Weekly Update 6/16

Sundays

 The service is at 9:30 in person, covid safe.

Childcare provided.

Please bring a rock, or a rock for each person that you would like to remember, to church on Sunday.  These rocks will remain at the church.

This coming Sunday is Father’s Day. There will be the naming of fathers in honor of Father’s Day. 

Communion will also be served this Sunday. 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. Please consider how you can help the community through this offering.

The month of June is being devoted to “There Is A Season.”  Gatherings each Sunday provide the opportunity to reflect on this season of transition in the covid pandemic.  It will be a time to look back, to notice what we have been going through, and to move forward with intention.  Scripture, readings, ritual, and music will be used to guide this time of spiritual healing.  

Each Sunday will be themed to one of the ancient elements:  Air, Fire, Earth, and Water.  This Sunday, the theme will be Earth.  You may want to bring a journal, notebook or pad to make notes.

If you know someone who has been struggling during this time, consider inviting them to church in June. It will be a season for healing the spirit.

The readings and material from the Sunday gathering will be posted at the website the following week and there will be regular posts of music and music videos from Hilton Jones.

Watch the service on Facebook Live Sundays at 9:30. https://www.facebook.com/LakewoodUCC

Or on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/LakewoodUCC/videos


There Is a Season: Fire

Last Sunday was the second in the June series on spiritual healing and comfort in this time of transition in the covid pandemic.  It was a bit of a Sunday service and a bit of a mini spiritual retreat.  The content is posted at the church website so that you can see what went on and do the guided spiritual reflection on your own if you would like to.  

In the post, you can read about the matches. You are welcome to create your bundles of 21, 19, and 50 matches and engage in a process of spiritual transformation.  There is more information in the post from last Sunday. https://lakewooducc.org/2021/06/16/sunday-service-6-13-2021/

You can also watch on Facebook or YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfuyL06YcvJ5AZg_1ZJ48Wg


Water Bottle Left at Church

Last Sunday after the service a pink water bottle was found left in the sanctuary. Please contact the church if this is yours or belongs to someone you know.


Driveway Fixed!

Thursday morning, city workers leveled the driveway entrance to the church near the dumpster.


Facebook Live

Many thanks to Patti Cooksey and Barbara Donohue for staffing Facebook Live last Sunday.  In addition to filming, they provided interaction with the viewers in the chat.  

Would you like to help with this ministry?  Contact Rev. Wells.  Many thanks!


Book Talk THIS THURSDAY

The initial gathering of LUCC’s Book Talk was lively and spirited!  This is an opportunity to discuss what you have been reading and hear about what others are reading. Join in the fun this month, on Thursday, June 17 at 6:30 on Zoom.  It’s the same link the church always uses:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2700683648

If you aren’t reading anything compelling at the moment, you’ll certainly be inspired after Book Talk.  And you may even be given some specific recommendations based on your personal interests!


Be Part of Reducing AIDS

There is an  the increase in HIV/AIDS infections in our area.  As a way of responding, Suncoast Hospice has given the church a large supply of condoms to be distributed. They will be placed in the bathrooms at the church.  They will also be available in the sanctuary.  The church advisors are encouraging the congregation to take some condoms and put them in public bathrooms and workplace bathrooms where they may get picked up by the appropriate population.  

So, the next time you are at the church, pick up a few condoms and see that they make their way out into the community!


Congratulations to Graduates

The LUCC church family celebrates the academic accomplishments of Julian Ricciardi and Ian Blair-Catala who graduated from Lakewood High School.  Both will be going to USF for college.

It has been a challenging year for all students and teachers.  The church celebrates that all students and teachers have completed another year of school.  Blessings to students:  Autumn and Nina Moore, Jackson Cosper, Ian and Owen Blair-Catala, Julian Ricciardi, Amaiya and Kai’Lyn Washington, Shelby and Gage Wilson, Zach Blair-Andrews, Noah Saylor, and Gabi Paxton.  And to teachers:  Mark Gibson, Dana Cosper, Claudia Rodriguez, and Melanie Moore.


Being Covid Safe and In Person Worship

Please stay home if you are not feeling well.

Please wear a mask while in the church building.  While most people have been vaccinated, this helps visitors to feel safe.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending double masking.  Please consider wearing two masks to church.  Additional masks will be available at church to use as needed.

Two hand sanitizing stations are available for use by worshippers.

There is well-ventilated, physically distanced indoor seating in the sanctuary.

Please know that your safety is of primary consideration! 

Safe childcare is provided.


Immigration Justice: Action Item

The Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program provides a path to safety for Afghans who worked with U.S. forces and who, as a result of that affiliation, suffer direct threats to their safety. These visas have been long delayed. As the U.S. anticipates its final withdrawal of our Armed Forces in September, we know that we cannot simply abandon the Afghans who risked their (and their families’) lives to help us and our allies (think of the U.S. evacuation of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War).

Send a message to President Biden today! Urge the administration to provide urgent humanitarian protections, including evacuation for those who have put their lives on the line for our country. Easy, templated, click and send link here from the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service: https://www.votervoice.net/LIRS/campaigns/85410/respond


Operation Attack Update

The two most recent OA drive thru events were a success! Thank you for Lakewood continuous donations during this trying time. OA is having 4 drive thru dates in the coming months. Those being June 26, July 31, and September 11. Please get these dates out to members of our congregation if they wish to help volunteer. In addition to those dates, OA is also still needing

Donations of cereal, peanut butter, canned meat, fruit, vegetables and soup, dried beans, and mac/cheese. Remember we still aren’t accepting clothing donations at the moment. Finally, pray for the people in our community who are continuing to be challenged during this difficult time and the volunteers who are trying to ease their burdens. I’m hoping to find a time to stop by Lakewood to pick up any donations. 

Thank You,Ian Blair-Catala

Please note that OA is not accepting clothing donations.


Anti Racism Demonstration Continues

Yes, it is still going on every week.  Because racism is still going on every week, every day, every moment in this country.  We can imagine a different future.  And we are making a small effort at creating that new reality at the demonstrations each Sunday.  

Signs are available at church or bring your own.

The time is 5:30.  Come every week.  Come for a season.  Come once. Come once in a while.  Everyone is ALWAYS welcome!


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 Sunday 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.


June Birthdays: Genie Terrell 6/10, Tony Rogers 6/21, Michelle Cloutier 6/21. Someone missing? Contact the church office with birthday information.


Circle of Concern: 

Wally LeBlanc whose cat, Francis, died this week

Sherry Santana

Carol Shores’ grandson, Ben

Edward Jones

William Owen-Cowan

Jen Degroot

Carolyn Moore

Ann Quinn

Maggie Brizendine

Janet Hall

Teachers, students, and school personnel, and all healthcare workers and essential workers. All those suffering from COVID-19.


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.

Sunday Service 6.13.2021

GATHERING MUSIC

WELCOME and ANNOUNCEMENTS

LIGHTING THE PEACE CANDLE

O Lord, take our ears and hear through them,

take our hands and use them,

take our lips and speak through them,

take our eyes and smile through them,

take our hearts and minds and wills,

and use them as lamps of love,

by which your light may shine in all

the darkness of this suffering world.

Modern Prayer, anonymous

PRELUDE                                

There Is A Season: A Time for Spiritual Healing

Many Effects of Fire

Fire.  Heat.  Energy.  Combustion.  It is all around us.  It is within us. 

Fire is at the heart of our planet and our solar system and the universe.  Fire has the power to heat, to ignite, to destroy, to refine, to cause regeneration, to cook, to purify, to transform.  It has the power to bring people together.  It has the power to sustain and protect.  It has the power to harm and to kill. 

We see fire naturally occurring in the sun, stars, and raging wild fires. 

We see humanly created fire in fireworks, sparklers, and candles.   We see it in campfires that gather people together to share stories that shape our reality.  We see it in bursting bombs and tumbling buildings.  We see fire stoking the engines of industry.  We see it in electricity which can provide light as well as spark fire.

There are many instances in scripture where we see the power of fire.  In Genesis we see the fire of the sun divided into the light of the day and the darkness of night.  We know the story of the burning bush and Moses and we’ll talk more about that a little later.  There is the pillar of fire that leads the Hebrews through the wilderness at night as they flee from slavery in Egypt.  There is the star that guides the wise ones to Jesus, the light of the world, who tells his followers that they are the light of the world with a light that is not to be put under a bushel basket.  There is the fire of Pentecost igniting the disciples to form the church.  And there is the fire of the book of Revelation leading to the emergence of a new world.  And there are other images of fire in our scriptures that remind us of the power and presence of the Divine. 

The image of fire, of light, conjures illumination, literal and figurative.  It suggests elucidation.  God’s word, a lamp to our feet, a light to our path. (Psalms)

Fire is powerful.  And its power is made manifest in many ways. 

This time of covid has been like a time of testing by fire.  We have been destroyed, renewed, and transformed.  We have seen new realities and new truths in this pandemic time.  We have seen destruction and refining and purifying.  We have been brought together around the hearth of Facebook Live and Zoom. 

We have experienced many changes during this time – in our schedules, sleep patterns, activities, habits, dress.  In how we live with our pets, what we eat, and how we shop.  We have experienced heartache, grief, loss of relationships, dreams, loved ones, jobs, and income.  And this has changed us.

When we think of the power of fire to destroy, to renew, and to transform, we see that we have experienced those kinds of changes in significant ways during covid. 

Personal Time of Reflection – Covid has had many effects.  It has been a season of transformation.  What changes have you noticed – in yourself, in the world around you, in the community, in relationships, etc.  We all know things are different now.  But how are they different?  You are welcome to make a list of these changes.  There are pads and pens for your use. 

Music from Hilton

Sharing in Small Groups

Tending the Fire

The June 2 issue of Christian Century has a collection of short narratives called Spark.  I want to share one of the stories with you.  It was written by Ingrid Rasmussen from Minneapolis:

The night after George Floyd was murdered by police, I got a call that the medic site serving demonstrators near the Third Precinct in Minneapolis needed to find a new home because of encroaching fires. The caller asked if the church I serve as pastor, located in the heart of growing unrest, would open its doors and tend to the wounded.

It was a big ask. Our building had been completely closed for two months because of the pandemic. But faithfulness and love require different things from us in different moments, and that night we needed to say yes. Because some congregants were already protesting in the area, we went from doors locked tight to doors propped wide open in about 20 minutes.

A few days later, a man approached me carrying a lantern. He introduced himself as Brian Dragonfly from MIGIZI, a Native youth empowerment organization located across the alley from the church. MIGIZI’s building survived the first night of unrest in the neighborhood, but the next night a fire spread from a neighboring structure. The building and most of its contents were destroyed.


When Dragonfly arrived to assess the situation, the building was still burning. “I decided to capture the fire,” he told me, holding up his lantern. Would Holy Trinity Lutheran Church tend the fire for MIGIZI until they could rebuild? He thought that the flame might bring some comfort to his community in the weeks and years ahead.

In our sanctuary, he set the lantern on the altar. I ran to find a candle. We shared the fire and along with it the trauma of the preceding days, the conviction that not all that was destroyed was to be mourned, and the hope that the ashy moment in our neighborhood’s life would be an opportunity for new life.

Later, I decided to bring the flame home for the night—I was more than a little fire-conscious in those days. I drove the candle home in my car’s cup holder. When I made it to my home with the flame still flickering, I wept. Even shattered dreams need tending.

Ingrid C. A. Rasmussen

Minneapolis, MN

Tending the flame.  During this covid time, we, too, have had to protect and tend the flame – of our lives and our spirits, our hopes and our dreams. 

In this time of stress and danger and threat, we have had to keep alive our humanity, our creativity, our divinity.  And we have had to help to tend the flame of others around us who have been dimming. 

So how have we fed our spirits?  How have we kept our flames burning, our coals warm?  What star has led and guided us through this time?  What spiritual practices, readings, habits, prayers, resources, relationships have been life giving?  How have we kept the flame of our spirit alit during this time?   What has led and guided us through this wilderness of covid? 

In this time of personal reflection, you may give some thought to how you have kept the light alive during these days of covid.  How have you nourished your spirit and maybe been a light for others?

Music from Hilton

Sharing in Small Groups

What is emerging for you as we emerge?

We know fire is needed to foster life.  Naturally occurring fires and controlled burns are needed in nature to spark new growth and to feed the soil with ash and debris from vegetation.  There are pine cones that need fire to release the seeds they contain to seed new trees.  So new life can come from fire.  Fire is needed for new life to emerge. 

So in thinking about this covid time, a time of trial by fire, we think about how new life will emerge.  What will come forth?  What is being brought to life?  What conditions are emerging that will enable something new to come forth? 

In the book of Exodus, Moses has escaped from Egypt to save his life after killing an Egyptian overseer.  He is busy living the pastoral life as a shepherd in the hinterland far from the centers of power.  He has gone on the down low.  And one day as the sheep are grazing, he sees a bush.  Let’s listen to that story:

Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian.  Leading the flock deep into the wilderness, Moses came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

The messenger of Yahweh appeared to Moses in a blazing fire from the midst of a thornbush.  Moses saw — ‘The bush is ablaze with fire, and yet it is isn’t consumed!’  Moses said, “Let me go over and look at this remarkable sight — and see why the bush doesn’t burn up!’

When Yahweh saw Moses coming to look more closely, God called out to him from the midst of the bush:  ‘Moses!  Moses!’

Moses answered, ‘I am here.’

God said, “Come no closer!  Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground! 

‘I am the God of your ancestors,’ the voice continued, ‘the God of Sarah and Abraham, the God of Rebecca and Isaac, the God of Leah and Rachel and Jacob!’

Moses hid his face, afraid to look at the Holy One. 

Then Yahweh said, ‘I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt;  I have heard their cries under those who oppress them; I have felt their sufferings.  Now I have come down to rescue them from the hand of Egypt, out of their place of suffering, and bring them to a place that is wide and fertile, a land flowing with milk and honey — the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.  The cry of the children of Israel has reached me, and I have watched how the Egyptians are oppressing them.  Now, go!  I will send you to Pharaoh, to bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.’

[Exodus 3:1-10]

The plight of the Hebrews lit a fire in God and God enlisted Moses to respond.  So, we can think about this time of covid, and all that we have been through in the past year, as individuals, communities, and as a society, and think of the needs that have come to light.  What has gotten your attention?  What desires, callings, or needs have arisen for you?  What has troubled you?   What sacred passion has been ignited in you during this time?   What fire is God kindling in you to bring you to life, to bring life to the world? 

Before we take some time to think about this, I want to mention something.  Sometimes we may feel that it’s all that we can do to keep ourselves going.  We don’t feel we have the capacity to do anything more.  Moses could have ignored that bush.  But there is a cost when we ignore the fire, when we don’t pay attention to the passion that burns in us.  We may experience frustration, addiction, conflict, depression, apathy, despair.  There is a peril to missing your calling, to not helping, to ignoring how you are needed in the world.  There is a cost to you and to others. 

So we are going to spend a few quiet moments thinking about what has been ignited in us during this covid time.  What has lit our passion?  How are we being drawn by the fire? What desires, what callings, needs have arisen for us?  What are we needed to be doing? 

Music from Hilton

Unison Reading

Strengthen my tongue that it may

Convey even one single spark of all

Your glory to future generations.

Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321

The Matches

The bush is there, awaiting our notice, bringing God’s dreams to light.

Now it is time for the matches.

For what we are going to do, you need 90 matches.  You also need three rubber bands. 

Please get out your matches, and make 3 bundles.  One with 21 matches.  One with 19 matches.  And one with 50 matches. 

Here’s the story with the matches.  Spiritual guide and therapist, Gunilla Norris has created a practice involving matches to help with staying focussed while engaging in a process of spiritual transformation.  [See Matches:  Bringing Heart and Will into Alignment 90 Days of Practice, Gunilla Norris]

This practice involves allowing a spiritual intention to surface.  And noticing it.  Identifying it.  And fanning that flame. 

The intention.  This is not a self help goal per se.  Like, I am going to put the top on the toothpaste tube every day and train myself to always do that.  Those kinds of goals are important but this process is not designed for that.  This is about something that has been sparked in us, something that is emerging or awakening in us, and that is transforming us into more loving, fully alive people. 

After the stress of the pandemic, and all that we have been through, this match ritual is an opportunity to pay attention and see what is coming out of that experience that we want to bring forward.  Maybe you have been struck by something in these days and months of covid and it is an ember seeking to become a flame.  This match ritual is about fostering that inner intention.

Here’s the process.  Once we have identified an intention, we speak intention and light our match, once a day for 90 days.  This daily practice is an outward ritual signifying an inner intention.  It is symbolic.  While 3 weeks, 21 days, can lead to a new habit, 90 days can lead to transformation. 

The match helps to remind us of our fire within, a divine fire, seeking to be made manifest in us.  A flame captures our attention.  When we light the match each day and it burns down, we have to stop, pay attention, focus, to be safe with the fire.  This gives us time to remember our intention and keep it in focus.

Then after the 21 match bundle, there is the 19 match bundle, to make 40.  A sacred number in the Bible.  The days of rain in the story of Noah before a new world emerged.  The years the Hebrews wandered in the wilderness before beginning their new life as a settled community of justice and peace.  There is the story of Jesus spending 40 days in the wilderness, a time of preparation for his ministry.  So, first the 21 matches, for 3 weeks, getting into the habit of lighting the match, and then the  19 matches to make the sacred 40.  Then 50 matches, a time of solidifying the intention and taking us into the period of transformation.  The whole thing is a slow process requiring patience and acceptance.  A time of emergence.  Some people say after the 90 matches they make more bundles and keep going. 

Here are some more details about the match process.  Norris recommends saving the burnt match stubs in the box to help remind you of your faithfulness and how far you have come.  She also suggests decorating the box, maybe inside and out, with images or drawings or cut out pictures from magazines.  This will help to reinforce your intention.

Also, if your box has a cardboard strip inside, you can write a scripture verse or a word or a quote on that to help fan the spark of your intention.  And along the way, you may find that you want to put something in the box.

It helps if you light the match at the same time each day.  And say your intention as you light your match.   And if you miss a day, then you are to begin again with match number one.  It’s not about failing.  It’s about being honest and truthful.  And learning from your experience.  And being true to consistency.  That helps to foster integrity.  So, it’s important to be constant.  Ninety days in a row. 

You may feel reservations or doubts along the way.  That’s ok.  If you feel resistance, examine it.  Listen to that resistance.  Maybe it’s a sign that you are going deeper and that something is changing.  If you have doubts and feel the process is silly, accept that.  And keep lighting your matches.  Continue.  Let go of the outcome.  If it feels rote, well, then pay attention to that.  Are you resistant in some way, putting up an obstacle?  All of these experiences can offer opportunities for deeper awareness.  They can shed light.

So, now we’ll take some time for reflection on the intention, on what passion is enflamed in you, on what kind of transformation your spirit is seeking, what is your deep desire, how is God calling you?   

If after the time of reflection, nothing has surfaced for you, you haven’t caught sight of a fire, a passion has not been ignited within, not to worry.  Norris says to light your match each day, pursue the outward practice and something will come.  Be patient.  A spark will appear. 

Time for personal reflection.

Music from Hilton

Pairing Up

Those who would like to are invited to pair up with someone.  Share your intention with the other person.  If you are willing, consider following up with that person in the days and weeks to come.  Help to fan one another’s flame along the way.  Offer support and encouragement.  Maybe share what you see happening in each other.  Share what you are experiencing.  Having a partner is a way to keep the flame burning and see what it is showing you. 

So if you would like to, spend some time in pairs and share your intention and discuss being continuing companions on this journey.

Dedicating Our Match Boxes

You are invited to hold your box in one hand.  Place your other and over the box in blessing.  If you are in pairs, hold your box, and let the other person put their hand over your box, and vice versa. 

Let us pray:

We dedicate these matches as a symbol of our desire to be transformed by the flame of divinity, burning and glowing in us, shining the light of love in the world.  Through this process may our passions be rekindled, may our deep desires meet the needs of the world, may our fire nurture new life, growth and transformation for the good of the world.  May these boxes remind us to come out of the boxes we make for ourselves so that we can see the full light of life and love in all of its raging splendor.  Amen. 

Morning Offering

Music from Hilton

Morning Prayers — Savior’s Prayer

Closing Blessing

         Have everyone light a match not from a bundle. 

         Then say,
         Go, set the world on fire.

         St. Ignatius of Loyola, 1491-1556

Postlude

Weekly Update 6/9

Sundays

 The service is at 9:30 in person, covid safe.

Childcare provided.

Please bring a box of matches with at least 90 matches in it and a few small rubber bands or twist ties to church on Sunday.

The month of June will be devoted to “There Is A Season.”  Gatherings each Sunday will provide the opportunity to reflect on this season of transition in the covid pandemic.  It will be a time to look back, to notice what we have been going through, and to move forward with intention.  Scripture, readings, ritual, and music will be used to guide this time of spiritual healing.  

Each Sunday will be themed to one of the ancient elements:  Air, Fire, Earth, and Water.  This Sunday, the theme will be Fire.  You may want to bring a journal, notebook or pad to make notes.

If you know someone who has been struggling during this time, consider inviting them to church in June. It will be a season for healing the spirit.

The readings and material from the Sunday gathering will be posted at the website the following week and there will be regular posts of music and music videos from Hilton Jones.

Watch the service on Facebook Live Sundays at 9:30. https://www.facebook.com/LakewoodUCC

Or on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/LakewoodUCC/videos


There Is a Season:  Air

Last Sunday was the first in the June series on spiritual healing and comfort in this time of transition in the covid pandemic.  It was a bit of a Sunday service and a bit of a mini spiritual retreat.  The content is posted at the church website so that you can see what went on and do the guided spiritual reflection on your own if you would like to.  

Part of the process included sharing in small groups for those who wanted to and felt comfortable doing so.  It was wonderful to hear the sanctuary abuzz with energetic conversations!  It was as if the building was coming back to life!

In the post, you can read about the feather.  Maybe you are still looking at your feather and finding blessings in each day.  

For next Sunday, please bring a box of matches, with at least 90 matches in it.  You will also need a few small rubber bands or twist ties.  The theme for next Sunday is fire.  

Here’s the link to last week’s content: https://lakewooducc.org/2021/06/09/sunday-service-6-6-2021/


Facebook Live? 

Sorry, the service was not live last week.  It’s a new month and there is a new schedule but the people on the schedule weren’t informed of their assignments.  Whoops!  Look for Facebook Live next Sunday.  


Book Talk

The initial gathering of LUCC’s Book Talk was lively and spirited!  This is an opportunity to discuss what you have been reading and hear about what others are reading. Join in the fun this month, the third Thursday of the month, June 17 at 6:30 on Zoom.  It’s the same link the church always uses:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2700683648

If you aren’t reading anything compelling at the moment, you’ll certainly be inspired after Book Talk.  And you may even be given some specific recommendations based on your personal interests!


Advisors Meeting Ahead

The advisors are meeting Sunday June 13.  Please contact an advisor if there are things you would like discussed at the meeting.  The advisors are Patti Cooksey, Lucille Ruga, Jane Diven, and Malcolm Wells.


AIDS Awareness

Rev. Wells and Jim Andrews of LUCC were part of an Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA) community witness to draw attention to the growing rate of HIV/AIDS particularly in the Black community in St. Petersburg.  Here’s a link to learn more: https://www.facebook.com/IMAStPete/


Congratulations to Graduates

The LUCC church family celebrates the academic accomplishments of Julian Ricciardi and Ian Blair-Catala who graduated from Lakewood High School.  Both will be going to USF for college.

It has been a challenging year for all students and teachers.  The church celebrates that all students and teachers have completed another year of school.  Blessings to students:  Autumn and Nina Moore, Jackson Cosper, Ian and Owen Blair-Catala, Julian Ricciardi, Amaiya and Kai’Lyn Washington, Shelby and Gage Wilson, Zach Blair-Andrews, Noah Saylor, and Gabi Paxton.  And to teachers:  Mark Gibson, Dana Cosper, Claudia Rodriguez, and Melanie Moore.


Get Well Card

Please sign the get well card for Ben, Carol Shores’ grandson who is home from Shriner’s hospital and recovering from an extensive cleft palate surgery. Through all his medical appointments and travels for procedures—AND the year of Covid, he had made the Principal’s List all year!!  Those who will not be in church Sunday are certainly  welcome to send a card of well wishes, please contact the church office for Ben’s address.


Memorial Garden Efforts

Many thanks to Claire Stiles, Ed Kaspar, and Malcolm Wells who worked with Rev. Wells after church last Sunday to clean up the Memorial Garden.  You can now see the paving stone path, the monument, and you can get to the bench to sit down!  The team worked for about an hour to clear things out.  Take a look the next time you are at the church.


Being Covid Safe and In Person Worship

Please stay home if you are not feeling well.

Please wear a mask while in the church building.  While most people have been vaccinated, this helps visitors to feel safe.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending double masking.  Please consider wearing two masks to church.  Additional masks will be available at church to use as needed.

Two hand sanitizing stations are available for use by worshippers.

There is well-ventilated, physically distanced indoor seating in the sanctuary.

Please know that your safety is of primary consideration! 

Safe childcare is provided.


Immigration Justice: Action Item

The Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program provides a path to safety for Afghans who worked with U.S. forces and who, as a result of that affiliation, suffer direct threats to their safety. These visas have been long delayed. As the U.S. anticipates its final withdrawal of our Armed Forces in September, we know that we cannot simply abandon the Afghans who risked their (and their families’) lives to help us and our allies (think of the U.S. evacuation of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War).

Send a message to President Biden today! Urge the administration to provide urgent humanitarian protections, including evacuation for those who have put their lives on the line for our country. Easy, templated, click and send link here from the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service: https://www.votervoice.net/LIRS/campaigns/85410/respond


Operation Attack Update

The two most recent OA drive thru events were a success! Thank you for Lakewood continuous donations during this trying time. OA is having 4 drive thru dates in the coming months. Those being June 26, July 31, and September 11. Please get these dates out to members of our congregation if they wish to help volunteer. In addition to those dates, OA is also still needing

Donations of cereal, peanut butter, canned meat, fruit, vegetables and soup, dried beans, and mac/cheese. Remember we still aren’t accepting clothing donations at the moment. Finally, pray for the people in our community who are continuing to be challenged during this difficult time and the volunteers who are trying to ease their burdens. I’m hoping to find a time to stop by Lakewood to pick up any donations. 

Thank You,Ian Blair-Catala

Please note that OA is not accepting clothing donations.


Anti Racism Demonstration Continues

Yes, it is still going on every week.  Because racism is still going on every week, every day, every moment in this country.  We can imagine a different future.  And we are making a small effort at creating that new reality at the demonstrations each Sunday.  

Signs are available at church or bring your own.

The new time beginning May 16 is 5:30.  Come every week.  Come for a season.  Come once. Come once in a while.  Everyone is ALWAYS welcome!


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 Sunday 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.


June Birthdays: Genie Terrell 6/10, Tony Rogers 6/21, Michelle Cloutier 6/21. Someone missing? Contact the church office with birthday information.


Circle of Concern: 

Sherry Santana

Carol Shores’ grandson, Ben

Edward Jones

William Owen-Cowan

Jen Degroot

Carolyn Moore

Ann Quinn

Maggie Brizendine

Janet Hall

Ben Shores

Teachers, students, and school personnel, and all healthcare workers and essential workers. All those suffering from COVID-19.


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.

Sunday Service 6.6.2021

GATHERING MUSIC

WELCOME and ANNOUNCEMENTS

LIGHTING THE PEACE CANDLE  

We are told in the gospel of John of an encounter between Jesus and the disciples after the crucifixion:

“In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were locked in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Temple authorities.

“Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Having said this, the savior showed them the marks of the crucifixion.

“The disciples were filled with joy when they saw Jesus, who said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As Abba God sent me, so I am sending you.’

“After saying this, Jesus breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” [John 20:19-22]

On this first day of the week, wherever we are on our journey, may we be open to Divine peace which is as close to us as our next breath.

PRELUDE                                

THERE IS A SEASON: A Time for Spiritual Healing

Breath and Connection

The Bible, our sacred text, begins with stories of Creation. In the first story, we are told of the wind brooding over the face of the waters. That word for wind also means spirit. So our story begins with spirit, air, wind churning the deeps and drawing forth the Earth as we know it with its countless life forms. A perfect storm!

In the second creation story, we hear of the formation of an earthling created from the clay of the ground. Then Yahweh “blew into its nostrils the breath of life. And the earth creature became a living being.” [Genesis 2:7]

So our story begins with air, spirit, the life force, animating the world and our species. And as humanity has developed and put the brain we have been given to work, we have learned that what we breathe is air, rich in the element oxygen. Oxygen is provided for us by the trees and plants of our environment. We have learned that we breathe out carbon dioxide, which is needed by trees and plants. So we are in a mutually dependent relationship with the natural world around us. And the oxygen atoms that form the air we breathe are the same atoms that were in the air breathed by Jesus, and the wooly mammoth, and the stegosaurus, and the all the breathing animals that have ever lived. We are all breathing the same air.

Air is our lifeline and it connects us to each other, to the Earth, to the past, to the Divine. Air is an invisible often unnoticed bond that is holding life on this planet together.

Air, wind, breath, soul, spirit, respiration, inspiration, all connected and connecting the Divine, Creation, and all life forms to one another. Seventh century monk, St. Maximus the Confessor, tells us, “God is breath.”

So, in these quiet moments, breathe, breathe deeply, pay

attention to your breathing, and feel your connection to all of life,

to yourself, and to the Divine, in this present moment.

Music from Hilton

Unison Reading

The image of air and breath is important in all religions. Incense, prayer flags, and other rituals convey this. We’ll join together in affirming this connection by reading the words of the Zuni chant together:

Beseeching the breath of the divine one,

The life-giving breath,

The breath of old age,

The breath of waters,

The breath of seeds,

The breath of riches,

The breath of fecundity,

The breath of power,

The breath of good fortune,

Asking for divine breath,

And into my warm body drawing that breath,

I add to your breath

That happily you may always live.

Connection during Covid

Divine breath, my breath, your breath, connected, commingled.

As we’ve noticed, we are connected by air. We all breathe the same air. We all need air. Air, spirit, sustains life. Air also carries sound waves which are necessary for communication through speech and language. Air makes it possible for us to talk and hear. Oral communication is dependent upon air.

And during the covid pandemic we have been reminded of the importance of connection, communication, and contact. Being together. Touch. Speech. We have seen how necessary connection is to us physically, relationally, spiritually, and emotionally. We have learned to appreciate our connections in new ways.

As humans, the world over, we have experienced separation and isolation. We’ve all dealt with restricted contacts and activities. We were all on lock down, on shelter in place. The world over.

We have all dealt with masks, separating us, restricting the visual cues of facial expressions, making it harder to understand each other when speaking,

We have learned that communicating and connecting is so important to us that we have mastered once foreign technological tools like Zoom and Facebook Live and Facetime to see and hear each other. To connect. To work. To love. To feel alive.

And we have realized how important face-to-face, interpersonal, physical contact is to us. For our well-being. Our wholeness. Our joy. We have been through these things together as a human race.

And this extends beyond our connection with other people to our connection with the natural world around us. We’ve noticed that when people were sheltering in place and driving was diminished, the air was cleaner, purer, more breathable. Remember those pictures of cities like Los Angles without all the pollution from the cars?

Remember how with our cars parked, with our movement restricted, the movement of animals and birds increased? The sound of birds chirping was raucous.

The pandemic helped us to see how we are one functioning whole on the earth, all connected. We saw the interplay between humanity and nature in new ways.

This pandemic time has given us an opportunity to examine the importance of connections – our connections to family, nature, work, community, technology, friends, the wider world, ourselves, the church, our spiritual practices, our beliefs, our species. In the face of an immediate global threat, we have had to examine everything. Even down to noticing the air around us which we are usually oblivious to.

So, in the quiet moments that follow, you are invited to reflect on how you have experienced connections in new ways during the pandemic. What connections have you become aware of? What connections did you miss? How do you feel connected in new ways? Think about this theme of connections related to the pandemic.

After the quiet reflection, you will be invited to move into small groups and share some of your thoughts in the group, if you would like to. If you prefer not to share in a group, that is fine, too. We have pads and pens if you would like to make some notes.

So take a few minutes to reflect on the theme of connection in this time of covid.

Music from Hilton

Sharing in small groups

Fear and Covid

We have considered how air keeps us alive and keeps us connected. It is our lifeline, which may be one of the reasons that this pandemic has us so undone. It is air borne. You get it from virus droplets in the air. The same air that keeps us alive can kill us. It has become deadly. And covid is a respiratory illness, it effects the lungs, which process the air that keeps us alive.

The world has one big air system that keeps us alive, and as we now know, can kill us. This has made the pandemic extremely disconcerting, unnerving, jarring, and disturbing. With other diseases, you can avoid behaviors that transmit the disease. How can you avoid breathing? Covid is a radical attack to our lifeline.

And in the midst of it, we heard the voice of George Floyd, begging, “I can’t breathe.” And everything got more harrowing and more disconcerting. Another system set up to protect and to serve, also deadly.

And there was the presidential election, another system gone awry.

At one point I went to the dentist for a cleaning. All the proper precautions were taken. The dentist noted that he thought I had been clenching my teeth in my sleep. It’s something people do when they are under stress. I told him, “If you aren’t clenching your teeth now, you should be.” It has been a difficult time. A time of being continually buffeted as this covid crisis has unfolded.

People have died. Alone. Relationships have ended. Jobs have disappeared. Schools have been closed. Dreams have evaporated. It has not been easy. It has been scary to have the world as we knew it disappear right before our eyes. Whatever security we thought we had, blown away.

So the air that we breathe, that keeps us alive, became an accessory to death. No wonder we are afraid. And it is a reminder of the many fears that we have been facing.

We want you to take some time to think about the fears that have been real for you during this time related or unrelated to the pandemic. How have you felt afraid?

You’re invited to make a list of your fears. There are pads and pens. Following a time of reflection, those who would like to may share in small groups.

Music from Hilton

Sharing in small groups

Consider your list of fears. What on that list surprises you? Perhaps share that in the small group.

Feathers and Blessings

You were invited to bring a feather to church this morning. And to bring more than one to share. So, you may get out your feather and share with others if you have extras.

If you don’t have one, it’s ok. It’s a symbolic reminder. Maybe you will find one on the way home from church.

We have been talking about air. Well, how do birds stay in the air? How do they soar? How do they stay aloft, seemingly floating on, well, nothing? They are perfectly designed for flight. With their hollow bones and feathers providing just enough wind resistance to sail aloft. Some birds fly for endless hours migrating around the globe borne by those precious feathers pushing against the air. Some birds soar on air currents endlessly, effortlessly, thanks to those feathers.

Feathers remind us of the power of the air, the wind. We don’t actually see the air, but we know it is there by its effects – enabling birds to fly. Or spinning pinwheels or wind mills. Waving prayer flags. Tinkling wind chimes. Making tree limbs dance in the breeze.

Ah, the wind. Invisible yet powerful. Like the spirit. Perhaps subtle. Perhaps conspicuous, like the sound of the wind in the Pentecost story. But there. And having an impact.

The feather is a reminder of the presence of air. Air that enables the birds to fly. Air that sustains our lives. And it reminds us of the spirit of God, of the presence of Divinity, uplifting, cleansing, refreshing, renewing, empowering, like the wind. In ways we may not even notice.

So the feather is an invitation to notice. The presence of air. The connectedness of all of creation, and our dependence on nature. It is also an invitation to notice the many blessings of our days. Moments of uplift. Perhaps much needed. Maybe from an unexpected source. Or a blessing of inspiration. From a conversation or a book or a song or a walk outside. Maybe the feather is a reminder of the blessing of a memory. Something from long ago that still has the power to move you in some way. The feather is an invitation to pay attention to those feelings, experiences, encounters, that bless, uplift, that are life-giving. Maybe they mostly go unnoticed, like air. But the feather is an invitation to notice. To connect with the blessings.

The feather is also an invitation to notice how you uplift others, perhaps with some small action or word, slight as the touch of a feather, yet bringing needed relief, hope, comfort, or inspiration of some kind. And as with the touch of a feather, the air, this may go unnoticed, you may never know that you have had an effect. And yet a life may be changed.

They say the movement of a butterfly wing has the power to change the world. Think of the power that we have. We are changing the world. But how? Are we changing it in the ways we want to be changing it?

So, we invite you to contemplate your feather if you have one, or think about the image of the feather, draw one if you like on your pad. And reflect on those blessings, received and given, that have been uplifting in some way during this covid time.

How you have been touched by blessing in this time? How has that helped you to stay aloft?

Music from Hilton

You are invited to keep your feather where you can see it daily. It can be a reminder of how we are touched by blessings each and every day. And how we can be touched by the blessings that we share.

Unison Reading

God has given to the earth the breath, which feeds it. It is God’s breath that gives life to all things. And if God were to withhold that breath, everything would be annihilated. God’s breath vibrates in you, in your voice. It is the breath of God that you breathe – and you are unaware of it.

Theophilus of Antioch

MORNING OFFERING

CLOSING PRAYERS, SAVIOR’S PRAYER and BREATH MEDITATION

In closing, we will make our breath our prayer – so that, like the writer of Thessalonians, we might “pray without ceasing.” [I Thessalonians 5:17]

Take a deep breath. And another.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Feel your lungs expand. Creating more room for your heart to be

filled with love.

Breathe deeply, allowing the oxygen in the air to relax your

nervous system. No clenching. Release those fears.

Breathe deeply increasing your capacity for compassion for

yourself, others, and the world.

Breathe deeply so that you may be more alert and aware. There

are blessings in every one of our days.

Breathe deeply allowing the Divine to animate your wearied,

withered spirit.

Breathe deeply. And be connected to the Oneness of reality.

Breathe in God. Breathe out love.

Breathe in God. Breathe out peace.

Breathe in God. Breathe out compassion.

Breathe. Amen.