Take A Stand Against Gun Violence In A Local Vigil

On Sunday December 13, 2015 at 5 p.m. an Orange Walk in Indian Rocks Beach will be sponsored by Citizens for Responsible Gun Laws and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (Everytown for Gun Safety).  It will be a witness for all who want to see gun violence prevented.  It will be followed by a Candlelight Vigil in honor of all those victims of gun violence since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December, 2012.  The walk will start at the 25th Ave. beach access in Indian Rocks Beach and return there for the vigil.  Wear orange–symbolic of preventing shootings–and bring a blanket or chair.

Orange is the color hunters wear to stay safe and visible in the woods. It represents the value of human life, and it’s become a powerful symbol of the gun violence prevention movement.

At Orange Walks across the country, supporters will gather with family and friends to walk in their town squares, schools, houses of worship, and beaches in support of ending gun violence.

Reaping the Harvest Results for 2015

Each year in the fall, the Lakewood UCC family is asked to fill out a Reaping the Harvest form. The form asks for the total number of hours volunteered in the past year and the total amount of charitable giving in the past year. In addition, there is a section for listing the organizations, institutions, and activities to which donations of time and/or money have been made. Round figures are fine. There is no auditing of this information.

In this way the church receives information about the volunteering and financial giving of the congregation.

The ministry of the church is not just what is done on Sundays or even what is done specifically as a church. The ministry of the church is what everyone in the church family is doing day in and day out to share God’s love.

This year 23 forms representing about a third of the congregation were turned in. Here are the results:

Total Hours: 7,355
Total Dollars: $159, 890

Organizations, Institutions, and Activities:

Blood One
League of Women Voters
Meals on Wheels
Coalition of Immokalee Workers
American Civil Liberties Union legal panel, board, and foundation
Crop Walk
Family Promise
Pinellas County Schools
Church Choir
Hospice
Coaching
Community Tampa Bay
Clearwater Central Catholic High School
First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Derby Line
Freefall Theatre
Harvard University
Girl Scouts
Metro Wellness
12 Step Programs                                                                                                           Pet Sitting
Donating items
Operation Attack
Advocacy for Environment/Conservation, Gun Safety
Helping neighbor
Suncoast Choir
Neighborly Senior Centers – Sunshine Center, Enoch Davis Center
St. Petersburg College Library
Menorah Manor
Phillip Benjamin Towers
Mills College
Political groups and candidates
Melanoma Research
Underwood at Westminster Shores
Making tote bags
Westminster Shores Gallery
Feeding America
Making travel pillows
Emily’s List
Democratic Party
Daystar
Interfaith Association
Russian Heritage
Environmental Projects
Training Caregivers
International Relief Organization
Rutgers University
St. Petersburg International Folk Fair
Sunday School
Eckerd College
Sierra Club
Spiritual Counsel
Grinnell College
Catholic University
Westminster Suncoast Committees
Avelos Scholarship Fund
Reef
Caregiver
Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College
Salvation Army
Chewonki Foundation
Kenwood Neighborhood Association
WUSF
Making storage holders for walkers
CASA – Community Action Stops Abuse
Quality of Life Surveys Westminster Suncoast
WEDU
Union Theological Seminary
Act Blue
CARE
Eden Theological Seminary
Sierra Club
Gun Control advocacy
SPCA Tampa Bay
Pinellas County Schools
Guttmacher for Women
Ocean Conservancy
National Parks
WMNF
Metropolitan Ministries
Tutwiler Clinic
Planned Parenthood
World Wildlife Fund
AARP
Guide Dogs for the Blind
Tampa Bay Watch
National Organization for Women
Seafund
Women for Women International
Alzheimers Foundation
Human Rights Watch
Heart Association
Fellowship of Reconciliation
SOTENI
Witness for Peace
Doctors Without Borders
New College
Amnesty International
Wellesley College
American Friends Service Committee
UNICEF
United Farm Workers
Red Cross
Union of Concerned Scientists
OxFam
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
Nature Conservancy
Florida Conference UCC
Amherst College
Save The Children
Westminster Suncoast
Doctors Without Borders
International Wildlife
Habitat for Humanity
United Nations Refugee Agency
International Rescue
Local food banks
Local arts community
National Public Radio
Children International
Public Broadcasting System
Emory University
American Diabetes Association
Americans for Responsible Solutions
Southern Poverty Law Center
Foundation for International Community Association
Carter Center
Barton Public Library
Ghost Ranch
American Association of University Women
American Stage
Good Samaritan Church
Center for Development South America                                                                   Salvation Army
Church of the Isles
Wednesday Poets
Goodwill
Museum of Fine Arts
St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital
Project Prosper
Pasadena Methodist Church
Rincon UCC
Welfare Fund
United Way
Bertorl Magnet School
Florida Orchestra
Phi Betta Kappa
Reading Buddy
Indiana University
University of Illinois
University of Florida
St. Petersburg Free Clinic
Back Bay Biloxi Mission
Parkinsons
Heifer Project
All Children’s Hospital
ECHO
Smithsonian
Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens
YMCA
Veterans of Foreign Wars

And, of course, Lakewood United Church of Christ

Sacred Conversations on Race: Taking Action

For 5 weeks, members and friends of Lakewood United Church of Christ in St. Petersburg met on Tuesday evenings to discuss race from many different perspectives. Various articles, exercises and resources were used to help learn about race as well as white privilege and the role of the church. At the last session, participants were given the opportunity to make commitments toward eliminating the negative effects of racism in themselves, in church, and in society. These are the commitments that were made by people in the group:

Listen to complaints of blacks with a sense of legitimacy
Vote
Give help, especially financially
Explore how black employees are treated at businesses that I patronize
Engage with more blacks
Challenge racism when I see it, especially in the facility that I live in
Have more compassion
Engage and converse with more African Americans
Work on forgiveness of self and others
Speak more about injustice in a non-confrontational way
Arrange a social engagement with someone who is black
Attend more events in the African American community that are open to the public
Encourage blacks who are trying to succeed helping overcome negative peer pressure in school and workplace
Support initiatives that may come up that are anti-racist
Talk more with grandchildren and great grandchildren about race, their experiences in school, sports, etc. especially concerning bullying and harassment
Face my own thoughts and racist attitudes
Invite black people to dinner and to church
Get off my high horse and see what is really happening out and about
Examine use of language and words that can imply racist ideas – high/low, good/bad, us/them
Talk with employees at senior citizen residential community about their jobs, etc.
Pledge money to Rise to Win, initiative for equality in sports
Have more interaction with colleagues who are black
Find out more about how workers are treated in the facility that I live in
Write letters to the editor, etc.
Be involved politically
Partner with an African American church to meet, interact, do something together
Make sure to be welcoming to blacks who visit the church
Work at becoming increasingly aware of racial issues and pray about where and how to be involved
Write to politicians
Support black owned restaurants
Make a difference in the senior community in which I live in terms of pay and training of service personnel, working with other residents from the church
Call the school board about the segregation at Maximo Elementary School
Have a black friend over to my home

Below are links to some of the readings and resources that were used in the Sacred Conversations on Race at LUCC:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/improve-dialogue-race-relations/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_privilege

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/good-men-project/why-its-so-hard-to-talk-to-white-people-about-racism_b_7183710.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2014/12/08/across-america-whites-are-biased-and-they-dont-even-know-it/

https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

http://racism.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=378:white11a2&catid=66&Itemid=237

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9ndyej7yuu

http://www.cirtl.net/files/PartI_CreatingAwareness_WhitePrivilegeUnpackingtheInvisibleKnapsack.pdf

http://www.ucc.org/sacred-conversation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtHWjL4z1W

http://www.warren.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=967

http://www.bendbulletin.com/nation/3531833-151/parker-pushed-the-media-toward-racial-inclusion

UCC Pastoral Letter on Racism

For those who are interested in being part of the Sacred Conversations on Race, a 5 week series beginning Tuesday Sept. 22, 2015, from 7;8:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall, the following article will inform some of the discussion at the first session.  To see the full article, simply click on the link below.  Please read it before coming to the first session.  Many thanks!  Kim Wells and Claire Stiles

pastltrracism

Sacred Conversations on Race at LUCC

The church is offering the opportunity for people to come together to discuss issues around race relations.  The goal is to raise awareness about race in the community and beyond as well as to examine personal beliefs, values, and behaviors around race. This discussion series will be led by Claire Stiles, professor emerita at Eckerd College, and Rev.  Kim Wells.  This group will meet for 5 weeks beginning Tuesday 9/22/15.   The gatherings will be held in the evening from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at the church.  Transportation will be provided to those who would like it.  Please contact the church at lakewooducc@gmail.com or 727-867-7961 if you are interested in participating or would like transportation.