Weekly Update 11/26

Advent Begins!

When we had the Christmas in July Zoom celebration we enjoyed hearing the Christmas story and singing carols.  Well, there is another Zoom Christmas Eve service planned for 5:00 p.m. on Dec. 24th.  There will also be an in-person outdoor service at 7:00 p.m.

The theme for this Advent season at LUCC is Rekindle the Gift from a verse from 2 Timothy.  This is certainly a season to ‘rekindle’ after all that we have been through!  Each week, the Corona Sabbath and daily devotions will focus on the traditional themes for the candles of the Advent Wreath.  Rekindle Hope.  Rekindle Peace.  Rekindle Joy.  And Rekindle Love.

Please see the details below for the Advent season.  May you find needed hope, peace, joy, and love this season!


In Person Services and Gatherings Ahead! 

The church is experimenting with a ‘soft’ re-opening. There will be in person gatherings and services outside, with masks, and physical distancing. There will be no singing. Participants are encouraged to bring their own chairs.  Some will also be available at the church.  

Here’s what’s coming:

In addition, the weekly guided labyrinth walks will continue on Wednesday mornings at 9:00 a.m. and weekly anti-racism demonstrations will continue on Sunday evenings at 5:00 p.m.  All are welcome.  

For those who want to remain engaged with the church ‘remotely’, the church will continue to post a weekly Corona Sabbath with a scripture reading, reflection from Rev. Wells, and music from Hilton Jones.  Paper copies of the Corona Sabbath and the Update will continue to be sent to those who do not use the internet.  

After this period of experimentation, there will be a discussion about how to proceed into the New Year.


TOYS for HOMELESS CHILDREN

Our church family along with the Social Justice Team at Westminster Suncoast has been extremely generous in supporting Maximo Elementary’s children.  To date we have donated uniforms, underwear and Covid 19 supplies which included masks for children.

Ms. Jones has identified 30 homeless children  at the school for whom the Education Ministry Team is going to purchase toys and books for Christmas  gifts using available funds.  For  those who would  personally enjoy  buying toys  for these children  please do so.  The toys may be brought  to  the  outdoor Advent services on December 6th and 13th.  Toys may also be dropped off at the church Tuesday-Friday, 9:30-noon.  The toys will be picked up for delivery to the school on Wednesday, December 16th.

THANKS EVERYONE , those who have already donated  and those who will personally purchase toys, for helping to make Christmas 2020  special for a homeless child.       

LUCC ‘s Education Ministry Team


Work Under Way for Adult Day Care

Finally after a year and a half of planning, the renovations of the Fellowship Hall are underway to prepare for the Adult Day Care program sponsored by Neighborly Services!  So far, a railing has been installed to the back entrance of the Fellowship Hall and the demolition is underway to prepare for the three accessible restrooms that are being installed.  It is very exciting to finally see movement toward the goal of offering needed services to the seniors in our area!


Thanksgiving Services 

Last Sunday, the church offered 2 Thanksgiving services.  One was in-person with masks and social distancing on the lawn of the church under the tree.  About 26 people participated.  There was great joy seeing one another.  The second service was virtual held live at noon from the sanctuary.   Danielle Hintz and Julian Ricciardi were liturgists and Malcolm Wells and Jeff Wells did tech.  Many thanks to all who helped and all who participated.  There was a wonderful spirit of gratitude for many things not the least being LUCC!  Here’s a link to some pictures:

https://lakewooducc.org/2020/11/25/thanksgiving-worship-service/


 OUT OF REGARD FOR HEALTH AND SAFETY THIS EVENT IS BEING CANCELLED 

Sharing a Meal

What is Thanksgiving without food?  And yet many will not be joining family and friends this year because of the health and safety issues involved.  The LUCC Care Team is sponsoring a get together for people from the church to eat together on Thanksgiving.  This gathering will be outdoors with masks and physical distancing.  Participants may bring their own food or have food provided.  Each will bring their own plates, utensils, and drinks.  Those who would like to participate are asked to contact Patti Cooksey so that adequate arrangements can be made for the number of people who will be attending.  More details will be forthcoming.  You can reach Patti at cooksepa@eckerd.edu


Leadership Selection Process

Each year the congregation is invited to offer names of people that they would like to serve as advisors for the church for the coming year.  Church members are also welcome to volunteer to serve.

 Advisors are charged with seeing that the life and ministry of LUCC is an embodiment of the mission statement of the church.  In addition, the Advisors function in an administrative capacity regarding budget and finance, property, program, and personnel.  They serve as the pastoral relations committee fostering a positive relationship between the congregation and the pastor.  

The advisors have been meeting at least once a month, sometimes in person and sometimes virtually.  This depends on the will of the group.

Please suggest names of those you think would serve well as Advisors for the coming year.  You may email lakewooducc@gmail.com


Corona Sabbath Ahead

The theme this week takes us from Thanksgiving to Advent in these troubled times. We sure do need a little Christmas this year!

If you missed last week’s Corona Sabbath here’s the link:  

https://lakewooducc.org/2020/11/19/corona-sabbath-36-give-thanks/


Anti-Racism Demonstrations Continue on Sundays

Weekly demonstrations to end racism continue in front of the church each Sunday at 5:00 p.m.  Bring a sign or use one of the signs provided.  Regardless of the outcome of the election, this witness is an important demonstration of Christian values and moral values.  All are welcome to join in!  

And use the following link to see pictures from the last demonstration.

https://lakewooducc.org/2020/11/24/anti-racism-demonstration-11-22/

In case of rain, the demonstration will not be held that week. Know justice, know peace!


Weekly Labyrinth Walks Continue

Each Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. a small group gathers at the outdoor labyrinth for a time of devotion, discussion, and meditative walking of the labyrinth.  The theme for the week is taken from the Corona Sabbath of the week before, so it is an opportunity to go deeper in the spiritual exploration of that theme for your life.  This devotional gathering is outside and physical distancing is maintained. All are welcome!

If there is rain on Wednesday morning, the gathering will be held on Thursday morning at 9:00.


Spiritual Direction Offered by LUCC Clergy Member.

In these troubled times, it is important to find ways to tend to our spiritual lives. In the Christian tradition, Spiritual Direction is one of the ways of paying attention to the spirit in our lives. A Spiritual Director is someone to talk with about what is going on in our spiritual life and in our relationship with God however we may conceive of God.

Rev. Sally Purvis, Ph.D., a member of LUCC, is a retired clergy person with training and experience in Spiritual Direction. She is offering her services as a Spiritual Director to the community. The sessions would be held on Zoom and there is no fee to be paid. Church leaders are pleased to have the ministry of the church expand in this way.

Spiritual Direction with Sally is open to anyone, not just the congregation. And it is offered to everyone whatever their spiritual or religious background or affiliation or lack thereof. Sessions are generally held once every three weeks. Spiritual Direction is not a mode of therapy. It is a process for understanding and deepening your relationship with God/Spirit in ways that are authentic and life-giving.

Sally was trained by Henri Nouwen, a noted spiritual guide of the 20th century, and did Spiritual Direction as part of her professional ministry before retiring in 2015.

If you would like to explore Spiritual Direction with Sally, please contact her at
sallybpurvis@icloud.com or contact the church (867-7961 or lakewooducc@gmail.com ).

The church is very grateful to Sally for offering this avenue of support to the congregation and the community.


USEFUL LAKEWOOD LINKS DURING THE CORONA CRISIS:

For the above church website links, please note the “Older Posts” button near the bottom of each page.


Music Ministry

About Hilton’s music. . . If you would enjoy hearing Hilton play more Irish folk songs, you can
listen for free at either https://hiltonjones.bandcamp.com/album/irish-
tunes or https://soundcloud.com/hilton-kean-jones/sets/irish-tunes .


November Birthdays: Lucille Ruga 11/9, Emily Bell 11/15, Rev. Susan Sherwood 11/15, Ed Kaspar 11/21, Lorne Palmer 11/21, Bert Lee 11/22, Bill Lindsay 11/23, Wally LeBlanc 11/23, Kai’Lyn Washington 11/27, and Jane Diven 11/29, Someone missing? Contact the church office with birthday information.


Circle of Concern: JoAnn Reid, William Owen, Wilbur Reid, Jen Degroot, Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Maggie Brizendine, Dave Radens, teachers, students, and school personnel, and all healthcare workers and essential workers. All those suffering from COVID-19.

Please keep LUCC member, Olivia Gibson, in your prayers. She is a nurse in a COVID-19 unit in a local hospital. We are grateful for her ministry!


Church Office Hours:  Tuesday-Friday 9:30-noon. 


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.

Sermon 11/22 Thanks Living

Thanksgiving 2020
Scripture Lesson: Deuteronomy 8:7-18
Sermon: Thanks Living
Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

On a trip to Scotland a few years ago, before covid, we had the opportunity to visit
several historical museums in small towns in the highlands. These local museums
were fascinating.

In one museum, there was a display about how tea had come to Scotland through
this small town. Apparently, a local lad became a seafarer. On his voyages around
the globe, he was introduced to tea in Asia. He wanted to share this wonderful
drink with his mother. So, he sent her some tea, back in their hometown in the
highlands. In the display in the museum, we were informed that the mother
received the tea and proceeded to add it to a sandwich and eat it.

Apparently the young seafarer so impressed with tea sent his mother the dried
leaves but no instructions. She assumed the dried leaves were some kind of herb
and put them on a sandwich. Well, how was she to know? Evidently, the people of
Scotland eventually got the memo about how to brew tea and it has become a
staple of life in Scotland and the United Kingdom.

That story brings us to the scripture lesson that we heard this morning. In the
verses from Deuteronomy, we are told of the many things the Israelites have to be
thankful for:

a land with streams and pools of water
springs flowing into valleys
hills
crops – like wheat and barley
vineyards
fig trees
pomegranates olive trees
honey
a rich land where food will never be scarce

And there are other things the Israelites are to be thankful for that help to meet the
needs of life including rocks with minerals and metals like iron and copper.

The people are given a land that is conducive to supporting human life, with all
that is needed to build houses, have good food, and make the things that are needed
to live.

This is a far cry from the Israelites’ wilderness existence in the desolate desert with
the lack of water and food and the incursion of poisonous snakes and scorpions.

The Israelites are reminded that they are to be thankful for the bounteous land that
has been given to them to sustain them.

BUT, there is more in this story. The people are also reminded to remember the
commandments of God that show them how to walk in God’s way. God has truly
given them everything – not only the commodious land but also the instructions for
living together in peace with each other and with other peoples. God has given
them teachings about being generous and taking care of those who are vulnerable.
God has given them guidelines about justice and compassion. And when they
follow God’s instructions, they will live and prosper in the land and be a blessing
to all of the Earth.

When they do not follow God’s dictates they find themselves in trouble – with each
other or with the peoples around them. To neglect or defy God’s way inevitable
leads to problems.

Out of God’s great love, the Israelites were not just given the abundant, fertile,
fruitful, land. They were given instructions about how to organize the community
so that everyone is taken care of and everyone benefits from the bountiful land. They were not only given the tea, they were given the instructions about what do to
with it!

In this Thanksgiving season, we know that we have much to be thankful for. We
know the bounty of the land that we enjoy. We know the beauty of our homeland,
this continent and the world. We know the many resources and foods that the land
provides for us. And we express our gratitude freely for the material abundance in
our lives. And for our families and loved ones.

But as we commemorate this Thanksgiving, let us also remember that we have
been given spiritual teachings, moral values, and guidance, about how to take care
of this bountiful land, how to share our blessings and opportunities, how to live
together with peace and plenty for all. We have been given instruction about how
to be good neighbors to those next door and those on the other side of the globe.

The spiritual guidance we have been given also reminds us of all that we are purely
and simply given – that we do not create or make. That is given. Not earned or
transacted. As Deuteronomy says, it, “Do not say to yourself, ‘My own strength
and the power of my hands brought his wealth to me.’” Part of remembering the
spiritual teachings we have been given is to remember that we are recipients of the
generosity of God. In countless ways.

And in the Christian tradition, we want to also give thanks for the teachings of
Jesus, not only to love our selves and our neighbors but to love our enemies. We
celebrate the teachings of Jesus to care of the least of these in our society and our
world. We can be grateful for the calling to material simplicity and abundant
generosity. We have not been put on this Earth to extract its many gifts with
abandon. We have been put here to lovingly tend the planet and the life it sustains.
We are here to put into practice the teachings of the sages of the ages about how to
curb the selfishness and greed which poison the spirit, and instead to live in
gratitude and joy. Deuteronomy reminds us that we have much to be thankful for
and it is not limited to material things and loved ones. We have been given much
instruction, guidance, and wisdom to enrich our lives.

Sometimes I think the material abundance we enjoy is so overwhelming, we get
caught up in that and stop there. And then those resources may be misused,
squandered, abused, even weaponized. We must not forget that we we have
received instructions about how to live abundantly and in peace, sharing with all.
We must not forget to give thanks for the moral and spiritual instruction that has
come to us through the ages, through many different traditions and spiritual paths,
pointing us toward prosperity and peace and security and right relationship through
mutual care and respect for one another and for the planet. When we ignore,
forget, or defy the instructions we have been given, it is to our peril. We suffer for
it.

So, it’s like the tea. But we have been given the tea AND the instructions about
how to brew it. We have been given a wonderful, abundant land, and instructions
about how to live in this world in a way that leads to flourishing life for all not just
for some. This Thanksgiving season and every season may we give thanks for
ALL of these blessings. Amen.

Thanksgiving Worship Service

This past Thanksgiving Sunday, the church offered the same service two ways – in-person, outside, with masks and physical distancing, and broadcast live on FaceBook and Zoom from the sanctuary.
About 26 people attended the outdoor service.  The weather was beautiful.  It was wonderful to see all who were there.  This was the first in-person worship service at the church since March 15.  
Years ago, the Thanksgiving service was routinely held outside to remember the Pilgrims and indigenous people eating together outside.  So, we resumed an old tradition for a new reason!
The broadcast service worked out well also.  There were a few technical glitches, to be expected, but overall, things went smoothly.  

Many thanks to all who helped to make these services happen including:  Earl Waters, Don Ritchie, Kay Rencken, Bill Parsons, Colleen Coughenour, Julian Ricciardi, Wally LeBlanc, Mark Gibson, Danielle Hintz, Hilton Jones, Jeff Wells, and Malcolm Wells.

For the first three Sundays of December, there will be in-person outdoor services.  And for Christmas Eve, there will be the same service on Zoom/FaceBook Live at 5:00 p.m. and in person at 7:00 p.m.