Weekly Update 3/18

This Sunday, March 20 is the third Sunday of Lent this season of re-turning our lives to God.  The gospel for the day invites us to learn from the fig tree.  Get ready to bear fruit!  See Luke 13:1-9. 

Each Sunday as the war in Ukraine continues, there will be sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine, on the altar as a sign of solidarity with the Ukrainians. Last week the flowers were brought by Bill Parsons and Kay Rencken.If you would like to bring flowers this week, please let Rev. Wells or the Church Office know

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!

Advisors Request Congregation’s Views on Masking

Please let the church know your preferences.  Which option indicates your views?  You can respond to this email.  Hit reply  and say ‘Option 1’ or ‘Option 2’ or ‘Option 3’.

Option 1

Keep masks mandatory and sing hymns again.

Option 2

Make masks optional and have no singing.  

Option 3

I will not feel safe coming to church in person if masks are optional.

Book Talk Re-Scheduled for March

The monthly Book Talk for March has been rescheduled to Thursday March 24 at 6:30 p.m.  You are encouraged to participate.  It is virtual.  Here is the Zoom link:  

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2700683648
Meeting ID: 270 068 3648

Mouse Needed

A computer has been donated to the church.  But a mouse is needed.  A plug in mouse that is compatible with a PC, not Apple.  If you have an extra one at home, please let the church know.  You can bring it on Sunday or leave it in the outside mailbox at the church.  Many thanks!


The United Church of Christ joins forces each year to receive the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.  This special offering helps with needs around the world.  When you read about a terrible weather event, flooding, drought, or other devastating situations, you can know that your dollars are at work through local religious communities to offer assistance.  Here’s a link to more information from the national UCC: https://www.ucc.org/love-remains-long-term-and-worldwide-through-one-great-hour-of-sharing/?inf_contact_key=0cfd65371d22f479bfede083a268824fcc0558ed5d4c28cbfab114022b1ec50d

Lakewood will be collecting this special offering on Palm Sunday April 10.  There are envelopes at church that can be used or indicate on your check or online donation OGHS.  This is an important way to love our neighbors and our enemies next door and around the world.  

New Opportunities for Immigration Justice

The Biden administration endorsed Temporary Protected Status for Ukrainians currently in the US. So that effort was successful.

Here are two additional initiatives being supported by the  Pinellas Coalition for Immigration Justice.  LUCC is a member of this coalition.  

Legislators will be voting on SB 1808/HB 1355 which looks to harm local governments by dictating their municipal contracts and forcing law enforcement agencies to waste taxpayer dollars to enter into federal immigration agreements. This bill will also reduce travel into the State of Florida, further harming our economy, and harm immigrant children by preventing them from reuniting with family residing in Florida.

Also, it Redefines “sanctuary policy” by broadening the definition to include local policies that limit a law enforcement agency from providing information to a state entity regarding the immigration status of someone in the custody of law enforcement.

We ask that you please join in taking action against these bad bills. Make sure to share with your congregation, leaders, and friends.


The second initiative encourages the Biden administration to support humanitarian aid to Ukrainians within Ukraine as well as refugees.  Here is additional information and a way to take action:  https://www.votervoice.net/LIRS/campaigns/92369/respond?mc_cid=0291e8ce30&mc_eid=5b2d782ff9

How to Help Ukraine

The local Ukrainian Catholic Church is sponsoring humanitarian aid.  There are more details at their website: https://www.epiphanyukrch.com

The national United Church of Christ is also offering ways to support the Ukrainian people.  Here’s a link:  https://p2a.co/nGEvYVL?inf_contact_key=ad8269e3f149ec1ef1efd03de1e233aacc0558ed5d4c28cbfab114022b1ec50d

Bill Parsons’ Talk about Ukraine

At the request of several people in the congregation, the presentation about Ukraine given by Bill Parsons after church last Sunday was recorded.  You can view it here:  https://lakewooducc.org/2022/03/08/bill-parsons-ukraine-discussion/

Young Adult Service Opportunity

Coral Gables United Church of Christ in conjunction with the national United Church of Christ, is sponsoring a year long paid service-learning internship for young adults ages 21-35.  Interns are matched with a local social service organization, provided housing, and connected with a local congregation for faith formation and leadership development.  For more information, contact Rev. Aaron Lauer: AaronL@gablesucc.org

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! 

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.

Many thanks to Janet Blair and Jim Andrews for taking the donations to Celebrate Outreach.  

Inkjet Recycling

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

NOTE CHANGE OF DAY:  The guided labyrinth walk next week will be held on Thursday March 24 at 9:00 a.m. 

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. 


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

William Owen-Cowan

Jen Degroot

Carolyn Moore

Ann Quinn is now under Hospice care

Maggie Brizendine

Janet Hall

All those suffering from COVID-19 and all healthcare workers

Schools: Students, families, teachers, and staff

Recent Posts:

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

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