These weeks when we cannot gather in person for Sunday worship, Lakewood United Church of Christ is providing brief weekly sabbath programs for you to listen to on your own or with those you live with. They will be posted on Friday so that you can schedule your sabbath time to suit your schedule and your spiritual inclinations. This is our fourth offering of a Corona Sabbath post. We will continue to post these weekly until we are able to meet again for worship in person. We hope these programs are of spiritual support to you in these difficult times. We look forward to your feedback and suggestions.
This devotion commemorates Easter. Under normal circumstances we would be gathering on Sunday morning and entering a bare sanctuary. Then during the processional, the children and youth of the church would bring in flowers that are placed on the altar along with the bread and cup for communion and the offering plates. After the service, there would be refreshments outside on the lawn and an Easter Egg hunt. How glorious those traditional observances will seem next Easter when we take them up once more!
For now, find a quiet place, inside or outside. Light a candle. Breathe. Be present.
Contemporary theologian N. T. Wright tells us:
“Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about.”
You are invited to say the Savior’s Prayer in whatever version is most familiar to you.
Please enjoy this musical celebration of Easter! At Lakewood United Church of Christ, we use the New Century Hymnal which was designed to use inclusive language for humanity and expansive language for God. Today, for copyright reasons, we share the traditional words to the Easter standard, Christ the Lord Is Risen Today. You are welcome to sing now, as an opening hymn, the six verses at https://hymnary.org/text/christ_the_lord_is_risen_today_wesley to the organ accompaniment you can play by clicking below.
When you are ready, start the video below.
There is a scripture lesson and a brief meditation by Pastor Kim Wells followed by music offered by Music Director Hilton Kean Jones and then for this Easter post, there is a presentation of the ways that the LUCC congregation has experienced new life and creativity during these days of shelter-in-place.
(For written text of video click HERE.)
As you listen to the music from Hilton which follows, you are invited to pay attention to the thoughts and feelings and reflections that arise for you.
After viewing the videos, you are invited to offer the following closing prayer:
O Lord Jesus Christ, thou didst not come to the world to be served, but also surely not to be admired or in that sense to be worshiped. Thou wast the way and the truth – and it was followers only thou didst demand. Arouse us therefore if we have dozed away into this delusion, save us from the error of wishing to admire thee instead of being willing to follow thee and to resemble thee.
— Søren Kierkegaard 1813-1855
Breathe. Extinguish your candle and engage whatever may come with a sense of peace and a desire to serve.
Please enjoy the presentation which follows. The congregation was asked to submit expressions of the way people are experiencing and expressing creativity and new life in these corona days. Here are the offerings that were received.
Most of the smaller pictures in multiples will open to full size if you click on them.
A freezer full of homemade soups, breads, baked squash and chili. Books completed or in progress shown with my mask, photos taken.
March 25, 2020
In the last several weeks of social distancing, I have found myself experiencing more of the beauty and mystery in nature through the poems of Mary Oliver, my many walks and bike rides along Clam Bayou, and tending to my little flower garden. The beautiful sunsets and the morning songs of the birds have calmed my thoughts and fears as news of the virus continues to lead conversation and media reports. I have encountered many scenes of brilliant colors, sounds, and images each day. I have selected one photo to share, pink roses.
On the morning I learned St Petersburg had moved into a safer-at-home order, I felt devastated knowing this was just the beginning of a long period in which I would be isolated, separated from the presence of my family, especially grandchildren. Instead of hitting the trail for my morning walk, I decided to just sit on my porch and breathe while listening to Hilton playing, “Pescador de hombres.” I felt a sense of calmness come over me.
As I walked around the corner to go back into the Florida room, I saw three pink roses on what had been my mother’s Queen Elizabeth rose bush, the one we planted over 15 years ago when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I found myself smiling, remembering my mother as I walked over and gently touched a petal. I knew those roses were a gift to my two brothers and myself. I cut them and brought them into my home where they brought beauty, comfort, and love for many days. They were symbol of family connection, reminding me I was not alone. Reminding me that there is beauty and in these dark, uncertain days.
On my daily walk, I captured this sunrise.
Rev. Angela Wells-Bean
We took a walk!
A Tribute to Nurses – From one Generation to Another
Claire Stiles – April 8, 2020
As I accepted the reality of the Covid-19 pandemic and the sacrifices it would require of all of us, my thoughts went quickly to my late mother, Pearl Lovely Schmidt, R.N., whose career in nursing spanned over 50 years. She suffered through many health crises as a front line worker in hospitals and on the streets of NYC as a Public Health Nurse in the day when treatments and medications were fairly primitive by today’s standards. My respect and regard for her as a person and a professional nurse has only deepened over the years and finding a way to honor her legacy during this health care crisis led me to a creative idea.
I decided to create a “Care Package” in my mother’s honor for our very own Olivia Gibson, R.N. who is facing this infectious disease directly at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa. In her first year of work as a professional nurse, Olivia represents the courage, strength, compassion, and commitment of all nurses and other health care professionals who face risks and tragedy in their daily work.
In this package I included a retirement photo of my mother (See below), her obituary listing all of her nursing career jobs and accomplishments, my mother’s nursing charm bracelet that I bought her many years ago, a video and article about Florence Nightingale, the founder of professional nursing, snack bars and gift food cards, and a letter expressing my love and support of Olivia.
So for Olivia, and for all those who serve to transport, diagnose, treat, and heal the sick and who put themselves at great risk in doing so, I give my highest gratitude and blessings. I know my mother would be among them if she could!
I’m sure some of us, including me, have not been too creative or even productive during this quarantine. We’ve just been trying to get through one day at a time without falling into the abyss. I’m trying to somehow stay positive so I don’t totally step into a dimension that would be extremely difficult from which to return. I begin and end the day with a prayer of gratitude for my many blessings…
I admit I was struggling even before the Corona crisis. This current situation reminds me of when my father used to say, “I’ll give you something to cry about.”
I feel extremely grateful that I was already working from home six months before Corona meant anything more than a cold beer with a lime or a luminous envelope of plasma surrounding the sun. The transition was much less stressful for yours truly, thank God. Working from home has been wonderful, especially during these strange, stressful times. I pray daily for those out on the “front lines!”
I was isolating long before it became “popular,” but now, though I still isolate, I am tentatively reaching out to others, listening more and being grateful for even the smallest of things. For me, staying calm and somewhat peaceful has been quite the achievement – Oh, and lest I forget, I did reorganize the linen closet and clean off shelves by my bed cluttered with self help books and obsolete paperwork. Tackling clutter eases my fearful mind and can yield quite creative transformations. My guitar has even been picked up more than once – baby steps I know, but I celebrate anything I can these days.
Thinking of you all and wishing my Lakewood family the very best, now and forever – looking forward to seeing your smiles in the near future. ♥️♥️♥️
I just took out the cello to pick out the tune, “Carrickfergus”.
So good to hear with piano.
Wishing you a good Easter. Love, Marg
This orchid just bloomed yesterday.
1. Working from home
2. Boyd Hill Trail Walk
3. Jim leads a meditation for a group of us on Zoom
4. Zoe does therapy on Zoom with kids in St Louis
5. Zach’s sophomore year of college
Over the past few weeks in our backyard we got to watch two Mourning Doves build a nest, hatch their eggs and then, today, take their two baby birds flying for the first time. It has been so wonderful to witness this tiny act of hope & new life–and is one of the many ways we are waking up & taking notice during these close to home days.
Two photos of projects I’ve been working on during this quarantine period.
The first is a rack for kayaks in the side yard. Pretty self explanatory.
The second is of a balsa/tissue paper model of a Cessna 170. Interesting story: A friend (who has since moved to N Carolina) took me flying twice in the Cessna 170 which his father bought new in 1952! I purchased the model in 2005 thinking I’d build it and give it to him. Alas, it languished on a garage shelf for 15 years until “this” happened. It’s taking way longer than I expected.
I have long been interested in Matisse….and during this time I have been wandering through books and google to discover all sorts of new paths to follow and all sorts oof new delights. One is this beauteous and calm painting ….THE MARABOUT painted in Morocco in 1912-1913. I revel in all that blue! Gra agus slan……Kay Rencken
Kay and I were planning to go to Poland in May, but this trip was cancelled because of the virus. We had begun to prepare for the trip, but we learned that Poland is having just as much trouble with the virus as we are. My friend in Cracow whom I met 60 years ago as a student wrote me a two page letter in Polish saying he hopes we can reschedule soon. There are many things that will need to be rescheduled.
Drodzy Kay i Billu!
Czasy rzeczywiście fatalne, u nas, w Polsce również
szaleje zaraza koronowirusa… Kiedy piszę te słowa,
wydaje się, że najgorsze przed nami, chociaż wydaje
się, że nowojorskiego Armagedonu zdołamy uniknąć.
Najbardziej doskwiera nam izolacja, brak możliwości
wyjścia z domu. Na szczęście młodsza córka-Agata
mieszka po drugiej stronie ulicy, więc wyręcza nas z
obowiązku zakupów podstawowych produktów
żywnościowych. A tak nawiasem mówiąc, nasze polskie
trudności z niedostatkiem podstawowych materiałów
medycznych(maseczki, respiratory itd.), deficyt lekarzy
masowo wyjeżdżających za granicę w poszukiwaniu
lepszego chleba, przestają szokować, w sytuacji, kiedy
światowe mocarstwo nr 1- USA, przeżywa podobne, a
nawet poważniejsze perturbacje. Jak widać, pandemia
udziela naszej cywilizacji surowej lekcji i uczy pokory!
Tym bardziej żałuję, że nie dane nam będzie w tym roku
pogadać o tych i bardziej osobistych sprawach,
zwłaszcza tych, które są wspomnieniem dawnych,
Colleen Coughenour and Mark Gibson
These are photos that we sent out to our students.
Rev. Kim Wells
A Sacrificial Offering, Corona-style:
“Each one who is registered, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the Lord’s offering.” Exodus 30:14
Fifty-eight rolls of toilet paper. One for every member of the church.
The Blair-Catala’s are keeping going with trips to parks, watering Owen’s school garden, St Pete mural driving tour, homemade meals, board games and zoom with family.
Rooted in nature…
Prayers for all
Easter is a celebration of new life. Springbis also a time of new life. We have been using some hours trimming oak suckers, trimming palms, gardening around our villa including our orchids. We also make weekly yours of the campus picking up garbage that has appeared.
Reading and watching television are great but getting out assisting new life to bloom is even more fun.
We have started the alphabet conversation. For example, your first word needs to start with letter I. . .
- I am hungry.
- The next person’s first word needs to start with J.
- Just eat a snack.
- Keep it simple.
- Let’s eat popcorn.
You can start with any letter of the alphabet!
Try it, it’s fun and hard!
–Christy, Amaiya, and Kai’Lyn
Here are some Coughenour-Gibson quarantine photos!
Some days are better than others. Cooking 3 meals a day and baking keeps me going. This saying helps, too:
Let go of what has passed.
Let go of what may come.
Let go of what is happening now.
Don’t try to figure anything out.
Don’t try to make anything happen.
Relax, right now, and rest.
- A Just Peace Church
An Open and Affirming Church
A Creation Justice Church
- 2601 54th Avenue South, St Petersburg, FL 33712-4700
see the Contact page for
map, personnel, and email addresses
The mission of Lakewood United Church of Christ, as part of the Church Universal, is to:
- Celebrate the presence and power of God in our lives and in our world;
- Offer the hospitality and inclusive love of Christ to all people;
- Work for God’s peace and justice throughout creation.