Weekly Update 3 October

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, SEP 30 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday is World Communion Sunday. The Communion Offering will be received. These funds are used to help those in the congregation and in the community with basic needs such as rent, food, medication, & utility bills.
TUE, OCT 9 CONCERT: Today, October 3 at 6:30pm at Lakewood UCC (2601 54th Ave S) the Pinellas County Center for the Arts Jazz Band opens at 6:30, Zoe Speaks (the band of Yoko’s banjo teacher) goes on at 7pm! Suggested donation $20. All ages welcome! Doors open at 6pm. For more information see the facebook event page.
TUE, OCT 9 FAMILY PROMISE: LUCC is serving as a support congregation to Lakewood United Methodist Church this week. Training opportunity coming up: Tuesday, 9 October from 7:00 to 8:30pm at Temple Beth-El (400 Pasadena Ave S). Contact Patti Cooksey for more information on getting involved in this ministry for homeless families.
WED, OCT 10 OPERATION ATTACK: Attack poverty, help provide children’s clothing and food for low income families. Wednesday, 10 October at 6:30pm at Lakeview Presbyterian Church (1310 22nd Ave S) is the next volunteer date for LUCC.
SUN, OCT 14 THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: There will be cards and other items available for sale on Sunday October 14th. The mission for October card sales is The Special Needs Fund, used to help people in our community and the congregation with basic necessities such as food, rent, utilities, and prescription medication costs.
SAT, OCT 20 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: Save the date for Circus McGurkis Saturday October 20th at Gibbs High School. Plan to attend and volunteer.  Bring family and friends to this people’s fair celebrating peace, justice, and art.  The event is sponsored by the Friends Meeting of St. Petersburg (Quakers) and co-produced by Lakewood UCC. Contact Yoko Nogami or Claire Stiles for volunteer opportunities.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

KAVANAUGH DEMONSTRATIONS: People concerned about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court will gather at noon daily on the corner of 6th Street and 1st Avenue N. at the St. Petersburg Judicial Courthouse in downtown St. Petersburg. The daily demonstrations, which will last for an hour, are scheduled until there is resolution of the Kavanaugh nomination.

Please come as often and for as long as you can. Signs will be provided, or you can bring your own. Metered parking is available around the courthouse, and there is free two-hour parking around Mirror Lake beginning at the Unitarian Universalist Church. There are restaurants and craft beers within easy walking distance.

This demonstration is organized by Andrea Smith. You can contact her at  (727) 643-7189 or factorganizer@gmail.com for more information.

VOTING APP: Try this new voting app developed by Rev. Wells’ nephew. Make sure you cast your vote for better government, and download the free iVote app from Apple. It has all the resources to register, request a mail-in ballot, and check your status. And it will send reminders so you don’t miss any deadlines for this important election.
THU, OCT 4 PIZZA & POLITICS: Come talk with local politicians 4 October from 6 to 8pm at the SPC Seminole Campus Conference Center (9200 113th St, Seminole). St. Petersburg College presents this free program as a public service to help voters make educated choices in the Nov. 6 election. Space is limited, advance registration is requested.
MON, OCT 8 CLIMATE & HEALTH: The increasing frequency of hurricanes and heat waves, heat-related illnesses and changes in infectious illnesses like Zika virus call for personal and societal attention. A multidisciplinary panel will address how climate affects physical and mental health – of both individuals and communities – and highlight existing resources and approaches to developing resiliency. October 8, from 6 to 7:30pm at St. Petersburg College Midtown Center (1300 22nd St S). Space is limited, advance registration is requested.
MON, OCT 8 INDIGENOUS PEOPLES FILM: Race, Trauma, and the Doctrine of Discovery a film with Navajo minister Mark Charles. Indigenous Peoples Day is a way to recognize and respect those who lived on these lands for many thousands of years. October 8 is marked as Columbus Day on most calendars. Mark Charles explains the Doctrine of Discovery, and the historic, systemic trauma this myth perpetuates today. Monday, 8 October from 6:30 to 8pm (closing conversation optional till 8:30) at Allendale United Methodist Church (3803 Haines Rd N).
TUE, OCT 16 GUN SAFETY: Join members of the LWVSPA gun safety action team, We the Students, Inc., Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense and community activists to learn about gun safety issues, effective legislative solutions and how your vote in November can make a difference. Tuesday, 16 October at the Unitarian Universalist Church (100 Mirror Lake Drive) from 7:00 to 8:30pm. FREE and open to the public. Join us and bring your friends. Become informed before you vote, and remember that every election is determined by the people who show up.
SAT, OCT 20 RETREAT: Florida United Church of Christ Women invites you to “In the Company of Women” Saturday, October 20, 2018 at Trinity United Church of Christ, (1150 49th St N), from 8:30am to 3:30pm. The theme is “This Means Love”.
Registration deadline is October 1st. The $20 cost includes breakfast, lunch, “This Means Love” workbook, and craft materials. Mail registration and check made payable to: FL UCC Women to: Barb Coons, 1419 SE 33rd Terrace, Cape Coral, FL 33904 or Register online.
SUN, OCT 21 INTERFAITH ENVIRONMENT DIALOGUE: Representatives from different faiths will address the environmental crisis with insights arising from their traditions and will share their customs and beliefs that encourage followers to care for the environment. “Caring for the Earth: An Interfaith Dialogue Event” will be held Sunday, 21 October at First Congregational United Church of Christ, (1031 S. Euclid Ave., Sarasota). The event will begin at 2 p.m. with a panel discussion featuring Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian speakers. A second panel discussion featuring young people from various faiths will start at 3:30 p.m., followed by a shared community meal and prayer break at 5 p.m. After the meal, Dr. Waleed El-Ansary, an internationally known expert on Islam and the environment and Chair of Islamic Studies at Xavier University, will give the keynote address at 7pm. For more information or to reserve your spot, please call (941) 953-7044. Seating will be limited.
TUE, OCT 23 POVERTY LECTURE: The Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis will speak on the long-term work of organizing a movement of the poor and dispossessed, the roles religion and a liberation theology have in advancing transformative change in this country, and the recent efforts of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Tuesday, 23 October at 7:30pm in Fox Hall at Eckerd College.
TUE, OCT 23 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS: 12 amendments to the FL Constitution, submitted by the Constitutional Review Commission, the Legislature, as well as citizen groups will be on the ballot in November. They include critical issues such as the restoration of felon voting rights, oil drilling along the FL coast and a proposal to require 2/3 vote of the Legislature to approve new or increased taxes or fees, rather than a simple majority. The non-partisan League of Women Voters will share their presentation, recommendations and fact sheets with us. Tuesday, 23 October at the Unitarian Universalist Church (100 Mirror Lake Drive) from 7:00 to 8:30pm. FREE and open to the public. Join us and bring your friends. Become informed before you vote, and remember that every election is determined by the people who show up.

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


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

Fran Whitney, Family & Friends of Genevieve Jackle,
Shirley and Bill Locke, Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Willy Zessoules

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Weekly Update 26 September

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, SEP 30 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday is designated Native American Indian Ministry Sunday in the United Church of Christ. Worship will reflect this theme and honor the contributions of Native American cultures to the church and society.
SAT, SEP 29 PRAYER WORKSHOP: Contemplative Outreach Tampa Bay presents the Centering Prayer Workshop featuring themes from The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault at Lakewood UCC on Saturday, 29 September from 9-3:30pm (registration starts at 8:30am). There is a $25 fee and continental breakfast is included.
SUN, SEP 30 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: Celebrate September birthdays at this potluck lunch following morning worship on Sunday, 30 September in the Fellowship Hall. Wally LeBlanc will give a presentation entitled A Wasteful Society – Part 1. The primary focus of this presentation will be food waste with an additional focus on single use items. Bring a dish to share (6-8 servings) and be prepared to take home leftovers so we don’t waste food!
SUN, SEP 30 DONATIONS: Natasha, a literacy coach at Maximo Elementary, is hosting a literacy night for her school on October 2nd. She would like to have a station for students to read recipes and create little fall treats. If you can bring items to church on Sunday the 30th, LUCC member Melanie Moore will take them to Maximo.

Chocolate sandwich cookies
Pumpkin shaped candy corn
Candy corn
Bugels corn chips
Pretzels
Plain m&ms
Popcorn
Cheerios
Pretzels
Chocolate pudding cups
Graham crackers
Nutella

TUE, OCT 9 CONCERT: Wednesday, October 3 at 6:30pm at Lakewood UCC (2601 54th Ave S) the Pinellas County Center for the Arts Jazz Band opens at 6:30, Zoe Speaks (the band of Yoko’s banjo teacher) goes on at 7pm! Suggested donation $20. All ages welcome! Doors open at 6pm. For more information see the facebook event page.
TUE, OCT 9 FAMILY PROMISE: Training opportunity coming up: Tuesday, 9 October from 7:00 to 8:30pm at Temple Beth-El (400 Pasadena Ave S). Contact Patti Cooksey for more information on getting involved in this ministry for homeless families.
WED, OCT 10 OPERATION ATTACK: Attack poverty, help provide children’s clothing and food for low income families. Wednesday, 10 October at 6:30pm at Lakeview Presbyterian Church (1310 22nd Ave S) is the next volunteer date for LUCC.
SUN, OCT 14 THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: There will be cards and other items available for sale on Sunday October 14th. The mission for October card sales is The Special Needs Fund, used to help people in our community and the congregation with basic necessities such as food, rent, utilities, and prescription medication costs.
SAT, OCT 20 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: Save the date for Circus McGurkis Saturday October 20th at Gibbs High School. Plan to attend and volunteer.  Bring family and friends to this people’s fair celebrating peace, justice, and art.  The event is sponsored by the Friends Meeting of St. Petersburg (Quakers) and co-produced by Lakewood UCC. Contact Yoko Nogami or Claire Stiles for volunteer opportunities.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

KAVANAUGH DEMONSTRATIONS: People concerned about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court will gather at noon daily on the corner of 6th Street and 1st Avenue N. at the St. Petersburg Judicial Courthouse in downtown St. Petersburg. The daily demonstrations, which will last for an hour, are scheduled until there is resolution of the Kavanaugh nomination.

Please come as often and for as long as you can. Signs will be provided, or you can bring your own. Metered parking is available around the courthouse, and there is free two-hour parking around Mirror Lake beginning at the Unitarian Universalist Church. There are restaurants and craft beers within easy walking distance.

This demonstration is organized by Andrea Smith. You can contact her at  (727) 643-7189 or factorganizer@gmail.com for more information.

VOTING APP: Try this new voting app developed by Rev. Wells’ nephew. Make sure you cast your vote for better government, and download the free iVote app from Apple. It has all the resources to register, request a mail-in ballot, and check your status. And it will send reminders so you don’t miss any deadlines for this important election.
THU, SEP 27 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS: Voting on proposed constitutional amendments is always a challenge. Cloaked in legalese that is difficult for a non-lawyer to understand, they address issues that seem arcane but can have a major impact on public policy. The Nov. 6 election has 12 such proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution, some containing multiple changes. This forum will provide context and explanation of the pros and cons of each. September 27, 2018 6 – 8:30pm at the SPC Seminole Campus Digitorium (9200 113th St, Seminole). Seating is limited, please register online.
THU, SEP 27 WATER CONVERSATION: Water is the lifeblood of our state. From drinking to recreation to tourism, water influences the lives of every Floridian. How can be become effective stewards of this precious resource? Join the Florida Humanities Council for an engaging conversation between two of Florida’s most insightful writers on water. Cynthia Barnett and Jack Davis will share key passages from their books, discuss how they came to understand Florida’s water stories, and dialogue with the audience on questions related to Florida’s future. Thursday, 27 September from 5:30 to 6:30pm at USF St. Pete (200 6th Ave S). Contact Keith Simmons for more information by email or phone (727-873-2011). Register online for this free event.
MON, OCT 1 JOURNALISM & DEMOCRACY: Veteran CNN anchor and correspondent Gene Randall lends his expertise on the hotly contested topic about the media’s role in today’s politically polarized landscape. In an age of fake news, distrust in journalism and media illiteracy, what must journalists and their audiences do to build trust, effectiveness and the skills of citizenship? “Can Journalism Save Democracy?” will be held on Monday, 1 October at 7pm in the Triton Room at Eckerd College.
MON, OCT 1 PRESENTATION & DISCUSSION: What would happen if the traditional African American Church, LGBTQ community, and progressives united around shared issues and causes? “Being in Relationship, we are Family” is an evening to explore this topic. Presentation by Cedric Harmon (Co-Director of Many Voices, a Black Church movement for gay & transgender justice). Discussion led by Rev. J C. Pritchett (Faith Church), Dr. Sharon Groves (Auburn Seminary) and Bishop Darlene Garner (MCC minister and LGBT activist). Monday, 1 October at 6pm at King of Peace MCC (3150 5th Ave N). Reception to follow. Invite someone!
TUE, OCT 2 LUNCH PAL: Change a Life – Be a Lunch Pal. With a small sacrifice of time, we can make a tremendous difference for children. Enjoy time with a student for 30 minutes at lunch once a week during the school year. Attend the Lunch Pals Workshop to learn more about how easy it is to help! Tuesday, October 2nd, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, at SPC-Allstate (3200 34th St S). RSVP is required – Please contact Susan Schneck, Lunch Pals Coordinator by phone 727-588-6000 ext. 1369 or email.
THU, OCT 4 PIZZA & POLITICS: Come talk with local politicians 4 October from 6 to 8pm at the SPC Seminole Campus Conference Center (9200 113th St, Seminole). St. Petersburg College presents this free program as a public service to help voters make educated choices in the Nov. 6 election. Space is limited, advance registration is requested.
MON, OCT 8 CLIMATE & HEALTH: The increasing frequency of hurricanes and heat waves, heat-related illnesses and changes in infectious illnesses like Zika virus call for personal and societal attention. A multidisciplinary panel will address how climate affects physical and mental health – of both individuals and communities – and highlight existing resources and approaches to developing resiliency. October 8, from 6 to 7:30pm at St. Petersburg College Midtown Center (1300 22nd St S). Space is limited, advance registration is requested.
MON, OCT 8 INDIGENOUS PEOPLES FILM: Indigenous Peoples Day is a way to recognize and respect those who lived on these lands for many thousands of years. October 8 is marked as Columbus Day on most calendars. Mark Charles explains the Doctrine of Discovery, and the historic, systemic trauma this myth perpetuates today. Monday, 8 October from 6:30pm to 8pm (closing conversation optional till 8:30) at Allendale United Methodist Church (3803 Haines Rd N).
SAT, OCT 20 RETREAT: Florida United Church of Christ Women invites you to “In the Company of Women” Saturday, October 20, 2018 at Trinity United Church of Christ, (1150 49th St N), from 8:30am to 3:30pm. The theme is “This Means Love”.
Registration deadline is October 1st. The $20 cost includes breakfast, lunch, “This Means Love” workbook, and craft materials. Mail registration and check made payable to: FL UCC Women to: Barb Coons, 1419 SE 33rd Terrace, Cape Coral, FL 33904 or Register online.
SUN, OCT 21 INTERFAITH ENVIRONMENT DIALOGUE: Representatives from different faiths will address the environmental crisis with insights arising from their traditions and will share their customs and beliefs that encourage followers to care for the environment. “Caring for the Earth: An Interfaith Dialogue Event” will be held Sunday, 21 October at First Congregational United Church of Christ, (1031 S. Euclid Ave., Sarasota). The event will begin at 2 p.m. with a panel discussion featuring Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian speakers. A second panel discussion featuring young people from various faiths will start at 3:30 p.m., followed by a shared community meal and prayer break at 5 p.m. After the meal, Dr. Waleed El-Ansary, an internationally known expert on Islam and the environment and Chair of Islamic Studies at Xavier University, will give the keynote address at 7pm. For more information or to reserve your spot, please call (941) 953-7044. Seating will be limited.
TUE, OCT 23 POVERTY LECTURE: The Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis will speak on the long-term work of organizing a movement of the poor and dispossessed, the roles religion and a liberation theology have in advancing transformative change in this country, and the recent efforts of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Tuesday, 23 October at 7:30pm in Fox Hall at Eckerd College.

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


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

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Peace Day

The United Nations General Assembly declared the International Day of Peace (Peace Day) as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
The 2018 Peace Day Theme is: “The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70”
“It is time all nations and all people live up to the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human race. This year marks the 70th anniversary of that landmark document.” 
– Secretary-General António Guterres
From education to the arts, social justice to sports, health to the environment, neighborhood issues to service for others, there are many ways to participate in Peace Day! We invite you to create a public or private activity related to peace, spread the word about Peace Day and/or attend an event in the community:
Burning Bowl Ceremony at First Unity (460 46th Ave N) 6:45pm September 21
The International Museum of Radiant Peace (5601 Central Ave., St. Petersburg). Special hours for this event are September 22, 10 – 4. Enjoy award-winning art and inspirational writing about Radiant Peace from children around the world, including many from the Tampa Bay area. Admission is free.)
Call to Peace at Unitarian Universalist Church of Downtown (100 Mirror Lake Dr. N) Sunday, September 23 at 10:30am. Celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations momentous Adoption of the Universal Human Rights Declaration by joining our Call to Peace issued by leaders of the interfaith community at the Unitarian Universalist Church by Mirror Lake. Presented by: St. Mary Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, Pass-A-Grille Beach Community Church UCC, Congregation B’nai Israel of St. Petersburg, Unitarian Universalist Church of St. Pete, St. Petersburg Islamic Center, Baha’i Faith of St. Petersburg, Buddhist Community of Downtown, & Quaker Religious Society. For more information contact the Unitarian Universalist Church at (727) 898-3294.
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Weekly Update 19 September

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, SEP 23 THIS SUNDAY: Is Peace Sunday, a time to reaffirm our commitment to peace. You are invited to bring a poem or quote about peace to share in the service.
SUN, SEP 16 IN MEMORIAM:  Genevieve Jackle of the LUCC congregation and a resident of Westminster Suncoast died Sunday September 16. Sincere sympathy is expressed to her husband Roger, son George, family and friends. A service was held for Genevieve this morning at Westminster Suncoast.
SUN, SEP 16 BACKPACK FUNDS:  Many thanks to all who donated so that Kai’Lyn can get a backpack filled with nice things for her formerly homeless friend at school. We raised $146!
SAT, SEP 15 FAMILY PROMISE: Training opportunity coming up: Tuesday, 9 October from 7:00 to 8:30pm at Temple Beth-El (400 Pasadena Ave S). Contact Patti Cooksey for more information on getting involved in this ministry for homeless families.
SEP 18-22 PASTOR AWAY: Rev. Wells is away untill 22 September. If pastoral care is needed, please contact Jim Andrews.
WED, SEP 26 WESTMINSTER LUNCH: Westminster Suncoast Luncheon Wednesday 26 September at 11:30am in the private dining room at Westminster Suncoast. All residents of the Shores and Suncoast are welcome.
WED, SEP 19 OPERATION ATTACK: Attack poverty, help provide children’s clothing and food for low income families. Wednesday, 19 September at 6:30pm at Lakeview Presbyterian Church (1310 22nd Ave S) is the next volunteer date for LUCC.
FRI, SEP 21 PEACE DAY: September 21 will be the 36th international day of peace, a United Nations sanctioned holiday. The theme this year is “Right to peace”. Share your thoughts on the peace bulletin board in the narthex. On Sunday, 23 September the service will focus on peace in honor of Peace Day. You are invited to bring a poem or quote about peace to share in the service.
SUN, SEP 30
SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: Celebrate September birthdays at this potluck lunch following morning worship on Sunday, 30 September in the Fellowship Hall. Wally LeBlanc will give a presentation entitled A Wasteful Society – Part 1. The primary focus of this presentation will be food waste with an additional focus on single use items. Bring a dish to share (6-8 servings) and be prepared to take home leftovers so we don’t waste food!
SUN, OCT 14 THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: There will be cards and other items available for sale on Sunday October 14th. The mission for October card sales is The Special Needs Fund, used to help people in our community and the congregation with basic necessities such as food, rent, utilities, and prescription medication costs.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, SEP 20 LITERATURE LECTURE: “The World Is Wrong: Microaggressions, Poetics and the Problem of Evil in Citizen” will be given by Daniel Spoth (Literature professor at Eckerd). This lecture places award-winning poet Claudia Rankine both within and outside of the broader traditions of American lyric poetry and critical writing about race – showing how her focus on small second-hand experiences of racism leads to a more expansive concern with the ideals of “post-racial” America and, still more broadly, the many social, political and environmental issues that afflict the world today. Thursday, 20 September at 7:30pm in Fox Hall at Eckerd College.
TUE, SEP 25 REFUGEE PLAY: “Refuge: The Story of St. Petersburg’s Jasmina Kuljanac” will be performed on Tuesday, September 25, at 7:00 pm at the Arts Exchange, 515 22nd St S. Refuge is part of Off the Wall, a series of dramatic presentations of the lives of St. Petersburg residents coordinated by Your Real Stories, a St. Pete nonprofit organization. Tickets are $15.
Jamsmina Kuljanac was born in the former Yugoslavia and fled the war that tore Yugoslavia apart when she was nine. She spent time in Poland and Germany and moved to St. Petersburg when she was fifteen. She learned English in a class in Germany and by watching MTV. Refuge is a dramatic presentation of Jasmina’s life as a refugee and how she faced prejudice and maneuvered successfully through different cultures. “It’s easy for me to relate to people,” Jasmina said, “because I had to really understand people to survive.” She has earned a BS in biology from USF, and now is a chemist for the city of St. Petersburg.
TUE, SEP 25 SOCIAL MEDIA ADVOCACY: Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or even Snapchat, social media can be one of the most powerful tools in your advocacy toolbox. When leveraged effectively, social media can create opportunities to find, reach and engage advocates, recruit supporters, and connect with policy makers. Join the St. Pete League of Women Voters and Pinellas National Organization of Women to explore these topics. Participants will have the chance to dig deep in a breakout sections (Facebook 101, Twitter 101, or Advanced Facebook). Saturday, September 29 from 2:30 to 5 pm at the St Petersburg Main Library (3745 9th Ave N). Register online.
THU, SEP 27 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS: Voting on proposed constitutional amendments is always a challenge. Cloaked in legalese that is difficult for a non-lawyer to understand, they address issues that seem arcane but can have a major impact on public policy. The Nov. 6 election has 12 such proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution, some containing multiple changes. This forum will provide context and explanation of the pros and cons of each. September 27, 2018 6 – 8:30pm at the SPC Seminole Campus Digitorium (9200 113th St, Seminole). Seating is limited, please register online.
THU, SEP 27 WATER CONVERSATION: Water is the lifeblood of our state. From drinking to recreation to tourism, water influences the lives of every Floridian. How can be become effective stewards of this precious resource? Join the Florida Humanities Council for an engaging conversation between two of Florida’s most insightful writers on water. Cynthia Barnett and Jack Davis will share key passages from their books, discuss how they came to understand Florida’s water stories, and dialogue with the audience on questions related to Florida’s future. Thursday, 27 September from 5:30 to 6:30pm at USF St. Pete (200 6th Ave S). Contact Keith Simmons for more information by email or phone (727-873-2011). Register online for this free event.
MON, OCT 1 JOURNALISM & DEMOCRACY: Veteran CNN anchor and correspondent Gene Randall lends his expertise on the hotly contested topic about the media’s role in today’s politically polarized landscape. In an age of fake news, distrust in journalism and media illiteracy, what must journalists and their audiences do to build trust, effectiveness and the skills of citizenship? “Can Journalism Save Democracy?” will be held on Monday, 1 October at 7pm in the Triton Room at Eckerd College.
MON, OCT 1 PRESENTATION & DISCUSSION: What would happen if the traditional African American Church, LGBTQ community, and progressives united around shared issues and causes? “Being in Relationship, we are Family” is an evening to explore this topic. Presentation by Cedric Harmon (Co-Director of Many Voices, a Black Church movement for gay & transgender justice). Discussion lead by Rev. J C. Pritchett (Faith Church), Dr. Sharon Groves (Auburn Seminary) and Bishop Darlene Garner (MCC minister and LGBT activist). Monday, 1 October at 6pm at King of Peace MCC (3150 5th Ave N). Reception to follow. Invite someone!
THU, OCT 4 PIZZA & POLITICS: Come talk with local politicians October 4, 2018 6 – 8pm at the SPC Seminole Campus Conference Center (9200 113th St, Seminole). St. Petersburg College presents this free program as a public service to help voters make educated choices in the Nov. 6 election. Space is limited, advance registration is requested.
MON, OCT 8 CLIMATE & HEALTH: The increasing frequency of hurricanes and heat waves, heat-related illnesses and changes in infectious illnesses like Zika virus call for personal and societal attention. A multidisciplinary panel will address how climate affects physical and mental health – of both individuals and communities – and highlight existing resources and approaches to developing resiliency. October 8, 2018 – 6 – 7:30pm at St. Petersburg College Midtown Center (1300 22nd St S). Space is limited, advance registration is requested.
SAT, OCT 20 RETREAT: Florida United Church of Christ Women invites you to “In the Company of Women” Saturday, October 20, 2018 at Trinity United Church of Christ, (1150 49th St N), from 8:30am to 3:30pm. The theme is “This Means Love”.
Registration deadline is October 1st. The $20 cost includes breakfast, lunch, “This Means Love” workbook, and craft materials. Mail registration and check made payable to: FL UCC Women to: Barb Coons, 1419 SE 33rd Terrace, Cape Coral, FL 33904 or Register online.
TUE, OCT 23 POVERTY LECTURE: The Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis will speak on the long-term work of organizing a movement of the poor and dispossessed, the roles religion and a liberation theology have in advancing transformative change in this country, and the recent efforts of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Tuesday, 23 October at 7:30pm in Fox Hall at Eckerd College.

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


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

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LUCC Given Baby Grand Piano!

A beautiful Yamaha baby grand piano has been gifted to Lakewood United Church of Christ by a church member who is downsizing.  This gift is a beautiful contribution to the music ministry of the church.  Music Director, Hilton Kean Jones, is thrilled about this most generous gift!  It is a delight to hear him play this wonderful piano.
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Weekly Update 12 September

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, SEP 16 THIS SUNDAY: Is Charter Sunday, a time to remember the founding of the church in 1967. The theme is Bound by Love. Love is what joined people together in a church family back in 1967 when LUCC was founded and what still does today.
WED, SEP 12 GOD AND BEYOND TODAY: The Advisors are continuing to provide opportunities for discussion about the theological orientation of the church along with the faith statement and mission statement. The next gathering will be tonight, Wednesday Sept. 12 at 6:30 in the Fellowship Hall. The discussion will refer to Dan Brown’s book Origin. There will be discussion of the lecture given by Robert Langdon that is featured toward the beginning of the book. All are welcome!
SAT, SEP 15 CHOIR PARTY: The choir will kick off a new year of singing at Kim and Jeff Wells’ home on Saturday, 15 September at 6:30pm. The theme for this potluck celebration is Mexican Independence Day (16 September).
SAT, SEP 15 FAMILY PROMISE: Training opportunities are coming up: Monday, 17 September from 6:00 to 7:30pm at Central Christian Church (6161 22nd Ave N); and Tuesday, 9 October from 7:00 to 8:30pm at Temple Beth-El (400 Pasadena Ave S). Contact Patti Cooksey for more information on getting involved in this ministry for homeless families.
TUE, SEP 18 CIRCUS MCGURKIS MEETING: There will be a Circus McGurkis (20 October) planning meeting on Tuesday, 18 September at 7:00pm in the Fellowship HallContact Yoko Nogami or Claire Stiles for more information.
SEP 18-22 PASTOR AWAY: Rev. Wells will be away from 18 to 22 September. If pastoral care is needed, please contact Jim Andrews.
WED, SEP 26 WESTMINSTER LUNCH: Westminster Suncoast Luncheon Wednesday 26 September at 11:30am in the private dining room at Westminster Suncoast. All residents of the Shores and Suncoast are welcome.
WED, SEP 19 OPERATION ATTACK: Attack poverty, help provide children’s clothing and food for low income families. Wednesday, 19 September at 6:30pm at Lakeview Presbyterian Church (1310 22nd Ave S) is the next volunteer date for LUCC.
FRI, SEP 21 PEACE DAY: September 21 will be the 36th international day of peace, a United Nations sanctioned holiday. The theme this year is “Right to peace”. Share your thoughts on the peace bulletin board in the narthex. On Sunday, 23 September the service will focus on peace in honor of Peace Day. You are invited to bring a poem or quote about peace to share in the service.
SUN, SEP 30 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: Celebrate September birthdays at this potluck lunch following morning worship on Sunday, 30 September in the Fellowship Hall. Wally LeBlanc will give a presentation about food waste. Bring a dish to share (6-8 servings) and be prepared to take home left overs so we don’t waste food!

COMMUNITY EVENTS

BOYD HILL UPDATE: The St. Petersburg Country Club has heard the community’s concerns, and has agreed to move “Area D” to the other side of the 18th fairway, away from Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. This solution meets the business needs of the SPCC while also maintaining a buffer for Boyd Hill.
FRI, SEP 14 ECONOMIC INEQUALITY WORKSHOP: What does it mean when the Marathon Petroleum CEO Gary Heminger took home an astonishing 935 times more pay than an average employee in 2017? CEOs of the largest 350 companies make, on average, 271 times what a typical worker earns. Why is it so commonplace now to have this disconnect between CEO income and everyone else’s? Do you actually know anyone who is getting ahead, even people who are supposedly doing well, or is the American dream really lost? In this workshop you will learn more about Runaway Inequality and how it’s hurting our society. Gain tools for telling the story and ready yourself to fight back. Friday, September 14 from 6 to 9 PM at Allendale UMC (3803 Haines Rd N).
TUE, SEP 25 REFUGEE PLAY: “Refuge: The Story of St. Petersburg’s Jasmina Kuljanac” will be performed on Tuesday, September 25, at 7:00 pm at the Arts Exchange, 515 22nd St S. Refuge is part of Off the Wall, a series of dramatic presentations of the lives of St. Petersburg residents coordinated by Your Real Stories, a St. Pete nonprofit organization. Tickets are $15.
Jamsmina Kuljanac was born in the former Yugoslavia and fled the war that tore Yugoslavia apart when she was nine. She spent time in Poland and Germany and moved to St. Petersburg when she was fifteen. She learned English in a class in Germany and by watching MTV. Refuge is a dramatic presentation of Jasmina’s life as a refugee and how she faced prejudice and maneuvered successfully through different cultures. “It’s easy for me to relate to people,” Jasmina said, “because I had to really understand people to survive.” She has earned a BS in biology from USF, and now is a chemist for the city of St. Petersburg.
TUE, SEP 25 SOCIAL MEDIA ADVOCACY: Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or even Snapchat, social media can be one of the most powerful tools in your advocacy toolbox. When leveraged effectively, social media can create opportunities to find, reach and engage advocates, recruit supporters, and connect with policy makers. Join the St. Pete League of Women Voters and Pinellas National Organization of Women to explore these topics. Participants will have the chance to dig deep in a breakout sections (Facebook 101, Twitter 101, or Advanced Facebook). Saturday, September 29 from 2:30 to 5 pm at the St Petersburg Main Library (3745 9th Ave N). Register online.
THU, SEP 27 WATER CONVERSATION: Water is the lifeblood of our state. From drinking to recreation to tourism, water influences the lives of every Floridian. How can be become effective stewards of this precious resource? Join the Florida Humanities Council for an engaging conversation between two of Florida’s most insightful writers on water. Cynthia Barnett and Jack Davis will share key passages from their books, discuss how they came to understand Florida’s water stories, and dialogue with the audience on questions related to Florida’s future. Thursday, 27 September from 5:30 to 6:30pm at USF St. Pete (200 6th Ave S). Contact Keith Simmons for more information by email or phone (727-873-2011). Register online for this free event.
MON, OCT 1 PRESENTATION & DISCUSSION: What would happen if the traditional African American Church, LGBTQ community, and progressives united around shared issues and causes? “Being in Relationship, we are Family” is an evening to explore this topic. Presentation by Cedric Harmon (Co-Director of Many Voices, a Black Church movement for gay & transgender justice). Discussion lead by Rev. J C. Pritchett (Faith Church), Dr. Sharon Groves (Auburn Seminary) and Bishop Darlene Garner (MCC minister and LGBT activist). Monday, 1 October at 6pm at King of Peace MCC (3150 5th Ave N). Reception to follow. Invite someone!
SAT, OCT 20 RETREAT: Florida United Church of Christ Women invites you to “In the Company of Women” Saturday, October 20, 2018 at Trinity United Church of Christ, (1150 49th St N), from 8:30am to 3:30pm. The theme is “This Means Love”.
Registration deadline is October 1st. The $20 cost includes breakfast, lunch, “This Means Love” workbook, and craft materials. Mail registration and check made payable to: FL UCC Women to: Barb Coons, 1419 SE 33rd Terrace, Cape Coral, FL 33904 or Register online.
SAT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Celebrate Outreach hosts Loaves and Fishes weekly breakfast at Trinity Lutheran church every Saturday morning. Volunteers serve a full hot meal to over 150 hungry people. The breakfast runs from 7:30 to 10:30am and volunteers can participate with some or all of the breakfast. Please contact Carol Shores to help.
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 the church office.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. School age children are invited to participate in Church School and preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. They will join the congregation for the end of the worship service. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

Fran Whitney (at St. Anthony’s hospital), Genevieve Jackle,
Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Willy Zessoules

RECENT POSTS

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Legislature Should Re-Allocate Unused Funds to Hire School Resource Officers

ORLANDO, Fla. – In light of recent information that $58 million dollars remains in the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program fund that will go unused if not reallocated, the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence (LUCC is a member) and education partners call on the Joint Legislative Budget Commission to agree to disburse these funds for districts to hire School Resource Officers (SROs) when they meet on September 14th. The Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program is part of the larger Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act signed by Governor Rick Scott at the end of the 2018 Legislative Session.

“Local districts statewide are struggling to pay for school security while the $58 million that could be used to hire police officers for schools remains locked down in Tallahassee,” said Joanne McCall, president of the Florida Education Association. “The members of the Joint Legislative Budget Commission have the power to move the money to districts but have not yet acted. From the outside looking in, it appears these lawmakers care more about scoring political points than about protecting the children of Florida.”

Currently, 71 out of the 75 Florida school districts need additional school safety funding. If these funds are not allocated soon they will remain mired in Tallahassee, thereby risking the safety of our students, staff, and administrators. Members of the Joint Legislative Budget Commission need to act swiftly and re-allocate the Guardian Program funds under the auspices of the Department of Education’s Office of Safe Schools.

“School Resource Officers (SROs) are trained law enforcement. They are the ones best equipped to handle violence on campus — not school staff or private security guards,” said Patricia Brigham, president of the LWV of Florida. “We encourage the Legislative Budget Commission to reallocate the funds necessary for hiring more SROs for our schools.”

“Governor Scott has asked each member of the Joint Legislative Budget Commission to re-allocate these unused funds.” said Florida PTA President, Linda Kearschner. “The Legislative Budget Commission needs to listen and act. These funds need to be used to protect our children this year.”

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Weekly Update 5 September

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, SEP 9 THIS SUNDAY: Regular Sundays resume this Sunday, choir and church school begin for the Fall. The service focuses on hearing and speaking. What are we listening for? How does that inform our response? See Mark 7:31-37.
THU, SEP 5 CREATION JUSTICE: The creation justice team will meet tomorrow at 3pm in the Church library, all are welcome to attend.
SUN, SEP 9 CHOIR BEGINS: Regular Sundays resume on September 9. The choir will rehearse at 9am and sing in worship – all are welcome to join!
SUN, SEP 9  CHURCH SCHOOL RESUMES: Church school will begin Sunday for school-aged children. Younger children may go to the nursery. All children will rejoin the congregation for prayers and the end of the worship service.
SUN, SEP 9  ADVISORS MEETING: The advisors will meet following morning worship, all are welcome to attend.
WED, SEP 12 GOD AND BEYOND CONTINUES: The Advisors are continuing to provide opportunities for discussion about the theological orientation of the church along with the faith statement and mission statement. The next gathering will be Wednesday Sept. 12 at 6:30 in the Fellowship Hall. The discussion will refer to Dan Brown’s book Origin. There will be discussion of the lecture given by Robert Langdon that is featured toward the beginning of the book. Copies of the material will be available on Sunday in back of the Sanctuary. All are welcome!
SUN, SEP 16 CHARTER SUNDAY: A time to remember the founding of the church in 1967. New members will be received into the church family. If you are interested in church membership, contact Rev. Wells.
FRI, SEP 21 PEACE DAY: September 21 will be the 36th international day of peace, a United Nations sanctioned holiday. The theme this year is “Right to peace”. Share your thoughts on the peace bulletin board in the narthex.
SAT, OCT 20 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: Save the date for Circus McGurkis October 20th at Gibbs High School. Contact Yoko Nogami or Claire Stiles for volunteer opportunities.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, SEP 6 BOYD HILL DEVELOPMENT: At its next meeting, the City Council will hear from the St. Petersburg Country Club to rezone land in Lakewood Estates for development. “Area D” is adjacent to Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, which carries out regular prescribed burns to clear invasive species, protect endangered species’ habitats and prevent wildfires. The Friends of Boyd Hill have asked that the land not be rezoned and the LUCC congregation wrote a letter to that effect as well. If you want to be heard in person, this is an opportunity to speak up. Thursday, 3pm at the St. Petersburg City Hall Council Chamber (175 5th St. N). 
SAT, SEP 8 RISE UP RINGING: We are woke to the need to change the dream of consumption and ring in a new dream of sustainability, equity, social justice, and beauty for all – no exceptions! The Peoples Climate Movement will lead a national mobilization for climate, jobs, and justice. Across the country, tens of thousands of people will show their power by hitting the streets, holding community forums, and educating voters about the issues – all to ensure that elected and private sector leaders make action on climate a priority. Look for the LUCC banner on Saturday, September 8 from 10 AM – 1:30 PM at Williams Park (330 2nd Ave N).
MON, SEP 10 GREEN GARDENING: There will be a Gardening to Reverse Global Warming workshop on Monday, September 10 at 6:30 PM – 8 PM at the Enoch D Davis Center, (1111 18th Ave S). The Sustainable Urban Agriculture Coalition’s free education session features Jennifer Andreani from the Pinellas Community Compost Alliance sharing how, through our home and garden projects, we can engage and promote some of the most potent solutions to actually reverse global warming. You’ll walk away with a clear outline to begin to take action right away.
MON, SEP 10 ECKERD LECTURE: Claudia Rankine—the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University, poet, playwright, essayist and author of “Citizen: An American Lyric”—has used her art to examine her relationship with her country and her compatriots. Her visceral collection of poetry, Citizen, won the PEN Open Book Award, the PEN Literary Award, the NAACP Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry (Citizen was the first book ever to be named a nominee in both the poetry and criticism categories). It also was a finalist for the National Book Award. Monday, September 10 at 7:30 – 8:30pm at Eckerd College, Fox Hall. This event is free and open to the public.
FRI, SEP 14 ECONOMIC INEQUALITY WORKSHOP: What does it mean when the Marathon Petroleum CEO Gary Heminger took home an astonishing 935 times more pay than an average employee in 2017? CEOs of the largest 350 companies make, on average, 271 times what a typical worker earns. Why is it so commonplace now to have this disconnect between CEO income and everyone else’s? Do you actually know anyone who is getting ahead, even people who are supposedly doing well, or is the American dream really lost? In this workshop you will learn more about Runaway Inequality and how it’s hurting our society. Gain tools for telling the story and ready yourself to fight back. Friday, September 14 from 6 to 9 PM at Allendale UMC (3803 Haines Rd N).
TUE, SEP 25 REFUGEE PLAY: “Refuge: The Story of St. Petersburg’s Jasmina Kuljanac” will be performed on Tuesday, September 25, at 7:00 pm at the Arts Exchange, 515 22nd St S. Refuge is part of Off the Wall, a series of dramatic presentations of the lives of St. Petersburg residents coordinated by Your Real Stories, a St. Pete nonprofit organization. Tickets are $15.
Jamsmina Kuljanac was born in the former Yugoslavia and fled the war that tore Yugoslavia apart when she was nine. She spent time in Poland and Germany and moved to St. Petersburg when she was fifteen. She learned English in a class in Germany and by watching MTV. Refuge is a dramatic presentation of Jasmina’s life as a refugee and how she faced prejudice and maneuvered successfully through different cultures. “It’s easy for me to relate to people,” Jasmina said, “because I had to really understand people to survive.” She has earned a BS in biology from USF, and now is a chemist for the city of St. Petersburg.
TUE, SEP 25 SOCIAL MEDIA ADVOCACY: Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or even Snapchat, social media can be one of the most powerful tools in your advocacy toolbox. When leveraged effectively, social media can create opportunities to find, reach and engage advocates, recruit supporters, and connect with policy makers. Join the St. Pete League of Women Voters and Pinellas National Organization of Women to explore these topics. Participants will have the chance to dig deep in a breakout sections (Facebook 101, Twitter 101, or Advanced Facebook). Saturday, September 29 from 2:30 to 5 pm at the St Petersburg Main Library (3745 9th Ave N). Register online.
SAT, OCT 20 RETREAT: Florida United Church of Christ Women invites you to “In the Company of Women” Saturday, October 20, 2018 at Trinity United Church of Christ, (1150 49th St N), from 8:30am to 3:30pm. The theme is “This Means Love”.
Registration deadline is October 1st. The $20 cost includes breakfast, lunch, “This Means Love” workbook, and craft materials. Mail registration and check made payable to: FL UCC Women to: Barb Coons, 1419 SE 33rd Terrace, Cape Coral, FL 33904 or Register online.
SAT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Celebrate Outreach hosts Loaves and Fishes weekly breakfast at Trinity Lutheran church every Saturday morning. Volunteers serve a full hot meal to over 150 hungry people. The breakfast runs from 7:30 to 10:30am and volunteers can participate with some or all of the breakfast. Please contact Carol Shores to help.
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 the church office.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. School age children are invited to participate in Church School and preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez. They will join the congregation for the end of the worship service. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

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Lakewood UCC responds to Lakewood Estates development plans

Lakewood UCC
2601 54th Ave S

To Whom It May Concern:

Lakewood United Church of Christ is a small Christian community in the Lakewood Estates neighborhood. Each Sunday, in communion with all the Earth, we gather to worship God who formed all creation, who redeems all creation, and who sustains all creation. Part of our mission is to “work for God’s peace and justice throughout creation.” We are grateful for the opportunity to share our thoughts on this important question of land use and zoning in our neighborhood.

According to the very first story in the Bible, Genesis 1, we are called to love God, love our neighbors, and care for creation. This biblical revelation reorients our relationship with the natural world to a love and care for God’s creation. We focus on God as creator and the wonders of creation, all designed to help us love creation as God does and commit ourselves to care for it and rejoice in it. In this respect, the Earth is, for us, a sacred space, a place where God is active and where God encounters us. This experience of the sacred leads us to advocate for public policies and laws that foster love of neighbor and care for creation.

We are acutely aware that this Earth is an endangered planet—to a great extent due to our own actions. As Christians we are called to ask: How can we treat the Earth differently? One way we do this is to designate certain areas of land, air, and water as natural “sanctuaries” that offer protection to a variety of animals, species of plants, and whole eco-systems. We are lucky to have one such sanctuary in our own neighborhood: Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. We want to ensure that they have the ability to continue to fulfill their mission as environmental stewards.

It is our understanding that prescribed burns are among the management actions necessary to maintain appropriate eco-system function within the scrub habitat at Boyd Hill. And that development of the land in “Area D” will negatively impact the ability of Boyd Hill to protect this rare scrub habitat, including gopher tortoises and various endangered plants.

We humans have become alienated from our world and need to be deeply reconnected to the Earth as our home so we can be restored to a natural and life-giving relationship. It has taken our culture many years to recognize our kinship with the rest of creation. But this is the truth we now confess with new enthusiasm. God is reorienting us to a relationship with Earth so that we can now experience all creatures as our kin. God invites us to a new healing relationship with a vocation of service to the Earth rather than a relationship of domination and exploitation.

We hope that you will choose to embrace the work done at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve that gives so many in our community the opportunity to encounter the sacred in the natural world. We ask that you do not make this work more difficult by re-zoning “Area D” of our neighborhood.

Sincerely,

Lakewood United Church of Christ

 

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Sermon 9.2.18 Labor and Love

Scripture Lesson: Song of Songs 2:8-14                                                                   Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

According to ABC News, Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world.  More than the English, more than the French, way more than the Germans or Norwegians. Even, recently, more than the Japanese.  And Americans take less vacation, work longer days, and retire later, too.  

According to Gallup, it is estimated that the average full-time American worker works 47 hours a week. That one of the longest work weeks in the world, and certainly higher than Europe where the average is more like 35 hours a week.  In the U.S., 85.8 percent of males and 66.5 percent of females work more than 40 hours per week.

I had no idea there was such a thing, but apparently 134 countries in the world have laws limiting the maximum work hours per week.  Not the  United States.  

Then there is vacation.  Many jobs in the US offer 2 weeks paid vacation.  54% of workers do not take all of their paid vacation.  Compare this with many European countries where standard vacation time is one month.  In Sweden, it’s 5 weeks paid vacation per year.  And I bet they take it!

And what about family leave.  The average outside of Europe is 12 weeks paid parental leave.  In Europe the average is over 20 weeks.  Yes.  Paid.  Parental.  Leave.  In Finland, women can take 7 weeks of paid leave before a child is born and 16 weeks after.  And the men get 8 weeks paid leave.  The US is the only country in the Americas without a family leave policy.

Then there are the American work habits of eating lunch at the desk and working through lunch.  Not the norm in other countries.  And responding to work email on the weekend.  Again, not expected or accepted in other developed countries.  No matter how you slice it, Americans work A LOT.  

In the article “The U.S. is the Most Overworked Developed Nation in the World” posted at the website 20 something Finance, G. E Miller concludes:  “Using data by the U.S. BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics], the average productivity per American worker has increased 400% since 1950. One way to look at that is that it should only take one-quarter the work hours, or 11 hours per week, to afford the same standard of living as a worker in 1950 (or our standard of living should be 4 times higher). Is that the case? Obviously not. Someone is profiting, it’s just not the average American worker.

[Labor trends and statistics cited come from:  https://20somethingfinance.com/american-hours-worked-productivity-vacation/ and https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/american-work-habits-us-countries-job-styles-hours-hoilday-a8060616.html  and https://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=93364&page=1]

Yes, we live up to our national image of being hard working, and we fulfill our cultural narrative of the importance of working hard.  We have been wellformed by the founders of our culture such as Ben Franklin who said:  “It is the working man who is the happy man.  It is the idle man who is the miserable man.”  I am in there with the best of them.  I had two parents who were always working.  It’s part of being first generation immigrants.  They had the incentive to work hard and make a life in this country.  And I have inherited that tendency.  So has my brother.   We have absorbed the cultural message that hard work is important – not only for productivity and income, but for character and service.  

But work is not all there is to life which is why we have Labor Day.  A day off from work.  Labor Day was originally created as a celebration of the labor movement and trade unions.  These are groups that fought for fair, safe, working conditions, workers rights, the 40 hour work week, minimum wage, and benefits such as healthcare, pensions, and sick leave.  The labor movement was about protecting workers from unsafe, inhumane conditions.  It was about making sure that laborers were given the just fruits of their labor instead of the fruits of their productivity going predominantly to those with capital, the owners, and the boards of directors of a corporation or business.  Unfortunately, the labor movement has fallen out of favor in this country and workers are paying the price with the result that more money stays on top and income inequality is increasing.

We heard beautiful words this morning from Song of Songs.  And they are not about work.  They are about love.  The verses burst with ardor, desire, and yearning.  In these words we hear of the strength, agility, abundance, beauty, joy, and play that go with love and desire.   The writer uses the image of spring time, with its exuberance, bursting with life, irrepressible, to convey the ardor of love.  

Is this passage about two lovers and romantic love?  Is it about God and the Jewish community?  God having such desire and passion for the faith community?  Is it about Christ and the church?  Christ with such passion and devotion for the church?  We don’t know.  And we don’t need to know.  Whether this is about romantic love or the spiritual life or both, because they are connected, don’t we envy such intense passion?  What we need to know is that this passage conveys to us the energy and boundlessness of love.  And we are people born to love.  We are born for passionate, energetic loving – of life, of nature, of others, of the spiritual life.  We are to nurture and cultivate our human ability to feel such devotion and commitment and desire.  We are to safeguard, cherish, and protect our capacity to love.  The church is about encouraging us to feel – to feel the exuberant intensity of love.  

We are not here to just be cogs in a wheel.  To be labor units.  To be figures in an economic equation to maximize profits for someone else.  We are not here just to consume, to buy, to be taken in by the lie that by purchasing things and increasing profits we’re helping working people.  Sure, hard work is important, but MORE important, our faith teaches, is hard love.  We are here to love with vigor, intensity, and dedication.  But when you are working all the time, especially just to stay even, it’s hard to have energy or passion for anything even love.

Love takes time and attention.  If we are working so much, as the statistics say we are, then we are not making room in our lives for love.  This is yet another reason to pursue economic justice in this country – so that people have energy and time and attention to devote to our real job on this planet – love. 

Unlike the culture and economy around us, the church reminds us that our primary purpose is to be lovers. To love people.  Music.  Beauty.  Nature.  Ourselves.  God, however you imagine God.  We are here to feel that ardor and passion.  That irrepressible energetic excitement and devotion.  

It’s hard in a culture in which we are defined by our job; where our identity is created by our work.  Think about it.  When someone asks about what work you do, what do we say?  “I am a teacher.”  “I am a plumber.”  “I am a pastor.”  We don’t say, I do teaching or I work in a school.  Or I do plumbing.  Or I serve as clergy in the church.  No we say, “I am.”  I am a secretary.  I am   housecleaner.  I am a garbage collector.  Not I do this kind of work.  We define ourselves not by our humanity or our love interests but by our job.  In recent years, I have been to Europe several times and it has involved a fair amount of interacting with every day people.  I’ve noticed that in Europe, it’s not like that.  You talk with people and get to know them and you still have no idea where they work or what they do.  You might hear about their political views.  Their children.  Their tastes in food or drink.  Where they went on vacation.  What music they like.  A favorite book or museum.  All this with no mention of where they work or what they do for work.  It doesn’t define who they are the way it does here.  In the US, one of the first things that comes out when you meet someone is where you work and what you do for a job because we are socialized to create our identity around our job.

Yes, tomorrow is Labor Day.  It is a holiday intended to remind people, with a day off, that we are not meant to work all of the time.  Work should be fair so that we don’t need to work all the time just to live.  Yet many will be working tomorrow – in stores and restaurants and gas stations, etc.  It’s often the biggest sales day of the year after Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.  Instead of spending the fruits of your labors, instead of shopping which requires that others work, I invite you to not work tomorrow.  To not shop tomorrow.  To not go out to eat tomorrow.  To not use the labor of others tomorrow as best you are able.  Just for one day.  And honor the desire to make more space and time in your life and in this world for love.  Hunger for that desire.  Pursue that ardor.  In some way, capture your calling to love.  Amen.  

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

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Weekly Update 29 August

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, SEP 2 THIS SUNDAY: This Labor Day Sunday is a time to think about the role of work in our lives. Are we defined by what job we do? Do we have enough time to let love in? What if we prioritized love over work? You’re invited to start exploring these questions by reading Song of Songs 2:8-14.

This Sunday is the last Summer Sunday Service. So come ready to sing favorite hymns! Children attend the beginning of the service and may go to the Nursery following communion.

AUG 31 PASTOR RETURNS: Rev. Wells will return August 31. For pastoral care before then, please contact Sally Purvis.
SUN, SEP 2 COMMUNION:  All are welcome to participate in communion at Lakewood UCC, children at the discretion of the adults who brought them. The communion offering goes to the Special Needs Fund, used to help people in our community and the congregation with basic necessities such as food, rent, utilities, and prescription medication costs. Recently there has been great need for these funds, please help as you are able knowing that your gift will be a blessing to someone in need.
SUN, SEP 2 THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: There will be cards and other items available for sale on Sunday. The mission for September card sales is CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse).Ongoing ministry items needed: regular size or travel size hygiene supplies (e.g. shampoo, body wash, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, kids shampoo, baby shampoo), gently used or new bath towels, composition books, pens, pencils. Also gently used or new clothing (specifically button down or polo style shirts, adult pants different sizes) Items will be given to various organizations in need.There is a box in back of sanctuary for items to be placed. See Wally LeBlanc for further information.
SUN, SEP 9 CHOIR BEGINS: Regular Sundays resume on September 9. The choir will rehearse at 9am and sing in worship – all are welcome to join!
SUN, SEP 9  CHURCH SCHOOL RESUMES: Church school will begin Sunday, 9 September for school-aged children. Younger children may go to the nursery.
SUN, SEP 9  ADVISORS MEETING: The advisors will meet following morning worship, all are welcome to attend.
WED, SEP 12 GOD AND BEYOND CONTINUES: The Advisors are continuing to provide opportunities for discussion about the theological orientation of the church along with the faith statement and mission statement. The next gathering will be Wednesday Sept. 12 at 6:30 in the Fellowship Hall. The discussion will refer to Dan Brown’s book Origin. There will be discussion of the lecture given by Robert Langdon that is featured toward the beginning of the book. Copies of the material will be available on Sept. 9 for review. All are welcome!
SUN, SEP 16 CHARTER SUNDAY: A time to remember the founding of the church in 1967. New members will be received into the church family. If you are interested in church membership, contact Rev. Wells.
FRI, SEP 21 PEACE DAY: September 21 will be the 36th international day of peace, a United Nations sanctioned holiday. The theme this year is “Right to peace”. Let Carol Shores know if you are interested in organizing a peace day event at LUCC.
SAT, OCT 20 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: Save the date for Circus McGurkis October 20th at Gibbs High School. Contact Yoko Nogami or Claire Stiles for volunteer opportunities.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, AUG 30 GUN FORUM: One reason America seems unable to have a rational conversation about reducing gun violence is that the issue is steeped in myth and misinformation. Busting some of those myths is the focus of the forum titled Guns in America: Myth-Busting in Search of Solutions. It will be from 6 to 8:15 pm Aug 30 at the SPC Seminole Campus Conference Center, (9200 113th St N) Advance registration to the dinner event is required. Lead speaker will be Dr. John S. “Jack” Rozel, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and co-author of a study of gun violence titled “The Link Between Mental Illness and Firearm Violence: Implications for Social Policy and Clinical Practice.”
SAT, SEP 8 RISE UP RINGING: We are woke to the need to change the dream of consumption and ring in a new dream of sustainability, equity, social justice, and beauty for all – no exceptions! The Peoples Climate Movement will lead a national mobilization for climate, jobs, and justice. Across the country, tens of thousands of people will show their power by hitting the streets, holding community forums, and educating voters about the issues – all to ensure that elected and private sector leaders make action on climate a priority. Saturday, September 8 from 10 AM – 1:30 PM at Williams Park (330 2nd Ave N).
SAT, OCT 20 RETREAT: Florida United Church of Christ Women invites you to “In the Company of Women” Saturday, October 20, 2018 at Trinity United Church of Christ, (1150 49th St N), from 8:30am to 3:30pm. The theme is “This Means Love”.
Registration deadline is October 1st. The $20 cost includes breakfast, lunch, “This Means Love” workbook, and craft materials. Mail registration and check made payable to: FL UCC Women to: Barb Coons, 1419 SE 33rd Terrace, Cape Coral, FL 33904 or Register online.
SAT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Celebrate Outreach hosts Loaves and Fishes weekly breakfast at Trinity Lutheran church every Saturday morning. Volunteers serve a full hot meal to over 150 hungry people. The breakfast runs from 7:30 to 10:30am and volunteers can participate with some or all of the breakfast. Please contact Carol Shores to help.
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 the church office.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. School age children are invited to participate in Summer Sundays church services. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez following Children’s Time. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!
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Weekly Update 22 August

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, AUG 26 THIS SUNDAY: Rev. Dr. Melvin James of USF will preach. He is the author of God Bless America: Contemporary Analyses of Truth, Justice, and Compassion, and is an expert in race relations, politics, and christian theology. His sermon is titled “What do you do when all seems lost?” based on Job 1:13 -18 and Mt.14:22-31.

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

AUG 12 – 31 PASTOR AWAY: Rev. Wells will be away from August 12 – August 31. For pastoral care, please contact Sally Purvis (Aug. 12-15, 20-31) or Jim Andrews (Aug. 16-19).
WED, AUG 22 OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month. The next Operation Attack volunteer night is tonight at 6:30pm. Items currently needed are:

Boys briefs/boxers: sizes 2 – Men’s 34 waist
Boys no show socks: S, M, L, & XL
Girls panties: sizes 4 – Women’s 6
Girls no show socks: S, M, & L

SUN, AUG 26 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: Carol Shores and Claudia Rodriguez will host this month’s potluck celebrating August birthdays. Please bring a dish to share.
SUN, SEP 2 THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: There will be cards and other items available for sale on Sun. Sept. 2nd. The mission for September card sales is CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse).Ongoing ministry items needed: regular size or travel size hygiene supplies (e.g. shampoo, body wash, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, kids shampoo, baby shampoo), gently used or new bath towels, composition books, pens, pencils. Also gently used or new clothing (specifically button down or polo style shirts, adult pants different sizes) Items will be given to various organizations in need.There is a box in back of sanctuary for items to be placed. See Wally LeBlanc for further information.
SUN, SEP 9 SUMMER SUNDAYS END: Regular Sundays resume on September 9. The choir will rehearse at 9am and sing in worship – all are welcome to join! Church School begins for school-aged children.
WED, SEP 12 GOD AND BEYOND CONTINUES: The Advisors are continuing to provide opportunities for discussion about the theological orientation of the church along with the faith statement and mission statement. The next gathering will be Wednesday Sept. 12 at 6:30 in the Fellowship Hall. The discussion will refer to Dan Brown’s book Origin. There will be discussion of the lecture given by Robert Langdon that is featured toward the beginning of the book. Copies of the material will be available on Sept. 9 for review. All are welcome!
FRI, SEP 21 PEACE DAY: September 21 will be the 36th international day of peace, a United Nations sanctioned holiday. The theme this year is “Right to peace”. Let Carol Shores know if you are interested in organizing a peace day event at LUCC.
SAT, OCT 20 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: Save the date for Circus McGurkis October 20th at Gibbs High School. Contact Yoko Nogami or Claire Stiles for volunteer opportunities.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SUN, AUG 26 WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY WALK: There will be a Unite for Justice Solidarity Walk around Mirror Lake on Sunday following morning worship. This is one of hundreds of events happening across the nation to demonstrate commitment to freedom and women’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies. The Walk is co-sponsored by Progress Florida, Pinellas National Organization for Women (NOW), Planned Parenthood St. Pete Leadership Action Team, Women’s March Pinellas, UniteWomen.org® FL, MoveOn, and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
TUE, AUG 28 VOTE: Please remember to vote in the primary election on 28 August. If you have any questions about the election, consider using the League of Women Voters’ voter guide website. It is a wealth of non-partisan information about local elections.
THU, AUG 30 GUN FORUM: One reason America seems unable to have a rational conversation about reducing gun violence is that the issue is steeped in myth and misinformation. Busting some of those myths is the focus of the forum titled Guns in America: Myth-Busting in Search of Solutions. IT will be from 6 to 8:15 p.m. Aug. 30 at the SPC Seminole Campus Conference Center, (9200 113th St N) Advance registration to the dinner event is required. Lead speaker will be Dr. John S. “Jack” Rozel, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and co-author of a study of gun violence titled “The Link Between Mental Illness and Firearm Violence: Implications for Social Policy and Clinical Practice.”
SAT, OCT 20 RETREAT: Florida United Church of Christ Women invites you to In the Company of Women Saturday, October 20, 2018 at Trinity United Church of Christ, (1150 49th St N), from 8:30am to 3:30pm. The theme is “This Means Love”.
Registration deadline is October 1st. The $20 cost includes breakfast, lunch, “This Means Love” workbook, and craft materials. Mail registration and check made payable to: FL UCC Women to: Barb Coons, 1419 SE 33rd Terrace, Cape Coral, FL 33904 or Register online.
SAT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Celebrate Outreach hosts Loaves and Fishes weekly breakfast at Trinity Lutheran church every Saturday morning. Volunteers serve a full hot meal to over 150 hungry people. The breakfast runs from 7:30 to 10:30am and volunteers can participate with some or all of the breakfast. Please contact Carol Shores to help.
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 the church office.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. School age children are invited to participate in Summer Sundays church services. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez following Children’s Time. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!
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Everytown for Gun Safety Releases ‘Gun Sense Candidate’ Lookup Tool

Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown, unveiled a lookup tool allowing voters to see if state and federal candidates have received a Moms Demand Action ‘Gun Sense Candidate’ distinction by satisfactorily completing a questionnaire and pledging to stand up for gun safety. The lookup tool, and more information on gun safety and getting involved, is available at: gunsensevoter.org.

The NRA gives candidates for office a letter grade indicating how good (or bad) the lawmaker is on gun issues. In the estimation of the NRA, an A-plus grade indicates that a lawmaker would be highly unlikely to support new gun restrictions. A lawmaker who regularly backed new gun laws would earn an F. Although the NRA has erased past candidate grades from it’s website, they are available for download here.

More and more candidates are actively running on gun safety platforms. Moms Demand Action volunteers have been distributing questionnaires to candidates across the country and educating them on key policies and what it means to be a Gun Sense Candidate. To date, more than 2,600 candidates have sought and received a Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate distinction this cycle. Incumbents, challengers or open seat candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Senate, State House, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives are eligible.

So far, there are Gun Sense Candidates in 46 states ― red, blue and purple. Criteria on the questionnaires for receiving the distinction includes a candidate’s stance on background checks and disarming domestic abusers. Criteria also includes stances on concealed carry reciprocity for federal candidates and red flag laws for state candidates. Everytown will continue to evaluate questionnaires and award the distinction to additional candidates in the coming weeks.

Moms Demand Action and Everytown are all in on the midterm elections, and the Gun Sense Candidate distinction program is just one example that gun safety and gun violence prevention are winning issues that candidates across the country are running on.

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Weekly Update 15 August

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, AUG 19 THIS SUNDAY: Rev. Victoria Long will be preaching on Sunday August 19 while Rev. Wells is away. The congregation is grateful for her ministry!

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

AUG 12 – 31 PASTOR AWAY: Rev. Wells will be away from August 12 – August 31. For pastoral care, please contact Sally Purvis (Aug. 12-15, 20-31) or Jim Andrews (Aug. 16-19).
WED, AUG 15 WEDDING: Congratulations are extended to Angela Wells and Andy Bean who will be married in Edinburgh, Scotland today.  Many blessings to them!
WED, AUG 22 OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month. The next Operation Attack volunteer night is 22 August at 6:30pm. Items currently needed are:

Boys briefs/boxers: sizes 2 – Men’s 34 waist
Boys no show socks: S, M, L, & XL
Girls panties: sizes 4 – Women’s 6
Girls no show socks: S, M, & L

SUN, AUG 26 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: Carol Shores and Claudia Rodriguez will host this months potluck celebrating August birthdays. Please bring a dish to share.
SUN, SEP 2 THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: There will be cards and other items available for sale on Sun. Sept. 2nd. The mission for September card sales is CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse).Ongoing ministry items needed: regular size or travel size hygiene supplies (e.g. shampoo, body wash, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, kids shampoo, baby shampoo), gently used or new bath towels, composition books, pens, pencils. Also gently used or new clothing (specifically button down or polo style shirts, adult pants different sizes) Items will be given to various organizations in need.There is a box in back of sanctuary for items to be placed. See Wally LeBlanc for further information.
SUN, SEP 9 SUMMER SUNDAYS END: Regular Sundays resume on September 9. The choir will rehearse at 9am and sing in worship – all are welcome to join! Church School begins for school-aged children.
WED, SEP 12 GOD AND BEYOND CONTINUES: The Advisors are continuing to provide opportunities for discussion about the theological orientation of the church along with the faith statement and mission statement. The next gathering will be Wednesday Sept. 12 at 6:30 in the Fellowship Hall. The discussion will refer to Dan Brown’s book Origin. There will be discussion of the lecture given by Robert Langdon that is featured toward the beginning of the book. Copies of the material will be available on Sept. 9 for review. All are welcome!
FRI, SEP 21 PEACE DAY: September 21 will be the 36th international day of peace, a United Nations sanctioned holiday. The theme this year is “Right to peace”. Let Carol Shores know if you are interested in organizing a peace day event at LUCC.
SAT, OCT 20 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: Save the date for Circus McGurkis October 20th at Gibbs High School. Contact Yoko Nogami or Claire Stiles for volunteer opportunities.
WESTMINSTER LUNCH: There will be no lunch at Westminster Suncoast in August, Pastor Wells will be in Scotland for her daughter’s wedding.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, AUG 9 ACTION PLANNING: In one month, Peoples Climate Movement and partners like 350.org, Sierra Club, GreenFaith, Service Employees International Union, and others from around the world are bringing together tens of thousands of people to show our leaders that we demand action on climate, jobs, and justice. With your help we can make this day a big success. Do you have any great ideas!? Want to help out? Ready to take action beyond attending the event? Please come to help organize Rise Up Ringing: Friday, August 17, 7pm. We will be meeting in person and by Zoom. Please RSVP to Michael for location or join the meeting with computer or phone: dial: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 929 436 2866 and use Meeting ID: 287 719 4100.
TUE, AUG 21 DOCUMENTARY FILM: Chasing Ice, a time-lapse record of the Arctic icecap undergoing dramatic shrinkage in Earth’s rapidly-warming climate, will be screened on Aug. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the SPC STEM Center, (4723 Bay Pines Terrace). Admission is free, but seating is limited and advance registration is required. Of special note is Director James Blalog’s footage of the calving of the Ilulissat Glacier in western Greenland, when 1.8 cubic miles of ice broke off in skyscraper-sized chunks over 75 minutes.
TUE, AUG 28 VOTE: Please remember to vote in the primary election on 28 August. If you have any questions about the election, consider using the League of Women Voters’ voter guide website. It is a wealth of non-partisan information about local elections.
THU, AUG 30 GUN FORUM: One reason America seems unable to have a rational conversation about reducing gun violence is that the issue is steeped in myth and misinformation. Busting some of those myths is the focus of the forum titled Guns in America: Myth-Busting in Search of Solutions. IT will be from 6 to 8:15 p.m. Aug. 30 at the SPC Seminole Campus Conference Center, (9200 113th St N) Advance registration to the dinner event is required. Lead speaker will be Dr. John S. “Jack” Rozel, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and co-author of a study of gun violence titled “The Link Between Mental Illness and Firearm Violence: Implications for Social Policy and Clinical Practice.”
SAT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Celebrate Outreach hosts Loaves and Fishes weekly breakfast at Trinity Lutheran church every Saturday morning. Volunteers serve a full hot meal to over 150 hungry people. The breakfast runs from 7:30 to 10:30am and volunteers can participate with some or all of the breakfast. Please contact Carol Shores to help.
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 the church office.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. School age children are invited to participate in Summer Sundays church services. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez following Children’s Time. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

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Update on Pax Christi newsletter

Update: STAY for Execution


GOOD NEWS:  the Florida Supreme Court has indefinitely put on hold Tuesday’s schedule execution of Jose Antonio Jimenez for the killing of Phyllis Minas.

The conditions surrounding this case are remarkably similar to the case of Derrick Jamison, who will be at the death penalty protest this Tuesday.

The unanimous order by the court, issued Friday evening, did not give a reason for the stay.  However, Jimenez’s lawyer Marty McClain discovered 80 pages of records related to the investigation of Minas’ 1992 death that had not been previously provided to Jimenez’s lawyers.  According to McClain, handwritten notes in the records made by lead investigator Detective Ojeda and Detective Decidue “show that Ojeda and Diecidue were willing (to) give false and/or misleading deposition testimony in order to facilitate Mr. Jimenez’s conviction.”

Derrick Jamison spent 20 years of his life in prison—17 on death row—for a murder he did not commit.  The murder charges were finally dismissed after two federal courts found prosecutors had withheld key evidence.

Please support Derrick and the struggle to end the death penalty at a demonstration from 5:00-6:00 PM next Tuesday, August 14.  The demonstration will be held at the intersection of 49th Street and Ulmerton Road in mid-Pinellas County (map).  This location is near the Pinellas County courts and jail complex.

If you have not already done so, please contact Gov. Rick Scott now with the direct action tool developed in partnership with Equal Justice USA; or at (850) 488-7146; or Rick.Scott@eog.myflorida.com.  Ask him to end executions.

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty have a new campaign to contact local state attorneys to urge life in prison instead of execution.  Information is here

A fact sheet about executions in Florida is here

Here is information on Derrick, including an article and interview on WMNF radio:

WMNF radio story: https://www.wmnf.org/man-released-death-row-lead-pinellas-execution-vigil/

Channel 13 story about Derrick and the Tampa program that is helping him (five minutes)

Death row survivor: “A miracle happened to me”

Vox article: “I’ll Fight ’til My Knuckles Bleed for Others on Death Row”: The Remarkable Story of a Man Once Sentenced to Die

Park in the lot behind Checkers and the bank on the northwest corner of the intersection.  Signs and banners will be provided, or you can bring your own.  FMI: sjstew@gte.net   or (727) 492-1590.

 

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Sermon 8.12.18 To Dream

Scripture Lessons:  Ephesians 4:1-16 and John 6: 24-35

Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

Edward Curtis died on October 19, 1952 in a postage stamp sized apartment in Beverly Hills.  He was 84 years old.  He died virtually penniless.  His daughter, Beth, commented that, “her father had left this world as he’d entered it, without a single possession to his name.”  [Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher:  The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis, Timothy Egan, 2012, p. 314]  Many people die in obscurity.  That is not unusual.  But Curtis, a Seattle photographer, had at one time been a nationally renowned figure.  He was personally acquainted with J. P.  Morgan, one of the richest men in America.  He had a close friendship with Teddy Roosevelt.  Despite having only gone to school until age 11, what led Curtis to the hallowed precincts of power?  What drove Curtis to spend months each year sleeping in tents, outside, battling the elements and enduring the discomforts of outdoor life when he had a successful business and a comfortable home with a wife and 3 children in Seattle?  

As a successful photographer, Curtis was selected by C. Hart Merriam, the cofounder of the National Geographic Society, to join a scientific expedition to Alaska to document the landscape and the people of the region.  Curtis agreed.  On that expedition, Curtis became aware that the indigenous peoples and cultures were dying out and would soon be gone.  The seed was planted in Curtis.  He would spend the next 30 years of his life documenting for posterity the native cultures of North America.  

Armed with photography equipment, notebooks, tent, bedroll, and a wax cylinder recorder for audio, Curtis and a skeletal staff, roamed the western north american content recording the culture and people who were being driven to extinction by Euro-American expansion.  And they did so at a feverish pace.  Because, as Curtis explained, his subject was dying.  [Egan, p. 52]  

While Curtis was dismissed by eastern academicians who wrote and taught about native Americans but had never been out west he gained the trust of the indigenous peoples and joined in their rituals and ceremonies and lived among them for many months each year.  But his biggest struggle wasn’t acceptance by the Indians, or the trials of outdoor life, but funding. The expenses were sizable – for assistants,equip- ment, supplies, and the printing of the actual books.  While Curtis was consumed by his work in the field, he had to repeatedly leave the work to travel to the east coast to seek funding from the wealthy elite.  Much more comfortable in his tent in the desert than in the posh parlor of a New York City mansion, he eventually gained the support of J. P. Morgan.  And he sought the support of the US government through then President of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt.  Curtis became friends with Roosevelt and even photographed Roosevelt and his family.  

Curtis’s dream took its toll on his finances since he essentially earned no money from the project and spent his fortune on its completion.  And the project took its toll on Curtis’s family.  His marriage ended in divorce. 

But Curtis persisted.  Volume by volume the encyclopedia emerged.  Three decades later, in 1929, when Curtis was 61, the last volume was completed.  But with the stock market crash, the funding to purchase such an extravagant resource dried up and there was little room in the national psyche to pay attention to his work.  Even institutions of higher learning with extensive libraries largely ignored Curtis’s voluminous tomes.  So Curtis’s lifelong project ended with no fanfare or notoriety.  And he, and his encyclopedias, fell into obscurity. 

Curtis completed The North American Indian, a 20 volume ethnographic encyclopedia, documenting the cultures of the indigenous peoples of North America.  The idea of creating this record of the native peoples had sprouted within him and drove the rest of his life.  All of his decisions, activities, resources, his being, were devoted to this project. While the project consumed him, he fulfilled it with no acclaim or recognition.  It was his dream.  And he gave his life to his dream.  And that was what mattered.

Reading Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan made me wonder, what am I giving my life to?  What is my dream?  We live, day to day.  Many of us very busy with many involvements and activities.  But what are we really doing?  What end is all of our busyness serving?  What dream are we chasing?  We work.  To make a living.  That is, money to live.  Money to spend.  Which fulfills the dreams of others to be rich.  But what about making a life?  What are our dreams and what are we doing to fulfill them?  

We may not have one big overarching ambitious project, like Curtis, but we are each surely called to devote ourselves to living out our dreams.  How are we doing with that?  We show kids inspirational sayings like “Shoot for the stars” and “Dream big” but what do they see among the adults around them?  How are we doing showing those who are coming after us about living our dreams?  

This kind of issue concerned Jesus, too.  Threading we heard this morning follows the story of the feeding of the multitudes.  The people have just been fed bread and fish.  Now the conversation continues in the aftermath of that story and the people remain focussed on the food.  The literal food.  What is eaten.  Jesus is trying to use the story to get to deeper meanings but the conversation remains on two levels with Jesus trying to go deeper and the crowd stuck at the level of bread to put in their mouths.  So there is that beautiful, telling line, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”  [John 6:27]  Jesus is encouraging the listeners to live deeper; to follow him in giving their lives to something more than just bread for the stomach.  In devoting themselves to the commonwealth of God and not simply procuring food to eat, they will find the food that truly satisfies.  We are created to do more than simply see that our bodily needs are met.  It is our nature to invest our lives in the common good.   We need that to live.  Our dreams feed us.  

The reading from Ephesians picks up on this theme.  The writer is encouraging spiritual maturity.  Jesus followers are to pursue the virtues of which the human spirit is capable though not always inclined:  humility, gentleness, patience, love, unity, peace.  In addition, those in the community have been given gifts.  And what is the purpose of those gifts?  To make money?  To create jobs? To start a business?  That’s what our culture tells us to do with our assets.  But Ephesians tells us that these gifts are for ministry.  For serving others.  For building up the body of Christ.  Believers are not to be fooled.  We are told:  “We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.”  [Epheisans 4:14]  Yes, think Q Anon.  Think fake news.  Think advertising propaganda.  And, yes, think religious manipulation.  There are all kinds of influences, subtle and not, that are trying to shape our thinking, our values, our character.  And Ephesians is encouraging us to be thoughtful and discerning.  To think deeply.  Don’t just take things at the sur-face.  Don’t just accept the cultural milk around you like a baby taking its mother’s milk.  That is fine for a child, but as adults seeking spiritual maturity, we are to seek the truth in love and grow into the likeness of Christ as we see it in Jesus.  

Trickery, craftiness, deception.  There are those who will use these tactics to entice us to follow and to form our dreams around self serving aims rather than the common good.  To give our lives to personal gain and the lure of wealth instead of bettering the lives of others.  These are the things which do not ultimately satisfy.  The food that perishes.  And it is all around us. 

Our faith tradition invites us to choose the food that satisfies.   To choose service and other centered living.  To choose the health of the community and the earth.  To choose to dream big.  Of course, we want to be healthy.  But what about creating a society that fosters the health of all people?  Sure, we want meaningful work.  But what about investing in a community that encourages everyone to be engaged in useful, meaningful labor?  Yes, we want to enjoy a day at the beach.  But what about protecting the environment so that everyone can enjoy the beautiful outdoors.  I love to read a good book.  But what about making sure that everyone can read and has access to books?  We have been given gifts, skills, graces, time, voices, money, access, and power.  What are we doing with all that we have been given?  What dreams are we serving?  Are they in keeping with our faith?  Are they worthy of our calling?  Are they big enough?  Are they dreams that will satisfy?   

I don’t normally read the obituaries.  Maybe a couple of times a year, I glance at that page in the newspaper.  Well, I happened to look at the obits on Thursday August 2.  For some reason I found myself reading the obituary for David Allen Palmer.  And I was stopped by the first line.  “David Allen Palmer, 63, a new resident of Pensacola, FL, passed away July 31, 2019.”  Yes, the date said, 2019.  But it’s only 2018.  Yes, a typo.  Surprising.  But what if you knew about your death a year ahead?  What if you knew that you had a year to live?  A year to live out your dreams.  What would you be doing?  How would you spend your time and money?  What would you do with all of your resources and assets and gifts and graces?  How would you chase that food that does not perish?  

Maybe that is what impressed me so much about the photographer and ethnographer Edward Curtis.  If you had told him he had a year to live, I don’t think he would have changed anything about what he did.  He gave all he had to the encyclopedia of The North American Indian.  And when he wasn’t out actually documenting the Indians, he was chasing after funding so the project could go on.  He could not have done anything to be more devoted to his dream.  He could not have accomplished any more in achieving his dream.  He gave it everything.  

The last volume of the The North American Indian was about the native peoples of Alaska.  Curtis told of “how they made parkas from bird or fish skins, and heavier coats of caribou and bear hide.  Their socks were woven grass; a rain slicker was fashioned from seal intestine.  The people were tattooed and pierced and handsome. . .”  Curtis’ assessment of those very northern North American Indians?  “In all the author’s experience among Indians and Eskimos, he never knew a happier and more thoroughly honest and self-reliant people.”  [Egan, p. 296-297]  It was good to return to Alaska where his dream had begun and to have a positive experience when the overall story of the indigenous peoples was a tragic one.  

In this last volume of his encyclopedia, Curtis thanked those who had helped him with the project through the years and there were many.  The people “who never lost faith.”  Who encouraged him.  We need others to help us pursue our dreams and to support us along the way.  Curtis recognized this as he concluded his herculean project saying, “Mere thanks seem hollow in comparison with such loyal cooperation; but great is the satisfaction the writer enjoys when he can at last say to all those whose faith has been unbounded, ‘It is finished.’”  [Egan,p. 297]  Curtis knew the food that does not perish.  The bread of life.  May we taste that bread!  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 9 August

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, AUG 5 THIS SUNDAY: We live in busy times and we are bombarded by information. Think of that word, “bomb”arded. It’s as though we are being bombed continuously by events and news and updates. No relief. Church is a place to pause. To look out and see a bigger picture. To look in and connect. This Sunday is a time to think about dreams. What were your hopes and dreams when you were younger? What are they now? Are your dreams guiding your life? Can you remember what is was like to follow your dreams? You’re invited to prepare by reading Ephesians 4:1-16 and John 6:24-35.

Public schools open for students on Monday Aug. 13.  In church on Sunday Aug. 12 there will be a special blessing of the students and teachers of the congregation.  Please plan to be part of surrounding those involved with education with your support and love.

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

AUG 12 – 31
PASTOR AWAY: Rev. Wells will be away from August 12 – August 31. For pastoral care, please contact Sally Purvis (Aug. 12-15, 20-31) or Jim Andrews (Aug. 16-19). Rev. Victoria Long will be preaching on Sunday August 19. The congregation is grateful for their ministry!
MON, AUG 13
SCHOOL BEGINS: Blessings to the teachers, students, & parents of the LUCC congregation as school begins August 13.
WED, AUG 15
WEDDING: Congratulations are extended to Angela Wells and Andy Bean who will be married in Edinburgh, Scotland on Wednesday Aug. 15.  Many blessings to them!
WED, AUG 22
OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month.The next Operation Attack volunteer night is 22 August at 6:30pm. Items currently needed are:
Boys briefs/boxers: sizes 2 – Men’s 34 waist
Boys no show socks: S, M, L, & XL
Girls panties: sizes 4 – Women’s 6
Girls no show socks: S, M, & L
Contact Ian Blair-Catala for more information.
SUN, SEP 2 THERE IS HOPE – COMMUNITY: There will be cards and other items available for sale on Sun. Sept. 2nd. The mission for September card sales is CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse).

Ongoing ministry items needed: regular size or travel size hygiene supplies (e.g. shampoo, body wash, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, kids shampoo, baby shampoo), gently used or new bath towels, composition books, pens, pencils. Also gently used or new clothing (specifically button down or polo style shirts, adult pants different sizes) Items will be given to various organizations in need.There is a box in back of sanctuary for items to be placed. See Wally LeBlanc for further information.

WED, SEP 12 GOD AND BEYOND CONTINUES: The Advisors are continuing to provide opportunities for discussion about the theological orientation of the church along with the faith statement and mission statement. The next gathering will be Wednesday Sept. 12 at 6:30 in the Fellowship Hall. The discussion will refer to Dan Brown’s book Origin. There will be discussion of the lecture given by Robert Langdon that is featured toward the beginning of the book. Copies of the material will be available on Sept. 9 for review. All are welcome!
FRI, SEP 21 PEACE DAY: September 21 will be the 36th international day of peace, a United Nations sanctioned holiday. The theme this year is “Right to peace”. Let Carol Shores know if you are interested in organizing a peace day event at LUCC.
SAT, OCT 20 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: Save the date for Circus McGurkis October 20th at Gibbs High School. Contact Yoko Nogami or Claire Stiles for volunteer opportunities.
WESTMINSTER LUNCH: There will be no lunch at Westminster Suncoast in August, Pastor Wells will be in Scotland for her daughter’s wedding.
CREATION JUSTICE UPDATE: The Creation Justice Task Force at LUCC has many projects and initiatives in the works. Follow the link to find out more about this exciting ministry.
NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

THU, AUG 9 JUSTICE FIRST TOUR: Southern communities are on the frontlines of the climate crisis in the US, bearing the greatest impacts of an economic system of exploitation that continues to concentrate power and wealth into the hands of a few. Now, more than ever, we need to come together and unite in one voice for climate justice and stand together to advance long-term solutions that put justice first and lift frontline communities up. The Justice First Tour calls for a strong network of grassroots organizations working together to advance climate justice with a focus on 100% clean energy for 100% of the people. The tour will feature local community leaders/speakers who will talk about local Justice issues (immigration, women’s rights, climate justice, jobs, etc.), to inspire a dialogue among participating citizens and organizations, seeking to find solutions to these issues in an intersectional way. August 9 6-8 pm, at Unity of Tampa (3302 W Horatio St, Tampa).
SAT, AUG 11 VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Celebrate Outreach hosts Loaves and Fishes weekly breakfast at Trinity Lutheran church every Saturday morning. Volunteers serve a full hot meal to over 150 hungry people. The breakfast runs from 7:30 to 10:30am and volunteers can participate with some or all of the breakfast. Please contact Carol Shores to help.
TUE, AUG 14 SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT: The City of St. Petersburg 2018 Sustainability Summit will explore how we get to 100% Clean Energy. The Integrated Sustainability Action Plan (ISAP) is well underway in advancing our city’s sustainability and resiliency initiatives, including a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and a roadmap for achieving 100% Clean Energy. You are invited to the 2018 Sustainability Summit to find out more and share your ideas, suggestions, and strategies to advance the sustainability goals of St. Petersburg. August 14, 2018 3-7:30 p.m.
Childs Park YMCA, (691 43rd St. S).
TUE, AUG 28 VOTE: Please remember to vote in the primary election on 28 August.
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 the church office.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. School age children are invited to participate in Summer Sundays church services. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez following Children’s Time. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

Fran Whitney, Genevieve Jackle, Mary Beth Lewis,
Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Willy Zessoules

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Pax Christi Tampa Bay newsletter

Pax Christi Tampa Bay E-mail Newsletter

SINGLE EVENTS:

1. Making a Killing gun industry film

  1. Coalition of Immokalee Workers march in St. Petersburg
  2. Markeis McGlockton Rally for Justice with Rev. Al Sharpton
  3. Hiroshima remembrance at nuclear sub base
  4. Rally to Protect our Health Care
  5. Peace First August demonstration site
  6. Free barbecue lunch for veterans and friends
    8. Actions opposing August 14 execution
  7. 2018 St. Pete Sustainability Summit
    10. Science Café: Clyde Butcher, Audubon Society and Conservation
    11. The Bridge Summer Film Series: Edible City
  8. A History of Conservation exhibit
    13. Women’s Equality Day celebration
    14. Detergent and Dinner: Laundry Love

 

WEEKLY EVENTS CALENDAR

 

Friends,

This newsletter features a variety of actions for a better world, including marches, rallies, panel discussions, protests, museum exhibits, films, and more.

This weekend, for example, there is a march supporting the Coalition of Immokalee Farmworkers ongoing struggle for justice from Publix and Wendy’s, and a march in support of Markeis McGlockton and against Florida’s deadly stand your ground law.

The calendar of regular weekly events is at the end of this edition of the newsletter.

Pax Christi Tampa Bay

1. Film Screening: Making a Killing
Friday, August 3 at 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Metropolitan Community Church of Tampa 408 E Cayuga St Tampa, FL 33603

Join Moms Demand Action of Hillsborough for this film documenting the impact of the gun industry, and the billions of dollars made from gun sales, on the lives of everyday Americans. Stories of survivors and gun victims are highlighted, exposing the lives shattered because gun companies and the NRA have fought responsible gun legislation for the sake of profit. Discussion will follow the screening.

RSVP
Facebook event page

2. Fair Food March
Sunday, August 5 from 3 PM – 4 PM
Allendale United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Rd. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33703

On Sunday August 5, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) will return to Tampa Bay as part of its summer Florida action season to join allies for a march on Publix and Wendy’s.

Publix and Wendy’s have refused for years (eight and five years respectively) to join the CIW’s groundbreaking Fair Food Program — thereby refusing to guarantee fundamental human rights protections for the women and men who harvest our food. With the CIW and allies taking action in St. Pete, Miami, and Orlando, they will remind these two Fair Food holdouts that as long as they continue to turn their backs on farm workers, the Fair Food Nation will raise our voices to demand justice in the fields! We will not allow Publix or Wendy’s to continue rejecting farm workers and consumers’ demands for justice, respect, and accountability through the Fair Food Program.

The one-mile march will begin at 2:30 PM at Allendale United Methodist Church (3803 Haines Rd N. in St. Petersburg).

For more details, contact Alex Schelle (alex@allianceforfairfood.org), 239-255-8418. Note: This march is scheduled so people can attend it and the Markeis McGlockton Rally, below.

Facebook page

  1. The Rally for Markeis McGlockton
    Sunday, Aug 5 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm
    St. John Primitive Baptist Church
    1002 Palmetto St., Clearwater, FL 33755 (map)

Markeis McGlockton was a 28-year-old black man who was fatally shot in a Clearwater parking lot on July 19 by Michael Drejka, who is a legal firearm owner with a concealed carry permit. Pinellas deputies did not arrest Drejka for the murder of Markeis McGlockton, claiming that Drejka was protected by Florida’s stand your ground law.

Join Rev. Al Sharpton and attorney Ben Crump at a rally supporting justice for Markeis McGlockton and opposing the stand your ground law. For more information contact National Action Network: 1-877-626-4651. Church phone: 727-443-1861.

  1. HIROSHIMA REMEMBRANCE AT TRIDENT SUB BASE
    August 6, 2018, the 73rd anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing 3:00-5:00 PM

Kings Bay Trident Submarine Base St Marys, Georgia


Join southeastern peace activists and groups at the King’s Bay Trident nuclear submarine base for a legal, peaceful demonstration to remember the dropping of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan. The base is in St. Marys, Georgia, on the Atlantic coast just north of the Florida/Georgia border.

This is the site of the Kings Bay Plowshares action, when seven Catholic Worker peace activists entered the Kings Bay submarine base, the largest nuclear submarine base in the world, on April 4th, 2018. This date was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination. They hung banners, strung crime scene tape and poured their own blood on facilities at the base. For information on the Plowshares, including their current legal status: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1558500837566350/ An extensive interview with King Bay Plowsharer Clare Grady, which explains the action and its legal, moral and religious rationale, is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEuZCWcovYs

Park at the McIntosh Sugar Mill Park across from the Stimson Gate of the Kings Bay Base (map) After the remembrance demonstration, the group will gather for dinner at a local restaurant. Sponsors of the action include From Trident to Life Campaign in the Southeast; Pax Christi, Florida; Pax Christi Georgia; and the Metanoia Peace Community. FMI: John X Linnehan, 904-504-1004; Nancy O’Byrne, 904-422-3618.

5. #RallyToProtectOurCare with US Congressmen Charlie Crist and Joe Kennedy, III
Tuesday, August 7th Noon- 1:00 PMWilliams Park 350 2nd Ave N., St. Pete, 33701

The Congressmen will be joined by local residents and healthcare advocates to call on elected officials to protect the Affordable Care Act and Floridians’ access to affordable healthcare — fighting attempts to undermine protections for those with pre-existing conditions, holding “Big Pharma” accountable for rising prescription drug prices, and calling on Florida to expand Medicaid.

Facebook Invite

  1. PEACE FIRST AUGUST SITE: Since 2002, Peace First has gathered on street corners in Pinellas County every week to speak for peace and justice.In August Peace First will gather at the corner of 34th Street/US 19 and 54th Avenue S. in St. Petersburg (map) Wednesday, August 8 and every Wednesday in August from 4:30-5:30 PM. This is the intersection next to the I-275 overpass near Eckerd College. A CVS Pharmacy and 7-11 are on that corner. Participants gather afterward at a nearby restaurant for an “after party” meal. FMI: SMcCown@tampabay.rr.com To get on a mailing list of Peace First news and updates, send a request to sjstew@gte.net
  1.  

    Free veterans barbecue lunch
    Monday, August 13 12:30-2:30 PM

Unitarian Universalist Church, 100 Mirror Lake Drive, St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg homeless aid coalition Celebrate Outreach is hosting a free BBQ lunch with door prizes to raise awareness and seek donations for their Tiny Homes for Homeless Vets project. Jimmy Grignon and his colleagues from LP Building Products are sponsoring the event along with John and Lisa Riesebeck of local favorite Smokin’ J’s Real Texas BBQ. The event, which is open to all veterans, homeless and housed, their family and friends, and community.

Tiny Homes for Homeless Vets models, designed by the students of USF School of Architecture and Community Design Program, will be on display. A presentation by project team members will demonstrate how compassion can be brought to life in architectural design. Come learn about our local veterans in need and participate in this essential project.

The lunch is free to all but donations to the Tiny Homes will be gratefully accepted enabling Celebrate to break ground by November.

For more information visit www.celebrateoutreach.org or contact Sabine von Aulock at 973-768-3256.

  1. ACTIONS AGAINST AUGUST 14TH EXECUTION 
  2.  

    Contact Gov. Rick Scott now

  3. Demonstrations Tuesday, August 14th:
    – 5:00-6:00 PM at Ulmerton Road and 49th Street N. in mid-Pinellas County
    (map)

– 5:30 PM St. Andrew United Church of Christ, 6908 S Beneva Rd., Sarasota (map).

Governor Scott has ordered the execution of Jose Jimenez for Tuesday, August 14th at 6pm ET. Jimenez was sentenced to death in 1994 after being convicted of killing Phyllis Minas. Details on the murder are here

Please contact Gov. Rick Scott now with the direct action tool developed in partnership with Equal Justice USA.

Gov. Scott had been ordering a new execution every month before the U.S. Supreme Court essentially halted Florida executions by ruling Florida’s death sentencing scheme unconstitutional. This is the first execution scheduled by Scott since the February 22, 2018 execution of Eric Branch. This would be the 28th execution ordered by Gov. Scott, a new record for a Florida governor. Please Take Action

A summary of the problems with the death penalty is at https://www.fadp.org/florida-death-penalty-fact-sheet/

OTHER ACTIONS TO TAKE:
Contact Gov. Rick Scott and ask him to suspend this and ALL executions.
Phone: (850) 488-7146
Click on this e-mail address: Rick.Scott@eog.myflorida.com


From Mark Elliott, Executive Director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
(www.fadp.org):

When you call or write, please be sure to give your name and where you live. If you are not a Floridian, provide a connection (i.e., visit Florida, have friends/family there, want to move there someday, etc). The staffer answering phones will be very nice and courteous. They won’t question or challenge you. They simply record the issues that people are calling for and make a tally to give to the Governor.

Pinellas anti-death penalty demonstration: Pax Christi Tampa Bay, Peace First, Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and other death penalty opponents will gather from 5:00-6:00 PM on Tuesday, August 14th at an anti-death penalty demonstration at the intersection of Ulmerton Road and 49th Street N. in mid-Pinellas County (map). Park in the lot behind Checkers and the bank on the northwest corner of the intersection. Signs and banners will be provided, or you can bring your own. Since execution dates often change, please check the media for updates and changes. The demonstration occurs during the execution; if the execution is re-scheduled, the demonstration will be rescheduled. FMI: arichter581@gmail.com or (727) 692-9390.

Manasota demonstration against the death penalty: A witness against the death penalty and prayer vigil will take place on Tuesday, August 14. The witness begins at 5:30 PM with a silent protest with signs on the front lawn of St. Andrew United Church of Christ, 6908 S. Beneva Road (map). The prayer service follows in the church at 6:00 PM. Sponsored by Pax Christi USA-Manasota Chapter. FMI: Rjbannerusa@gmail.com

9. 2018 St Pete Sustainability Summit
Tuesday, August 14 at 3 PM – 7:30 PM

Childs Park YMCA, 691 43rd St S, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33713

How does St. Petersburg get to 100% Clean Energy? A plan is in the works!

The Integrated Sustainability Action Plan (ISAP) is well underway in advancing our city’s sustainability and resiliency initiatives, including a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and a roadmap for achieving 100% Clean Energy. Check out this ISAP Primer to find out what else the ISAP is putting into action. Attend the 2018 Sustainability Summit to find out more and share ideas.

Facebook event page


  1. SciCafe at the Dalí Museum: Clyde Butcher, Audubon Society & Conservation
    Thursday, Aug. 23, 6 – 7:30 PM

    The Dalí Museum and the Tampa Bay History Center team up for a panel discussion about the intersection of The Dali’s “Clyde Butcher: Visions of Dali’s Spain” and the History Center’s upcoming “A History of Conservation: A Bird’s-Eye View,” opening August 25 (see below).

Moderator Rob Lorei, news director at WMNF 88.5 FM Community Radio, talks with panelists Peter Tush, curator of the Dalí Museum’s “Clyde Butcher: Visions of Dali’s Spain”; Ann Paul, regional coordinator at Audubon Florida and guest curator of “A History of Conservation – A Bird’s-Eye View” at the History Center; Paul Gray, science coordinator, Audubon Florida Everglades Program; and Ed Sherwood, executive director of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.

This free lecture takes place at the Dalí Museum’s Raymond James Community Room. RSVP by Monday, Aug 20, 2018 at (727) 803-9799 ext. 102, by email at info@mecstpete.org.

11. The Bridge Summer Film Series: Edible City
Friday, August 24 at 7 PM
Unity of Tampa, 3302 W. Horatio, Tampa FL 33609

A fast-paced journey through the local Good Food Movement, this film introduces us to extraordinary people who are challenging the paradigm of our broken food system with innovative approaches like edible education and grassroots activism building the local economies. A discussion will follow the film with local experts and activists. Suggested $7 Donation

Facebook event page


  1. A HISTORY OF CONSERVATION: A Bird’s Eye View
    Opens Saturday, August 25

Tampa Bay History Center
801 Old Water Street
Tampa, FL 33602

Presented by the Tampa Bay History Center in partnership with Audubon Florida’s Coastal Island Sanctuaries staff, “A History of Conservation: A Bird’s-Eye View” traces birds as an important part of mankind’s culture, from the early Greeks and Romans to John James Audubon’s study of North American bird life in the 19th century. This comprehensive exhibit, on view August 25, 2018 through February 10, 2019, details the history of conservation in the bay area, with a focus on its bird populations, the establishment of Florida’s Coastal Island Sanctuaries as well as local entities involved in wildlife and water quality recovery and protection. Learn More

13. Women’s Equality Day
Sunday, August 26 at 12:30 PM – 5:30 PM

GFWC Historic Brooksville Woman’s Club, 131 S Main St, Brooksville, Florida 34601

Join Central Gulf Coast Women’s March of Florida for an educational, inspirational and interactive day celebrating and honoring the strength, power and persistence of women in America and the 98th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The program of exhibits, speakers, song, drumming, arts, and more aims to explore the past, honor the present, and prepare for the future by bringing our unified POWER as WOMEN to the POLLS.

Tickets: $18 Everyone is welcome.

RSVP here
Facebook event page

  1. Detergent and Dinner: Laundry Love
    Monday, August 27, 6:30-8:00 PM
    Coin laundry at 365 8th St S, St Petersburg, Florida (map). L

    aundry Love Projects are regular opportunities to help financially struggling people do their laundry. There are now over two hundred projects nationwide.Locally, Laundry Love is sponsored by the Missio Dei and takes place the last Monday of every month. Organizers and their supporters provide soap, coins and pizza for those washing their clothes.

    Each Laundry Love costs around $200. FMI on how you or your group can support and participate, contact G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088 or gw@themissiodei.com


WEEKLY ONGOING EVENTS

MISSIO DEI SUNDAY DINNER: Missio Dei is a small church that meets in the refurbished corner of a warehouse at 1330 Burlington Avenue N. (map; the entrance is on 2nd Avenue on the south side of the building.) They serve a meal after their worship service. The congregation is largely homeless or precariously housed. The service begins at 5:30 PM; the dinner begins at 6:30. For information on how you can help prepare, serve, or financially support the meal, contact G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088.

RESIST TRUMP TUESDAYS AT SENATOR MARCO RUBIO’S TAMPA OFFICE: Indivisible and other local activist groups gather outside Marco Rubio’s office in the Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Court House, 801 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa, FL 33602 (map). The protest is every Tuesday, 10:30-11:30 AM. Bring signs, or the organizers can provide them. There is parking around the courthouse and the meters take credit cards. For more information (FMI): sjstew@gte.net

WEEKLY SARASOTA DEMONSTRATION: Activists from Veterans for Peace and Manasota Pax Christi, among other groups, will demonstrate for peace through justice from 4:00-5:00 PM every Tuesday in downtown Sarasota along Bayfront Drive/N. Tamiami Trail near its intersection with Gulfstream Drive (map). The demonstration is south of Unconditional Surrender, the “kissing statue.” FMI: Russ at Rjbannerusa@gmail.com

WEEKLY POSTCARD PARTY: Join Indivisible FL-13 in reaching out to Pinellas voters and promote voting by mail every Tuesday at 6:00 pm at Allendale United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Rd. N. in St. Petersburg, FL 33703. For more information, or to help write postcards from home, please email info@indivisiblefl13.com for information.

PEACE FIRST AUGUST SITE: In August Peace First will gather at the corner of 34th Street/US 19 and 54th Avenue S. in St. Petersburg (map) Wednesday, August 8 and every Wednesday in August from 4:30-5:30 PM. This is the intersection next to the I-275 overpass near Eckerd College. A CVS Pharmacy and 7-11 are on that corner. Participants gather afterward at a nearby restaurant for an “after party” meal. FMI: SMcCown@tampabay.rr.com To get on a mailing list of Peace First news and updates, send a request to sjstew@gte.net

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 full hot breakfast to over 150 people. The breakfast is held on the third floor of Trinity Lutheran Church, 401 4th Avenue North in St. Petersburg.
The breakfast runs from 7:30-10:30 AM, and volunteers can participate with some or all of the breakfast. Please contact Anita Podgwaite at (727) 565-8742 or G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088 to help.

Also, check the Pinellas County Progressive Calendar for more events. Click here for the calendar.

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Sermon 8.5.18 Stand Your Ground

Scripture Lessons:  John 6:1-21, Ephesians 3:14-21

Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

Stand your ground.  We are hearing a lot about this lately. The phrase has come to refer to laws that protect those who use violence in self defense when they feel their lives are in danger.  So, if I am afraid of you and think that you are threatening my life, then I have the legal right to kill you.  And to be immune from prosecution.

Stand your ground is a reference to Florida Statutes chapter 776 entitled “Justifiable use of force.”  The statute says in part:  

Home protection; use or threatened use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.—

(1) A person who is in a dwelling or residence in which the person has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use or threaten to use:

(a) Nondeadly force against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force; or

(b) Deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

There is that phrase, “has the right to stand his or her ground.”   While there may be a logic to this, there are also problems.  Like when a black person feels threatened by a white person.  If the black person kills the white person, they are much less likely to be protected by stand your ground than if a white person does the killing.  And people are already protected under the law if they kill in self defense.  And stand your ground has led to increased killings.  Some people with guns feel this law compels them to use their guns in self defense rather than simply walking away from a volatile situation.  Even in active shooter training, they tell you to run and hide.  The last resort, if you can’t run or hide, is to confront the shooter.  One on one, the same advice should apply.  Walk away.  Drive away.  Leave.  Get out of the situation.  That should end whatever the conflict is right there.  With stand your ground, people feel emboldened to confront.  To engage.  To shoot.  Some critics call it the “shoot first” law.  Florida was the first state to enact this legislation in 2005.  Since then, at least 34 states have followed suit.  We started a trend though not a good one.

The phrase “stand your ground” used to have more nobility to it.  It was about standing up for your principles.  Not backing down from your moral commitments.  Being firm in your righteous convictions.  

As Christians, we are called to stand our ground.  We are to stand our ground as we see it in Jesus.  Jesus shows us a reality in which everyone is fed with food and with love.  He shows us a reality in which people work together and all have a contribution to make.  In the story we heard this morning, it is a child that has the bread and fish that feed the multitudes.  Jesus shows us a world of simplicity, generosity, and abundance.  Just bread and fish.  Nothing fancy.  But more than enough for all.   This is our ground.   This is the ground we are to stand on.  This is what we are to claim and protect and foster.  This reality that we see in Jesus.  

Yes, standing our ground as followers of Jesus means committing ourselves to living by his values and promoting those values in society.  It means being in solidarity with those who are being oppressed and abused like the farmworkers.  I hope some of you will be at the rally this afternoon here in St. Petersburg in support of farmworker justice.  Yes, stand your ground for us means defending the people who are trying to immigrate into this country and protecting their children.  Jesus also shows us that standing our ground means being against the use of violence especially when used to serve what theologian Walter Wink calls the “myth of redemptive violence.”  Our society promotes the use of violence to achieve peace.  This approach is rejected by Jesus.  We know that our faith does not stand behind a law that increases violence and promotes racial bias.  We are the people of “blessed are the peacemakers.”  We are the people of every person “made in God’s image” not some people “made in God’s image.”

We are called to stand our ground for love and justice.  If you see something, say something.  If you see racism, say something.  If you see abuse, say something.  If you see people treated unfairly, say something.  Whether it be one on one or society at large, we are called to stand our ground with love like Jesus.   And in today’s world, there are many ways that we are called to stand our ground.

This morning, we also want to notice that oft over looked verse in today’s scripture:  “When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”  While this may not be historically factual, the writer of the gospel felt it was important to say this.  The people, the people who had been fed on the mountain, wanted to make Jesus their king.  They wanted to define his role and his power.  They were coming to take him by force.  Notice, he does not “stand his ground” Florida style and fight back.  He retreats.  Run.  Hide.  But still he stands his ground.  He will not let even his beloved followers impose a power arrangement upon him that is at odds with his values and calling.  He will not accept a label that is laden with the potential for abuse of power – remember David last week?  Jesus will not allow himself to be the king of just one people, one geographical region.  His message is universal.  By refusing to be king, he is refusing to accept this power structure, this power arrangement.  You see, other people are standing other ground:  they are hungry for power, or looking for economic profit, or seeking revenge.  There are many other things that people are seeking to defend and protect.  Jesus will stay true to Divine love and will stand his ground so that his influence is not limited by the desires of others hungry for what would be a false sense of security.  In the next scene we see Jesus portrayed as exerting power not only over people but over the sea and the wind and the storm.  That is more than any king could do.  Jesus will stand his ground for the good of all of creation.  And he will not be manipulated or capitulate.  

Yes, we are called to stand our ground with Jesus, working for a world of goodness, abundance, and peace.  And we do that in many, many ways.  We do that on an individual level, in our relationships and behavior toward others.  We also do it in our efforts to influence society, the government, and our life together.   This is who we are as Christians.  We stand our ground with Jesus.  But this work can take its toll.  There are many initiatives on many fronts that seem to call out for our attention.  Trying to stand our ground and make a difference can seem overwhelming, exhausting, and futile.  Where are the wins?  The present federal administration seems bent on wearing us down through repeated traumatization.  Some days you just don’t want to turn on the TV or the radio or check social media.  Like Jesus withdrawing up the mountain by himself, you just want a break from it all!

But let’s remember those beautiful words that we heard from Ephesians.  The writer is addressing second generation followers of Jesus.  They have seen the killing of the apostles and the martyrs.  They are a small group gathered in a home.  No large fancy temple.  In fact, the Temple in Jerusalem has been destroyed.  What is the future of their religion?  What is the future of the church?  What is their future?  These people are unsteady; in a fragile state.  Maybe feeling overwrought and under stress.  And the writer offers a prayer of soaring sentiments: 

 “I bow my knees before the God, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.”  Their numbers may be small but they are part of God’s great human family.   “I pray that, according to the riches of God’s glory, God may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through the Divine Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.”    They are not dismissed or denigrated for their fragile state.  They are offered empowerment to stay strong.  Rooted and grounded in love.  They will be equipped to stand their ground in love.  “I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”  This is an expansive, all encompassing vision.  They are part of a much larger reality.  Let that incomprehensible love work in you.  

These are words of hope and encouragement for us in these challenging days as we seek to stand our ground – in the way of Jesus, rooted in love.  Together, in God, there is more than what is needed for the living of our days and the standing of our ground.

This past week, I went to the Trump rally in Tampa.  I was asked, Why?  I have thought about that.  Trained as an historian, I like firsthand knowledge, when possible.  And I like facts.  So much is said about the president, good and bad, I wanted to see for myself.  I was also very interested in seeing first hand those who support Trump in a crowd setting.  What are the people like?  Again, firsthand.  Not filtered; even through an ethical, professional journalist.  I also went in my own little way, to stand my ground.  We say we believe in one human family.  We say the divine image is in everyone.   We say we are working for justice and peace for all people.  We say we believe in reconciliation.  Jesus interacted with all kinds of people, even those who were considered enemies and hated by others.  By going, by being there, by taking an interest, by listening, by being present, I wanted, in some small way, to be part of building a bridge and not a wall.  

It was an unforgettable experience.  I will be thinking about it for a long time.  I saw thousands of people who are angry and hostile.  They were yelling at each other in line to get in.  They were giving the finger and heckling the press.  There was a lot of rage.  And they were glorying in venting those feelings.  I felt sadness and compassion.  As a church, how can we stand our ground in love that reaches out to everyone, including these angry, hostile people?  Especially these angry, hostile people?  I don’t know.    

The writer of Ephesians ends the prayer for the struggling congregation, saying, “Now to God who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.”  Here we are assured that the power at work within us, together, as a congregation, as a church, can do more than all we can “ask or imagine.” Just like the loaves and fish.  With faith we trust that together we can stand our ground.  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 7.29.18 What Good Is Religion?

Scripture Lesson: 2 Samuel 11:1-12:14a

Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

What good is religion?  It’s not just a question for a skeptic or an atheist.  Considering the number of churches and religious institutions and faith communities in the US anyway, it seems like a good question.  What good is religion?  There’s a lot of it around us, but what good is it?

I think a major function of most religions, certainly Christianity, is to bring out the best in people; it is to encourage our goodness.  Religion is a way of dealing with life that fosters hope and joy and community.   A purpose is to help people be loving – of themselves, others, and Creation.  I think religion is to help people be good and have a good life.  

After a yoga class I went to recently, one of the participants mentioned that they were going to a steakhouse for dinner after class.  She glanced at the teacher and said, “I know that would not interest you,” because the teacher is vegetarian.  The teacher explained that she doesn’t eat meat because her spiritual practice involves “do no harm” so she doesn’t eat animals.  As an aside to the teacher, who knows I am a Christian pastor, I said, “I’m vegan out of reverence for the Earth.”  Then the teacher mentioned to all that she doesn’t kill bugs in her house either – at least not many.  She takes them outside.  Again, as an aside, I told her that we often take them outside, too, because we believe life is sacred.  So while the yoga teacher and I have very different religious leanings, our religious commitment is bringing out the good in us in similar ways.  

That is what religion is really all about:  bringing out the good in us, in life, in relationships, and all the good around us.  

This morning we heard a portion of the story of King David.  Now here is a figure absolutely steeped, from birth, in religion.  He is part of a devout Jewish family from the tribe of Benjamin.  His family is making sacrifices and following all the necessary observances.  Things are not going well with Saul’s reign and a new king is needed who will get things back on track.  Get Israel back in tune with God.  Clean out the corruption and violence and problems that have arisen and get the people back to living in a wholesome and righteous manner.  As the story is told, Jesse’s family is pegged to provide the next king for Israel.   And who gets picked to do this?  Not Jesse’s son, Eliab.  Or Abinadab.  Not Shammah.  None of the seven sons.  But the youngest son, who was keeping the sheep, David, he is the one who is fingered by God through the prophet Samuel.  A humble, unassuming figure because “God looks on the heart.”  [1 Sam. 16:5]  David is chosen because he is someone who will depend on God and someone God can trust. 

And it goes really well for a while with David.  He is sound through the challenging transition ending Saul’s reign.  When David is anointed king he brings people together.  He is successful militarily against Israel’s foes.  He establishes the city of Jerusalem known as the city of David.  And he is talking about building a Temple for God.  Things seem to be on track.  We’re told that, “David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.”  [2 Samuel 5:10]  He is a shining star just as was hoped.  

And then we hear of David and Bathsheba.  Such a promising start goes so awry.  And even that awesome, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God of Israel doesn’t seem able to keep David and his regime in line.  What good is religion?  It didn’t stop David from lusting after Bathsheba.  It didn’t stop him from summoning her.  What could she say, no, she would not come when called by the king?  Religion did not stop David from “taking” Bathsheba as it is stated in the text.  

Seemingly unable to control himself, David is also unable to control the consequences of his actions.  Bathsheba becomes pregnant.  Now there is a problem.  At least for David.  He has taken another man’s wife.  He has violated the ownership rights of another man.  And so he is looking for a cover up.  There has already been a problem for Bathsheba.  She has been raped;  but that is not the main issue here.  Women’s problems are seldom the main issue in a patriarchal society, but more on that in a moment.  So, in light of this pregnancy, David digs his hole deeper by pursuing a coverup.  He calls Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, home from the battlefront.  Uriah comes when called, just like Bathsheba, just like anyone summoned by the king.  But, again, things are out of David’s control.  Uriah is supremely noble.  One of David’s elite 30 soldiers among thousands.  His name means “God is my light.”  For Uriah, religion is bringing out his best.  He will not have a conjugal visit with his spouse when the ark of God is still out on the battlefield along with the other soldiers.  This would be disrespectful, dishonorable, disgraceful.  He is calm and principled.  So Uriah sleeps out in the yard, not inside in his soft, comfortable bed, with his soft comfortable wife.  

Now what will David do?  Something righteous?  Something good?  Come clean?  Nope.  David arranges for Uriah to return to the front and be killed in battle.  Then he takes Bathsheba as his wife. 

This whole sordid episode is a turning point in David’s monarchy and in his life.  After this, David’s life is wracked by problems and tragedy.  Bathsheba’s baby dies, though she becomes the mother of Solomon, the next king.  David’s daughter, Tamar, is raped by her brother who is killed by another brother out of revenge.  David’s son, Absalom then stages a take over, including raping 10 of David’s wives, and is killed.  Pestilence invades the land.  It’s simply downhill after Bathsheba. 

Now, back to patriarchy.  There are scholars, white, male, who, through the centuries, have blamed the whole Bathsheba saga, the beginning of David’s downfall, not on the glorious, victorious king, but on Bathsheba.  She lured the king.  She enticed the king.  She asked for this.  She brought David down.  Here’s a sample of this view from a commentary:  “No one of good moral character could have acted as she did in her seduction and conquest of David.  She doubtless exposed herself that the king might be tempted; she willingly came to the palace when she was sent for; and conspired with David for the murder of her husband.”  [Cited in the New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 2. p. 565]  Talk about blaming the victim!  That is not religion bringing out the good in people, but religion with a twisted imagination fueled by patriarchy.  (And there’s a lot of that. . .)

So, how will this whole mess be resolved?  Uriah is dead.  Bathsheba is pregnant.  Religion doesn’t seem to be bringing out the best in King David.  What now?  We are told that God sends Nathan the prophet to David.  Nathan is to help David see the error of his ways.  Nathan is to expose the truth to David.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t envy Nathan.  I would not have wanted that assignment!  But Nathan proceeds.  He shows us religion bringing out the truth.   The stark honesty that is needed.  Nathan shows us religion bringing out the truth of the abomination that David has committed.   But it is about more than exposure.  Nathan also leads David to admission of guilt.  To repentance.  To redemption and restoration.

Yes, religion is about bringing out the good in us, about helping us to be our best selves.  But it is also about finding our way back when we have erred.   In Judaism and Christianity, religion is about restoration after we have strayed.  It is about an on ramp back to goodness when we have hurt ourselves, others, and our relationships.  It is about healing when we have caused or contributed to pain and suffering.  In some ancient versions of 2 Samuel, the scribes left a gap in the text after David’s confession.  There was an indication that Psalm 51, a psalm of repentance, was to be read there.  “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. . . . Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.  . . .”  After the reading of Psalm 51, the text of 2 Samuel resumed.  

What good is religion?  Yes, it inspires the good, but it also provides a way back.  Our faith tradition provides a path of restoration.  And that may be its most important function.  In today’s world, we seem bent on punishment, retribution, and revenge.  Think of that ubiquitous question on most job applications:  Have you ever been convicted of a felony?  That seals it.  Yes or no.  And if the answer is yes, there is little chance of a way back; of being fully restored to a constructive role in society.  Your personhood is not restored even after you have served your sentence because you are still not allowed to vote.  There is no way back to full humanity, healing, and wholeness.  But our religion does provide that way back.  Our faith helps us find a way to healing and wholeness even after the most painful experiences.  We are part of a religion of forgiveness which can lead to the restoration of our full humanity.  We can once more see the image of God within ourselves after we err, and in others who have done heinous things.  In Christianity, our only permanent label is child of God created in the image of God.  And our faith always provides a way for us to see that in ourselves and in others.  The scene of Jesus on the cross is definitive:  Forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.  David asks for forgiveness because he didn’t know what he was doing.   And he receives the forgiveness he needs.  He finds a way to go on, with Bathsheba, no less, after arranging the murder of her husband.  And, we can imagine that Bathsheba, too, must in some way forgive David, for she somehow finds a way to go on as one of his wives.  

What good is religion?  Yes, it encourages and fosters the good.  But it is also about finding a way to go on, a path of restoration, when we are less than our best selves.  And we know that humanity is capable of great evil.  And it can be that the more power we have, the more harm we do.  We remember the words of British historian, Lord Acton, in 1887:  “Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Great men are almost always bad men.”  David is a case in point.  We can also see this among the wealthy, dominant, white, elite portion of the US population.  Often the power carried by that status leads such people to think they are subject to different rules, different standards, different morals.  How is it that our government thought it was ok to take children away from their parents – babies, toddlers, kids, teens?  They expected a “pass” because they are the government.  But the courts and people of this country are seeking to rectify this immoral policy.  Power corrupts and we can succumb to doing great wrong.  Whatever our transgressions as individuals or as a society, there is a way back.  Our faith tradition gives us a way of reconciliation and healing.  

Recently a friend, who is agnostic and not religious, told me the story of her cousin’s murder here in Florida many years ago.  Her cousin and his girlfriend were college age.  They were out on a date.  They were abducted and taken to the woods.  The woman was raped and then killed.  And the man was then killed as well.  It was a horrific, random act of violence.  The murderer did not know these people.  It was an act of pure evil.  The families of the two young people were wrought with unimaginable grief.  My friend told me that she noticed that the two families handled things differently.  And that has remained notable to her.  The woman’s family was angry and wanted revenge.  They wanted the killer to get the death penalty.  They remained broken and hostile.  They never seemed to heal after this experience.  The man’s family, his parents, my friend’s aunt and uncle, were part of the Salvation Army.  They were very involved in the church.  They were people of faith.  Yes, they were devastated by the murder of their son and his girlfriend.  But they sought healing in their faith.  They prayed.  They offered forgiveness to the killer.  They told the judge that they did not want him to receive the death penalty.  It would only mean another death and it wouldn’t bring their son or the girlfriend back.  They also started a support group for others who had family members that had been murdered or had been victims of violence.  This work helped them to heal.  They found solidarity with others.  They were able to express their grief and seek the solace of forgiveness with others.  They were able to go on with their lives and find the good in themselves and others again.  Sadly, there was little reconciliation between the families of the two victims.  The parents of the woman could not understand the attitude of the parents of the man.  They could not see the value in forgiveness.  They could not let go of their hatred and anger.  

So, what good is religion?  As the story of David, Jesus, and the stories of those around us continue to reveal, religion gives us a way back to life.  It gives us a way forward after devastation.  It is a path of restoration and renewal because we are going to do things that are wrong, that cause pain, that separate us from our best selves and from others.  This is inevitable.  It is the consequence of freewill.  It is our nature.  Our religion gives us a way back through forgiveness of ourselves and others so that we may once again know love, goodness, and joy.   That is good religion.  Amen.  

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

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Weekly Update 2 August

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

COMING LAKEWOOD UCC EVENTS

SUN, AUG 5 THIS SUNDAY: It’s been in the news every day lately.  Stand your ground.  What does it mean for someone who follows Jesus to “stand your ground”?  That’s the topic for Sunday guided by John 6:1-21 and Ephesians 3:14-21.

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

SUN, AUG 5
COMMUNION:  All are welcome to participate in communion at Lakewood UCC, children at the discretion of the adults who brought them. The communion offering goes to the Special Needs Fund, used to help people in our community and the congregation with basic necessities such as food, rent, utilities, and prescription medication costs. Recently there has been great need for these funds, please help as you are able knowing that your gift will be a blessing to someone in need.
SUN, AUG 5 ADVISORS MEETING: The Advisors will meet following worship on Sunday, all are welcome to attend.
SAT, OCT 20 CIRCUS MCGURKIS: Save the date for Circus McGurkis October 20th at Gibbs High School. Contact Yoko Nogami or Claire Stiles for volunteer opportunities.
WESTMINSTER LUNCH: There will be no lunch at Westminster Suncoast in August, Pastor Wells will be in Scotland for her daughter’s wedding.
CREATION JUSTICE UPDATE: The Creation Justice Task Force at LUCC has many projects and initiatives in the works. Follow the link to find out more about this exciting ministry.
NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.
OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month. Contact Ian Blair-Catala for upcoming volunteer dates.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SUN, AUG 5 FARMWORKER DEMONSTRATION: Join Immokalee farmworkers and allies from around the Tampa Bay area for a march on Publix and Wendy’s to demand that both Fair Food holdouts do their part to end human rights abuses in agriculture by joining the award-winning Fair Food Program! Students from March for Our Lives Tampa Bay will join CIW farmworkers and allies in turning up the heat on Publix following the supermarket’s contributions to NRA-supported politicians, calling on Florida’s largest grocer to do its part to end violence in its supply chain and in society. Having halted its political contribution program in response to students’ brilliant organizing, Publix must join the Fair Food Program to take a key step further in building a safer, fairer Florida!  3pm Sunday at Allendale United Methodist Church (3803 Haines Rd).
MON, AUG 6 TIDAL TOWN HALL: Come hear what local candidates have to say about tackling sea level rise and related environmental solutions. This panel discussion will be moderated by Bianca Graulau, a local reporter for CBS, and is hosted by Food & Water Watch, Rethink Energy Florida, First Street Foundation as well as several local organizations. The Forum is August 6th, at the Sunshine Center (330 5th St N) and is free and open to the public, you are encouraged to attend and to invite others. For more information visit FaceBookemail or call (516) 724-2759. Candidates from the following races have confirmed that they will participate: Congressional District 13, 15, and 16; State Senate 16; Sate House 61, 67, 70, 71, 72, 73, and 74.
TUE, AUG 14 JUSTICE FIRST TOUR: Southern communities are on the frontlines of the climate crisis in the US, bearing the greatest impacts of an economic system of exploitation that continues to concentrate power and wealth into the hands of a few. Now, more than ever, we need to come together and unite in one voice for climate justice and stand together to advance long-term solutions that put justice first and lift frontline communities up. The Justice First Tour calls for a strong network of grassroots organizations working together to advance climate justice with a focus on 100% clean energy for 100% of the people. The tour will feature local community leaders/speakers who will talk about local Justice issues (immigration, women’s rights, climate justice, jobs, etc.), to inspire a dialogue among participating citizens and organizations, seeking to find solutions to these issues in an intersectional way. August 9 6-8 pm, at Unity of Tampa (3302 W Horatio St, Tampa).
TUE, AUG 14 SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT: The City of St. Petersburg 2018 Sustainability Summit will explore how we get to 100% Clean Energy. The Integrated Sustainability Action Plan (ISAP) is well underway in advancing our city’s sustainability and resiliency initiatives, including a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and a roadmap for achieving 100% Clean Energy. You are invited to the 2018 Sustainability Summit to find out more and share your ideas, suggestions, and strategies to advance the sustainability goals of St. Petersburg. August 14, 2018 3-7:30 p.m.
Childs Park YMCA, (691 43rd St. S).
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 the church office.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. School age children are invited to participate in Summer Sundays church services. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez following Children’s Time. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

Fran Whitney, Ann Rogers, Deedee Young, Genevieve Jackle,
Mary Beth Lewis, Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Willy Zessoules

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A new hymn/anthem

Sometimes this fall, the choir will sing a new hymn I wrote that was commissioned by The Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa in honor of the Blessed Mother Marie-Rose Durocher, Foundress of The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (Soeurs des Saints Noms de Jésus et de Marie). I wrote the words & the music. I used the favorite biblical text of Marie-Rose as the reference upon which my poem is based, along with the mission statements of the school and the order of the Sisters.

Here’s the words:
Fire of Justice, Fire of Love
Scriptural reference: “I have come to cast fire on the Earth,
and how I wish it were already kindled.” LUKE 12:49

CHORUS
Fire of justice,
Fire of love,
In my heart, be burning bright.
Fire of service,
Fire of truth,
May the world now be alight.

VERSE 1
And as God’s Love inflames our hearts,
may we be kindling for that fire.
For to the earth God’s truth imparts
those acts that service does require.

CHORUS

VERSE 2
Now may our learning banish hate,
and may our love extinguish fear,
for justice does God’s Love equate,
and to that guidance we adhere.

CHORUS

VERSE 3
Impov’rished and abandoned they
who live upon society’s edge
shall have their needs be met this day.
To God we make this solemn pledge.

CHORUS

VERSE 4
As gracious and accepting we
give gen’rously of time and gift,
that we a welcome presence be.
No truer purpose does exist.

CHORUS

The score for the hymn is below and HERE is a link to a computer simulation of an anthem for treble voices based on the hymn. (No, computers aren’t smart enough yet to sing the words, so the children’s chorus in the simulation just sings “ahhhh…”) Click on the images below for larger views.

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Weekly Update July 26

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 29 THIS SUNDAY: This Sunday is a time to reflect on the role of religion. What is the purpose of religion in today’s world?  Is religion loosing it’s capacity for a positive impact on society?  Second Samuel 11:1 – 12:13a tells one of the seamiest stories in the Bible.  We’ll see what it has to offer to a conversation about religion today.

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

CONGRATULATIONS: Congratulations are extended to the Rev. Mardie Chapman of the LUCC family who was married on July 13.  Mardie’s living at Westminster Palms downtown.
SUN JUL 29 SUNDAY CELEBRATIONS: This potluck lunch will give the opportunity for fellowship and celebration of July birthdays. Many thanks to Willy LaBlanc and Patti Cooksey for hosting.
THU JUL 26 LEWIS FAMILY: After a month of Montessori training in North Carolina, Grace Lewis and family have returned! Grace will be back working in the Church Office beginning tomorrow. WELCOME BACK, Grace! You have been missed!
THU JUL 26 A/C UPDATE: The work is almost done on the new air conditioning systems at the church.  Not only will this make the building more comfortable but it will use less electricity, saving the church money and making less of a contribution to global warming. MANY thanks to Ron Huff for overseeing this work and to all those in the church family that donated the money to make this possible!
CREATION JUSTICE UPDATE: The Creation Justice Task Force at LUCC has many projects and initiatives in the works. Follow the link to find out more about this exciting ministry.
NAME TAGS: If you want or are in need of a name tag please contact or see Wally LeBlanc so he can make one for you.
OPERATION ATTACK: Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry housed at Lakeview Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg offering food and clothing to families in the area. LUCC supports Operation Attack with donations as well as by volunteering one evening a month. Contact Ian Blair-Catala for upcoming volunteer dates.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

MON, JUL 30 SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES: Meet the candidates running for Pinellas County School Board at SPC Gibbs (6605 5th Ave N) from 6-8pm on Monday July 30th.
MON, AUG 6 TIDAL TOWN HALL: Come hear what local candidates have to say about tackling sea level rise and related environmental solutions. This panel discussion will be moderated by Bianca Graulau, a local reporter for CBS, and is hosted by Food & Water Watch, Rethink Energy Florida, First Street Foundation as well as several local organizations. The Forum is August 6th, at the Sunshine Center (330 5th St N) and is free and open to the public, you are encouraged to attend and to invite others. For more information visit FaceBookemail or call (516) 724-2759.
Candidates from the following races have confirmed that they will participate:
Congressional District 13, 15, and 16; State Senate 16; Sate House 61, 67, 70, 71, 72, 73, and 74.
TUE, AUG 14 SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT: The City of St. Petersburg 2018 Sustainability Summit will explore how we get to 100% Clean Energy. The Integrated Sustainability Action Plan (ISAP) is well underway in advancing our city’s sustainability and resiliency initiatives, including a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and a roadmap for achieving 100% Clean Energy. You are invited to the 2018 Sustainability Summit to find out more and share your ideas, suggestions, and strategies to advance the sustainability goals of St. Petersburg. August 14, 2018 3-7:30 p.m.
Childs Park YMCA, (691 43rd St. S).
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 the church office.
FREE BOOKS: Did you know that there are not only books to borrow in the church library but books being given away for free. Take a peek at the great selection. Many new titles have been added including a selection of books for children.
GUN VIOLENCE INFORMATION PAMPHLET: Copies of a Gun Violence information pamphlet are available. This resource was created by Grace Lewis of the LUCC congregation to educate the public about gun violence. They are located at the back of the sanctuary, or you can download one here. Please take them and share them.
Screenshot 2016-08-08 18.34.07NEW EZ PODCASTS!!! No downloading! Just click and play! Try it! Just click on the little orange circle with the white arrow in it. Only one click and it plays! Every week, a new podcast is posted on the church website. All our streamable podcasts are at https://soundcloud.com/luccpodcasts – please tell your friends who might enjoy listening! Keep checking back, more and more will be added each week.
recycle1RECYCLE: Recycle your print cartridges! At this time we cannot recycle toner cartridges, only inkjet cartridges. Keep it coming in! Many thanks to all who contribute to the church recycling. This income stream helps the ministry of the church.
USHERS NEEDED: Please see or email the church office if you would like to volunteer to usher for services.
WEBSITE — lakewooducc.org: Everything you always wanted to know about the church. Go ahead and ask. The information is probably at the church website. You can subscribe and have updates and comments automatically sent to your email address. See the homepage for details. You can also keep connected with on Facebook and on Twitter.
childrenYOUNG PEOPLE AT LAKEWOOD: Children and young people are a vital part of the LUCC family. School age children are invited to participate in Summer Sundays church services. Preschool children are welcome in the Nursery under the able care of Claudia Rodriguez following Children’s Time. Children and young people are an integral part of this church family and the intergenerational relationships that form in this small congregation are truly a blessing!


CIRCLE OF CONCERN

Fran Whitney, Ann Rogers, Deedee Young, Genevieve Jackle,
Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Willy Zessoules

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Pax Christi e-mail newsletter

Pax Christi Tampa Bay E-mail Newsletter

Weekly Ongoing Events Calendar

Single Events:
1. Pinellas School Board candidate forums

  1. Congressman Charlie Crist town hall meeting
  2. Laundry Love: soap and pizza
  3. Florida execution August 14
  4. Edible City documentary
  5. Hiroshima remembrance at nuclear sub base
  6. Making Sense of Our Cultural Turbulence
  7. Circus McGurkis, the “People’s Fair”
  8. If Trump fires Mueller

Friends,

In summer, many people in the Tampa Bay area head north and the need for assistance at local feeding programs increases.  The Loaves and Fishes Breakfast, which feeds over 150 homeless people every Saturday morning, needs volunteers.  The breakfast runs from 7:30-10:30 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 401 4th Avenue North in St. Petersburg.  To help, contact Anita Podgwaite at (727) 565-8742.  More details are in the Weekly Calendar.

Also below is information on a Hiroshima bombing remembrance at the largest nuclear submarine base in the world on August 6, and action to take to oppose another Florida execution, scheduled for August 14.  Also below is information on films, talks, Laundry Love soap and pizza, and more.

Pax Christi Tampa Bay

WEEKLY ONGOING EVENTS

MISSIO DEI SUNDAY DINNER: Missio Dei is a small church that meets in the refurbished corner of a warehouse at 1330 Burlington Avenue N. (map; the entrance is on 2nd Avenue on the south side of the building.)  They serve a meal after their worship service.  The congregation is largely homeless or precariously housed.  The service begins at 5:30 PM; the dinner begins at 6:30.  For information on how you can help prepare, serve, or financially support the meal, contact G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088.

RESIST TRUMP TUESDAYS AT SENATOR MARCO RUBIO’S TAMPA OFFICEIndivisible and other local activist groups gather outside Marco Rubio’s office in the Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Court House, 801 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa, FL 33602 (map).  The protest is every Tuesday, 10:30-11:30 AM.  Bring signs, or the organizers can provide them.  There is parking around the courthouse and the meters take credit cards.  For more information (FMI): sjstew@gte.net

WEEKLY SARASOTA DEMONSTRATION: Activists from Veterans for Peace and Manasota Pax Christi, among other groups, will demonstrate for peace through justice from 4:00-5:00 PM every Tuesday in downtown Sarasota along Bayfront Drive/N. Tamiami Trail near its intersection with Gulfstream Drive (map).  The demonstration is south of Unconditional Surrender, the “kissing statue.”  FMI: Russ at Rjbannerusa@gmail.com

WEEKLY POSTCARD PARTY: Join Indivisible FL-13 in reaching out to Pinellas voters and promote voting by mail every Tuesday at 6:00 pm at Allendale United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Rd. N. in St. Petersburg, FL 33703.  For more information, or to help write postcards from home, please email info@indivisiblefl13.com for information.

PEACE FIRST: During every Wednesday in July, Peace First activists will be at the corner of 38th Avenue and 4th Street North in St. Petersburg from 4:30-5:30 PM (map).  There are a McDonald’s, a Burger King, a Publix and a Chase Bank at this intersection. They will focus on gun violence and other issues, including immigration.  Bring a sign, or they will provide one.

The group eats at a restaurant in an “after party” following the demonstration.   For more information (FMI): SMcCown@tampabay.rr.com

FRIDAY NIGHT PICNIC ON THE PLAYGROUND IN ST. PETEThe 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 full hot breakfast to over 150 people. The breakfast is held on the third floor of Trinity Lutheran Church, 401 4th Avenue North in St. Petersburg.
The breakfast runs from 7:30-10:30 AM, and volunteers can participate with some or all of the breakfast.   Please contact Anita Podgwaite at (727) 565-8742 or G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088 to help.

Also, check the Pinellas County Progressive Calendar for more events.  Click here for the calendar.

SINGLE EVENTS

1. Pinellas County School Board Candidates Forums
All parents, teachers and community members are invited to these non-partisan debates.

 

Tuesday, July 24

St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus, 2465 Drew Street, Clearwater
EC 104    6:00-8:00 PM


Monday, July 30

St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, 6605 5th Avenue N., St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg College Music Center    6:00-8:00 PM

Thursday, August 2nd
St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St., Seminole 33772
Digitorium   6:00 – 8:00pm

Sponsored by: League of Women Voters St. Pete., PCCPTA and Pinellas Education Foundation

Facebook Invite


  1. Congressman Charlie Crist Town Hall
    Saturday, July 28th 10 AM

Palladium Theater, 235 5th Avenue North in St. Petersburg 

This town hall with the Democratic U.S. Congressman from Florida’s 13th District is free and open to the public.  For more information (FMI): (727) 318-6770

 

  1. Soap and Pizza: Laundry Love
    Monday, July 30, 6:30-8:00 PM
    Coin laundry at 365 8th St S, St Petersburg, Florida (map). 

    Laundry Love Projects are regular opportunities to help financially struggling people do their laundry. There are now over two hundred projects nationwide.

    Locally, Laundry Love is sponsored by the Missio Dei and takes place the last Monday of every month.  Organizers and their supporters provide soap, coins and pizza for those washing their clothes. 

    Each Laundry Love costs around $200.  FMI on how you or your group can support and participate, contact G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088 or gw@themissiodei.com

 

 

 

 

 

 


  1. ACTIONS AGAINST AUGUST 14TH EXECUTION
  2. Contact Governor Scott
  3. Demonstrations Tuesday, August 14th:
    – 5:00-6:00 PM at Ulmerton Road and 49th Street N. in mid-Pinellas County 
    (map)

– 5:30 PM  St. Andrew United Church of Christ, 6908 S Beneva Rd., Sarasota (map).

Governor Scott has ordered the execution of Jose Jimenez for Tuesday, August 14th at 6pm ET. Jimenez was sentenced to death in 1994 after being convicted of killing Phyllis Minas.  Details on the murder are here

Please contact Gov. Rick Scott now with the direct action tool developed in partnership with Equal Justice USA.

Gov. Scott had been ordering a new execution every month before the U.S. Supreme Court essentially halted Florida executions by ruling Florida’s death sentencing scheme unconstitutional. This is the first execution scheduled by Scott since the February 22, 2018 execution of Eric Branch. This would be the 28th execution ordered by Gov. Scott, a new record for a Florida governor. Please Take Action

A summary of the problems with the death penalty is at https://www.fadp.org/florida-death-penalty-fact-sheet/

 

OTHER ACTIONS TO TAKE:
Contact Gov. Rick Scott and ask him to suspend this and ALL executions.
Phone: (850) 488-7146
Click on this e-mail address: Rick.Scott@eog.myflorida.com


From Mark Elliott, Executive Director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
(www.fadp.org):

When you call or write, please be sure to give your name and where you live. If you are not a Floridian, provide a connection (i.e., visit Florida, have friends/family there, want to move there someday, etc). The staffer answering phones will be very nice and courteous. They won’t question or challenge you. They simply record the issues that people are calling for and make a tally to give to the Governor.


Pinellas anti-death penalty demonstration: Pax Christi Tampa Bay, Peace First, Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and other death penalty opponents will gather from 5:00-6:00 PM on Tuesday, August 14th at an anti-death penalty demonstration at the intersection of Ulmerton Road and 49th Street N. in mid-Pinellas County  (map).  Park in the lot behind Checkers and the bank on the northwest corner of the intersection.  Signs and banners will be provided, or you can bring your own. Since execution dates often change, please check the media for updates and changes.  The demonstration occurs during the execution; if the execution is re-scheduled, the demonstration will be rescheduled. FMI: arichter581@gmail.com   or (727) 692-9390.

Manasota demonstration against the death penaltyA witness against the death penalty and prayer vigil will take place on Tuesday, August 14.  The witness begins at 5:30 PM with a silent protest with signs on the front lawn of St. Andrew United Church of Christ, 6908 S. Beneva Road (map).  The prayer service follows in the church at 6:00 PM.  Sponsored by Pax Christi USA-Manasota Chapter.  FMI:  Rjbannerusa@gmail.com

 

  1. Summer Film Series

7:00 PM

Unity of Tampa Fellowship Hall

3302 West Horatio   Tampa FL 33609

The Bridge’s Summer Film Series does not just inform; each film showing is followed by a discussion with local experts and advocates which will empower the audience for action.  Each film is shown at 7:00 PM; a donation of $7.00 is suggested.  A brief description of Edible City is below; details are at http://www.thebridgetampa.com/images/stories/2015events/7th-SummerFilmSeries-2018.pdf

August 24th | Edible City A fast-paced journey through the local Good Food Movement this film introduces us to extraordinary people who are challenging the paradigm of our broken food system with innovative approaches like edible education and grassroots activism building the local economies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. HIROSHIMA REMEMBRANCE AT TRIDENT SUB BASE
    August 6, 2018, the 73rd anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing    3:00-5:00 PM

Kings Bay Trident Submarine Base   St Marys, Georgia


Join southeastern peace activists and groups at the King’s Bay Trident nuclear submarine base for a legal, peaceful action to remember the dropping of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan.  The base is located in St. Marys, Georgia, on the Atlantic coast just north of the Florida/Georgia border.

This is the site of the Kings Bay Plowshares action, when seven Catholic Worker peace activists entered the Kings Bay, the largest nuclear submarine base in the world, on April 4th, 2018.  This date was the 50th anniversay of Martin Luther King’s assasination.   They hung banners, strung crime scene tape and poured their own blood on facilities at the base.  For information on the Plowshares, including their current legal status https://www.facebook.com/groups/1558500837566350/ An extensive interview with King Bay Plowsharer Clare Grady, which explains the action and its legal, moral and religious rationale, is at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEuZCWcovYs

Park at the McIntosh Sugar Mill Park across from the Stimson Gate of the Kings Bay Base (map)  The group will gather for dinner at a local restaurant.  Sponsors of the action include From Trident to Life Campaign in the Southeast; Pax Christi, Florida; Pax Christi Georgia; and the Metanoia Peace Community.  FMI: John X Linnehan, 904-504-1004; Nancy O’Byrne, 904-422-3618.

 

  1. Making Sense of our Cultural Turbulence

Thursday October 11 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Unity of Tampa 3302 W. Horatio Tampa FL 33609

 

 

Weaving together evolutionary theory, stages of consciousness and culture, and other fields of study, interfaith minister and author Joran Oppelt examines the relationship between the bigger story of humanity and the current chapter narrated by our present circumstances.  $15 donation.  A flier with more information is here

 

  1. Circus McGurkis, the “People’s Fair”
    October 20, 2018
    Gibbs High School, 850 34th St. S. St. Petersburg

 

The St. Petersburg American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) have sponsored Circus McGurkis, a peace, justice and art festival, since 1971.  FMI: https://stpetersburgquakers.org/circus-mcgurkis/

  1. IF TRUMP FIRES MUELLER:  Indivisible FL-13 will sponsor an emergency rally in Demen’s Landing, St Petersburg if President Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller:
  • If Trump fires Mueller BEFORE 2:00 PM, meet at 5:00 PM
  • If Trump fires Mueller AFTER 2:00 PM, meet at NOON of following day.

Indivisible FL-13 will send an email notification and post it on Twitter and Facebook.


Indivisible FL-13 Contact Information:

Indivisible FL-13 on Facebook
Indivisible FL-13 on Twitter
Email Indivisible FL-13 at info@indivisiblefl13.com

 

 

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Update from Creation Justice Task Force

UPDATE from the CREATION JUSTICE TASK FORCE

July 19, 2018 Meeting

Paper Recycling Container

PAINT CONTAINER AND CREATE ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLY MESSAGE ON IT!  Will recruit church members to help.

Creation of Green Practices CHECKLIST 

REMINDERS WHEN USING FELLOWSHIP HALL AND CHURCH PROPERTY OR EVENTS – Coming Soon

Raise Awareness of Green Practices at LUCC

WALLY – Presentation on “Wasteful Society” at Sunday Celebrations on SEPTEMBER 30TH 

PLACE STICKERS “LANDFILL” ON ALL REGULAR GARBAGE CANS IN CHURCH AND FELLOWSHIP HALL.

PLACE ENVIRONMENTAL QUOTE IN BULLETIN ON A REGULAR BASIS – All are welcome to submit quotes via email or in writing to Pastor Kim

Writing of Creation Justice Covenant Statement

DANA COSPER AND CLAIRE STILES WILL WORK ON THIS STATEMENT in early August  – Review by Advisors and then will come to congregation for discussion and approval this fall

Greening of church property

PLANTING OF LOW GROWING TREES ON FRONT LAWN NEAR CROSS AREA.  NOT TOO NEAR BUILDING.  Task Force is looking into possible choices of plants and trees.

INCREASING PARTICIPATION AMONG CHURCH MEMBERS AND FRIENDS

1.  Invite individuals to participate in a specific initiative

2.  Speak to groups like choir, church school, book club, etc. for ideas 

3.  Ask for help and update congregation via LUCC Weekly Update 

Are you interested in attending ?

August 14 – Sustainability Summit

Sept. 8 – Rise Up for Climate Jobs and Justice

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Sermon 7.8.18 Rev. Victoria Long

Scripture Lessons:  Deuteronomy 10:17-21 and Matthew 5:43-48                          Sermon:  After the Fireworks                                                                                     Pastor: Rev. Victoria V. Long

I suspect many of you had a wonderful 4th of July celebration this past week. Let me confess, I am always confused as to is it better to take the two days before or the two days after a holiday that falls on a Wednesday? I guess it depends on your level of celebration.

This celebrating the birth of our nation caused me to go back to readings, writings  and songs, to revisit much that is attached to this day.  One spoke to me in new and deeper ways than it did when I first encountered it some four years ago. A blog offering by Mary Luti, in which she spoke about each nation’s story gives you insight into who they are.  This thought became the seeds for this homily today.

Our Deuteronomy text tells of a people, a yet to be formed nation. It reminds them they had been saved from oppression so it will be central to who they are to become:  A people who care for the least of these.

What I remembered most about Mary’s writings was a story I had never heard before.  This is an American founding story.  Let me share it with you from the installation of Nancy Taylor, pastor of Old South Church in Boston.  Old South is a church steeped in early American  history.  And this is the story Nancy told…

“As you know, the Pilgrims were aiming for Virginia when they were blown off course into these northerly waters. Although they were not where they had hoped to be, and the climate was much colder than they liked, their need to drop anchor was urgent. As their journal entries attest, they were running dangerously low on an indispensable provision—beer. So if you look at it in a certain light, you can see that this whole endeavor—the ‘New World,’ the Colonies, the Declaration of Independence, American democracy—it all began as a beer run.”

Nancy goes on to say,  “I didn’t learn that beer-run story in school. I learned another story, that the Pilgrims came to America for religious freedom. Here they built a shining city on a hill, a beacon of hope to the world that became a nation of unique and superior virtue with a sacred responsibility to extend our aspirations to other nations. The story I learned set our country apart from other countries. It conveyed the conviction that America was exceptional.”

The America I have lived in for some 60 years certainly seemed to lead with those values.  I believed, even when we came up short, we were “trying” to be civilized. This was a country people were trying to be a part of, one seldom heard of “Americans” wanting to forgo their citizenship and move somewhere else.  Sure, I was always aware we had problems, but I still believed this was the BEST place on earth to live.

As a child I remember memorizing and singing anthems in school with words that shout, “America, America, God shed his grace on thee…” Or “God bless America, my home sweet home…”  And the pledge of Allegiance with a flag that hung in the sanctuary across from or next to the Christian flag with words that said, “One nation under God.”  All this intertwining of God and Nation, when one is just forming ideas, concepts and attaching meaning to a world.  Not a surprise that many Christians think America was “ordained” by God to be THE nation.  God’s presence in the world.  Patriotism and love of God intertwined in some sacred covenant.

As I wrestled with celebrating this Fourth of July, I remembered that our founders were agitators, treasonously so, from the perspective of Britain’s king (and many of their fellow country persons). Passion and provocation fashioned this country. Folks with an attitude and called by God; surely nothing can go side ways with a people holding these truths.

I discovered in my readings the word “nation” comes from a Latin word meaning “to be born.” It is used as away to describe a grouping based on tangibles like race and/or folks who are related by blood.   People who join because they are like one another.  It is this understanding of nationhood that Hitler reflected when he reputedly claimed that the United States was “not a nation (Volk), but a hodgepodge (mischung).” 

But, it is the Declaration, not race and blood, that establishes American nationhood.  We began this journey as an “us.”  

Many churches on these national holidays sing our anthems instead of hymns.  Others have members of the congregation wave flags that are given out as one enters the sanctuary.  Sermons that weave in the themes of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and the debt we each owe to this nation.  We have been taught to love our country and our God.  To pledge our allegiance to our flag somehow has become intertwined with our allegiance to Jesus.  This integration of our patriotic feeling mingled with our Christian faith makes it very easy to conflate those two and wrap the cross with the American flag.  Many of our country’s folk feel God surely is an American.  I have friends, family members, who may not be able to articulate that, but make no mistake, this is their belief.

I know I am preaching to the choir when I speak of a Jesus who held an allegiance to the God of his understanding.  This commitment placed him squarely in the midst of the least of these.  His understanding of what it means to live into the Micah command…  “God has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what is required of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  

This example of “how to be” requires relationship.   Jesus hung out with all the folks you’re not supposed to. He sat down and ate with the poor, the sick, the orphans, and the widowed. The thief, the tax collector, those in prison and those not invited in the temple.

Think about this man, Jesus, who lives,  believing he IS the son of God.  Talk about privilege.  Talk about a brand recognition.  And what did he do with it?

He found individuals, sometimes small groups and sat down and had conversations.  He asked questions of his new acquaintances and listened to theirs.  Broke bread, drank a little wine. Entered into relationships.  Confronted systems of power one conversation at a time.

Which brings me back to the 4th.  This year I worked, so my celebration was limited.  Hotdogs and baked beans were shared with others who were working on this holiday.  Fire works and a beer at the end of the day.  Fireworks, that by and large made a less than expected impact.  Folks went expecting big and impressive but, due to weather or product, they failed to live up to what was hoped for.  Individuals, couples or families left the event  and returned to their lives.  The parallels with all that and our political environment were not lost. 

And a deepening of an awareness that this country is on the edge of something. What?  That is something I wrestle with daily.   Who we are as a people?  Who we used to be and who are we becoming?  Where we are going?

And the nagging never answered to my satisfaction question rises – what can I do to make some kind of difference?

My job allows that I spend a great deal of the day driving from facility to facility which gives me time to mull things over.  Such as, what if the primary story about the beginnings of our nation’s narrative started with a beer run?  That we entered this story at a place where individuals worked together to solve a problem.  

An ordinary story, about ordinary people, about to embark on an extraordinary adventure.

What if we had shared the story of running out of beer rather than the creators of “a city on a hill.”  A mythic tale that places us above everyone else.  Apart from, different, better, blessed, ordained by God.  Maybe, what is exceptional is not what makes us different but all those things we hold in common?

What if, from our earliest learnings, we had been taught, that because of our shared needs we pulled together so that every one’s needs were met?  What if, we, too, attempted, in real and intentional ways, to find what we hold in common as a place to start.   This only changes if individuals become present to one another.  This is what Jesus exampled to us.  There is a time and place for outburst, but one does not need to lead with that response at every turn.

I have two folks whose leanings are polar opposite to mine.  One, I see weekly and the other is a person, from my distant past who I engage with on social media.  I have committed to being more intentional in our conversations around the things that divide us.  Not in confrontational ways, but in ways that offer opportunity for further dialogue.

Let me be frank. I am much more skilled at releasing my anger and informing you of just how foolish your point of view is, but that response does nothing to nurture fragile friendships.  I have committed to listen and hear what is at the core of their anger, their fear or their dis-satisfaction.  It is my hope they will hear me as well.

This is where change can happen; the uniting of individuals offers a chance for healing.  What if each of you reached out to “that” person in your life-friend, family member, neighbor and began your own response.

The UCC likes to say “we have a freedom for, not a freedom  from.”  We like to think we are a people  of  “soft verbs.”  We like to describe ourselves as “how to be”  folks, and not a people who tell another “what to do.”   One of the most powerful explanations of how we are to be in relationship with one another, individually as well as corporately, and at our center is that we seek to live in covenant with one another.  Covenantal language is a language of us and not me; it is a language of implied sacredness, for it is both vertical and horizontal.  It is our intention to “seek to walk together,” it examples how and not what to do! 

I still have hope in this nation of ours. My patriotism remains but it must be a compassionate patriotism, an empathetic patriotism, a patriotism that loves all this country offers and a willingness to be open to all those who seek to call it home. 

GMA reported this is the top beer drinking holiday week of the year.  So, armed with this data, my plans include finding something cold to drink and listening  to one of my favorite country music songs,  “God is Great, Beer is Good, and People are Crazy.”  Then pulling up that friend on Face Book try to find the right invitation when instant messaging him. 

So, now you know… this is what I see happening, after the fire works – maybe, just maybe a conversation begins.

May it be so! 

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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