This Sunday, March 6, is the first Sunday of Lent. Services will explore “The Wildness of Mercy.” The story for the first Sunday of Lent is about Jesus spending 40 days in the wilderness. Wilderness. There’s that word again, ‘wild.’ That time prepares Jesus for his ministry, which is also, well, wild.
The first Sunday of the month is communion Sunday. The Communion offering will be received. This offering is used to help people in the church and the community with basic needs such as rent and utility assistance, bus passes, prescriptions, etc. There has been a heavy need for these funds. Please consider how you can help the community through this offering.
Conversation about Ukraine
After church this Sunday, LUCC member Bill Parsons will lead a discussion about the war in Ukraine. He will give some background information and respond to questions from those gathered. Bill is a retired history professor from Eckerd College. His specialty was Russia/USSR. He was instrumental in establishing the sister city relationship between St. Petersburg, FL and St. Petersburg, Russia. Bill has also fostered many other connections between Florida and Russia including the sister church relationship between LUCC and St. Job’s in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The service will be in the sanctuary with the doors and windows open.
Join in the celebration on Sunday in person or on Facebook Live.
Lent – The Wildness of Mercy
The season of Lent begins next Wednesday. Please see the details about the Ash Wednesday service. Lent is a 40 day period of spiritual preparation for the celebration of Easter. The time echoes Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness in preparation for his ministry. The season of Lent is a time to re-turn your life to God/Divine Love/Spirit – however you conceive of what is of ultimate importance in shaping your reality.
Traditionally, people give something up for Lent. This is a spiritual discipline that functions on many levels. It reminds us of all that we have. It invites us to exert discipline. By foregoing something we care about, it is all the more precious when we enjoy it once again. It sets the season apart and keeps us mindful. In recent years, people have begun taking something on for Lent. Maybe a volunteer activity or service of some kind. Again, this functions to set the season apart, to revisit the concept of sacrifice, to follow in the way of Jesus. Are you giving some thought to what you will take on or give up for Lent? We’ll ask about that in church the next couple of Sundays.
At LUCC for Lent, the theme for services and other reflections and activities will be ‘The Wildness of Mercy.’ There is a well-known hymn, “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy.” With a typo, that easily becomes ‘There’s a Wildness in God’s Mercy.’ And sometimes mercy does seem pretty wild! Themes involving nature will remind us of the wildness of Divine mercy and how blessed we are to be recipients of that mercy.
In addition to Sunday morning worship and the weekly Labyrinth walks, there will be daily devotions posted to support you on your Lenten journey. There will also be a couple of outings in nature to invite reflection and renewal. Stay tuned for more details about those.
In spite of covid and the many losses and changes we are experiencing, Lent is a wonderful season to remember that there is a wildness in God’s mercy!
Ash Wednesday Service on March 2
Gratitude is expressed to Emily and Bob Bell for hosting this meaningful service at their beautiful home. Views of Boca Ciega along with the dancing flames helped to stir the spirit at the beginning of Lent. And many thanks to all those who attended the service. And, yes, there were s’mores!
Help Ukrainians Now
LUCC is part of the Pinellas Coalition for Immigration Justice. The initiative below is supported by the Coalition. This is one way the congregation can assist by asking President Biden to offer TPS (Temporary Protective Status) for Ukrainians here in the US. More details are in the link below as well as a template for an email to be sent to the White House. Please take action to help the Ukrainians who are currently in the US.
The U.S. must provide safety for Ukrainians. https://act.rescue.org/f41pmgf
Prayer Vigil for Ukraine
Many thanks to those from LUCC who participated in the prayer vigil for Ukraine at the Epiphany of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church this week.
Here is a link to some pictures from the event. https://lakewooducc.org/2022/03/02/rev-wells-speaks-at-peace-vigil-in-solidarity-with-ukraine/(opens in a new tab)
After the vigil, LUCC pastor Kim Wells was interviewed by Fox News. Here is the link to the story.
Pardon Our Dust. . .
When you come to church, you may notice that the entry hallway is being redecorated. Many thanks to those embarking on this project: Sally Purvis, Colleen Coughenour, Patti Cooksey, Claire Stiles, and Bert Lee. We are grateful for their efforts to make the space more serviceable and more appealing!
New Members Received
Two new members were recently received into the LUCC faith community. Michelle Cloutier, who has been active in the immigration ministry as well as serving as a liturgist, joined the church transferring her membership from Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz. Sherry Santana also joined the church last Sunday through the sacrament of baptism. Sherry has been active in the LUCC family as an usher and a liturgist. The church is blessed by the presence of these new members. Welcome!
Congregational Meeting Follow Up
Last Sunday following worship there was a congregational meeting to take action of the church budget for 2022. Advisor Lucille Ruga conducted the meeting. There were 25 people in attendance. Sally Purvis offered the Opening Prayer. Mark Gibson, the new church treasurer, presented the budget offering explanations of each line item and answering questions. In spite of covid and the other challenges facing LUCC and all churches, due to the faithfulness of the congregation, church leaders were able to present a balanced budget for the year ahead without drawing on reserves. The budget was unanimously adopted. [Here’s a link to the budget:https://lakewooducc.org/2022/02/23/lucc-budget-for-2022/] The congregation also agreed to partner with Celebrate Outreach by collecting toiletries for those who are houseless in St. Petersburg. There is more information about that below. There was a time for suggestions and comments on the life of the church in general. Comments were made about the children’s ministry, using hymns in church, the Creation Justice ministry, and gratitude for the church family. Jim Andrews offered a closing prayer. There was a sweet ending to the gathering as everyone present received a beautiful homemade cookie complements of Deanna Moore who is eager to bake!
Toiletries for Celebrate Outreach
Celebrate Outreach is a local ministry with people who are living without shelter in St. Petersburg. An average of 135 people are served each week. LUCC was asked to collect toiletries to be distributed to the community at the meals that are provided on Saturday and Sundays each week. This collection will be ongoing in addition to the food being collected for Operation Attack. All are invited to donate the following items: toothbrushes, toothpaste, disposable razors, bar soap, wash cloths, deodorant, feminine hygiene items, travel size creams, shampoo, body wash, individual packets of Kleenex, hand wipes, toilet tissue, and paper towels.
LUCC Receives Florida Conference People’s Empowerment Anti-Racism Grant
LUCC was awarded a matching grant of $500 from the Florida Conference to buy anti-racism books for each classroom at Maximo Elementary School. The school has selected age appropriate books for each grade. The church will place bookplates in each book indicating that the book was donated by LUCC. This is a wonderful opportunity to serve the community and impact the future. The congregation will be informed about donating the matching funds needed.
The church is continuing to collect used inkjet cartridges. They are sent to a recycler and the church receives payment for the cartridges provided. So, don’t throw out your cartridges. Bring them to church. Not only do they get recycled but they provide income for the ministry of the church.
Guided Labyrinth Walks
The guided walk is held weekly on Wednesdays at 9:00 a.m. This provides an opportunity to be aware and deepen your spiritual journey. If it is raining, the walk is held on Thursday at 9:00 a.m.
Also, the readings and prayers used on Wednesdays at the guided walk are put in the mailbox by the labyrinth each week for use during the week.
The labyrinth is on the church grounds near the southwest corner of the church property. It is available for use at all times.
Operation Attack Update
OA needs donations of cereal/oatmeal, mac and cheese, pasta sauce, peanut butter, canned meat, fruit, soup, and vegetables. Donations may be placed on the shelf in the hallway at church.
Being Covid Safe and In-Person Worship
Please stay home if you are not feeling well.
Please wear a mask while in the church building. While most people have been vaccinated, this helps visitors to feel safe.
Additional masks will be available at church to use as needed.
Two hand sanitizing stations are available for use by worshippers.
There is well-ventilated, physically distanced indoor seating in the sanctuary.
Please know that your safety is of primary consideration!
Safe childcare is provided.
Look for the bulletin posted on the church website on Friday: https://lakewooducc.org/category/bulletins/
Watch the service on Facebook Live Sundays at 10:30. https://www.facebook.com/LakewoodUCC
Or on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/LakewoodUCC/videos
Instructions for how to access Facebook Live: For additional assistance, please contact the church office.
Here are some instructions to watch our Sunday services live through Facebook:
Use the following link to visit our homepage: https://www.facebook.com/LakewoodUCC/
On Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. please use the link above to visit our homepage. There, after using the link, you will see a section labeled “Happening Now”. This is our Livestream of the Sunday Service.
To watch the live stream, locate and click the “watch video” button in the lower right corner of the screen.
If the link above is not working, there is also a link to our Facebook page on our website. Please try that link located on the Home page of our website.
With the cooler temperatures, we will resume opening the doors and windows for morning worship as we continue efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Sunday services are being held at 10:30 a.m. Masks are required. There is physical distancing. Childcare is provided.
You can also join in on Facebook Live at 10:30. Please see the instructions below.
USEFUL LAKEWOOD LINKS:
- Sermon and Reflection Texts
- Lakewood UCC YouTube Channel
- Lakewood UCC on Twitter
- Lakewood on Facebook
- Lakewood on Instagram
For the above church website links, please note the “Older Posts” button near the bottom of each page.
You can stream Hilton’s music and videos for free at hiltonkeanjones.com/look-listen/ as well as purchase his CDs and digital albums there.
March Birthdays: Carol Shores 3/1, Claudia Rodriguez 3/3, Yvonne Riesen 3/13, Ron Huff 3/19, Earl Waters 3/25, Someone missing? Contact the church office with birthday information.
Circle of Concern:
Christopher and Dana
Ann Quinn is now under Hospice care
All those suffering from COVID-19 and all healthcare workers
Schools: Students, families, teachers, and staff
- Sermon 2/27/2022March 3, 2022
- Lenten Devotion Two 3.3.22March 3, 2022
- Rev. Wells Speaks at Peace Vigil in Solidarity with UkraineMarch 2, 2022
- Help Ukrainians NowMarch 2, 2022
- Lenten Devotion 3/2/2022March 1, 2022
- Show Solidarity with UkraineMarch 1, 2022
- Bulletin 2/27/2022February 25, 2022
- A Call for Peace, Unity and Support for the Ukrainian PeopleFebruary 25, 2022
- Rev. Wells Supports the ‘Whispering Pines’ Housing Project at the St. Petersburg City Council MeetingFebruary 23, 2022
- Sermon 2/20/2022February 23, 2022
- LUCC Budget for 2022February 23, 2022
- Bulletin 2/20/2022February 18, 2022
Weekly Update: If you are involved with an activity or event that you would like to share with the LUCC family, please send the information to the Church Office by Tuesday since the Update usually is sent out on Wednesday.
On land originally inhabited by the Tocabaga