Rick Carson
Editor

 



Celebrate Florida archive

UCC in Florida website


UCC national site

Donate now


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

 

 

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Sermon 5.21.17 Following Jesus

Scripture Lesson: Matthew 4:12-23
Sermon: Following Jesus
Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

When I was a kid my dad and my brother loved to fish. I didn’t like it. All that sitting still in the boat. Being quiet. Waiting. No thanks. And I didn’t like to eat fish either so that sealed the deal. No fishing for me. Now that I am vegetarian, my distaste for the fishing enterprise is confirmed.

So, if I was stuck in a family in the fishing business and Jesus came to me and said, “Come on, I’ve got something for you, and it’s not fishing,” I’d be happy to drop my nets and not look back. But for these fish folk in the story we heard this morning – it was there life. Their heritage. Their identity. Their trade and craft. It was their expertise and their livelihood. Their lifestyle was determined by the seasons and the weather relative to fishing. Fishing is what they know. It is who they are.

We have this story of Jesus coming and inviting these fishers to follow him. And they drop their nets and go to embark on an itinerant life of radical love. It’s a far cry from the familiar fishing trade. Evidently, Jesus had something really compelling to offer: A new life, rich, full, and vibrant with a sense of being part of something more. There was a bond to all of humanity, life, and Creation. There was a sense of the transcendent. In following him, you found you were giving your life to something worth giving your life to. It was not boring or meaningless. It involved going deeper. Acting together for good. There was an intense shared sense of mission, purpose, and belonging. Maybe it was something like people find in the being part of the army today – that shared sense of mission, purpose, and belonging.

Jesus taught that the realm of God was within people and among people. Here and now. Religion was about the present moment not just a cataloguing of what happened in the past, not just a starry-eyed gaze to a distant Edenic future at the end of time. With Jesus it was about the realm of God right here and right now – with this stranger, with this enemy, with this detested tribe, with this beleaguered sinner, with this hungry person, with this tortured soul, with this suffering sick one. Right here. Right now. Offering yourself in service. Reaching across human constructs of separation and division. Being part of the healing of the world through reconciliation, forgiveness, and generosity. Taking delight in the beauty, mystery, and abundance available to all – as pure gift.

Come follow me: Live for others., help heal the world, be awed by this amazing life, live by universal, unconditional love, know your own value as a servant. It’s a beautiful life!

I have a new doctor and at my last appointment when she learned that I as a pastor, she asked, “Are you a Jesus follower?” I thought that was an odd question. I just said I was a pastor. Can you be a pastor and not be a Jesus follower? What could I say but, ‘yes.’ She confirmed this. “So, you are a Jesus follower,?” “I try to be,” I replied. And then we went back to the minor medical matters at hand.

So those simple fisher folk said yes to Jesus. Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, and many others. They said yes to the beautiful life of high commitment devotion to a different reality – a reality where everyone is equally valued as a human being, there is reverence for all life, an on-ramp after any wrong that is done, a life of healing, well-being for everyone never at the expense of others. It’s a reality where there is no place for violence, in any form, from spanking a child to dropping a bomb, to extorting a mortgage. It’s a reality focussed on the good of the whole, the community, the species, the Earth because the good of the whole is the surest way to healing and wholeness for the individual.

Follow me, not down a rabbit hole, but to a beautiful life of love and goodness and joy. Can this life with Jesus hard, challenging, and demanding? Yes. It might even cost you your life. But it is so compelling you will not look back. This life requires creativity, devotion, intellect, character, and self- discipline. It’s not easy though it may be simple.

New life is possible after tragedy, loss, mistakes, regrets, calamity, addiction, abuse, greed, mental or physical illness. There can be new life, healing, and joy in the realm of God, present here and now, that Jesus embodies for us and invites us to be part of.

So here we are, talking about the beauty of the Christian life, reminding ourselves why we’re here in church celebrating what it means to be Christian, and have you noticed, there’s something we haven’t mentioned. Heaven. Life after death. We haven’t spoken of Christianity as following Jesus so that after you die you go to heaven to be with him and with your loved ones and all the saints of light with God in an eternity of paradise. We’ve talked about the Christian life but not heaven.

Just after Easter, Betty, my 93 year old mother in law, came to visit from Cleveland. She’s a life long church goer. Her father was an Episcopal priest and her father in law was a Presbyterian pastor. We got to a talking about life after death. She absolutely believes that when she dies she is going to heaven to be with loved ones. My husband, Jeff, her son, also believes this. I said I believe we don’t know. I’m not saying there is no heaven, no after life, but we don’t know. Maybe this life it is. And that’s more than enough as far as I’m concerned. When I expressed this perspective, Betty replied, “If you don’t believe in heaven then why be a Christian?” Because it’s a beautiful life. Following Jesus and continuing his ministry of compassion, healing, and reconciliation is a beautiful life.

So, maybe for some of you, I’ve “come out of the closet.” No, I don’t believe in heaven as somewhere or a state we go into after we die. Is there something after we die? I don’t know. I’m not saying it’s impossible. Maybe there is some kind of continuing experience after our moral bodies cease. But I don’t know, so I’m not counting on it. This life, trying to follow Jesus, I can believe in and give my life to.

As a pastor, I feel that my responsibility is to help others mobilize their spiritual resources especially at the time of death. So I try to understand the beliefs of those involved. If someone is dying and looking forward to being reunited with a spouse who has died, I offer encouragement and support on that journey. If the person feels the death of our bodies is the end then I encourage comfort and peace on that journey. I take the same approach with a funeral or memorial service. If the person or family has a strong belief in heaven and life after death, we draw upon that in the service. If the person and family are not so sure, we adapt accordingly. Pastoral care is about encouraging people to trust their faith and put it to work for good in their lives.

I believe that Christianity and following Jesus is about much more than heaven in
the next life and that that should not be the main defining characteristic of Christianity.

In Jesus’ day, there were Jews who believed there would be a resurrection to new life in the end times and there were Jews who did not share that belief. That’s how I think it should be with Christianity today.

Now, about Jesus’ resurrection. The Biblical stories tell of Jesus being crucified, dead, buried, and rising on the third day. Coming back. Alive again. This has come to be understood literally by some. For others, even since ancient times, this has been understood as a metaphorical representation of the aftermath of the crucifixion.

With the Bible and ancient literature across cultures, factual reporting and accurate biography were not the order of the day. There were no fact checkers, no Politifact, no paper trail, or confirmation of sources cited. Stories were shared and recorded to convey meaning not fact. It was about conveying something of importance not of literal historical accuracy. There were images and constructs that were used to impute the meaning.

Jesus lives an extraordinary life. So in looking back to his birth, the stories are told incorporating constructs that were associated with a special, important life. Jesus’ death can be viewed in a similar way. Because of his extraordinary life, the importance of that life and its meaning is conveyed by attributing special circumstances to his death. While Jesus’ followers may have continued to experience his presence with intensity after his death, it was common to attribute life after death, resurrection, and eternal life to important figures – like Caesar. This helps us to better understand the stories that are in the New Testament.

The story of Jesus, walking along the lake and inviting Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow him appears in the gospel long before the stories of the crucifixion and resurrection. So the fishers and others agree to follow Jesus, drop everything, leave family, job, home, community, based on Jesus’ presence, persona, teaching, healing, etc.. not based on the promise of eternal life in heaven after they die. They follow based on their experience of Jesus in the here and now, on this Earth, in this life.

The commitment to follow Jesus leads to a beautiful life of meaning and service. It is a life of community and belonging. People are looking for that kind of life today especially younger people.

The insistence on the belief that Jesus himself literally rose from the dead and that we, too, are all going to be with him in heaven can be a barrier to people becoming part of the church. Maybe they want to follow Jesus in terms of values, ethics, and life style, but they can’t accept the supernatural aspects of Christianity so they don’t feel welcome in the church. They miss out on what the church has to offer and the church misses out on their presence and participation.

I would like to see the church offer an extravagant welcome to all people who are interested in exploring the Jesus life: Those who believe in life after death, those who don’t, those who have other views about what happens when our mortal bodies die, and those who don’t know – like me. Views about what happens when we die should not be the defining tenet of Christianity. That should not be a deal breaker.

The focus of the church can be on following Jesus: Experiencing the realm of God with us and among us. Helping to create the commonwealth of God here on this precious Earth.

This Sunday, the World Council of Churches and the United Church of Christ are asking us to call attention to the famine in Africa where 20 million lives are at risk. On Pentecost, June 4, we will receiving the special One Great Hour of Sharing offering which will help respond to the famine. I encourage you to ponder and pray about how you are being called to help as a follower of the one who fed the hungry. Hopefully all the so-called Christians in our government will also advocate for a generous response to this humanitarian crisis. We know that it is our moral and religious imperative as Christians to respond to this need, here and now, on the Earth, in this life, at this present moment. That is what it means to say yes to following Jesus. It is a commitment to a life of radical love and generosity. It is beautiful life of self-giving and belonging.

So my doctor asked if I was a Jesus follower. Well, I’ll write out a check on June 4th. Just don’t ask me to fish! 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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Sermon Memorial Day 5.28.17

Date: May 28, 2017
Scripture Lesson: Ephesians 2:11-22
Sermon: Peace and Patriotism
Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

It’s Memorial Day weekend. A time to remember those who have served in the armed forces and particularly those who have died in service to this country.

I’m wondering who here this morning has served in the military?
Who has a loved one that has served?
I’m wondering who has a family member or friend that has died while serving in the armed forces?
Anyone currently serving in the military?

While it may seem like the many wars the US has been part of are far away for they are often in distant lands, these wars come home to us as we think of the service given by those among us and those close to us. Though war may seem remote, especially in today’s world when we aren’t asked to buy war bonds, and ration gas, and have victory gardens, when we reflect on it, we can see how military conflict seeps into society and into our communities, families and our
lives.

Why do become involved in wars? There is a sense of threat. There is something to protect. To defend our homeland, our way of life, our values. Sometimes war is seen as a way to protect others. But really, none of us wants war. No one wants to see people engaged in armed conflict with other people. Well, except maybe political leaders who want to boost their standing with their citizens or defense contractors. But for the most part, no one wants to be involved in war. No one wants their family members and friends putting their lives at risk.

War comes at an astronomical cost. There are the men and women of the military
who serve and whose lives are risk. There is the loss of those who are killed. There is the sacrifice of the families at home. There is the loss of the military personnel of other countries. There is the collateral loss of civilians, children, older adults, etc. There is the damage to the lives of those who serve who come home with PTSD and other conditions – physical, mental, and spiritual. I heard on the radio this week that in the US twenty veterans a day commit suicide. This is beyond heart-breaking. And these are just some of the tragic, incalculable losses that occur because of war.

Then there is the money. Wars cost billions of dollars in today’s world. This is money that could be going to social uplift. As Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower pointed out: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” The money used for war could be used for schools, health care, clean energy, infrastructure, the arts, etc. The resources used to create weapons, technology and equipment for war could be redirected to new treatments and cures for diseases, clean, renewable energy, and other constructive purposes. All of the resources used for war could be used in ways that enrich life rather than diminish it or end it.

So why do we have war? Why is it part of human culture and history, present and past? Human societies live by myths. Humanity has chosen to accept the myth of redemptive violence. We have chosen to organize ourselves around the myth that violence can be used in service to what is good and true. We humans have decided that it is worthy to use violence to achieve noble ends. And that the highest aims are worth the cost of violence. We may even embrace the idea that violence reinforces the worthiness of our aspirations. We have inherited these cultural myths that have evolved over centuries in various settings around the world. We have come to accept the validity of the myth of redemptive violence. We see this with our military today. The men and women of the armed services are offering themselves in service to the noblest values of our country. But we also see this myth skewed and twisted in the horrific actions of terrorists. Somehow they bend their minds to believe that what they are doing, and the pain and death that is caused, is justified because of the worthiness of the aims they are pursing. To us, the justification is unimaginable, but in a context that accepts the myth of redemptive violence, aberration and mutation can lead to horrific acts.

So humanity has come to accept this myth. It has taken centuries to develop. It has infiltrated most countries and cultures. Can it be changed? Can we evolve new myths that are grounded in anti-violence and no longer incorporate the model of war as a tool for conflict resolution? Is this possible?

Here we turn to the scripture that we listened to this morning and we consider the meaning of this season of Easter. Easter is a season of new life and transformation. We celebrate that with God all things are possible. We rejoice in the triumph of life over death. Jesus changed the story. He created a new myth for people to live by. He told stories and took action that was based on a God of universal, unconditional love. No one beyond the scope of forgiveness and reconciliation. No insiders and outsiders. No good guys and bad guys. No more dualism and separation. Everyone beloved. Everyone created in the image of God. No exceptions. No exclusions.

We see this new myth, this new world view, expressed in the verses that we heard from Ephesians today. In that context, people were divided into two basic groups. There were Jews and there were Gentiles. Separate. And not equal. In the new community that was forming around the teachings of Jesus, Jews and Gentiles were equally welcome. All were invited to be part of this new faith community. There was to be no division between these two long-separate groups. They were to come together in this new reality formed around this new myth. As we heard, “Christ has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is the hostility between us. Christ has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace.” Just a brief comment about the law and commandments. While these were intended to help people live with justice, by some they were used to create a hierarchy and a division between those who lived by the law, the Jews, and those who did not, the Gentiles. So they became a construct of separation and division. But these verses from Ephesians show us that the community which formed around Jesus was a community living by new myths creating a radically new reality. This is a concrete expression of the hopes and dreams of Easter. New life. Transformation. The overcoming of division and hostility. The triumph of love. Peace.

So when we look at our circumstance and our context we see that as Christians we are called to work for the transformation of society. We believe that it is possible to live by new myths. The way of Jesus shows us that there can be a new way of humanity living together in peace. We can replace the myth of redemptive violence with new myths of peace.

While humanity has accepted that war is a noble way to protect property, values, and culture and that it is an acceptable way to resolve conflicts, our Christian faith teaches us that we can change those ideas. We can accept that that was the way of the past. And that it was what was thought to be good. But now we are choosing a different way which we believe is better for humanity now.

We can give thanks for those who have served in the military and especially those who have died in war. We can honor their sacrifice for the cause of good. We can celebrate their love of country. And we should. But that doesn’t mean we can’t change the myths and create a culture of peace. We did not get this way overnight; it took centuries and centuries and it will not be changed overnight. This is not work that is going to be done in a lifetime but that does not mean it is not work that should be done.

To create a culture of peace, to transform the myths that define human society, takes effort, commitment, resources, training, advertising, technology, social media, and everything else we can muster. If Pentagon funding is matched with funding for a “Peacagon” a lot of progress could be made toward redirecting our culture and the world, honoring the past, and creating a new future of peace. New songs, new stories, new symbolism, and new art are needed. Peace needs to be taught, cultivated, and celebrated. As Martin Luther King, Jr. advised, “Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.”

As Christians, our faith reminds us of what is possible. We celebrate transformation and new life. Jesus shows us how new myths can transform human relationships and society.

At picnics, concerts, parades, and gatherings this weekend we celebrate with family and friends our country, our system of government, and the beauty of this land. We enjoy those things that our veterans and those in the military serve to protect. We honor those who have given their lives. Because of their sacrifice, we can use our freedom and our way of life and our form of government to make change. We live in a context where we can work for peace, where we can change the conversation, where we can transform the myths and assumptions and stories that shape and form our collective society. We can honor the memory of those who have died by exercising the freedom that they have given to us by working for peace.

May we love our country so much that we will devote ourselves to its healing and transformation to a culture of peace. Stanley Baldwin, former British Prime Minister and politician between World War 1 and World War 2 declared: “War would end if the dead could return.” May we honor the dead by creating a culture of peace. 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 31 May

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

 SUN, JUN 4

THIS SUNDAY: Sunday June 4 is Pentecost.  It is the celebration of the beginning of the church.  The assigned scripture reading from Acts quotes a passage from the prophet Joel:

Your daughters and sons will prophesy,
your young people will see visions,
and your elders will dream dreams.

As part of the service this Sunday, people from the congregation will be invited to share the visions and dreams that they feel they are being given by God.  Please be thinking about the dream or vision you may want to share on Sunday as part of the celebration of the Holy Spirit enlivening the faith community.  You may want to write your thoughts down ahead of time.  Also, the liturgical color for Pentecost is red, the color for the Holy Spirit.  So you are encouraged to wear red if you would like to.  

This Sunday is also the first week of Summer Sundays for this season.  The service will still start at 10:30 a.m.  and will include the singing of favorite hymns.  Things will be a bit less structured and more informal.  

Remember the One Great Hour of Sharing special offering that is being received this Sunday.  This years focus is on addressing famine in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen.

AND because this is the first Sunday of the month, it is Communion Sunday. All are welcome to participate including children. The communion offering will not go to the Special Needs Fund this week but to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering instead.

SUN, JUN 4 ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING: A special offering on Pentecost Sunday will go to One Great Hour, an ecumenical effort to empower people to provide for their families; build wells for communities who need access to water; feed the hungry; and give relief from disasters. Famine has officially been declared in South Sudan and, for the first time in recent history, there is a very real possibility of four famines – in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen – breaking out all at once. Contributing to One Great Hour of Sharing is one way to address this crisis. Please be generous as you are able.
SUN, JUN 4 LITURGIST TRAINING: Sue Sherwood and Colleen Coughenour will be offering Liturgist Training after church this Sunday. All current liturgists and those who may want to be liturgists in the future are encouraged to attend. Choir members are welcome as well. This training will offer readers techniques to help make the words of scripture come alive and be heard with new depth and meaning.
MON, JUN 5 – SAT, JUL 22 REV. WELLS AWAY: This summer Kim and Jeff Wells will be walking the Portuguese Route of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. This involves walking from Lisbon, Portugal to Santiago, Spain, a distance of about 370 miles.  Following the Camino, they will be visiting relatives in Germany.  Kim will be gone from June 5 – July 22.  When pastoral care is needed, please call or email Sally Purvis.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SAT, JUN 3 FAMILY PROMISE GALA: Family Promise of Pinellas County presents Reach for the Stars 2017 Gala honoring those who share their light with homeless children and their families on Saturday, June 3, 6pm at St. Jude the Apostle Cathedral. Come and celebrate with dinner a silent auction and lively entertainment. $50 per ticket, $400 for a table of 8. For registration details visit fppinellas.org to purchase tickets visit eventbrite.com. If you cannot attend but are interested in purchasing a star for the event, order forms are available on the bulletin board in the narthex.
WED, JUN 14 IFTAR DINNER: On June 14, 2017, Mayor Rick Kriseman and Muslim leaders from throughout Tampa Bay will host St. Petersburg’s first ever Iftar Dinner welcoming residents of all faiths to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The event will be held at St. Petersburg’s historic Coliseum, doors open at 6:30. Mayor Kriseman said “Now more than ever, we must be expressive in our love and respect for people of all faiths. I am excited to bring the community together to honor our Muslim brothers and sisters.” Abdul Karim Ali, the president of the Tampa Bay Area Muslim Association, said: “We know that breaking bread together helps a community work together for a common cause, and so we thank Mayor Kriseman and his team for their leadership in ensuring that the sun shines bright on all residents and faiths in St. Petersburg.” Please sign up on the bulletin board in the narthex. Help fill the LUCC table at this important local event – an opportunity to show solidarity with the Muslim community.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Weekly Update 24 May

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, MAY 28 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday: This weekend, our nation remembers those who have died in military service.  It’s a poignant time.  Yet it is marked by picnics, parades, and sales.  Does this help us celebrate this wonderful country that is worth dying for?  Or is this a distraction from honestly remembering the costs of war?  Probably some of both.  Sunday will be a time to celebrate and remember.
SUN, May 28 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: The Celebration Sunday potluck lunch, hosted by the Kaspars, will be this Sunday following worship. Bring a dish to share and celebrate May birthdays!
MAY 21-28 FAMILY PROMISE: Lakewood UCC will be responsible for Family Promise for this week. Let Patti Cooksey know if you can help.
WED, MAY 24 CONGRATULATIONS: Amaiya Washington graduates from elementary school Today!
 SUN, JUN 4

PENTECOST SERVICE AHEAD: Sunday June 4 is Pentecost.  It is the celebration of the beginning of the church.  The assigned scripture reading from Acts quotes a passage from the prophet Joel:

Your daughters and sons will prophesy,
your young people will see visions,
and your elders will dream dreams.

As part of the service that Sunday, people from the congregation will be invited to share the visions and dreams that they feel they are being given by God.  Please be thinking about the dream or vision you may want to share that Sunday as part of the celebration of God’s hopes and dreams for the future.  In preparation, you can share your vision by writing it down on the “God is Still Speaking” bulletin board in the narthex.

SUN, JUN 4 ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING: A special offering on Pentecost Sunday will go to One Great Hour, an ecumenical effort to empower people to provide for their families; build wells for communities who need access to water; feed the hungry; and give relief from disasters. Famine has officially been declared in South Sudan and, for the first time in recent history, there is a very real possibility of four famines – in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen – breaking out all at once. Contributing to One Great Hour of Sharing is one way to address this crisis. Please be generous as you are able.
SUN, JUN 4 LITURGIST TRAINING: Sue Sherwood and Colleen Coughenour will be offering Liturgist Training after church on Sunday June 4. All current liturgists and those who may want to be liturgists in the future are encouraged to attend. Choir members are welcome as well. This training will offer readers techniques to help make the words of scripture come alive and be heard with new depth and meaning.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SAT, JUN 3 FAMILY PROMISE GALA: Family Promise of Pinellas County presents Reach for the Stars 2017 Gala honoring those who share their light with homeless children and their families on Saturday, June 3, 6pm at St. Jude the Apostle Cathedral. Come and celebrate with dinner a silent auction and lively entertainment. $50 per ticket, $400 for a table of 8. For registration details visit fppinellas.org to purchase tickets visit eventbrite.com. If you cannot attend but are interested in purchasing a star for the event, order forms are available on the bulletin board in the narthex.
WED, JUN 14 IFTAR DINNER: On June 14, 2017, Mayor Rick Kriseman and Muslim leaders from throughout Tampa Bay will host St. Petersburg’s first ever Iftar Dinner welcoming residents of all faiths to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The event will be held at St. Petersburg’s historic Coliseum, doors open at 6:30. Mayor Kriseman said “Now more than ever, we must be expressive in our love and respect for people of all faiths. I am excited to bring the community together to honor our Muslim brothers and sisters.” Abdul Karim Ali, the president of the Tampa Bay Area Muslim Association, said: “We know that breaking bread together helps a community work together for a common cause, and so we thank Mayor Kriseman and his team for their leadership in ensuring that the sun shines bright on all residents and faiths in St. Petersburg.” Please sign up on the bulletin board in the narthex. Help fill the LUCC table at this important local event – an opportunity to show solidarity with the Muslim community.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
IRON NEEDED: The formerly homeless friend of the church is in need of an iron.  If you have one to donate, please contact the church office (727-867-7961).
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
IMG_3544
LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. 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
Betty Harris, Family and loved ones of Jean Johnson,
Carolyn Moore, Gertie Pirazzini, Ann Quinn, Kai’Lyn Washington

Carolyn Moore has recently moved to Menorah Manor.

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One City Chorus and The Alumni Singers, come TOGETHER for a wonderful afternoon of music!

Sunday, May 28, 4:00pm
One City Chorus and The Alumni Singers Free Concert

Two great community choruses- One City Chorus and The Alumni Singers, come TOGETHER for a wonderful afternoon of music! This concert is FREE, and will include Freedom Songs, Civil Rights Songs, Spirituals, and Gospel Songs. You don’t want to miss it!
A freewill collection will be taken to benefit the choruses and Lakewood Methodist Church.

Location for One City Chorus and The Alumni Singers Concert:Lakewood United Methodist Church-5995 MLK Jr St. S, St. Pete

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Rolling student fast of 2017 takes its place in storied annals of fight for Fair Food…

CIW list header
Rolling student fast of 2017 takes its place in storied annals of fight for Fair Food…

Weeklong fast at Ohio State University tapped into Dr. King’s “power in the universe that works for justice” and inspired a month-long movement on over a dozen college campuses;

Fast forges new leaders for the fight ahead, lays the groundwork for a student-led surge in the Wendy’s Boycott this fall!

A little historical context…

Following the Montgomery Bus Boycott victory in 1956 — a year-long campaign that marked the first significant triumph of Dr. Martin Luther King’s methods of creative non-violence — Dr. King was invited to speak at the University of California at Berkeley.  The speech he delivered that day, June 4th, 1957, laid out the theological underpinnings of Dr. King’s new, and startlingly effective, philosophy of social change.  That philosophy would come to guide his life’s work over the next decade and help the Civil Rights Movement successfully mine a deeply-buried vein of enduring justice that laid below the layers of brutality and exploitation comprising America’s awful history of racial oppression.  Here is an excerpt from his speech, entitled “The Power of Non-Violence”:

… SOME POWER IN THE UNIVERSE THAT WORKS FOR JUSTICE

I am quite aware of the fact that there are persons who believe firmly in nonviolence who do not believe in a personal God, but I think every person who believes in nonviolent resistance believes somehow that the universe in some form is on the side of justice. That there is something unfolding in the universe whether one speaks of it as a unconscious process, or whether one speaks of it as some unmoved mover, or whether someone speaks of it as a personal God. There is something in the universe that unfolds for justice and so in Montgomery we felt somehow that as we struggled we had cosmic companionship. And this was one of the things that kept the people together, the belief that the universe is on the side of justice. (emphasis added)

The bolded sentence in the excerpt above is the theme of today’s post.  The power to which Dr. King referred of non-violent protest to tap into a sort of universal instinct for justice — and, doing so, vastly multiply its impact beyond the immediate reach of the action itself —  is real.  It is the thread that ties the sacrifice and struggle of the Montgomery Bus Boycott to the many fasts undertaken by Mahatma Gandhi in his lifetime to challenge colonial rule and promote Hindu-Muslim unity in India decades before it, and to the remarkable rolling student fast in support of the Wendy’s Boycott that took place on over a dozen college campuses this past spring, decades after it.

And it is the power that will propel that nascent student-led movement to new heights this coming fall, to the booting of Wendy’s restaurants off campus after campus in the school year ahead, and, ultimately, to a Fair Food agreement between Wendy’s and the farmworkers whose exploitation has fueled the fast-food giant’s profits for far too long…

Head over to the CIW website for a full reflection on the historic rolling student fast of 2017!

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Gun Safety Action Team Advocacy Webinar

League of Women Voters of Florida
Gun Safety Action Team Advocacy Webinar

When
Wednesday, May 24, 2017 from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM EDT
Add to Calendar
Where

This is an online event.

Greetings Leaguers and Coalition partners!

Are you passionate about keeping Floridians safe from gun violence and irresponsible gun legislation? Do you want to be a more effective advocate in fighting bad gun bills and promoting good ones? Then this LWVFL seminar is for you! We’re offering a one hour webinar on our gun safety advocacy program.
The webinar will include a review of the work that the Florida League has done in developing its gun safety advocacy, its focus on the health of the community, the formation of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, and the promotion of our legislative goals — which include expanding background checks, banning semiautomatic assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and beating back expansive and reckless gun legislation.
Sign up to learn about SMART advocacy tactics and ACTION steps to support our legislative goals!
Presenters:
  • Patti Brigham, LWV Florida 1st VP and Co-Chair of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
  • Andy Pelosi, Exec. Director of the Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus and Co-Chair of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
  • Julie Kessel, President of the LWV St Petersburg Area and Member of the Advisory Board of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
Date and Time (EDT):

Wednesday, May 24, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Location:
This event is a webinar. Please register for the event and you will be provided with log-in and call-in instructions to participate. Be sure to register early as attendance is limited to 100.
So, sign up and get ready to ADVOCATE!
Register Now!
Sincerely,
Patti Brigham
First Vice President, LWV of Florida
League of Women Voters of Florida, 540 Beverly Court, Tallahassee, FL 32301-7530
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Weekly Update 17 May

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, MAY 21 THIS SUNDAY: What does it mean to follow Jesus? What defines a Christian? There are probably at least as answers as there will be people in church on Sunday, and the answers may very well change from week to week!
SUN, MAY 21 MEMORIAL SERVICE: Come celebrate the life of Jean Johnson on Sunday, May 21st at 2:30pm at Lakewood United Church of Christ sanctuary.
MAY 21-28 FAMILY PROMISE: Lakewood UCC will be responsible for Family Promise for the week of May 21st. Let Patti Cooksey know if you can help.
WED, MAY 24 CONGRATULATIONS: Amaiya Washington graduates from elementary school!
 SUN, JUN 4

PENTECOST SERVICE AHEAD: Sunday June 4 is Pentecost.  It is the celebration of the beginning of the church.  The assigned scripture reading from Acts quotes a passage from the prophet Joel:

Your daughters and sons will prophesy,
your young people will see visions,
and your elders will dream dreams.

As part of the service that Sunday, people from the congregation will be invited to share the visions and dreams that they feel they are being given by God.  Please be thinking about the dream or vision you may want to share that Sunday as part of the celebration of God’s hopes and dreams for the future.  In preparation, you can share your vision by writing it down on the “God is Still Speaking” bulletin board in the narthex.

SUN, JUN 4 ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING: A special offering on Pentecost Sunday will go to One Great Hour, an ecumenical effort to empower people to provide for their families; build wells for communities who need access to water; feed the hungry; and give relief from disasters. Famine has officially been declared in South Sudan and, for the first time in recent history, there is a very real possibility of four famines – in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen – breaking out all at once. Contributing to One Great Hour of Sharing is one way to address this crisis. Please be generous as you are able.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SAT, JUN 3 FAMILY PROMISE GALA: Family Promise of Pinellas County presents Reach for the Stars 2017 Gala honoring those who share their light with homeless children and their families on Saturday, June 3, 6pm at St. Jude the Apostle Cathedral. Come and celebrate with dinner a silent auction and lively entertainment. $50 per ticket, $400 for a table of 8. For registration details visit fppinellas.org to purchase tickets visit eventbrite.com. If you cannot attend but are interested in purchasing a star for the event, order forms are available on the bulletin board in the narthex.
WED, JUN 14 IFTAR DINNER: On June 14, 2017, Mayor Rick Kriseman and Muslim leaders from throughout Tampa Bay will host St. Petersburg’s first ever Iftar Dinner welcoming residents of all faiths to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The event will be held at St. Petersburg’s historic Coliseum, doors open at 6:30. Mayor Kriseman said “Now more than ever, we must be expressive in our love and respect for people of all faiths. I am excited to bring the community together to honor our Muslim brothers and sisters.” Abdul Karim Ali, the president of the Tampa Bay Area Muslim Association, said: “We know that breaking bread together helps a community work together for a common cause, and so we thank Mayor Kriseman and his team for their leadership in ensuring that the sun shines bright on all residents and faiths in St. Petersburg.” Please sign up on the bulletin board in the narthex. Help fill the LUCC table at this important local event – an opportunity to show solidarity with the Muslim community.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
IRON NEEDED: The formerly homeless friend of the church is in need of an iron.  If you have one to donate, please contact the church office (727-867-7961).
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
IMG_3544
LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. 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
Betty Harris, Family and loved ones of Jean Johnson,
Carolyn Moore, Gertie Pirazzini, Ann Quinn, Kai’Lyn Washington

Carolyn Moore has recently moved to Menorah Manor.

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Pax Christi May 2017 newsletter

Pax Christi Tampa Bay E-mail Newsletter

 

NEWSLETTER ITEMS

 

  1. Surly Fems Events Calendar
  2. Women of Color Speak Out
  3. Senator Rubio rally
  4. Tiny Homes Pig Roast
    5. Panel on ending homelessness in Pinellas County
  5. Free Clinic food sorters needed
    7. Global Network conference on line
  6. Peace Memorial Day
  7. Movies and activists
  8. Pax Christi Florida list of actions

 

Good folks,


The deadline for tickets to the Celebrate Outreach Pig Roast is this Wednesday, May 17. The pig roast will be Saturday, May 20 at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 100 Mirror Lake Dr N. in downtown St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Proceeds will benefit CO’s Tiny Homes for Homeless Veterans Program. Details and online ticket ordering are here.

 

The Pax Christi Florida list of actions at the end of the newsletter lists actions that oppose war with North Korea, support the farmworkers’ boycott of Wendy’s, and ban fracking in Florida.

 

Also below are a summary of the Global Network’s international conference in Huntsville, a discussion of strategies to end homelessness, new Weekly Calendar entries, and more.

 

Pax Christi Tampa Bay

 

 

WEEKLY CALENDAR


NEW ENTRY: RESIST TRUMP TUESDAYS: Resist Trump Tuesdays, Indivisible Tampa’s ongoing dissent against Trump administration policies, is every Tuesday from 10:30 AM-12:00 noon at the corner of Dale Mabry Highway and Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa (map). This is the group that caused Senator Rubio to close his Tampa office rather than hold a town hall meeting. For more information (FMI): https://www.facebook.com/groups/IndivisibleTampa/

NEW PEACE FIRST SITE FOR MAY: Since 2002, Peace First has gathered on street corners weekly to speak for peace and justice.  In May, Peace First will demonstrate every Wednesday from 4:30-5:30 PM at the corner of 34th Street/US 19 and 38th Avenue N. in St. Petersburg. There are two car lots, a Hardee’s and a Walgreen’s at this intersection (map). Participants usually gather afterward at a nearby restaurant for a meal. For more information (FMI): SMcCown@tampabay.rr.com


FRIDAY NIGHT PICNIC ON THE PLAYGROUND IN ST. PETE
The Friday Night Picnic is a potluck picnic for hungry people, most of whom are low income or experiencing homelessness.  The picnic continues to need potluck food, beverages, picnic supplies, and volunteers. The picnic, which serves over 100 people a week, is at 6:00 PM every Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 719 Arlington Avenue N. at Mirror Lake Drive in downtown St. Petersburg.  FMI: http://uustpete.org/2014/09/17/friday-picnic-playground or (973) 768-3256.

WEEKLY BREAKFAST: Loaves and Fishes is a breakfast held at Trinity Lutheran Church on Saturday mornings. Volunteers serve a hot breakfast to about 200 people. The breakfast is held on the third floor of Trinity Lutheran Church, 401 4th Avenue North in St. Petersburg.

The breakfast runs from 8:30-10:30 AM, and volunteers can participate in one or all of the shifts: early (7:30-8:30 AM) to help prep the meal; mid-meal (8:30-9:30 AM) for serving; and late (9:00-10:30 AM) for cleanup. Volunteers should go to the side of Trinity Lutheran Church and take the elevator to the third floor.   Please contact G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088 to help.

A Drag Queen Bingo fundraiser for the breakfast is scheduled for 7:00 PM on July 26 at 7:00 PM at Hamburger Mary’s, 2901 Tyrone Blvd. N. in St Petersburg, FL on July 26 at 7:00 PM. Seating is limited; call 727-851-9386 for reservations.
SINGLE EVENTS

1. EVENTS CALENDAR: The Surly Fems Events Calendar is a comprehensive listing of progressive political, educational, activist and cultural events in the Tampa Bay area:    https://localendar.com/public/surlyfemevents?style=M4

  1. WOMEN OF COLOR SPEAK OUT: On Friday, May 19 at 6:00 PM, author and activist J.A. Joshi will present effective tactics to build a meaningful and long-lasting coalition between people of color an white allies. She will speak at the Friends (Quakers) Meeting House, 130 19th Avenue SE in St. Petersburg 33705. 

    As an activist in Seattle and the northwestern United States, Joshi has been part of numerous campaigns to dismantle racism, sexism, and fossil fuel oppression. She has been interviewed on Democracy Now, quoted in the New York Times, delivered many inspirational keynote addresses, and put her body on the line during environmental campaigns. She was an organizer during ShellNo, Break Free PNW, the Northeast Oil Train Blockade, and for Earth Day and the People’s Climate Movement. FMI and to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-of-color-speak-out-with-author-and-activist-ja-joshi-tickets-34236380937

 

  1. SENATOR RUBIO, WE NEED TO TALK: Despite repeated requests, Senator Marco Rubio refuses to meet his constituents. However, he is coming to St. Petersburg for a Republican Party fundraiser on Friday, May 19.

While Rubio is headlining the Pinellas County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner at the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park, activist group Indivisible is holding a rally asking Senator Rubio to meet with his constituents, not just wealthy contributors. The rally will be from 5:00-9:00 PM at the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon, 950 Lake Carillon Drive in St. Petersburg. FMI and updates, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/1719705271379085/


  1. TINY HOMES FOR HOMELESS VETS PIG ROAST: An authentic Puerto Rican Pig Roast to benefit homeless veterans will be Saturday, May 20 at the historic Unitarian Universalist Church, 100 Mirror Lake Dr N. in downtown St. Petersburg, FL 33701.The pig roast will feature American and Puerto Rican side dishes, a cash bar, dessert, and a chance to contribute to building a model tiny house. There will also be vegetarian options for non-meat eaters.

    The feast will begin at 6:00 PM. Tickets are available for a donation of $25.00. Please purchase by this Wednesday, May 17 at:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/authentic-puerto-rican-pig-roast-to-benefit-tiny-homes-for-homeless-vets-tickets-33991734192?aff=es2

 

All proceeds will go to the Tiny Homes for Homeless Veterans project of Celebrate Outreach, an interfaith coalition of groups working to end homelessness. For more information, call (973) 768-3256 or go to www.celebrateoutreach.org/

  1. STRATEGIES TO END HOMELESSNESS IN PINELLAS: On Tuesday, May 23rd, the Pinellas County Homeless Leadership Board will host a panel discussion and community dialogue surrounding effective strategies to end homeless in our community.

 

The event will be held at the Salvation Army’s Social Services Complex, 1521 E. Druid Road, Clearwater, Florida 33756.  Registration and Networking will be from 5:00 to 5:30PM.  The program will begin at 5:30 PM and conclude at 7:00 PM.

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<< Register Here >>

 

  1. FOOD SORTING AT THE FREE CLINIC: The St. Petersburg Free Clinic needs help from groups and individuals sorting a donation of over 100,000 pounds of food. For information on how to help, contact Coordinator of Volunteers and Special Events Kaitlynne Silvers at (727) 821-1200 ext.114.
  2. GLOBAL NETWORK CONFERENCE ON LINE: An excellent summary of “Pivot Toward War: US Missile Defense and the Weaponization of Space,” the 25th annual international conference of the Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space is at:

http://www.space4peace.org/reports/gn_huntsville_17.htm

Along with videos of the speakers, the site features photos of the protest and the attendees at the conference in Huntsville, Alabama.

8.  PEACE MEMORIAL DAY: The peace and justice community in the Sarasota/Manatee area will hold its annual Peace Memorial Day on Monday, May 29th, remembering the peace activists who have gone before us. The commemoration will begin at 11:00 AM at the Sarasota Peace Pole, located in Island Park, which is west of the intersection of Ringling Boulevard and Gulfstream Boulevard/U.S. 41 (map). A potluck meal will follow.

 

The commemoration is sponsored by the Manasota Chapter of Pax Christi and the Covenant Mennonite Fellowship. For more information, or to include an activist, contact Russ Banner at Rjbannerusa@gmail.com

  1. MOVIES AND ACTIVISTS: The Bridge presents the sixth annual Summer Film Series: Films to Inform, Empower, Inspire and Transform. Each film will be followed by a discussion with local advocates who are working on the issues presented in the film. All films will be shown at the Unity of Tampa Fellowship Hall, 3302 West Horatio in Tampa. Showings begin at 7:00 PM and a donation of $7.00 is suggested. Friday, June 23- Tomorrow: Stories of how local communities are changing their ways for the sake of the planet.Friday, July 21- Catching the Sun: Addresses one of our biggest questions: are we able to build a clean energy economy?

    Friday, August 25: I Am Not Your Negro: James Baldwin’s radical examination of race in America which remains urgently relevant.

    The film series is presented by The Bridge, a nonprofit organization in Tampa that promotes ecocentric living, social justice, personal development, creativity and the dynamic interplay between these interdependent aspects of life.  Details are here, (813) 416-3069, or contact@thebridgetampa.org

 

 

PAX CHRISTI FLORIDA ACTIONS
Below are actions listed by Pax Christi Florida concerning war with North Korea, denial of Temporary Protected Status in Florida, funding the farmworkers’ boycott of Wendy’s, banning fracking in Florida, the Earth Charter, and the cost of war in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and against ISIS as of May 7, 2017.
Pax Christi Florida is a regional section of Pax Christi USA and Pax Christi International. To subscribe to their e-mail newsletter, contact phyllisjepson@earthlink.com

 

Contact Your Senators: Diplomacy, Not War on the Korean Peninsula

Amidst speculation about a potentially imminent nuclear weapon or missile test by North Korea, tensions on the Korean peninsula are rising to the highest level in decades, as US and North Korean officials posit threats and counter-threats of pre-emptive military strikes. Even hawkish former Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta has warned: “We have the potential for a nuclear war that would take millions of lives. So I think we have to exercise some care here.”

On April 26, in an unusual and worrying development, all 100 U.S. Senators have been summoned to the White House for a closed  briefing on the Korean situation by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, and  Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford.

Call Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio now! Tell them there’s no military solution to the North Korean Crisis. Demand diplomacy. Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or call their home offices which are listed on their Web sites (see links below):

  • Senator Bill Nelson
  • Senator Marco Rubio

 

Support the Wendy’s Boycott Fund! 

The SFA network is on an unstoppable action streak in the struggle for farmworker justice! The centerpiece of the CIW’s sweeping 12-city, 14-day Return to Human Rights Tour — an historic weeklong fast by 19 courageous students and alumni at The Ohio State University — sparked the fire for the rolling student fasts at over a dozen university campuses from Florida to Michigan in April. And it’s only to be continued with a formidable, larger-than-ever mobilization outside of Wendy’s upcoming shareholder meeting at the company’s Dublin, OH headquarters in just 19 days!

Action on this unprecedented scale — and our plans to ramp up the pressure throughout the summer and into the fall towards an inevitable victory in the boycott — will require the financial support of every member of SFA’s diverse network.

So we’re calling on you, the young leaders taking incredible action in the movement for Fair Food, to help us kickstart the Wendy’s Boycott Fund . Contribute what you can, whether it’s $5, $15, $25, $100 or more. Every little bit counts and brings us closer to raising $25,000!

 

Join The Florida Fracking Ban Movement Today!

Fracking and other unconventional oil and gas extraction methods pose serious health and environmental risks to the state of Florida, including large portions of the Florida Everglades. It has already happened in Florida at least once, but there is a large and dedicated group of people who want to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, and we need your help too!

The Floridians Against Fracking coalition, which includes members from a wide range of environmental, health, social justice and business groups, successfully defeated a bill for the past 3 years that would have allowed 1) fracking operations to really expand in Florida, 2) kept fracking chemicals a secret from the general public;  and 3) prohibited local communities from enacting protections to keep fracking out.

To learn more, click here.

 

Florida Earth Charter Initiative

FCPJ offers the Earth Charter as a guide for building a sustainable, just and peaceful future.  The Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice recently became an Affiliate of Earth Charter International at the University for Peace in Costa Rica.
Take Action!
Ask about how you can use the Earth Charter in your school or community organization to help address the urgent environmental and social needs facing this generation.

Read the Earth Charter

 

COST OF WAR

 

THE COST OF THE WAR AS OF MAY 7, 2017 Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity. All of this takes courage, it takes strength and tenacity.
– Pope Francis, Address of the Holy Father
Invocation for Peace, June 8, 2014

IRAQ
•             Total Number of U.S. soldiers killed:                        4,519
•             Deaths – State of Florida:                                        197
•             Financial Cost to U.S. Taxpayers:                           $820,400,000,000 +
•             Every hour, taxpayers in Florida are paying $7,174 for Cost of War in Iraq.

AFGHANISTAN
•             Total Number of U.S. soldiers killed:                       2,396
•             Deaths – State of Florida                                        154
•             Financial Cost to U.S. Taxpayers:                           $770,900,000,000 +
•             Every hour, taxpayers in Florida are paying $245,495 for Cost of War in   Afghanistan.

COST OF MILITARY ACTION AGAINST ISIS
•             Total cost of military action against ISIS to U.S. to taxpayers: $14,800,000,000+
•             Every hour, taxpayers in Florida are paying $37,732 for Cost of Military Action Against ISIS.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ACTION ALERT! The Wendy’s shareholder meeting is just days away and the Fair Food Nation needs your help!…

The Fair Food Nation picketing outside of Wendy’s shareholder meeting in 2016

Call-ins, postcards, protests… We need YOU to join farmworkers and fellow allies in mobilizing for the Wendy’s Shareholder meeting on May 23rd!

In just a few weeks, Wendy’s will hold its annual shareholder meeting at the company’s headquarters in Columbus, Ohio on May 23rd.  And for the fourth year running, Wendy’s executives and shareholders will be forced to confront the urgent, moral question posed by farmworkers and consumers of conscience: How much longer will the fast-food giant remain on the wrong side of history when it comes to social responsibility in its supply chain?  Ever since the launch of the Wendy’s campaign in 2013, tomato pickers from Immokalee, joined by religious, student and community leaders, have been an annual presence at the shareholder meeting, demanding answers from Wendy’s leadership — and this year promises to be the most powerful action yet.

Following months of escalating action in the campaign — including the 14-day, 14-city Return to Human Rights Tour in March and six weeks of rolling student fasts across the nation — Wendy’s unconscionable rejection of fundamental human rights in its supply chain is growing increasingly untenable.  And on May 23rd, those at the helm of the multi-billion dollar corporate giant will be forced to reckon with farmworkers and consumers alike, face to face.

Between now and then, we’re going to need each and every member of the Fair Food Nation to keep the pressure up on Wendy’s — and that means you!  Here below is the Alliance for Fair Food’s official call to action, offering a series of actions that you can take to do your part.  Please share the call widely with your networks — and we’ll see you in the streets of Columbus on May 23rd!

Join farmworkers, Columbus-area allies and supporters from across the country for a major protest outside of Wendy’s shareholder meeting on Tuesday, May 23! 

After months of escalating action in the Wendy’s Boycott, demanding that the corporation respect farmworkers’ human rights, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and their allies will show up in powerful witness outside of Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting Tuesday, May 23 from 8-11 a.m.

For over four years, Wendy’s has refused to meet face to face with farmworkers to dialogue and negotiate their participation in the Fair Food Program.  Enough is enough!  We will bring the call for farmworker justice to Wendy’s doorstep, directly to the company’s top executives and shareholders.

Here are four ways you can take action in the month of May!  All of the action items and how-tos are included in a guide, downloadable here.

1) Begin making plans to join farmworkers, Ohio Fair Food and allies from across the country on Tuesday, May 23 for a major protest outside of Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting, followed by a community lunch with CIW. Housing will be provided for those coming from out of town. Get in touch with us at organize@allianceforfairfood.org for support in planning the trip!

2) Send a boycott postcard to Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor and Board Chairman Nelson Peltz, then organize your community, congregation, or student group to do the same! Download the postcard here to print, sign, and send to One Dave Thomas Blvd., Dublin, OH 43017.

3) Donate to the Wendy’s Boycott Fund to bring us closer to our goal of $25,000 in the month of May, to fuel sustained and growing action in the struggle for Fair Food – and bring us closer to an agreement with the final fast food holdout! You can donate online at bit.ly/boycott-fund or by writing a check to Alliance for Fair Food and sending to PO Box 509, Immokalee, FL 34143.

4) On Monday, May 22, participate in a national call-in day to Wendy’s Headquarters! Below is information about the call-in day and a sample script for your call. Once you’ve called, email us at organize@allianceforfairfood.org to share a report!

Call-in Number: (888)-624-8140

Script: Hello, my name is __________ and I would like to leave a message for Todd Penegor.

As a dedicated ally of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, I want Wendy’s to know that I will continue to support the national Wendy’s Boycott until the corporation respects the human rights of farmworkers in its supply chain and joins the Fair Food Program. For four years, we have demanded that Wendy’s be a partner in the Program, but Wendy’s has failed to do so, instead offering a Code of Conduct devoid of enforcement mechanisms or worker participation and moving purchasing to fields where human rights abuses go unchecked.

Mr. Penegor should know we plan to make our voices heard during an action outside of Wendy’s headquarters tomorrow, calling on him and all shareholders to respect farmworkers’ dignity by joining the Fair Food Program. Unless you commit to joining the Fair Food Program during your annual shareholder meeting, scores of farmworkers and allies will be peacefully demonstrating outside — and the already tens of thousands-strong boycott of Wendy’s will continue to grow day by day!

Thank you for delivering this message.


This spring, thousands mobilized as part of the Return to Human Rights Tour in a unified cry on behalf of the broader struggle for human rights, highlighting Wendy’s decision to purchase tomatoes where working conditions are deplorable rather than use its market power to lift up human rights through the Fair Food Program.

Nineteen students and alumni at The Ohio State University fasted for seven days to pressure administration to end the university’s contract with Wendy’s, sparking over a month of rolling campus fasts across the country.  Hundreds of students around the country, as well as religious leaders and community partners, picked up the OSU protest, going without food in order to shine a spotlight on Wendy’s moral duty to respect workers’ rights rather than hide behind an empty code of conduct.  And now, we are returning to Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting more powerful than ever before.

Let’s send the message to Wendy’s leadership that they can no longer ignore the tens of thousands of farmworkers in their supply chain — or the tens of thousands of consumers boycotting their restaurants.

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Weekly Update 10 May

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, MAY 14 THIS SUNDAY: Mother’s Day, the service includes the opportunity for the naming of Mothers. Come be part of this celebration of A Mother’s Love.
THU, MAY 11 CREATION JUSTICE: The next Creation Justice Task Force meeting will be Thursday, May 11th from 12:30 – 2pm in the church library.
NOW – MAY 15 EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL CARE MINISTRY TEAMS: The Florida Conference UCC Disaster Ministries is currently in the process of developing and training volunteer teams to provide emotional and spiritual care in response to specific disaster events. We are recruiting persons willing, skilled and with a heart for this type of ministry to apply and be trained to become part of one these teams. To learn more visit uucfla.org or contact Conference Disaster Ministry Coordinator Bill Wealand (352) 406-4484 to apply before May 15th.
SUN, MAY 21 MEMORIAL SERVICE: Come celebrate the life of Jean Johnson on Sunday, May 21st at 2:30pm at Lakewood United Church of Christ sanctuary.
MAY 21-28 FAMILY PROMISE: Lakewood UCC will be responsible for Family Promise for the week of May 21st. Let Patti Cooksey know if you can help.
WED, MAY 24 LUNCH AT WESTMINSTER SHORES: The luncheon with Pastor Kim Wells in May will be held Wednesday May 17 at 11:30 a.m. at WESTMINSTER SHORES. Please let Kim Wells know if you plan to attend. All residents of the Shores and Westminster Suncoast are welcome!
 SUN, JUN 4

PENTECOST SERVICE AHEAD: Sunday June 4 is Pentecost.  It is the celebration of the beginning of the church.  The assigned scripture reading from Acts quotes a passage from the prophet Joel:

Your daughters and sons will prophesy,
your young people will see visions,
and your elders will dream dreams.

As part of the service that Sunday, people from the congregation will be invited to share the visions and dreams that they feel they are being given by God.  Please be thinking about the dream or vision you may want to share that Sunday as part of the celebration of God’s hopes and dreams for the future.  In preparation, you can share your vision by writing it down on the “God is Still Speaking” bulletin board in the narthex.

SUN, JUN 4 ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING: A special offering on Pentecost Sunday will go to One Great Hour, an ecumenical effort to empower people to provide for their families; build wells for communities who need access to water; feed the hungry; and give relief from disasters. Please be generous as you are able.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SAT, JUN 3 FAMILY PROMISE GALA: Family Promise of Pinellas County presents Reach for the Stars 2017 Gala honoring those who share their light with homeless children and their families on Saturday, June 3, 6pm at St. Jude the Apostle Cathedral. Come and celebrate with dinner a silent auction and lively entertainment. $50 per ticket, $400 for a table of 8. For registration details visit fppinellas.org to purchase tickets visit eventbrite.com. If you cannot attend but are interested in purchasing a star for the event, order forms are available on the bulletin board in the narthex.
WED, JUN 14 IFTAR DINNER: On June 14, 2017, Mayor Rick Kriseman and Muslim leaders from throughout Tampa Bay will host St. Petersburg’s first ever Iftar Dinner welcoming residents of all faiths to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The event will be held at St. Petersburg’s historic Coliseum, doors open at 6:30. Mayor Kriseman said “Now more than ever, we must be expressive in our love and respect for people of all faiths. I am excited to bring the community together to honor our Muslim brothers and sisters.” Abdul Karim Ali, the president of the Tampa Bay Area Muslim Association, said: “We know that breaking bread together helps a community work together for a common cause, and so we thank Mayor Kriseman and his team for their leadership in ensuring that the sun shines bright on all residents and faiths in St. Petersburg.” Please sign up on the bulletin board in the narthex. Help fill the LUCC table at this important local event – an opportunity to show solidarity with the Muslim community.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
IRON NEEDED: The formerly homeless friend of the church is in need of an iron.  If you have one to donate, please contact the church office (727-867-7961).
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
IMG_3544
LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. 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
Betty Harris, Family and loved ones of Jean Johnson,
Carolyn Moore, Gertie Pirazzini, Ann Quinn, Kai’Lyn Washington

Carolyn Moore has recently moved to Menorah Manor.

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Weekly Update 3 May

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, MAY 7 THIS SUNDAY: Gratitude is expressed to Jim Andrews, LUCC member and Director of Spiritual Care for Suncoast Hospice, for preaching. Colleen Coughenour’s ministry as liturgist is appreciated. And, many thanks to Rev. Sally Purvis for officiating for communion. Your service is a blessing!
SUN, MAY 7 COMMUNION SUNDAY: The first Sunday of the month is Communion Sunday. All are welcome to participate including children. The communion offering goes to the Special Needs Fund that is used to help people with basic necessities such as food, rent, utilities, and prescription medication costs. Please be generous as you are able.
MAY 3-9 REV. WELLS AWAY: Rev. Wells is attending the Embrace Festival conference in Portland, OR from May 3-9. If there is a need for pastoral care, please contact Sally Purvis. Many thanks to Jim Andrews who will be preaching next Sunday.
SUN, MAY 7 USHER MEETING: There will be a meeting for the Usher Ministry immediately following service on May 7th. All who have been past ushers, current ushers or those interested in ushering are encouraged to attend. This meeting should only last about 20 – 30 minutes. Please contact Wally LeBlanc if you plan on attending.
THU, MAY 11 CREATION JUSTICE: The next Creation Justice Task Force meeting will be Thursday, May 11th from 12:30 – 2pm in the church library.
NOW – MAY 15 EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL CARE MINISTRY TEAMS: The Florida Conference UCC Disaster Ministries is currently in the process of developing and training volunteer teams to provide emotional and spiritual care in response to specific disaster events. We are recruiting persons willing, skilled and with a heart for this type of ministry to apply and be trained to become part of one these teams. To learn more visit uucfla.org or contact Conference Disaster Ministry Coordinator Bill Wealand (352) 406-4484 to apply before May 15th.
SUN, MAY 21 MEMORIAL SERVICE: Come celebrate the life of Jean Johnson on Sunday, May 21st at 2:30pm at Lakewood United Church of Christ sanctuary.
MAY 21-28 FAMILY PROMISE: Lakewood UCC will be responsible for Family Promise for the week of May 21st. Let Patti Cooksey know if you can help.
WED, MAY 24 LUNCH AT WESTMINSTER SHORES: The luncheon with Pastor Kim Wells in May will be held Wednesday May 17 at 11:30 a.m. at WESTMINSTER SHORES. Please let Kim Wells know if you plan to attend. All residents of the Shores and Westminster Suncoast are welcome!
 SUN, JUN 4

PENTECOST SERVICE AHEAD: Sunday June 4 is Pentecost.  It is the celebration of the beginning of the church.  The assigned scripture reading from Acts quotes a passage from the prophet Joel:

Your daughters and sons will prophesy,
your young people will see visions,
and your elders will dream dreams.

As part of the service that Sunday, people from the congregation will be invited to share the visions and dreams that they feel they are being given by God.  Please be thinking about the dream or vision you may want to share that Sunday as part of the celebration of God’s hopes and dreams for the future.  In preparation, you can share your vision by writing it down on the “God is Still Speaking” bulletin board in the narthex.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SUN, MAY 7 ALUMNI SINGERS CONCERT: The Alumni Singers’ Spring Concert will be on Sunday, May 7th at 4:00 PM at the Lakewood United Methodist Church 5995 Dr. MLK Jr. St. S. in St. Petersburg. The Alumni Singers are dedicated to the preservation of the African-American experience through spirituals and gospel music, and to continuing more than thirty years of “singing with love and harmony”. The organization now comprises singers from high schools, colleges and universities from all over Florida and the United States.
SAT, JUN 3 FAMILY PROMISE GALA: Family Promise of Pinellas County presents Reach for the Stars 2017 Gala honoring those who share their light with homeless children and their families on Saturday, June 3, 6pm at St. Jude the Apostle Cathedral. Come and celebrate with dinner a silent auction and lively entertainment. $50 per ticket, $400 for a table of 8. For registration details visit fppinellas.org to purchase tickets visit eventbrite.com. If you cannot attend but are interested in purchasing a star for the event, order forms are available on the bulletin board in the narthex.
WED, JUN 14 IFTAR DINNER: On June 14, 2017, Mayor Rick Kriseman and Muslim leaders from throughout Tampa Bay will host St. Petersburg’s first ever Iftar Dinner welcoming residents of all faiths to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The event will be held at St. Petersburg’s historic Coliseum, doors open at 6:30. Mayor Kriseman said “Now more than ever, we must be expressive in our love and respect for people of all faiths. I am excited to bring the community together to honor our Muslim brothers and sisters.” Abdul Karim Ali, the president of the Tampa Bay Area Muslim Association, said: “We know that breaking bread together helps a community work together for a common cause, and so we thank Mayor Kriseman and his team for their leadership in ensuring that the sun shines bright on all residents and faiths in St. Petersburg.” Please sign up on the bulletin board in the narthex. Help fill the LUCC table at this important local event – an opportunity to show solidarity with the Muslim community.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
IRON NEEDED: The formerly homeless friend of the church is in need of an iron.  If you have one to donate, please contact the church office (727-867-7961).
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
IMG_3544
LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. 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
Betty Harris, Family and loved ones of Jean Johnson,
Carolyn Moore, Gertie Pirazzini, Ann Quinn,The USA

Carolyn Moore has recently moved to Menorah Manor.

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Weekly Update 26 April

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, APR 30 THIS SUNDAY: The road to Emmaus story invites reflection on “A Road to Heart Burn.” See Luke 24:13-35.
SUN, APR 30 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: Will be hosted by the book club. Please bring a dish to share and celebrate April birthdays. All are welcome, please know your presence is a blessing.
SUN, APR 30 ROAD CLOSURES: St. Anthony’s Triathlon will take place on Sunday, April 30th. Several sections of St. Petersburg roads and streets are expected to be closed. Those include:

  • Brightwaters Boulevard which will be closed between Snell Isle Boulevard and the turnaround in the 1900 block of Brightwaters
  • Bayshore Drive which will be closed between Seventh Avenue N and Fifth Avenue S
  • North Shore Drive NE and Coffee Pot Blvd. which will be closed between Seventh and 22nd avenues N
  • Sixth Avenue S which will be closed from First to Fourth streets (This is updated from the previous release)
  • Pinellas Point Drive will be closed (drivers will be allowed to cross when safe to do so)

Some roads that will be subject to intermittent closures and delays include:

  • First Avenue S between 28th and First streets S
  • Fourth Street S between 18th Avenue S and Pinellas Point Drive
  • Portions of First, Third, Fourth and Sixth streets S between First Avenue S and Pinellas Point Drive
  • Snell Isle Bridge will have limited vehicle traffic allowed
WED, APR 26 LUNCH AT WESTMINSTER SUNCOAST: Join Pastor Kim Wells for lunch today at Westminster Suncoast Wednesday, April 26th at 11:30am, a week later than usual.
FRI, APR 28 BOOK CLUB: Due to lack of participation the Book Club meeting this coming Friday has been cancelled.
MAY 3-9 REV. WELLS AWAY: Next week Rev. Wells will be attending the Embrace Festival conference in Portland, OR from May 3-9. If there is a need for pastoral care, please contact Sally Purvis. Many thanks to Jim Andrews who will be preaching next Sunday.
SUN, MAY 7 USHER MEETING: There will be a meeting for the Usher Ministry immediately following service on May 7th. All who have been past ushers, current ushers or those interested in ushering are encouraged to attend. This meeting should only last about 20 – 30 minutes. Please contact Wally LeBlanc if you plan on attending.
THU, MAY 11 CREATION JUSTICE: The next Creation Justice Task Force meeting will be Thursday, May 11th from 12:30 – 2pm in the church library.
NOW – MAY 15 EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL CARE MINISTRY TEAMS: The Florida Conference UCC Disaster Ministries is currently in the process of developing and training volunteer teams to provide emotional and spiritual care in response to specific disaster events. We are recruiting persons willing, skilled and with a heart for this type of ministry to apply and be trained to become part of one these teams. To learn more visit uucfla.org or contact Conference Disaster Ministry Coordinator Bill Wealand (352) 406-4484 to apply before May 15th.
SUN, MAY 21 MEMORIAL SERVICE: Come celebrate the life of Jean Johnson on Sunday, May 21st at 2:30pm at Lakewood United Church of Christ sanctuary.
LENTEN OFFERING: The Lenten Offering at LUCC was dedicated to the Refugee and Migrant Women’s Initiative (RAMWI). RAMWI is an all volunteer group that offers monthly meetings consisting of workshops for the women on topics such as health care, working through grief, and domestic violence awareness and provides the women with materials to create crafts. A total of $687 was donated, many thanks for your generosity!

COMMUNITY EVENTS

FRI, APR 28  FLORIDA INTERFAITH CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK: This year’s assembly, which will explore the theme “water is life,” is scheduled for April 28, 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. Contact Rev. Kim Wells if you would like to carpool to this event.
SAT, APR 29 CLIMATE MARCH ST PETE: Join the Peoples Climate Movement on Saturday, April 29th and march to:

  • Advance solutions to the climate crisis [that are] rooted in racial, social and economic justice and committed to protecting front-line communities and workers.
  • Protect our right to clean air, water, land, healthy communities and a world at peace.
  • Immediately stop attacks on immigrants, communities of color, indigenous and tribal people and lands and workers.
  • Ensure public funds and investments create good paying jobs that provide a family-sustaining wage and benefits and preserve workers’ rights, including the right to unionize.
  • Fund investments in our communities, people and environment to transition to a new clean and renewable energy economy that works for all.
  • Protect our basic rights to a free press, protest and free speech.

Meet at Mirror Lake Park and 6th St. N. at 10:30 am. Rally at 11. March to follow beginning approximately 11:15. Look for Kim Wells and Claire Stiles. Wear an LUCC t-shirt if you have one.

SAT, APR 29 COMMUNITY YARD/TRUNK SALE: Lakewood United Methodist Church is hosting a trunk sale Saturday April 29th in their parking lot at 5995 MLK St. S. You park your car, open your trunk and sell; you can also set up a table or blanket behind your car. Register now, $10 per parking space. Any questions contact the Lakewood United Methodist Church office 727-867-1744.
SUN, MAY 7 ALUMNI SINGERS CONCERT: The Alumni Singers’ Spring Concert will be on Sunday, May 7th at 4:00 PM at the Lakewood United Methodist Church 5995 Dr. MLK Jr. St. S. in St. Petersburg. The Alumni Singers are dedicated to the preservation of the African-American experience through spirituals and gospel music, and to continuing more than thirty years of “singing with love and harmony”. The organization now comprises singers from high schools, colleges and universities from all over Florida and the United States.
WED, JUN 14 IFTAR DINNER: On June 14, 2017, Mayor Rick Kriseman and Muslim leaders from throughout Tampa Bay will host St. Petersburg’s first ever Iftar Dinner welcoming residents of all faiths to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The event will be held at St. Petersburg’s historic Coliseum. Mayor Kriseman said “Now more than ever, we must be expressive in our love and respect for people of all faiths. I am excited to bring the community together to honor our Muslim brothers and sisters.” Abdul Karim Ali, the president of the Tampa Bay Area Muslim Association, said: “We know that breaking bread together helps a community work together for a common cause, and so we thank Mayor Kriseman and his team for their leadership in ensuring that the sun shines bright on all residents and faiths in St. Petersburg.” Please sign up on the bulletin board in the narthex. Help fill the LUCC table at this important local event – an opportunity to show solidarity with the Muslim community.

CONTINUING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

givingELECTRONIC GIVING: The church offers several options for electronic giving. There are information sheets and sign up forms available in the sanctuary and the church office. For additional information, please contact Bill Parsons or Adrien Helm.
IRON NEEDED: The formerly homeless friend of the church is in need of an iron.  If you have one to donate, please contact the church office (727-867-7961).
NEW MEMBERS: Lakewood UCC is always ready to welcome new members into the church family. Joining the church involves attending an orientation session and being part of a Reception of New Members ritual during Sunday morning worship.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
FREE ECO-THEOLOGY COURSE: Yale is offering three free courses centering on eco-theologian Thomas Berry and the application of his work and writing to understanding the gift of God’s creation and our relationship to it. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups in churches to participate in the course. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at coursera.org.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
IMG_3544
LUNCH BUNCH: This informal and open group gathers at a local restaurant for lunch and lively conversation after the service. Please check with one of the regulars – Don Ritchie or Ruth Halderman – about the details each week.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
roofRAISING THE ROOF! The church has been informed by competent professionals, that the roof will need to be replaced probably within a year or two. The Advisors do not want to jump up one Sunday and beg for a huge amount of money. Therefore, you are being asked for Shekels for Shingles. Have you a few spare coins…$1’s,…. $5’s? If we scrape now, we won’t have to dig as deeply later. Please place donations in the bottle on the back table in the sanctuary.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. At this time we CANNOT recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email Wally LeBlanc if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. 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
Betty Harris, Family and loved ones of Jean Johnson,
Carolyn Moore, Gertie Pirazzini, Ann Quinn,The USA

Carolyn Moore has recently moved to Menorah Manor.

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March for Science

Rev. Kim Wells (right) and husband Jeff Wells, a physics teacher, (left) at the March for Science in St. Petersburg on April 22. An estimated 2,000 people participated in the St. Pete March. The PSTA bus was free in honor of Earth Day so Kim and Jeff took the bus downtown. No parking hassles and the price was right!

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Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Gov. LeRoy Collins, 33rd Governor of Florida (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LeRoy_Collins)

Gov. LeRoy Collins, 33rd Governor of Florida

Please read http://www.claytodayonline.com/stories/clemency-and-floridas-overbearing-politics-of-death,6666.

“Excellent, excellent column by one of Florida’s best. This is especially prescient as The ‘Groveland Four’ bill has a passed the FL House and heads for passage in the Senate.” — Facebook page of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

The author of the article is Martin Dyckman, a former St. Petersburg Times political writer.

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Join others this Saturday for the annual human rights conference at the University of Tampa’s Vaughn Center, 9th floor, from 9am-5pm.

This year the conference will begin with a film screening of Drawing the Tiger, followed by a keynote address from the documentary’s co-directions Amy Benson and Scott Squire. Multiple panel discussions and presentations will be held throughout the day.

This event is free and open to the public.

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