Weekly Update 3/30

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 Wednesday.  Please provide the information in paragraph form with pertinent details and links.   THANK YOU!

Easter Ahead April 17!

The wonderful festival of Easter is just a few weeks away.  Please note there will be a change in the service schedule.  There will be two identical services at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.  The congregation is invited to meet and visit out on the lawn between services.  Both services will be streamed on Facebook Live.  Please make plans to be a part of this glorious celebration!  Remember – come at 9 or 11.  

This Sunday, April 3 will be a time to explore giving and receiving.  The story of the woman anointing Jesus’ feet with oil reminds us that we are moving toward the end of the Lenten season.  Take a look at John 12:1-8.  

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.

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 donated by Jim Andrews and Janet Blair. If you would like to bring sunflowers for the altar, 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.  

Peace March Sunday

Many thanks to those who were able to participate in the peace march for Ukraine last Sunday:  Bill Parsons, Kay Rencken, Jeff Wells, Earl Waters, Bob Bell, Emily Bell, and Rev. Kim Wells.  The LUCC contingent was joined by Jay Johnson of Pass A Grille UCC.  The group walked from the Dali Museum to Straub Park.  There was many expressions of support from the community.  

Mask Policy at Church

For the past several weeks, there has been conversation at church about masking and updating the masking protocol at church.  The advisors and staff have had conversations.  The congregation has been invited to offer input.  There has been consideration of the issues at hand from many perspectives.  Many thanks to ALL who have contributed to the discussion.  Your input is valued.

After careful consideration of all of the information that has been received and the views that have been expressed, the advisors and church staff have decided that masks will remain mandatory at church on Sunday mornings and that congregational singing will resume.  

The decision has also been made that at the church during the week, masks will be optional depending on the sensibilities of those who are present.

There is much to take into consideration and the leadership of the church is concerned with being safe and protecting those who are most vulnerable.  

These latest decisions regarding masking at church will be revisited as public health circumstances change.

If you would like to discuss this further, please speak with Advisors Malcolm Wells, Barbara Donohue, or Lucille Ruga. 

The Sunday morning service will continue to be streamed live on Facebook and posted at the church YouTube channel.

Lent – The Wildness of Mercy

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!

OWL Training Offered

The United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Church have worked together to create a comprehensive curriculum on sexuality for all ages – preschool through adult – called Our Whole Lives (OWL). To offer this curriculum, presenters must be trained.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Clearwater is offering facilitator training for grades 7-12 the weekend of April 29-May 1.

This training could be used in a church setting as well as other settings involving young people. If you would like more information about the training for yourself or someone else, please contact Meredith Olson at learning@uuc.org or 727-531-7704 ext. 205.

There is a cost involved for the training. If you are interested in the training, LUCC can help to offset the cost.

Sarasota Conference on Spirituality, Community & Social Change This Weekend

First Congregational United Church of Christ in Sarasota is hosting a conference exploring the ministry and message of Dr. Howard Thurman, a seminal figure of the civil rights movement, and a spiritual genius who transformed people who transformed the world.

The presentations take place Friday evening April 1 and Saturday April 2. CNN called Howard Thurman “one of the unacknowledged shapers of 20th century America” who blended contemplative spirituality with justice advocacy. He offered academic, moral, spiritual, and interfaith leadership at Howard University, Morehouse College and Boston University, and was a founding co-pastor of the Church for the Fellowship of All People in San Francisco.

Learn more about the thought and spirituality of Howard Thurman, especially related to suffering, non-violence and the Beloved Community, and his relationship to the Civil Rights Movement. Relate Thurman’s work to contemporary issues that we are facing.

The presenters are;

Dr. Luther E. Smith Jr. is Professor Emeritus at Candler School of Theology (Emory University, Atlanta, GA), and the author of Howard Thurman: The Mystic As Prophet; Intimacy and Mission; and editor and author of Howard Thurman: Essential Writings. Dr. Smith’s current research focuses on the writings and correspondence of Howard Thurman, advocacy on behalf of children, and a spirituality of hope. An ordained elder in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, he is one of the founders of the Interfaith Children’s Movement.

Dr. Shively T. J. Smith, teaches New Testament at Boston University School of Theology (Boston, MA), and is the author of Strangers to Family… Peter’s Invention of God’s Household. Offering Womanist and African American perspectives on the Bible, she is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and resident scholar at the historic Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC. She is a frequent commentator on the Thurman documentary, Backs against the Wall.

Rev. Wells is attending this conference. If you would like to carpool, please contact Kim at wells.kim.p@gmail.com or by phone.

For more information or to register, click here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sarasota-conference-on-spirituality- community-social-change-tickets-243686281227?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

Florida Conference Offers Anti-Racism Justice Devotions for Holy Week

The Anti-Racism Ministry Team of the Florida Conference offers Holy
Week “Racial Justice Reflections 2022.” Rev. Mardie Chapman of LUCC is
part of this ministry Team.

Four Florida Conference pastors (Rev. Dr. Sheila Harvey Guillaume, Pastor, Union Congregational Church, West Palm Beach; Rev. Harvey Lockhart, Pastor, First Church of North Miami Congregational; Rev. Dr. Guillermo Marquez-Sterling, Associate Pastor, Pass-A-Grille Beach Community Church, St. Pete Beach; Rev. Dr. Bernice Powell Jackson, Pastor, First United Church of Tampa) authored the reflections, which can be used for: personal, congregational, and worship use.

To access the devotions, click here:

Eckerd College Program on Sea Level Rise

Author Jeff Goodell will present the lecture “The Water Will Come:  Building Campus Resilience to Sea Level Rise” Thursday March 31 at 7:00 p.m. in the James Center.  

Jeff Goodell is an award-winning investigative journalist and author. He has established himself as a leading voice on climate change. Goodell offers a vital perspective on how to stem the tide of environmental disaster and what’s at stake if we fail to act. Steeped in scientific research and on-the- ground reporting, his book The Water Will Come is written in the tradition of environmental classics like Silent Spring and The World Without Us.
 PLEASE NOTE: The wearing of face masks and social distancing will be observed.
Sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Student Life

USF St. Pete Program:  Preventing Dementia

The church has been contacted by USF about a research study called “Preventing Alzheimer’s with Cognitive Training (PACT)”.  They are currently enrolling older adult participants at the USF St. Petersburg campus to participate in the program.  They are looking for adults 65 years and older to participate in this important study. For more information, click here.  https://lakewooducc.org/2022/03/25/usf-st-pete-program-preventing-dementia/


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.  

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

A Warm Welcome

When you come to church, the entry hallway is now a warm inviting yellow.  The space has been transformed and is much more welcoming!  Many thanks to those responsible for this wonderful improvement in our church home:

Sally Purvis, Colleen Coughenour, Patti Cooksey, Claire Stiles, and Bert Lee

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

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.

Holy Week Ahead

April 10 Palm Sunday 
The service begins outside.  Bring a palm branch if you can.

April 14 Maundy Thursday 
The Service of Tennebrae will be held at 7:00 p.m. remembering the Last Supper.

April 15 Good Friday 
The observance will begin at noon with a reading out loud of the gospel of Mark.  Those present will be invited to participate in the reading.  This will be followed by a time of meditation around the cross and communion.  

April 17 Easter Sunday 
There will be 2 services at 9 and 11 with refreshments and fellowship in between the services outside on the church lawn.  

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.

April Birthdays: Zachery Blair-Andrews 4/16, Someone missing? Contact the church office with birthday information.

Circle of Concern: 

Joyce Lee

Michelle Cloutier

Christopher and Dana

William Owen-Cowan

Jen Degroot

Carolyn Moore

Ann Quinn is now under Hospice care

Maggie Brizendine

Janet Hall

Yoko Nogami walking the Appalachian Trail

All those suffering from COVID-19 and all healthcare workers

Schools: Students, families, teachers, and staff

Recent Posts:

On land originally inhabited by the Tocabaga

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: