Bulletin 1.8.23


A Just Peace Church

An Open and Affirming Church

A Creation Justice Church

10:30 am

January 8, 2023


 LIGHTING THE PEACE CANDLE                         Sherry Santana , Liturgist

            To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of                                                 conflicting concerns,

            to surrender to too many demands,

            to commit to too many projects,

            to want to help everyone in everything

            is itself to succumb to the violence of our times.

                                                                                                Thomas Merton 1915-1968

PRELUDE                  Chanty                                        Bloch

*OPENING PRAYER                  Leslie Griffiths, b. 1942, Methodist

Dear Lord,

            turn our religions inside out,

            save them all from the modes of self glorification,

            make servanthood the hallmark of their authenticity,

            show all believing people

            that the secret,

            the source,

            the origin

            of all that’s worth having and striving for

            has already been modelled for us

            in the self-sacrificing love of Jesus. 

* HYMN                Beautiful Jesus                              160


Let us prepare ourselves for the word of God as it comes to us in the reading of Holy Scripture. Our hearts and minds are open.

Isaiah 42:1-9 and Matthew 3:13-17

For the word of God in scripture, for the word of God among us, for the word of God within us. Thanks be to God!

UNISON READING             Ernesto Cardenal, 1925-2020, Nicaraugua

We do not know that at the centre of our being we find not ourselves but another, that our own identity is in another, that turning inwards and finding ourselves is to fall into the arms of another.

*HYMN                     In the Bulb There is a Flower                     433

SERMON                       The Plunge                      Rev. Kim P. Wells

UNISON READING                                                                        

            Rejoice over everything.

            Exult.  Exhilarate.

            Be glad.  Be delighted, elated,

            and bowled over with joy!

            Frolic freely, hop hope,

            dance on the dare, cheer,

            champion the little ones,

            revel in the riotous light.

            Invoke God without ceasing.

            Pray with passion.

            Whatever you do,

            do not quench the Spirit.

            Take care not to douse

            or dampen the bold blaze

            in your depths.

            Jump into life.

            Hold fast to it.

            Give thanks for everything.

            For everything,

            even the most misshapen

            and misunderstood,

            is the disguise of the divine.

                                                                                                                      Susan Virginia Hull



* Hymn         I Was There to Hear Your Boring Cry                351


You are not your occupation.  You are not your achievements, you are not your failings, nor your health, wealth or status.  All these things are connected with you but are not you, for you do not cease to exist when these things disappear.  Ultimately, who are you?

Congregational Response:

I am a unique manifestation of God, who is closer to me than I am to myself.  This is the truth of my being, the glory and wonder of it. 

Gerard W. Hughes, 1924-2014, adapted

ANTHEM                          Sing a New Song             Praetorius/arr. Schweizer


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 & in our world.
  • Offer the hospitality and inclusive love of Christ to all people.
  • Work for God’s peace and justice throughout creation.


Morning offerings may be brought forward and placed in the plates on the altar. You are invited to write your prayer requests on the sheets provided in

the bulletin and bring them forward and place them in the basket on the altar. If you would like assistance, please turn to someone seated near you.     

            Offertory          Under the Sea                       Menken

            * Prayer of Dedication                          Hafiz, Persia, 1320-1389

When the sun within speaks, when love

            reaches out its hand and places it upon another,

            any power the stars and planets might

            have upon us,

            any fears you can muster can become so

            rightfully insignificant.

            What one heart can do for another heart,

            is there any beauty in the world that can

            match this?

            Brotherhood, sisterhood, humanity becomes

            the joy and the emancipation.

* PREPARATION FOR PRAYER         Now Greet the Swiftly Changing Year     431


Fathering and Mothering God, lover of us all, most holy one. Help us to respond to you To create what you want for us here on earth. Give us today enough for our needs. Forgive our weak and deliberate offenses, Just as we must forgive others when they hurt us.

            Help us to resist evil and to do what is good.

            For we are yours, endowed with your power

            to make the world whole.   Amen.

*  HYMN             Let No One Miss Out                       see insert 

* BENEDICTION              Rick Yramategui, contemporary

            Hear our voices, hear our song.

                        We will sing till all belong —

                        songs of welcome, midst the strife.

                                    We hear music of new life.

*CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE   (please form a circle)

                                                                 Lead Us From Death to Life           581

             Lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth,

            from despair to hope, from fear to trust.

            Lead us from hate to love, from war to peace;

            let peace fill our hearts, let peace fill our world,

            let peace fill our universe.

*POSTLUDE                Down by the Riverside                   African-American spiritual

Circle of Concern:

 Lakewood High School Girls and Boys Basketball Teams, Kim Carr, Erik Johnson, Katherine Conover, Ann Quinn is under Hospice care, Maggie Brizendine, Janet Hall. All those suffering from COVID-19 and all healthcare workers, Schools: Students, families, teachers, and staff


Annual MLK Service Ahead

On Sunday Jan. 15 the LUCC congregation will honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Please plan to be part of the celebration!

Book Talk

This monthly Zoom gathering will be held on Thursday Jan. 19 at 6:30.  Link for Zoom is below Each month, LUCC folks gather to discuss what they have been reading.  Join in the fun!  All are welcome!  

Zoom Link: http://us02web.zoom.us/j/2700683648    Meeting Id: 270 068 3648

Church Applying for Grant

LUCC is in the process of applying for a grant from the city to cover the expense of installing a solar energy system at the church with battery backup capability.  Barbara Donohue and Rev. Kim Wells are working on this initiative.  Please speak with them for more information.  

Guided labyrinth walks Wednesday mornings at 9:00am – Each week there is a guided labyrinth walk on the outdoor labyrinth at the church. It’s a time of prayerful faith sharing, and a time to listen more deeply to our spiritual lives. In case of rain, the walks are held on Thursday Morning.

Lakewood United Church of Christ 2601 54th Ave. S. St. Petersburg, FL 33712

                         727-867-7961/ lakewooducc@gmail.com/ Lakewooducc.org

On land originally inhabited by the Tocabaga

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