Lakewood UCC Supports New College Rally

UCC General Minister and President Rev John Dorhauer with LUCC continent Kim Wells, Emily Bell, and Dyanne Edds
UCC General Minister and President Rev John Dorhauer with LUCC continent Kim Wells, Emily Bell, and Dyanne Edds

Four members of Lakewood UCC joined hundreds of students, faculty, parents and supporters of New College in Sarasota in a demonstration on Tuesday Feb. 28.  The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, traveled from Cleveland, Ohio to speak at the demonstration.  There were pastors and congregants from numerous other UCC churches in west central Florida who also were present.

Why was this important to us?  The Board for Homeland Ministries of the United Church of Christ started New College sixty years ago.  Now it is part of the Florida public college system.   Recently, the FL Governor appointed six new trustees and a president to the college to reform it into a conservative replica of Hillsdale College in Michigan.  New College has traditionally been a place which welcomed all students regardless of race, religion, or sexual identity.  The students have thrived there where they might not have in another college environment.  

The protest at New College had two components.  First was the outdoor demonstration at 11:00 am, with more than 250 participants, most with signs denouncing the hostile takeover of New College by the new conservative trustees appointed by Governor DeSantis.  A particularly passionate statement was made by the Rev. John Dorhauer, from the UCC, who complained about what was happening at New College, which was founded and funded by the UCC.

The second part of the protest took place at the formal Board of Trustees Meeting beginning at 1:10 pm.  The meeting began with a short report by a member of the Board Of Governors about the gains in the reputation of Florida’s Universities in the past 10 years. Then the floor was open to comments from the public.  Each speaker was limited to one minute.  Forty-nine speakers took the podium – students, faculty, alumni, parents and other concerned persons.  All but one condemned the actions of the governor and the trustees as they tried to change the nature of New College, one of the top 5 Liberal Arts Colleges in the country.  Most of the comments were directed against the firing of the current president and the hiring of a politician with no background in higher education at a salary and perks of more than a million dollars, and the disbanding of programs promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Many of the most passionate speeches were met with applause and cheering by those in the audience, but not by the trustees!

One of the main highlights of the demonstration for the LUCC contingent was meeting and hearing Dr. John Dorhauer.   His message was inspiring and passionate.  When he spoke his “minute” at the Trustees meeting, many of the students rose to their feet in gleeful applause.  

The number of UCC people in attendance and the passion and preparedness of the students filled us with pride and hope.  

To stand and be present with the students, families, alums, and faculty was truly meaningful. 

Those who went from LUCC:  Dyanne Edds, Emily Bell, Bill Parsons, and Kim Wells

Maximo Elementary Project Report

LUCC delivered 25 Sack Packs and 25 Activity Packs to Maximo Elementary Tuesday. Olivia and Claudia did their shopping magic in 1 hour and then put all the packs together.  I delivered them to Ms. Jones at Maximo Elementary. Thanks everyone for another awesome ministry to benefit  homeless children at Maximo Elementary.  A total of $978 was donated for this project. Olivia took pictures today which she will pass on. -Emily Bell

Olivia Gibson, Claudia Rodriguez, and Emily Bell load up all 25 packs to take to Maximo!

Maximo Spring Break Project

The Education Ministry Team will be collecting money donations through Sunday, March 8th to fill 25 Snack Sacks and 25 Activity Sacks for homeless children who attend Maximo Elementary.   The Sacks will be given to the children on Friday the 13th, the beginning of Spring break.

The cost of one “Snack Sack” is $20 and one “Activity Sack”  is $10.  Olivia Gibson and Claudia Rodriguez will be purchasing and putting together the Sacks for delivery to the school on March 12.

Thanks to the generosity of  the LUCC congregation this  will be our fifth project benefiting children of Maximo Elementary.  

Fun Socks at Maximo Open House

Giving out crazy socks at Maximo Elementary’s open house was a great and meaningful event.  A lot of energy there! There were many highlights ~ the little boy squealing when he found the pair he wanted; the small child giving Claudia a big hug; the parent who looked over the church brochure and was heard saying “This church is in my neighborhood.”  It was a super start for our ministry with Maximo on many levels.

The community liaison, Ms. Jones, confirmed that there are 80 homeless children at the school.  Lakewood UCC collected over 350 socks.  The school is having crazy Sock day this week on Tuesday.  The children who come to school without a pair of crazy socks will be given a pair by the school social worker. 

Thank you Claudia Rodriguez, Patti Cooksey, Emily Bell, and Olivia Gibson for attending the Open House at Maximo Elementary and giving away fun socks donated by the congregation.

Claudia Rodriguez, Patti Cooksey, Emily Bell, and Olivia Gibson 

Church School Begins!

There are exciting plans for Church School which begins this Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019.

A Ministry Team has been actively working on making LUCC more welcoming to families with
children and youth. One effort is the family friendly seating area in the sanctuary.
Another is the Church School program. Church School will be oriented to middle school
students and elementary school students. Preschool students are welcome in childcare with

The Church School curriculum being used this year is called A Joyful Path. It is published by
the Center for Progressive Christianity. It has wonderful lessons that encourage young people to explore their spiritual lives and learn more about following Jesus.

Olivia Gibson and Patti Cooksey will be the lead teachers with others helping out along the
way. The Ministry Team chose people in the congregation to teach on themes that tie in with
their interests. This way the students get to know more of the adults in the congregation.

Church School will be held during morning worship. Everyone will be together in the sanctuary for the beginning of the service. Then after the Youth Moment, the young people will go to Church School. There will be no Church School on Communion Sundays, the first Sunday of the month, but childcare will still be available with Claudia.

The Ministry Team has also created an attractive gathering space in the classroom in the
Fellowship Hall building.

A handout was recently created about the Church School program at LUCC for the Maximo
Elementary Open House. In it we declare, “The spiritual life of young people deserves respect and nurture.” That is the goal for the Church School program at LUCC.

Here is the schedule for the weeks ahead:

9/8 Who or What is God? Teacher: Olivia Gibson
9/15 Creating a Mission Statement Teacher: Olivia Gibson
9/22 Who Was Jesus? Teacher: Dana Cosper
9/29 The Bible and How We Use It Teacher: Chip Cosper
10/6 World Communion Sunday No Church School
10/13 Divine Energy Flows Through Me Teachers: Genie Terrell and Patti Cooksey
10/20 God in Nature Teacher: Malcolm Wells]

As you can see, there are wonderful plans for the children and youth of LUCC.

We are all excited about serving together.