Painting Dedication

Wally LeBlanc dedicated a painting entitled “Beyond the Rainbow” at Lakewood UCC last Sunday. He read the following prayer, adapted from the lyrics of “Bless Us All”

Life is full of sweet surprises Every day is a gift The sun comes up and I can feel it lift my spirit Fills me up with laughter, fills me up with joy I look into the eyes of love and know that I belong Bless us all, who gather here The loving family we hold dear No place on earth, compares with home And every path we take will bring us back from where we roam Bless us all, that as we live We always comfort and forgive We have so much, that we can share With all those in need we see around us everywhere Let us always love each other Lead us to the light Let us be and hear the voice of reason, shining in the darkness Let us run from anger and catch us when we fall Teach us in our lives and please, yes please Bless us one and all Bless us all with joyous years With wonderful moments and joyful tears We reach for You and we stand tall And in our prayers and our lives We ask You bless us all. Amen.

New Year’s Eve Sunday Around Labyrinth

Out with the old, in with the new! New Year’s eve is a time to look back and let go. It’s a time to look ahead with openness and wonder. The 10:30am service on December 31 will include an invitation to walk the labyrinth as a pathway of prayer into the New Year.

Take the promise, hope, and joy of Christmas with you into the New Year in this very special service.

Gulfcoast Legal Services to Receive Christmas Offering

The message below shares some of the important work being done by Gulfcoast Legal Services, the organization chosen to receive the Christmas offering from Lakewood United Church of Christ.

Jena Blair of the LUCC church family works at Gulfcoast:

Hi Kim, I just wanted to say thank you for selecting Gulfcoast Legal for the Christmas offering this year. It means so much that Lakewood selected Gulfcoast and to feel the support of the congregation.  Right now, we have been working with “know your rights” presentations and checklist to give in the community and agencies working with immigrant populations. We also are working with human trafficking victims, victims of all crimes and domestic violence victims to obtain lawful immigration status. This means representing clients in immigration court to file and obtain U Visas, T Visas and VAWA petitions. It is a challenging time to do the work we all do and knowing others in the community share these values and support the work of assisting immigrants and vulnerable populations, at Gulfcoast Legal is truly appreciated.

Thank you,

Banned-words Magnificat read in church December 17th

According to The Washington Post, policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told not to use seven words while writing documents connected to next year’s budget. The forbidden words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

In response, Reverend Susan Russell composed a version of the Magnificat that was adapted by Rev. Victoria Long and read in church last Sunday:

God has cast down the mighty from their thrones of entitlement
and lifted up the vulnerable.
God has filled the hungry with good things —
like an evidence/science-based strategy to end global warming —
and the rich will be sent away empty.
God has come to help for God remembers God’s promise of diversity,
the promise made to our transgender siblings,
To Sarah and her fetus and Mary’s too.

This adapted version, along with other prayers and meditations can be found in an article The CDC Christmas Sermon: Banned Words Will Preach! by Susan Thistlethwaite, a Professor of Theology and President Emerita of Chicago Theological Seminary, in the Huffington Post.