Weekly Update 10/10

This Sunday: This Sunday is a celebration of Divine Energy.  How do you see Divine Energy at work in your life and in the life of the world?  It will be a spirited Sunday!

Bill Marshall will be offering a Moment for Mission about the Citizen’s Climate Lobby.  Bill was invited by the Creation Justice team as part of the networking and advocacy associated with being a Creation Justice church.  Here’s Bill’s bio:  BA, with a concentration in Biology and Chemistry, Marietta College.  MBA, Fordham University.  43 year career with Dun & Bradstreet, MetLife, and the NJ Clean Energy Program.  Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteer since 2014.  Married 40 years, with one child.Speaks Spanish fluently.  Primary Life Goal: Preserve the world as a livable place.


Church School: The theme this week is Divine Energy.  Patti Cooksey is teaching.  Many thanks to all who are helping with the spiritual growth of the young people of LUCC!


Florida Conference United Church of Christ Fall Gathering:  Claire Stiles, Wally Leblanc, and Kim Wells will be representing LUCC at the annual Fall Gathering of the Florida Conference Oct. 11 and 12.  LUCC was asked to lead a workshop about the Creation Justice process.  This is an important opportunity to learn and grow.  Look for a report back in the next week.


Advisors to Meet:  Sunday Oct. 13 following worship.  All welcome!


Community Organizing Training:  Kim Wells will be attending community organizing training provided by the Florida Council of Churches in Leesburg, FL Oct. 13-14.


The Big Event Save the date for the Big Event, Saturday November 10th. The theme will be What Seeds are You Planting?  This will be a wonderful celebration of the congregation and ministry of LUCC.  Don’t miss it!


Ali Kafka & Sarah Gwendolyn Concert: Ali Kafka and Sarah Gwendolyn are happy to be able to share what they do as they travel along, and as they develop more of a musical identity as a duo. Listeners can expect rousing fiddle tunes, sultry blues duets, and maybe a dash of country harmony singing. The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. on October 18th. Suggested donation of $20. All proceeds go to the artist. Please feel free to contact the church with any questions! lakewooducc@gmail.com or call at 727-867-7961.


Immigration Notice:  UCC Conference Ministers from across the country joined our Justice and Witness Ministry staff in DC to meet with legislators and demand the halt of funding for detention, deportation, and border militarization. Support the work of your Conference Ministers and ask your member of Congress, as they work on appropriations legislation, not to invest any more money in policies that fuel and feed the administration’s efforts to continue terrorizing immigrants. How we invest our money reflects our values as a nation, and right now those values are corrosive and harmful. Congress should instead invest in policies that uplift family unity, address the root causes of forced migration, and prioritize human needs by respecting the rights and dignity of every person.


Maximo Elementary Uniforms We have the money to provide the 20 uniforms that were requested! Thank you for your donations and all of your help!


Operation Attack: Operation Attack is very much in need of clothes for men, boys, and girls as well as diapers and peanut butter and canned fruit. Donations may be placed in the shopping cart in the entryway to the sanctuary. Operation Attack is an ecumenical effort serving families with children located a Lakeview Presbyterian Church, 1310 22nd. Ave. S., St. Petersburg. LUCC was a founding member of Operation Attack in the 1960’s!


Hearing Augmentation: Devices are available from the usher in the sanctuary during worship.


October Birthdays: Malcom Wells 10/8, Janet Blair 10/19, Denise Williams 10/28, Olivia Gibson 10/29, and Victoria Long 10/19. Someone missing? Contact the church office with birthday information.


Circle of Concern: The family and loved ones of Roger Jackle, Hilton Jones, Sherry Santana, Jen DeGroot, Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Maggie Brizendine, and Ann Rogers.


Recent Post:


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 10/9 Table Waiting

Scripture Lesson: Luke 17:7-10
Sermon: Table Waiting
Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells


We often hear comments that people today are perhaps more divided than they ever
have been in the history of this country.

So what are some of these divides? Well there is the 1% and the 99%. That’s a big
divide. There is the immigration issue. Who is an immigrant? A refugee? Who is
native born? There is the racial divide. Some self identify as white. Some as
people of color. Then there are divisions within that. There are divisions around
sexual identity. Cisgender. Homosexual. Heterosexual. Transsexual. Bisexual.
Transgender. There are divisions between people who live in cities and people
who live in the country and in small towns.

There are other ways that we define and divide ourselves. Anyone here consider
themselves athletic? A nerd? Average? And what about the generation gap?
There is the older generation. The younger generation. And now, we can divide
further – Boomers, Generation X, Centennials, Millennials. There is division
around language. Who here is a native English speaker? Who grew up speaking a
different language? And, there is the great political divide.

There are all kinds of ways we can divide ourselves up. Section ourselves into
different groups. Sort and separate ourselves. And we know that whether it is
intended or not, when we divide ourselves up, hierarchy creeps in. One group ends
up being better or of higher status than another. A pecking order emerges. This
happens as soon as we divide up into separate groups.

This morning we listened to a story associated with Jesus. And he basically tells
people that everyone can serve. Everyone is supposed to serve. And in God’s
economy, there are no points or accounting or measuring or quantifying. No
getting a grade. No scoring and percentiles. With discipleship, there is no
clocking in and clocking out. With Jesus, everyone is in the service industry.
Everyone. Period. With Jesus, service is the radical equalizer. Everyone is to serve. No one is above serving others. This makes serving egalitarian. Everyone is equal. So everyone being a servant is a radical turn around from society as we know it, and as Jesus listeners knew it, where some people work for other people. Some serve. And some are served. It’s not that way with Jesus. With Jesus, everyone serves. So his way is anti class, anti status, and anti hierarchy. There is radical equality.

How can serving be so equalizing? Well, serving includes everyone. Everyone
can do it. And as the story we heard tells us, no one gets rewarded. There is no
payment. There is no compensation. So service in the economy of Jesus is not
measured and it is not traded. There is no bargaining or exchanging. Serving is
pure gift. It is not an investment. There is no expectation or obligation of return.
This prevents hierarchy and division from emerging.

Maybe this doesn’t sound fair. But from the Jesus perspective, this is a reminder
that all of us have been given our lives. We have been given access to resources.
We live here on this Earth that we did not create. All of us have been gifted by
grace. We are by no means self made. What a crazy term: “A self made man.”
That’s impossible. All of us are here and alive and able to do what we do because
of what has been given to us. It is all grace. The concept of every one serving in
an egalitarian manner is a reminder that all of us are dependent and interdependent
on others, on those who have gone before us, on God.

Take a breath. [Pause.] Take another breath. [Pause.] Did you create the air you
are breathing? No. It is pure gift. So Jesus reminds us that we are all the
recipients of gifts that give us life and sustain our lives. Everyone. We are all
debtors. Beholden. And deserve no reward or compensation for what cannot be
earned or bought. That is a message of the story that we heard. Everyone serves.
No one compensated. No clocking out. Always ready.

This can be hard to comprehend when we live in a society with an ever growing
service economy. More and more jobs are being created that involve one person
serving another person for pay. Think about the newly appeared shoppers at Publix that go around and do the grocery shopping for others who then come and pick up
their food or have it delivered to their home. New service jobs are emerging every
day. And many people are needed, including immigrants, to fill these service jobs.
In this kind of service-centered economy, the image that we are given by Jesus is
all the more strange and radical. Everyone serving. No one being paid or thanked;
recognizing our common giftedness. That’s a different reality. That’s the Realm of
God, the Divine Commonwealth, here on this Earth.

The story that we heard today is not referred to much in commentaries and other
writings. I think scholars and preachers skip over it because of the reference to
slavery. Jesus talks about slavery and he doesn’t condemn it? We don’t want to
get near that. But when we look more closely, we see that Jesus uses the image of
slavery, perhaps the supreme expression of hierarchy, to convey a message about
anti hierarchy and egalitarianism. The slave is a slave and is expected to perform
the duties demanded by the owner. No gratitude or compensation involved. And
disciples they are to perform the duties and service needed by God and God’s
family. No compensation or gratitude involved. In this we are all equal regardless
of our economic or social designation.

When we choose to serve, as disciples, out of our gratitude for all that we have
been given, we find not that we are taken advantage of or oppressed but that we are
free. Free and equal. No separating and dividing involved. Everyone in it
together. We realize our common bonds as human beings. We connect with
others, human to human, sharing our joy and awe and sorrow. We find ourselves
part of authentic relationships without the constructs of race, class, and other labels
that so often define us. How many times do people with money wonder if
someone is truly their friend? Or does this “friend” just want something from them
because they are rich, even just being able to name drop to increase their status?
In the economy of service that Jesus shows us, there is none of that. It is human to
human. Each one a recipient of the gifts of life. Each one free to serve without
measuring or accounting. The value of our lives cannot be appraised or compared.

Choosing discipleship, being a servant, in the way of Jesus is not slavery, it is not
degrading, it is not demeaning. It is a choice that is for our highest good and the
good of others. Service enables our humanity. It makes us whole. It gives us
purpose and meaning.

And this brings us to communion. Communion is a ritualistic embodiment of the
world that Jesus is showing us. Everyone is welcome. And we are all guests.
And everyone receives the gifts of God. We are all served by the generosity of
God, served by the Earth that is provided for us, served by the witness of Jesus
who gave his life for the common good. At the communion table, all are fed by
God through Jesus as the host. We can only receive. We are served. We take in
Divine love and generosity, given to everyone, so that we may share it with others.
We are fed so that we can feed others. Communion is an enactment that portrays
the Divine energy flowing into us and out into the world through service. We give
away what has been given to us.

In communion, we see the commonwealth of God – everyone welcome, everyone
served, fed, nourished, everyone gifted for service, no accounting or score keeping
or measuring or compensating. No labels. No divisions. No hierarchies. It’s all
free. We are all free. To be of service to others and to the needs of the world. The
table is waiting. Amen.


A reasonable effort has been made to appropriately cite materials referenced in this sermon. For additional information, please contact Lakewood United Church of Christ.

Weekly Update 10/2

This Sunday: This Sunday is World Communion Sunday.  It is a Sunday when Christians around the world celebrate communion to emphasize our common bond.  At LUCC, the service will focus on the call to serve and how that unites all people.  


Rev. Wells Away Rev. Wells will be away this week visiting her grandchild in the Boston area. For pastoral care please contact Jim Andrews at jimbandrews@gmail.com or call 727-510-4170.


Communion Sunday: The first Sunday of the month is a Communion Sunday.  That means 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 heavy need for these funds in recent weeks.  Please consider how you can help the community through this offering.


In Memoriam: The memorial service for Roger Jackle will be held Wednesday Oct. 9 at 10:30 a.m. in the Quak Center at Westminster Suncoast, 1095 Pinellas Point Dr. S., St. Petersburg.


The Big Event The planning team is meeting after church Sunday October 6th. Save the date for the Big Event, Saturday November 10th.


Immigration Notice:  UCC Conference Ministers from across the country joined our Justice and Witness Ministry staff in DC to meet with legislators and demand the halt of funding for detention, deportation, and border militarization. Support the work of your Conference Ministers and ask your member of Congress, as they work on appropriations legislation, not to invest any more money in policies that fuel and feed the administration’s efforts to continue terrorizing immigrants. How we invest our money reflects our values as a nation, and right now those values are corrosive and harmful. Congress should instead invest in policies that uplift family unity, address the root causes of forced migration, and prioritize human needs by respecting the rights and dignity of every person.


Maximo Elementary Uniforms Ms. Jones, Family and Community Liaison  of Maximo Elementary  has identified  school uniforms as one of the greatest needs of the children  attending school there.  LUCC’s Education Ministry Team  is responding to this need by asking the congregation to provide 20 uniforms for the children.  A uniform consists of a collared shirt and a pair of pants or a skirt in uniform colors of white, light blue and dark blue.  Each uniform costs approximately $12.  Donations by cash or check are being accepted now.  Members of the EMT will do the shopping.   If you have questions contact Olivia Gibson, Patti Cooksey, Marg Radens,  Claudia Rodriguez, Emily Bell, or Pastor Kim.


Singing to the Homebound: https://lakewooducc.org/2019/09/26/singing-to-the-homebound/


World Climate Strike: https://lakewooducc.org/2019/09/25/lakewood-ucc-marches-for-climate-strike/


Ali Kafka & Sarah Gwendolyn Concert: Ali Kafka and Sarah Gwendolyn are happy to be able to share what they do as they travel along, and as they develop more of a musical identity as a duo. Listeners can expect rousing fiddle tunes, sultry blues duets, and maybe a dash of country harmony singing. The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. on October 18th. Suggested donation of $20. All proceeds go to the artist. Please feel free to contact the church with any questions! lakewooducc@gmail.com or call at 727-867-7961.


Come Out St. Pete: This street festival and parade will be taking place This Saturday on Central Ave. between 22 and 31st Sts.  Wally Leblanc will be having a booth that will include information about the church.  If you can help volunteer at the booth, please let Wally know.  wally503x@gmail.com Many thanks!


Operation Attack: Operation Attack is very much in need of clothes for men, boys, and girls as well as diapers and peanut butter and canned fruit. Donations may be placed in the shopping cart in the entryway to the sanctuary. Operation Attack is an ecumenical effort serving families with children located a Lakeview Presbyterian Church, 1310 22nd. Ave. S., St. Petersburg. LUCC was a founding member of Operation Attack in the 1960’s!


Hearing Augmentation: Devices are available from the usher in the sanctuary during worship.


October Birthdays: Janet Blair 10/19, Denise Williams 10/28, Olivia Gibson 10/29, and Victoria Long 10/19. Someone missing? Contact the church office with birthday information.


Circle of Concern: The family and loved ones of Roger Jackle, Sherry Santana, Jen DeGroot, Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Maggie Brizendine, and Ann Rogers.


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.

Weekly Update 9/26

This Sunday: How does a book written many centuries ago relate to life today?  The Bible involves people, places, and cultures that are foreign to us.  How is it still important to human development?  Why is it the best-selling book of all time?  Sunday, in worship and Church School, we’ll think about The Bible and How We Use It.  See Luke 16:19-31.


Rev. Wells Away Rev. Wells will be away this week visiting her grandchild in the Boston area. For pastoral care please contact Jim Andrews at jimbandrews@gmail.com.


In Memoriam: The memorial service for Roger Jackle will be held Wednesday Oct. 9 at 10:30 a.m. in the Quak Center at Westminster Suncoast, 1095 Pinellas Point Dr. S., St. Petersburg.


Maximo Elementary Needs Mentors: The administration of Maximo Elementary School has let LUCC know that they are in need of mentors.  What is involved in being a mentor?  It involves a consistent weekly commitment to have lunch with a student which takes about 30 minutes.  You can choose the day of the week and the time – lunch begins at 10:30 and ends at 1:00.  If someone cannot make a weekly commitment, they can share the mentor role with another person and work out a mutually agreeable schedule.  A mentor needs to watch a mentoring video and have a background check as well as a consistent commitment.  So, a mentor can positively impact a student’s life in just 30 minutes a week.  To find out more about being a mentor, please contact LUCC member Emily Bell at emilybb641@gmail.com


Singing to the Homebound: https://lakewooducc.org/2019/09/26/singing-to-the-homebound/


World Climate Strike: https://lakewooducc.org/2019/09/25/lakewood-ucc-marches-for-climate-strike/


Lakewood Day Trippers: Patti Cooksey and Carol Shores would like to offer day trip opportunities to visit old Florida attractions, for entertainment and education to destinations that can be traveled to and toured in a day trip to the Lakewood congregation and friends.


LUCC Joins Pinellas Coalition for Immigrant Justice: At their meeting last Sunday, the LUCC Advisors endorsed LUCC becoming a sponsor of the newly formed Pinellas Coalition for Immigrant Justice.  COALITION MISSION STATEMENT: “We advocate that all people who approach our borders receive compassionate, just, and dignified treatment, whether asylum seekers, refugees, or those in search of a better life.”  Many thanks to Sue Sherwood for being LUCC’s liaison to the Coalition.  Patti Cooksey, Lucille Ruga, and Carol Shores have also been involved.  There will be opportunities for the church to engage in advocacy in the weeks ahead.


Ali Kafka & Sarah Gwendolyn Concert: Ali Kafka and Sarah Gwendolyn are happy to be able to share what they do as they travel along, and as they develop more of a musical identity as a duo. Listeners can expect rousing fiddle tunes, sultry blues duets, and maybe a dash of country harmony singing. The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. on October 18th. Suggested donation of $20. All proceeds go to the artist. Please feel free to contact the church with any questions! lakewooducc@gmail.com or call at 727-867-7961.


Come Out St. Pete: This street festival and parade will be taking place Saturday Oct. 5 on Central Ave. between 22 and 31st Sts.  Wally Leblanc will be having a booth that will include information about the church.  If you can help volunteer at the booth, please let Wally know.  wally503x@gmail.com Many thanks!


Operation Attack: Operation Attack is very much in need of clothes for men, boys, and girls as well as diapers and peanut butter and canned fruit. Donations may be placed in the shopping cart in the entryway to the sanctuary. Operation Attack is an ecumenical effort serving families with children located a Lakeview Presbyterian Church, 1310 22nd. Ave. S., St. Petersburg. LUCC was a founding member of Operation Attack in the 1960’s!


Hearing Augmentation: Devices are available from the usher in the sanctuary during worship.


September Birthdays: Kim Wells 9/19, Wilbur Reid 9/22, Donald Ritchie 9/27, and Carlolyn Moore 9/30. Someone missing? Contact the church office with birthday information.


Circle of Concern: The family and loved ones of Roger Jackle, Sherry Santana, Roger Jackle, Jen DeGroot, Carolyn Moore, Ann Quinn, Maggie Brizendine, and Ann Rogers.


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.