Lakewood UCC presence at 2018 students’ MARCH FOR OUR LIVES, St. Pete

2018 March for our Lives LUCC folks & banner

2018 March for our Lives LUCC folks & banner

Banner was designed and constructed by Yoko Nogami, using salvaged materials from shed cleaning.

2018 March for our Lives panorama

2018 March for our Lives panorama

Below is a gallery of candid shots by Sue Sherwood of some of the sites plus pics of UCC folk actually marching!


Update for Pax Christi newsletter regard March for Our Lives



There have been changes in the local March for Our Lives events since the last newsletter, and some of the information in that newsletter is now outdated. To get the latest information, go to


A global map showing the location of over 840 worldwide marches will appear. Type in your city or zip code for information on the events near you.


WEARING ORANGE: Many activists will wear orange at the marches. Wearing orange dates to 2013 when 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed in Chicago. Pendleton was an honor student who was killed in a case of mistaken identity a week after she performed at one of the events surrounding President Obama’s second inauguration. Her parents, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton and Nathaniel Pendleton, ask gun reform advocates to wear orange to honor their daughter.


From the Wear Orange website:


We wear orange for Hadiya and to honor the more than 90 lives cut short and the hundreds more injured by gun violence every day — and to demand action. Orange is what hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others from harm. Orange is a bright, bold color that demands to be seen. Orange expresses our collective hope as a nation — a hope for a future free from gun violence.


The Wear Orange website is at



REPORT ON THE NRA: The National Rifle Association (NRA) promotes itself as an organization whose purpose is to speak for gun owners. However, an extensive report by the watchdog group Bridge Project has revealed that this is a deception:

  • Fewer than 10% of gun owners are NRA members and 62% of gun owners say the NRA does not represent their thinking on guns
  • In direct opposition to NRA 74% of NRA households favor making private gun sales and gun show sales subject to background checks
  • The bulk of NRA funding comes from the gun industry, not member dues
  • The NRA’s executive leadership and board of directors are deeply tied to the firearms industry and uses the NRA to promote increasingly deadly weapons

“Marketing Death: How the Gun Industry Uses the NRA to Boost Profits and Undermine Public Safety” is available at file:///C:/Users/Owner/Documents/NRA-Report.pdf


Pax Christi Tampa Bay



Pax Christi Tampa Bay E-mail Newsletter

Ongoing Weekly Events Calendar


  1. Local action if Trump fires Mueller
  2.  FAST action for affordable housing and youth arrest reform Monday
  3. Workshop: What Will It Take to Win in November?
  4. March for Our Lives against gun violence
  5. Laundry Love: clean clothes for people experiencing homelessness
  6. Dolores Huerta documentary and lecture at Eckerd College
  7.  Earth Day St. Pete
  8. United Faiths Walk of Peace

Women’s March St. Pete Events Calendar


Below is information on joining thousands of Pinellas County residents to stand for affordable housing and youth arrest reform this Monday at the Nehemiah Action at Tropicana Field.


Also below is information on the local March for Our Lives anti-gun violence actions on March 24; actions planned if Trump fires Mueller; a workshop on winning elections; and more.


At the end of the newsletter is the St. Pete Women’s March calendar of events.

Pax Christi Tampa Bay



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 marginally housed. The worship service features a congregational discussion of Biblical texts, combining the insights of a theologically trained minister, housed members, and those whose faith helps them survive in the streets.

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.

Marco Rubio has opened a new office in the Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Court House, 801 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa, FL 33602 (map).  Indivisible and other local activist groups have moved Resist Trump Tuesdays to the new office.  The protest is every Tuesday, 10:30-11:30 AM.  Bring signs, or the Indivisible organizers can provide them.  There is parking around the courthouse and the meters take credit cards.  For more information (FMI):

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

PEACE FIRST: During every Wednesday in March, Peace First will demonstrate at the intersection of Pasadena Avenue South and Gulfport Boulevard South in South Pasadena (map)  from 4:30-5:30 PM.  They will focus on gun violence and other issues.  Bring a sign, or they will provide one. There are a Publix, a Winn Dixie, a gas station and a liquor store at this intersection.  

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

PEACE MEDITATION: Biweekly meditation for peace every other Wednesday at 7:00 PM  (March 21, April 4 and April 18) at Sacred Lands, 1620 Park Street N. in St. Petersburg, Florida 33710-4348   For more information:; 727-367-3592 or 347-0354

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: 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 G. W. Rolle at (727) 424-1088 to help.


  1. IF TRUMP FIRES MUELLER:  It seems more likely with each passing day that President Trump will fire special counsel Robert Mueller.  If that happens, Indivisible FL-13 will sponsor an emergency rally in Demen’s Landing, St Petersburg:


  • 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

    Monday, March 19th, 7:00 PM
    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg

FAST (Faith and Action for Strength) is a congregation-based community organization in Pinellas County, Florida, whose purpose is to train low- to moderate-income residents from diverse congregations to work together to identify root causes of community problems and take action on these problems. Through FAST, diverse people come together to powerfully address the needs in their own communities.

Since one congregation does not have enough people power to hold systems accountable for justice, FAST holds huge “Nehemiah Actions.” Named after Nehemiah, the Biblical activist who called a huge assembly to confront systemic injustice (Nehemiah 5:1-13), these gatherings brings thousands of Pinellas County residents (who are also voters) face-to-face with leaders such as mayors, city and county officials, and police to win justice in our communities.



The next Nehemiah Action, on Monday, March 19th, at Tropicana Field will focus on two youth-oriented issues: affordable housing and youth arrests.  Everyone in Pinellas County is welcome to attend and to bring a friend.  There is free parking in lots 1, 2 and 4 off 16th Street. Enter at Gate 5.  There will be tickets to fill out and Tropicana security at the door. No food or beverage will be sold at the event.  For a parking map, click here.

Here are a few of FAST’s past accomplishments in Pinellas County:

-funding Pre-K funding for over 7,000 low-income four-year–olds
securing $19.2 million for affordable housing
getting the state legislature to allow 4,000 non-violent offenders to attend drug-treatment programs instead of prison
getting the County Commission to allocate $958,000 for dental care and $963,00 for a pilot prevention program for people who use mental health services.

For a complete list, go to

For more information on FAST, the issues, and the meeting, go to  


    Thursday, March 22, 2018 at 6:30 – 8:15 PM

Allendale United Methodist Church

3803 Haines Rd. N.

St Petersburg, FL 33703

Join Ana Cruz and Jennifer Webb to discuss the challenges of winning elections, the current political landscape going into the November mid-terms, and information on the demands of running a campaign and getting out the vote.  Ana Cruz, a political strategist referred to as “one of the top political players in the state of Florida” by, will speak about the complexities of the current political landscape and what it will take to turn the tide in the upcoming elections. Jennifer Webb, candidate for FL State Rep District 69, will describe the challenges and dynamics of running an effective campaign and getting out the vote. Also, one of the student leaders organizing the March 24th March for Our Lives will provide an update on the march. 

Map here.  For more information and to register, click here

Hosted by Fired Up Pinellas; Co-hosts: Indivisible FL-13, November Starts Now, South St.Pete Democratic Club & Women’s March FL – Pinellas/St. Pete


  1. There are over 760 worldwide marches against gun violence on Saturday, March 24, including ten in the greater Tampa Bay area.  Locally, marches are taking place at schools, government buildings, and children’s literary events.  For a map and to sign up for a march, go to  Here are three local marches:



In Pinellas Park the march will be from the site of Caroline Morton-Hicks’ recent gun death to Long Bayou to lay flowers.  Details are here.


March for Our Lives –
St. Petersburg, FL
Judicial Building
545 1st Ave. N.  
St. Petersburg, FL 3370
March for Our Lives –
Clearwater, FL
Pinellas County Tax Collector
13025 Starkey Rd

Clearwater, FL 33771

March for Our Lives – Tampa, FL
Kiley Garden

400 N. Ashley Dr.

Tampa, FL 33602

    Monday, March 26, 6:30-8:00 PM
    Coin laundry at 365 8th St S, St Petersburg, Florida (map).

    Imagine being homeless and living in unwashed clothes for days on end.

    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 


    2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Dolores Huerta has spent her life organizing and advocating on behalf of the disenfranchised. From gathering her students’ parents into a labor movement that would become the National Farmworkers Association to working alongside Gloria Steinem to get more women into office, Huerta’s eight-decade life is a testament to the work and commitment social activism requires.


On Tuesday, March 27 the documentary Dolores premieres at 9:00 PM on PBS’s Independent Lens. FMI:   


An Evening With Dolores Huerta
Thursday, April 26, 2018 – 7:30
Eckerd College, Fox Hall (map)
St. Petersburg FL

Huerta will share her story and thoughts with the community during this special event. Sponsored by the Col. Christian L. and Edna M. March International Relations Lecture Series, her talk is free and open to the public.  FMI:


  1. St. Pete Earth Day will be Saturday, April 21 in Williams Park in downtown St. Petersburg.  Their website is at and their Facebook page is at


    Sunday, April 29  2:00-5:00 PM
    Gather at John R. Lawrence Pioneer Park
    400 Main Street in downtown Dunedin FL (map)

    Join Muslims, Unitarians, Catholics, Buddhists, Jews, Baha’is and others for a two-mile walk through Dunedin for peace, stopping for reflections on peace from many faiths.

    For more information: Rev. Becky Robbins-Penniman. (727) 733-4125;;



From the Women’s March St. Pete:

Solar Co-op Info Session

Wednesday, March 21, 6:00-7:30pm
West St Petersburg Library
6700 8th Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33710

Attend this info session to raise your awareness on the many benefits of going solar, how to save money on residential PV, and how co-op membership will make going solar easier. Read all about the co-op here.

RSVP for the event here:



Film Premiere ~ Heather Booth: Changing the World 

Thursday, March 22 at 6 PM
Bryan Glazer Family JCC
522 N Howard Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33606

The Tampa film premiere of Heather Booth: Changing the World is presented by the Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival.  Attendees will enjoy a talk-back after the film with Heather.

Heather has been organizing activists from the Civil Rights movement to the Women’s movement to helping Hon. Elizabeth Warren establish the Consumer Financial Protection bureau to her arrest last week at the Capitol at a demonstration in support of Dreamers.



More Guns Are Coming to Your School & The Assault on Net Neutrality

Thursday, March 29, 6:15 PM – 8:45 PM
Allendale United Methodist Church

3803 Haines Rd N, Saint Pete FL 33703

On March 9th, the 2018 FL legislative session came to an end. We’ve got the skinny on what legislation they passed, and what they didn’t pass. Significant areas of focus were guns, education and preemption.

The League will also launch its Net Neutrality initiative – what is it, why it matters, and what we’re going to do about it. 

The advocacy workshop portion of our event will focus on arming you with facts and talking points, learning to communicate effectively and preparing you to speak to your legislators. Workshop segments will focus on:

  • a legislative session debrief
  • introducing our net neutrality resolution initiative
  • effectively advocating with you city council rep
  • developing your own 30 second message to video and post on Facebook



VoteFest 2.0

Sunday, April 8, 12 PM – 6 PM
Grill Dawg, 5419 Treadway Dr, Port Richey, Florida 34668

VoteFest 2.0 will continue the trend of reaching out to invigorate and include the community in the political process. VoteFest combines fantastic local music with voter registration and candidate speeches. It is an opportunity to meet and greet candidates for office that will effect the lives of Pasco County residents. Candidates are given three minutes of stage time to talk about issues, and their solutions for those issues. Vendors will be on hand selling a wide variety of art and craft items, and food & beverage will be available.



Leif Nissen Social Justice Lecture Series:
A Discussion with Les Leopold

Sunday, April 8 at 4:30 PM 
Temple Beth-El 400 Pasadena Ave S, St Pete 

 Leopold, co-founder of the Labor Institute, will discuss his latest book “Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice.” A light dinner will follow the lecture.



An Evening with Jemele Hill:
A Gala Benefit

Saturday, April 21, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

St. Petersburg Museum of History

Join the  League of Women Voters of St. Pete for a festive fundraiser featuring Jemele Hill, former host of ESPN’s SportsCenter and current Chief Correspondent and Senior Columnist for ESPN’s The Undefeated.  Jemele will speak to the St. Pete community about the intersectionality of race and gender in our culture, the world of sports, and the broader professional spectrum, as well as, the role of journalism in making democracy work.

Check LWVSPA webstite for ticket info (forthcoming):



Earl Waters reports on Tallahassee rally

for instant free streaming playback, click on orange circle

You may also download a copy of this podcast: HERE


Pax Christi newsletter


Below is information on buses to Tallahassee on Monday and other actions to take against gun violence; the new Resist Trump Tuesdays demonstration outside Senator Marco Rubio’s new Tampa office, and fourteen events on the Women’s March list of activities, including DACA Dreamers speaking at SPC on Monday.

There is also a link to “Marjory Stoneman Douglas Would Be Proud of These Kids,”  a newspaper column about journalist, feminist, human rights activist and, most famously, Everglades activist Douglas, the namesake of the Parkland high school.

Pax Christi Tampa Bay





SUPPORTING THE PARKLAND STUDENTS IN TALLAHASSEE: In the wake of the shootings at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the student survivors are not backing down. They want to stop gun violence. They’re articulate, smart and determined. They are savvy users of social media and have the nation’s attention. They also have the support of the grassroots resistance. Join this momentum with the current three-week session of the Florida Legislature. (See one of the many stories about their advocacy here).

Here are several ways to support the students:

Monday, February 26
FREE – Buses departing locally from St. Pete and Tampa

Led by Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, the Miami-Dade Dems, Broward Democratic Party and Women’s March Florida, this large Rally in Tally for Gun Reform will amplify the students’ voices—and the voices of most U. S. citizens.

REGISTRATION HERE (Buses departing St. Pete, Tampa and other Florida locations)


  1. MAKE THREE CALLS NOW (if after hours, you can leave a voice mail):1) Your State Representative, 2) Your State Senator and 3) Governor Scott.

Tell them to “Listen to the students of Parkland. They are asking for one thing: a ban on assault weapons in Florida. Period. Agenda these bills. Hear them, and pass them.”

  1. SIGN the petition to Florida’s Republican legislative leadership demanding they finally take action against gun violence and #HEARTHEBILLS ON GUN SAFETY on gun safety. Click here to sign.

    For months, gun safety bills have languished in the Florida Legislature, unable to get even a single committee hearing. This includes:
    • SB 838: Universal background checks for all gun sales.
    • HB 321/SB 456: A ban on bump stocks, which allows semiautomatic rifles to fire faster.
    • HB 231/SB 530: Risk Protection Orders that would allow families and law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms if there is documented evidence that an individual is threatening harm to themselves or others. 

“Marjory Stoneman Douglas Would Be Proud of These Kids,” a column about lifelong activist and feminist Douglas, is on page 11A of today’s Tampa Bay Times or here.  It is by Douglas biographer Jack Davis.  Davis describes how, like the students today, the Florida Legislature snubbed Douglas and her sister suffragists—in 1917. Nevertheless, she persisted.  Her last public speech, at age 99, was about women’s rights.


Every Tuesday, 10:30-11:30 am
Outside Senator Marco Rubio’s new office:
Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Court House, 801 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa, FL 33602 (map),  

To avoid fulfilling his Senatorial duties by talking with constituents in a town hall meeting last year, Senator Marco Rubio closed his Tampa office.  Well over 100 people had gathered outside his office every Tuesday morning for weeks on end, demanding the meeting to discuss Donald Trump’s policies, and because of the protests his landlord told him to move.  Instead of meeting with his constituents, ending the protest, and keeping his office, Rubio fled. Now, his office is back—and so is the resistance.

Rubio’s new office is at the Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Court House, 801 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa, FL 33602 (map), and Indivisible and other local activist groups are reviving Resist Trump Tuesdays.  Bring signs, or the Indivisible organizers can provide them.
There is parking around the courthouse and the meters take credit cards.  

It is especially important to join the demonstration now.  Trump and his policies are even more dangerous, Senator Rubio needs to know that he can’t flee his constituents or his duty, and the Parkland shooting survivors need our support.  (Rubio has taken $3.3 million from the NRA.)

The Facebook page for Resist Trump Tuesdays is at


Details about the original protests, Rubio fleeing his old office, and the move to his new office are here


Here is the Women’s March calendar of activities:

Black History Month Celebration

Friday, February 23 at 6 PM – 8 PM
Enoch Davis Recreation Center, 1111 18th Ave S, St Petersburg, FL 33705-2506

Join us for a night of celebration and bringing the community together for Black History Month at Enoch Davis Recreation Center, 1111 18th Ave. S., on Fri., February 23 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The event will provide an opportunity to learn about black history, emphasize unity among neighbors and bring a positive impact to create a stronger community.

Admission is free and all ages are welcome. The event will be full of fun activities for the whole family, including free food, entertainment, music and prizes. There will also be poetry readings, live performances, acting and much more.

The event is cohosted by the St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation Department’s Enoch Davis Recreation Center, Campbell Park Recreation Center, and community partners.

FL Black Arts and Film Festival (3rd Annual)
Saturday, February 24 at 11 AM – 6 PM
Skyway Marina District at Skyway Marina Mall 4301 34th Street South, Saint Petersburg, FL 33711.

Works by over 40 local and national artists, reflecting art from the African diaspora will be showcased. Experience African drumming, dancing, the Nomad Art Bus and more family fun. Films showing at the Historic Royal Theater throughout the day ($2 donation for each or a day pass can be purchased).
Film Screening: Jane
Saturday, February 24 at 7 PM – 10 PM
Miller Auditorium, 4200 54th Ave S, Saint Petersburg, FL 33711

Jane (directed by Brett Morgan, 90m, 2017) will be introduced by Dr. Lauren Highfill, professor of psychology at Eckerd College.

Jane Goodall, a young and untrained woman, challenges the male-dominated scientific consensus of her time with her chimpanzee research and revolutionizes people’s understanding of the natural world. Set to an orchestral score from composer Philip Glass, the film draws from over 100 hours of never-before-seen footage, and offers an intimate portrait of an astonishing woman.

Hosted by “Visions of Nature/Voices of Nature” Environmental Film Festival and Eckerd College
Equality Florida Tampa Gala
Saturday, February 24 at 7:30 PM – 11 PM
TPepin’s Hospitality Centre, 4121 N 50th St, Tampa, Florida 33610

Tickets: opportunities are now available!
The Butterfly Progression – Q&A Panel discussion
Monday, February 26 at 6 PM – 8 PM
SC Building, St. Petersburg College Clearwater, 2465 Drew St, Clearwater, Florida 33765Join this panel discussion featuring community members, SPC staff, legal attorney, and undocumented youth for a dialogue about immigration policies, the local enforcement partnership, and community safety. This event is to remind our community that these are issues we can’t ignore. Join us as we will be sharing our stories and most importantly putting a voice to those who are too scared to speak out.

Spsonsored by Clearwater HereToStay

Film Screening:
Backpack Full of Cash

Tuesday, February 27 at 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Allendale United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Rd N, St. Petersburg, FL 33703

View this thought-provoking documentary on the privatization of public education. Childcare available.

Sponsored by: League of Women Voters of St. Petersburg and North Pinellas, Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, Allendale United Methodist Church 

Event is free, but registration required:

Reproductive Justice: More than Just A Choice ~ Symposium 2018

Friday, March 2 at 9 AM – 1 PM (registration opens at 8:30AM)
USF Marshall Student Center Room 3707
4103 Cedar Cir, Tampa, Florida 33620

Join the Maternal, Child Health Student Organization for our Annual Symposium. Come explore the world of reproductive justice through conversations with National Speakers, Networking, and a Panel on the future of Reproductive Justice.

Open to students, faculty, staff, and community organizations. 

Free, but registration required:


Electric Car Ride and Drive
Saturday, March 3 at 11 AM – 3 PM
Palm Harbor United Methodist Church, 1551 Belcher Rd, Palm Harbor, FL 34683

Would you like to drive an electric car? Electrify the South, the Suncoast Sierra Club and The Solar Shepherd, Inc. are hosting an “Electric Vehicle Ride and Drive”.  Ride and Drives will be available by registering with local dealership tables at the event. Electric vehicle owners will be showcasing their electric vehicles and sharing their experience of driving electric. We will also have demonstrations on how to charge your electric vehicle and how to use apps to find charging locations. This fun event will be a hands on way to learn about the latest technology.Register here:

ACLU of Pinellas County 
26th Annual Bill of Rights Dinner

Tuesday, March 6 at 6- 9 pm
Banquet Masters 13355 49th St N, Clearwater, FL 33762
Purchase $50 tickets, which include dinner:

Key Note: ACLU National President Susan Herman

Gardner Beckett Civil Liberties Award Recipient: Nadine Smith, CEO Equality Florida
Irene Miller Vigilance in Journalism Award Recipient: Mark Puente, Tampa Bay Times

International Women’s Day Advocacy Training

Thursday, March 8, 6:15 PM – 8:45 PM
Allendale United Methodist Church

3803 Haines Rd N, Saint Pete FL 33703

Women are Making Democracy Work. Celebrate International Women’s Day by putting more in your advocacy tool chest. Some features of this interactive training will include:

  • getting up-to-date facts on the Florida Constitution Review Commission (CRC) and the issues that are at stake
  • learning more about the CRC activities related to privacy/reproductive rights/health care, education, gun legislation, preemption and election law.
  • preparing to testify for the CRC’s St. Pete public hearing on 3/13
  • creating a 90-120 second speech, a persuasive email, or a letter-to-the-editor
  • receiving feedback from seasoned advocates in your chosen issue area

This workshop, led by League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg area, and co-sponsored by Fired Up Pinellas, will provide a hands-on look at advocating for political change in 2018 with the CRC and beyond. Our goal is to empower the everyday activist to find their passion, get involved and go make a difference. Everyone is invited. Refreshments provided.

Registration is free, but required:

CRC Public Hearing St. Petersburg – Defend Privacy & Reproductive Rights

Tuesday, March 13 1pm to 7pm (Sign up for a shift)

At this Public Hearing of the FL Constitution Revision Commission, several groups dedicated to women’s rights will be coordinating resistance to Proposal 22.  This proposal seeks to alter Floridians’ constitutional right to privacy to allow the FL Legislature to impose intrusive restrictions on Florida women, making it harder for them to access an abortion.

Please register your interest in participating here:

Facebook event page:

See this link for more information on the CRC and the privacy provision:

Solar Co-op Info Session

Wednesday, March 21, 6:00-7:30pm
West St Petersburg Library
6700 8th Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33710, USA

Attend this info session to raise your awareness on the many benefits of going solar, how to save money on residential PV, and how co-op membership will make going solar easier. Read all about the co-op here.

RSVP for the event here:

Sponsored by the City of St. Petersburg, Solar United Neighbors of Florida, the League of Women Voters of St. Petersburg Area, and the Suncoast Sierra Clubs.

Film Premiere ~ Heather Booth: Changing the World 

Thursday, March 22 at 6 PM
Bryan Glazer Family JCC
522 N Howard Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33606

The Tampa film premiere of Heather Booth: Changing the World is presented by the Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival.  Attendees will enjoy a talk-back after the film with Heather.

Heather has been organizing activists from the Civil Rights movement to the Women’s movement to helping Hon. Elizabeth Warren establish the Consumer Financial Protection bureau to her arrest last week at the Capitol at a demonstration in support of Dreamers.

All are welcome.

March for Our Lives Tampa

Saturday, March 24 
Time and Location To Be Announced

March For Our Lives is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar. In the tragic wake of the seventeen lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns. March For Our Lives believes the time is now.

On March 24, we will be marching in Tampa to stand with the survivors of the Parkland shooting and demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues. No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country.




A letter from Rev. Kim to parents

This letter was written specifically to the teachers and parents of Lakewood United Church of Christ by Pastor Kim Wells in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting.


My heart goes out to each of you, especially today. You went to school or sent your child(ren) to school. I’m sure it wasn’t easy. So much grief, fear, and anxiety.

I’m sure there were many students at school today who were worried, afraid, or distraught, even if they didn’t exactly know why. I’m sure there were teachers who were also worried, afraid, and distraught. And I know that parents made sure to give that hug and say that “I love you” this morning.

There are many conversations taking place in the teachers’ lounge, the lunchroom, and at the dinner table about the Parkland shooting. How did we wake up in a society where “school shooting” is a thing?

After fear and grief, we often move to anger and frustration and despair. Here, I want to tell you a few things.

First of all, you are not alone. Many other people in society and in your church family are alarmed at the gun violence in our society and especially the involvement of young people. Sue Sherwood, Earl Waters, Patti Cooksey, Lucille Ruga and I went to the event at Allendale Methodist Church Tuesday night for a community conversation about gun violence in St. Petersburg. The gathering was very helpful and we went away committed to continue to be involved in addressing this problem. So, please know, you are not alone, and there are people at church that are working on doing something about this.

Secondly, know that you are already part of the solution. You are already doing something about this each and every day. You are teaching your children constructive ways to express anger and resentment and hostility and fear. Each and every day they are learning from you to use words, to take a run, to cry into a pillow, to talk with a trusted friend or a trusted adult about their feelings when they are upset. So, each and every day, in your various settings, you are addressing this problem and making a difference.

You are also making a difference by paying attention. You pay attention to your children and their friends. You pay attention to your students. You notice what is going on. You ask questions. You take an interest in others. You are involved. You express concerns. You show that you care. That matters. Many adults today are consumed with themselves and don’t notice what is going on around them. And when they do see something of concern they think it is not their problem or their business. I know that all of you are proactive in your caring and concern for others. That really matters!

You also make a difference by involving yourselves in schools and education. You advocate for better educational policies. I am not an educator but I am a parent and the Parkland school had 3,000 students. That is just too big. A high school should not be that big. Maybe it is an economy of scale from a financial standpoint but it is not an economy of scale from an educational standpoint. With 3,000 students it is too easy for students to fall through the cracks. It’s too easy for teachers and staff not to care. And we know that students these days have more and more needs. They need more attention and care not less. A school that large cannot meet the needs of the students. But in ways large and small, I know that you are working to make the school culture more supportive of the educational and character building needs of the students. That matters!

Let your heart break for Parkland and those families. Don’t hold back your tears. Love your kids and your students. Let them know it! Continue to be a positive influence in society. And know that your church family is with you every day all the way!

Please call on me if I can be helpful. I am willing to listen. I can give a hug. I am available to speak with your children as well. I want them to know that at church there are caring adults that they can trust.

I know you may be weary of all of this but stay engaged. Be courageous. Don’t let fear win.

Take care.

Kim Wells, pastor
B.A. Wellesley College
M. Div. Union Theological Seminary of New York

Lakewood United Church of Christ
2601 54th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33712-4700
(727) 867-7961


Open and Affirming Coalition of the UCC 2018 Gathering

February 15, 2018

Registration is now open for National Open and Affirming Gathering, June 27-30 at the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, TX! Join us for this annual family reunion of our growing movement of LGBTQ-affirming communities in the United Church of Christ. Help us welcome ONA church #1500, and renew our commitment to become a church where everyone is welcome, wanted and needed, and no one left behind!

This year’s theme: “Living Our Covenant Beyond Boundaries.” We live in a time of great danger and great opportunity. The Trump Administration is threatening the basic rights for which the LGBTQ community and our allies fought for years. Violence against transgender Americans is on the rise. Research shows that anti-LGBTQ feelings  ——–  which had been declining steadily for two decades  ——–  is creeping upward again. And ONA congregations are challenged not only to defend their LGBTQ neighbors, but all whose lives and human dignity are under attack.

If there was ever a year when National ONA Gathering was needed, this is it!

We’ll tell you more about the program in the coming weeks. Our keynoter is the Rev. Justo González II, a leader in the UCC’s Sanctuary Movement, who will challenge us to renew and expand our ONA covenants. While we’re still working on the schedule, every National Gathering is an opportunity to:

  • meet and develop friendships with LGBTQ people and our allies throughout the United Church of Christ.
  • learn new ways we can be effective advocates for the Gospel of God’s love in our communities.
  • celebrate, sing, and have fun!

More information and registration are at If you’ve any questions, please contact us at

Help us build our scholarship fund to help people with financial needs attend this life-changing event! Tax-deductible support for scholarships is an option on your registration form.

Open and Affirming Coalition | United Church of Christ | 216-926-6262

Free Luis

Rev. Kim Wells, Rev. Victoria Long, and Susan Pomeroy from LUCC attended a rally in support of Luis Blanco and just immigration policies at Allendale United Methodist church in St. Petersburg on Feb. 1. It was a great way to begin Black History Month!


Community Conversation on Gun Violence

LUCC was one of the Community Partners sponsoring the League of Women Voters’ “Community Conversation on Gun Violence” at Allendale United Methodist Church on the evening of Feb. 13th.

Patti Cooksey, Sue Sherwood, Earl Waters, Kim Wells, Lucille Ruga

Gun Violence pamphlet created by Grace Lewis

Lucille Ruga, Earl Waters, Kim Wells, Patti Cooksey

Speakers: Ryan Mitchell (firefighter paramedic facilitator), City Council member Lisa Wheeler-Brown, Amanda Thalji-Raitano (licensed psychologist/school counselor), Dr. David Berman (physician at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital)

Sue Sherwood at the LUCC table with church brochures, UCC “firsts,” and the Gun Violence pamphlet created by Grace Lewis.


Some local events of interest to the social conscious

This information is provided by former members of the Women’s March St Pete steering committee to raise awareness about upcoming events that may be of interest.


Oct 20.
Sheroes & Heroes Among Us
6 PM @ Enoch Davis Community Center, 1111 18th Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33705

The arrival of a new documentary series shot on location in South Saint Petersburg. Sheroes & Heroes Among Us kicks off with its first premiere “Winnie Foster: The Activist Pollinator.” Mrs. Foster’s contagious energy and tenacity fed the progressive spirit for civil rights . Her courage and willingness to work with bulwarks of integration and the women’s rights movement forever altered the political and socioeconomic landscape in Southern Pinellas County.

This documentary is the first of twelve episodes about Saint Petersburg’s Sheroes & Heroes Among Us who have left an indelible footprint in the advancement of equal rights, education, and the arts. The documentaries are scheduled to be released over the next year. A panel discussion and dinner will follow every viewing.

A $10-plus donation at the door would be most appreciated. Food will be provided.
Oct 21. Petition Picnic2pm @ Capaz Park, 2700 W Aileen St, Tampa, FL 33607

Join Indivisible Action Tampa Bay in downtown Tampa to meet progressive candidates running for office in Hillsborough County and sign petitions to help them get on the 2018 ballot. Bring food to share for a picnic potluck.

Everyone is welcome at this family-friendly event with a terrific playground that will appeal to kids — bring them along! Spend the afternoon hanging out with fellow progressives making a difference in the world.

Oct 25.  Fired Up Pinellas: FL Gun Laws & Issues, Charter Schools6 PM @
Metro Wellness & Community Center, 3251 3rd Ave N, Suite 125, St. Petersburg, Florida 33713

  • FLORIDA GUN LAWS AND ISSUES. Speaker: Patricia Brigham, First Vice President League of Women Voters Florida & Co-Founder Florida Gun Safety Committee & Chair. Learn about gun safety issues, advocacy, and legislative goals.
  • CHARTER SCHOOLS, WHOSE CHOICE?. Speaker: Robin R. Jones – Education Co-Chair, LWV St. Pete. -Charter schools began in the 1990’s as laboratories of innovation within the public education system, supported by teachers and education professionals. Today charter schools have become highly controversial, promoted more as competitors of rather than compliments to public schools and often built and managed by national for-profit charter chains. Last spring the Florida legislature continued its quest to make Florida one of the most charter friendly states in the country with it omnibus HB 7069. As parents and taxpayers we need to understand charters and their proper role in our public education system.
  • METRO HEALTH, WELLNESS & COMMUNITY CENTER – Learn about this center with a mission to provide quality health and wellness services that are inclusive, relevant, supportive and represent the lifetime continuum of the diverse people in our community.
  • CLOTHES TO KIDS – Learn about this great local organization and their mission to provide new and quality used clothing to low-income or in crisis school-age children, free of charge.
  • PLEASE BRING DONATIONS – New or used children’s and teen’s clothing, school uniforms and shoes (especially sneakers). Also, new donations of socks and girls underwear (bikini style) and boys underwear (boxer style).
Nov 2. Brookwood Florida’s 90th Anniversary Celebration6:30 @ Duncan McClellan Gallery, 2342 Emerson Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712

Join the 90th anniversary celebration of Brookwood Florida — an amazing organization providing a home for girls diverted by abuse, neglect or homelessness. At Brookwood, girls learn the life skills they need to lead self-sufficient and independent lives.

This fun-filled evening will include food, craft beers, wonderful wines, music, a special live glass blowing demonstration, and a raffle for an amazing one-of-a-kind piece of glass. All proceeds from ticket sales, raffle and sponsorships wilI directly benefit Brookwood.

Nov 8. Get on the Bus – Advocacy Day in Tallahassee
Guns at the courthouse? Guns in churches and private schools? No thanks! Tell your legislative representatives how you feel in person during Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense Florida Advocacy Day. The round-trip chartered bus ride leaves from Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa and is free to any and all volunteers. Interested?  SIGN UP HERE
November 9, 6:30pm @ Kaizen Collaborative, 5215 W Laurel St #110, Tampa FL  33607
Events like the mass shooting in Las Vegas or the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville weigh heavy on people’s minds and hearts, and it can be difficult to disengage entirely from these critical events and conversations while at work. So how do we talk about current events in ways that strengthen relationships rather than divide them? What happens when someone’s identity feels too “political” to talk about?
Join Community Tampa Bay for an evening that will include interactive learning, dialogue, and networking focused on best practices in inclusion. Free and open to the public. Light meal served.
Nov 11. 100% St Pete Solar Tour. 8:30 AM @ St. Pete Eco-Village, 302 15th St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33705

Join the 2nd annual 100% St Pete Solar Tour to see how neighbors and businesses, such as LEED certified Planet Fitness and USF St. Petersburg, are using solar energy and energy efficiency to reduce monthly utility bills and to help tackle climate change – and how you can too.

The tour concludes at the St Pete Eco Village for optional garden lunch and informal Q&A with homeowners and business owners from the tour.

Hosted by St. Pete Eco-Village, Florida Suncoast Sierra Club and League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area

The St Pete Solar Tour includes $15.00 to cover the transportation. Registration required:

Nov 11. Circus McGurkis:
The Next Generation  

Celebrating Peace Education, Diversity, and Community Activism
10am-4pm @ Lakewood United Church of Christ, 2601 54th Ave S St. Petersburg

Featuring arts, crafts, music, games and ideas which celebrate the creativity and activism that makes our community a more beautiful, loving and just place to live. Roving poets and actors, musicians and drummers and art activities for children and families of all ages and types  Circus McGurkis is an expression of Quaker belief in the dignity and worth of each person an in the power of love and nonviolence to bring about change. Sponsored by the Quakers and hosted by Lakewood United Church of Christ

Nov 16. A Former Skinhead Speaks Out Against Hate, 7 PM @ Eckerd College, 4200 54th Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33711

Frank Meeink, author of “Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead,” will share his personal story.

Frank Meeink was a skinhead at age 13. By age 17, he had his own cable-access TV show, “The Reich” and he was roaming the country as a skinhead leader and Neo-Nazi recruiter, with gangs that would beat people indiscriminately. At age 18, he was finally arrested and convicted of kidnapping and beating a member of a rival skinhead gang.

While in prison he befriended men he used to think he hated, men of different races. After being released from prison, Meeink tried to rejoin his old skinhead pals but couldn’t bring himself to hate those whom he now knew to be his friends.

Now a noted speaker, author, and founder of Harmony Through Hockey, Frank’s life stands for tolerance, diversity, and mutual understanding in racial, political, and all aspects of society.

Presented by Eckerd College. Sponsored by The Florida Holocaust Museum.

Free and open to the public. Please RSVP at 727.820.0100, extension 301.

Nov 16 & 17. Impact Summit @ USF St. Petersburg Student Center, 200 6th Ave South, St. Petersburg FL 33701

Data is key to the identification of community trends and a basis for addressing health disparities and inequities and to mobilize around other key issues that matter to residents.  Yet, the validity of data is routinely questioned and information is increasingly coming from unreliable sources. Now at growing risk of being eliminated or withheld, community data matters more than ever.

The 2017 Impact Summit will offer a forum to discuss and explore the role of data in supporting community change, on how to facilitate the use of accurate data for democratic decision-making at various scales – locally, regionally, statewide, nationally and internationally – and on opportunities to fortify and intensify our efforts to promote and lead change through the use of community data.   Sponsored by the Community Indicators Consortium.


Nov 17. Lecture: White Nationalism, Anti-Semitism, and Neo-Fascism7pm @ Allendale United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Road North, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33703
The Leif Nissen Social Justice Lecture Series of Temple Beth-El, in partnership with Allendale United Methodist Church, presents a Social Justice Shabbat with Investigative Journalist, Scholar & Author Chip Berlet.

  • 7:00 PM Shabbat service
  • 7:45 PM lecture and Q/A

The evening is free and open to the public; dessert reception to follow lecture.

Chip Berlet is a progressive activist, journalist and scholar who has spent over thirty years studying bigoted right-wing movements. He is a co-author of the entry on Neo-Nazism in the current Encyclopedia Judaica and contributed a chapter on Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories to the book The Paranoid Apocalypse: A Hundred-year Retrospective on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In 2000, he co-authored the book Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, which received a Gustavus Myers Center Award for outstanding scholarship on the subject of human rights and intolerance. Berlet has authored numerous peer review articles and book chapters on White Nationalism and Neo-fascism.
Chip blogs at

Nov 21. Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos Or Community?
6pm @ Childs Park Rec Center, 4301 13th Avenue South, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33711

During this electoral cycle proverbial shots have been fired, shade has been thrown and relationships have been tested. As sad as it is, the one thing we can all be sure of is, no matter who wins and who loses, the work must continue. With that in mind, we would like to invite you to a post election community conversation and dinner to discuss, “Where do we go from here?” We will highlight the book with the same title by Dr Martin Luther King Jr and work to settle our differences and prepare to move forward.

Every Tuesday-Resist Trump Tuesdays10:30 am, Corner of Kennedy and Dale Mabry Blvd, Tampa. Sponsored by Indivisible Tampa – Join us every Tues for our ongoing show of dissent! Bring your favorite sign.
Every Wednesday – Independent Investigation Rally, 12 noon – 1:30pm @ St. Petersburg Judicial Building, 545 1st Ave N, St Petersburg, FL 33711. Ongoing Wednesday rallies to demand a public, independent investigation into Trump/Russia ties. Bring signs! We meet on the sidewalks surrounding the St. Pete Judicial Building.  Organized by Floridians Against Corruption & Treason (FACT).

Confronting Our Racism

Monday, November 20, 2017
8:45am – 4:30pm
Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, Florida
Fox Hall and Wireman Chapel
4200 – 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33711
(727) 864-8587

Whether you are just thinking about this issue for the first time or have been doing this work all of your life, you are invited to join us for a day long conversation about opposing racism. We will be asking questions and talking about next steps in dealing with racism in our own local communities.

Our guests will be the Reverend Paul Roberts, President of Johnson C. Smith Seminary, and Professor Erin Cooley of Colgate University. There is no cost to register for the conference. You will be asked to pay $15 (cash or check) for lunch on the day of the conference. To register for the conference, please visit the following Google link:

This conference is made possible with funding from the John and Phyllis Ogden Fund of the Synod of the South Atlantic.

Doug McMahon
Director of the Center for Spiritual Life and Chaplain
Wireman Chapel, Eckerd College
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711


Restoring Respect”, a community conversation, at The Cathedral Church of St. Peter

ST. PETERSBURG–The Cathedral Church of St. Peter will host a five-part series, “Restoring Respect: A Community Conversation,” starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17.

The initial gathering, “Restoring Respect: Where Did It Go?” will offer a panel discussion with President Donald R. Eastman III; Eric Deggans, television critic for National Public Radio; and Dr. Brendan Goff, professor of history at New College, Sarasota.

“Lack of respect for those who look, think, worship or vote differently is one of the compelling issues of the day,” said the Very Rev. Stephen B. Morris, dean of the cathedral. “It is something we all confront, day in and day out, regardless of who we voted for in the presidential election, where we are on the political spectrum, where we get our news,” Dean Morris said. “This is a time of heat without light, shouting without listening. We want to contribute to a community conversation that helps us get beyond that, listen and learn from each other.”

Additional sessions and topics are:

Nov. 14: Restoring Respect: In the Media; Jan. 16: Restoring Respect: In Religion; Feb. 20: Restoring Respect: In Race; March 20: Restoring Respect: In Politics.

All five sessions are free and open to the public. The Cathedral is at 140 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. The entrance is on Second Avenue N, and there is free parking in the city-owned lots on the north side of Second Avenue opposite the Cathedral. Information:(727) 822-4173.


Lakewood UCC is a member of the Florida Coalition to prevent gun violence

Your energy is needed!
The Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence is on the move again with introducing bills that would ban semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity magazines. Senator Linda Stewart and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith brought the bills forward in the 2017 Legislative Session, and they are again sponsoring them for the upcoming 2018 Session. We applaud them for doing so. Read about their announcement here.
These bills did not get a hearing last Session, even though Florida had just experienced what was, at that time, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.
This week with the terrible news out of Las Vegas, now the site of the worst mass shooting in American history, the ban is more relevant than ever. The Nevada shooter possessed 47 guns, and jerry-rigged his semiautomatic rifle so that it would work like a fully automatic weapon. The result was at least 58 people dead and over 500 injured.
We cannot allow the further normalization of gun violence. We should not have to fear getting shot whenever we step into a movie theater, nightclub, or attend a concert.
The fight for smart gun laws remains in the states. Senator Stewart’s and Rep. Smith’s proposals—SB 196 and HB 219—deserve a hearing. The time for debate on responsible gun safety legislation is long overdue. We need your help to encourage Florida Legislative leaders to hear these bills!
Please call the following lawmakers and request that they give Senate Bill 196 and House Bill 219 a fair hearing!
Senate President Joe Negron
Senator Bill Galvano
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Sen. Greg Steube
House Speaker Richard Corcoran
House Rules Chairman Rep. Jose Oliva
House Criminal Justice Committee Chairman, Rep. Ross Spano
Thank you! With the thousands of members under the umbrella of the Coalition and League of Women Voters of Florida, we can affect grassroots change that will make our state safer from gun violence.
In League,
Pamela Goodman
Patti Brigham
Co-Chair, Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence

League of Women Voters of Florida


Florida Coalition to end gun violence

Lakewood UCC is a member of Florida Coalition to end gun violence

Media Contact:
Pamela Goodman
President, LWV Florida
Patricia Brigham
Co-Chair, Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
Statement from LWVFL and Coalition on Las Vegas Shooting
Once again, Americans awoke this morning to the news of another horrific mass shooting, this time in Las Vegas. At this writing, at least 58 were killed by a lone gunman. In addition, over 500 people were injured. Just a little more than a year after the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the mass shooting in Las Vegas is now the deadliest in modern U.S. history.
While we are still learning the facts of what happened, the League of Women Voters of Florida and the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence mourn the loss of life of so many innocent people in Las Vegas. However, the response of our elected officials with messages of “thoughts and prayers” is insufficient. We do not elect our government officials for thoughts and prayers. We elect them to make law. We cannot continue to allow easy access to assault weapons in our country. We have seen the consequences of such access too many times. We honor the lives lost today with our unwavering commitment to protect all communities from gun violence.
Pamela S. Goodman
LWV Florida
Patricia Brigham
Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
Andy Pelosi
Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence

Response to Las Vegas Shooting


Las Vegas Response, Oct. 2, 2017


Having trouble viewing this email? Click here Oct. 2, 2017

Conference Call


Rev. John VertiganDear Church,

The member congregations and staff of the Florida Conference woke this morning to an all-too-familiar tragedy; a mass shooting. Our hearts break at the thought of more terror being spread by a lone gunman with a high-volume weapon. We are brought back to the morning of June 12, 2016, when the PULSE nightclub became a crime scene and a memorial.

We hold our sister churches in Las Vegas in our prayers, knowing that the path to wholeness is a long one and that the scars of those few minutes of gunfire will stay with the Las Vegas community for years to come. As congregations in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, and Hood, Texas, have taught us, the work of healing goes on long after the cameras are gone and the candles have gone out, and people are left with pain in body and soul.

We are also witnesses to the power of love. We learned from the PULSE shooting that communities can come together to proclaim and live out the gospel news that LOVE WINS. Violence scars and strains our communities, but it is not the final word.

But as faith communities that respond to individual need, to natural disasters and to the specific needs of our local communities, we have to ask ourselves and our nation this question: what are we called to do to help end gun violence? Whatever the motive of this shooter, he had the means to inflict enormous harm in a very short time. Can we continue to wring our hands and accept this violence, or will we seek policies that limit the access of angry people to means of destruction? As contentious as this issue can be, it is one that we must confront if we are to honor the memories of those who have been lost today and each day.

The Florida Conference is a member of the Florida Coalition to End Gun Violence, and we encourage our local settings to act for the safety and security of all God’s children. We hold in prayer those who have lost loved ones, or who face long-term rehabilitation. We ask that our members be sensitive to victims of violence who are re-traumatized by this event. And we pray for the courage to confront the gun violence in our society, believing that change can happen.

Be at peace and be in touch, won’t you. LOVE WINS.

Rev. John Vertigan

The Rev. John Vertigan
Conference Minister

A pdf version of this letter on Florida Conference letterhead is available here for further distribution.


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Another Florida Execution Scheduled

Governor Scott has ordered the execution of Michael Lambrix for Thursday, October 5th at 6pm. This would be the 25th execution ordered by Gov. Scott, a new record for a Florida governor. Originally scheduled for February 2016, Mr. Lambrix’s execution was put on hold when the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hearst decision declared sentencing juries must be unanimous. There were hopes that Lambrix would be resentenced to life in prison, where he has already served 33 years. But the state of Florida has since determined that the Hearst decision could not be considered retroactive, so the 8-4 and 10-2 jury decisions to execute have been declared legally binding.

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty works for restorative justice in the form of effective alternatives to the death penalty. More information is available at We expect that there will be a vigil at the time of execution; information about that will be shared when available. In the meantime, letters to Gov. Scott (400 S. Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399) are an appropriate response.


Help for Hurricane Harvey

Help for Hurricane Harvey

HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 28: Evacuees are helped to dry land after their homes were inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries is already engaged in response to Hurricane Harvey by supporting partners and planning for recovery. Giving to the Harvey appeal ensures that 100% of your support will be used for disaster relief and rehabilitation targeting the unique needs of vulnerable individuals and families. We do this by being nimble and adaptable in each disaster which allows us to fill gaps in services through provisions of spiritual care, community organizing, repair and reconstruction of homes, tools, building materials and volunteer coordination.

This Epic disaster will require an epic response. Your generous contribution today makes the long-term response that will be needed, possible.

Read more about how UCC Disaster Ministries is responding and how you can help by clicking here.


League of Women Voters’ Sunrise Over the Bay: Sustainability Summit

Sunrise Over the Bay: Sustainability Summit
Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM EDT
Add to Calendar

Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
100 8th Ave SE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-5020
Driving Directions

Hello Claire!

Solar panels, bicycles and electric cars, green stormwater management, preserving beaches. Each of these helps make our area more sustainable.
What’s going on in your county? Your city? Maybe even your neighborhood?
Sunrise Over the Bay, sponsored by the LWVSPA Sustainability Action Group, will look at the many ways organizations and individuals are working towards clean energy and clean water–and sustainability.
Speakers include:
  • Alan Brand, AKA the “Solar Shepherd”
  • Mary Dipboye, FL SUN Solar Co-op
  • Claude Tankersley, St Pete Public Works
  • Holly Greening, Tampa Bay Estuary
  • Andy Squires, PC Beach Restoration
  • Susan Glickman, Southern Alliance Clean Energy
  • Dr. Gary Mitchum, Associate Dean,USF College of Marine Science
Topics will include solar energy co-ops, actions the City and County have taken in support of solar energy, and community solar opportunities. Also, as part of the conversation about climate change, participants will explore stormwater and wastewater planning, integrated sustainability action planning, and beach replenishment,
Register Now!
Doors will open at 8:00 am. A 20-minute break mid-program between sessions when light refreshments will be provided.


Metered street parking is available, along with the pay lot at the Mahaffey Theatre.

Sponsorship and vendor opportunities are available. Tables will be available at no charge to non-profit exhibitors. Please reply to this email to reserve your vendor/table spot.
We hope to see you at Sustainability Summit 2017!
LWV-St. Pete Sustainability Action Group Co-Chairs,
Lisa Vanover
Claire Karas
Susan Tuite
LWVSPA, P.O. Box 11775, St. Petersburg, FL 33733

Workshop Offers How-to for Citizen Action

Workshop Offers How-to
for Citizen Action
A spirit of activism not seen since at least 2008 is sweeping across America. Motivated by the 2016 election campaign and its outcome, people on both sides of the political aisle are energized to become active in the political process – either to support the policies of the current administration at the national, state or local level, or to oppose them. But many are unsure of how the process works. How does one begin to make a difference in the political world?


Former Congressman David Jolly and Pinellas County Commission Chair Janet Long will provide national and local perspectives on our system of government at a workshop as part of our Civics Literacy Initiative. Sponsored by the Institute and the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area Democracy 101: A Civic Action Primer takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 28 at the American Stage Theatre, 163 Third St. N., St. Petersburg. This free workshop will provide the basics of government structure, policy-making, and civic engagement.


Moderating the workshop will be Tara Newsom, Professor of Social and Behavioral Science at SPC, and Julie Kessel, president of the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area. They will give a brief overview of the nuts and bolts of government as well as strategies for engaging with elected and appointed officials. Advance registration is available here.

St Petersburg Plastic Bag Ban Petition

As the St. Petersburg City Council considers a ban on plastic bags, 36 members of Lakewood UCC signed a petition in support of such a ban. Along with the petition, Rev. Kim Wells sent a letter of explanation, it read:

Dear Members of the St. Petersburg City Council,
Greetings!  Our church is committed to the directive in the book of Genesis that humanity care for the Earth (Genesis 1:28).  We take this responsibility very seriously.  We feel an obligation to protect the Earth and all of the life that it supports.  We continue to seek out ways to fulfill this requirement of the Christian as well as the Jewish faith.
To this end, we enclose a petition in support of the limitation of the use of plastic bags.  This petition was circulated in church on the past two Sunday mornings.  There were about 30 people in attendance each Sunday.  We feel that the banning of plastic bags is an important way to show greater care and respect for the Earth and for the wildlife of our area.
I was in Portland, OR for a week in May attending a meeting and seeing the area since I had never been there.  After four days, I noticed that I had not been given a plastic bag at a store.  Paper bags had been used.  The next time I went to a store I asked about this.  Was there some kind of law or prohibition against plastic bags?  Oh yes!  The clerk was very enthusiastic about it and was quite surprised to hear that we did not have this in Florida.
Thank you for pursuing this initiative here in St. Petersburg.  Hopefully other municipalities will follow suit.  It’s good to live in a city that is setting the pace!
Many thanks for your leadership and service.
Rev. Kim Wells, pastor

Lakewood UCC presence at Candlelight Vigil for Charlottesville

On Sunday evening, August 13, Susan Pomeroy and Sue Sherwood from LUCC attended the Charlottesville Solidarity Vigil at Demens Landing in St. Petersburg. This candlelight vigil drew people together within 24 hours of the tragic and deadly confrontations in Virginia. This gathering was organized by many local organizations, among them the Women’s March Pinellas Chapter.

It was a hushed atmosphere. Gradually 300-500 people of all ages gathered – silently walking across the park to stand together or sit on the grass and talk quietly – remembering, mourning. praying, and breathing deeply of the power of community. Many in the crowd quietly held signs as in the January marches: Love Trumps Hate, Black Lives Matter, We the People Can Resist. The Uhurus silently wove through the crowd with a sign and flyers for their mayoral candidate.

There were many inspiring speakers — County Commissioner Ken Welch and Equality Florida’s Nadine Smith among them — the crowd often breaking into applause. One shared that the violence of Charlottesville brought back memories of what it was like growing up in racially charged Florida decades ago, urging us to reach out to one another across the differences that divide us and claim common ground. City Council’s Darden Rice called us all to view again the photo of the car plowing through the crowd in Charlottesville and to look deeply into each of the faces there.

As the evening drew to a close, we were heartened by this caring community with the pink sky above us and the babies around us, cuddled and happy as we raised candles of hope for their future to be one of justice and peace. We lingered after the candle-lighting to hear the shared music and poetry – passion expressed in so many ways.

We were especially touched by Rabbi Michael Torop of Temple Beth-El, who blessed us with one of the most ancient prayers in Judaism:

Yevarechecha Adonai u’vishmarechav
May All that is Good surround you and protect you;
Ya’eir Adonai panav eleicha v’chuneka
May All that is Good enlighten you, and may you then shine it on others;
Yisa Adonai panav eleicha, v’yaseim lecha shalom.
May All that is Good be your constant companion, and may such Goodness bring you, indeed bring to all of us, wholeness, completeness, unity and peace.

–Sue Sherwood

Click on any picture for a larger image.

Here you can see the Vigil from the front near the stage. Squatting down & holding the “Hate Has No Home Here” sign is Joran Oppelt, President of Interfaith Tampa Bay. The Interfaith statement to the community is immediately below the picture.

Interfaith Tampa Bay Statement
In light of the recent events in Charlottesville, VA and as members of Interfaith Tampa Bay, we feel it is imperative to make our position clear.
It is the mission of Interfaith Tampa Bay to build bridges between individuals and faith communities through shared dialogue and experience, heal ourselves and our society by serving the community and fighting injustice together, and effect change in our world by promoting non-violence and religious pluralism.
This amazing and beautiful country belongs to all of us, not just one race, not just one religion. And while we believe in the benefits of multiculturalism, a culture of hate is not sustainable for our city, our society or the planet.
We invite people of all faiths (as well as our atheist brothers and sisters) to join us in our stand and support for what is right and just for all.
We believe that by whatever name we choose – God, Allah, Creator, The Force – there is something that connects us all. And that unifying principle, that Golden Rule – no matter how difficult it may seem – is that we love one another.
It is time to send a message to those who would support a culture of hatred, fear and xenophobia (specifically white nationalism and white supremacy). It is time for us to share the antidote for those who would poison the minds of our children. The message is that your time is up and we are not willing to let you divide us or run our country into chaos. The antidote is love, acceptance, courage, non-violence and dialogue.
Interfaith Tampa Bay stands in solidarity with all who uphold these principles in Tampa Bay and beyond.
Peace be upon you, Shalom aleikhem, As-salamu alaykum.
The Board of Directors of Interfaith Tampa Bay
Joran Slane Oppelt, President
Imam Abdul Karim Ali, Vice President
Rev. J.C. Pritchett, Secretary
Rev. Doral Pulley, Treasurer
Rev. Canon Katie Churchwell
Rev. Katy Korb
Kitty Rawson