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Senior Minister Search Update: April 12

2021-04-12

Thank you, Plymouth Church! The congregational survey was a great success! Over 300 responses were received over the two-week period. The search committee is working to assemble the information gathered into a working church profile for the UCC search and call process. The many responses will help identify the qualities you, Plymouth Church, want to see in a successful candidate.

The survey comments clearly demonstrate the passion and enthusiasm Plymouth has for the next senior minister and the opportunities they will have as a leader. Both the UCC church profile and the Slingshot search firm’s overview will be finalized and posted in the upcoming weeks.

Again, thank you to those who participated. The search committee is both encouraged and excited by your support and input. Continue to watch for updates on the church website and other church communications. The search committee is always available to hear your thoughts and comments at PlymouthSeniorMinisterSearch@gmail.com.

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Eastertide 2021 Book Study

2021-04-07

The Universal Christ is about the Eternal Christ, who never dies—and who never dies in you! Resurrection is about the whole of creation, it is about history, it is about every human who has ever been conceived, sinned, suffered, and died, every animal that has lived and died a tortured death, every element that has changed from solid, to liquid, to ether, over great expanses of time. It is about you and it is about me. It is about everything. The “Christ journey” is indeed another name for everything.

Join Pastor LeAnn Stubbs and Stephen Minister Brian Leckrone, for a six-week Eastertide Book Study as we read The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr. The study will begin on Sunday, April 18 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and conclude on Pentecost Sunday, May 23.

Click here to register for the class. We will send you the Zoom link, book information, and additional resources.

Questions, please contact Brian Leckrone at bdleckrone@gmail.com.

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Take the Creation Care Challenge

2021-04-07

April is Earth Month at Plymouth and we’re asking you to take the Creation Care Challenge. Commit to an activity that demonstrates how you protect and respect God’s creation. Listed here are some suggestions from the Plymouth Creation Care and Justice Coalition. Send an email (elbert.amylou@gmail.com) and we’ll share in future newsletters how Plymouth cares.

Also, join the 10 am Forum Sunday, April 18, when our guest will be Brian Campbell, Executive Director of the Iowa Environmental Council. He will update us on IEC activities and what we can do to work for a better tomorrow.

Will you commit to one or more of the following for the month of April? 

  • Cut your food waste in half (calculate how many garbage bags you have filled at the end of the week compared to your average). Buy and prepare only as much food as you and your family will consume.
  • Faithfully take groceries home in reusable bags rather than grocery-provided plastic.
  • Take lightweight mesh bags (sold at some area grocery stores and on Amazon) for produce rather than plastic bags provided by the supermarket.
  • Start a compost pile for garden cuttings and raw fruit and vegetable scraps.
  • Support candidates for office who work for environmental justice. Sign up for the Plymouth J-PAN e-mailing list on the Plymouth site for updates on pending environmental and social justice legislation and contact elected officials to express your opinions.
  • Buy a rain barrel and collect water to use for your lawn use. Plant native plants and plan a butterfly or rain garden. (See iowastormwater.org.)
  • Coordinate errands to cut driving time and distances in half.
  • Donate to an environmental organizations, such as the Iowa Interfaith Power & Light, Iowa Environmental Council, and Sierra Club.
  • Sign the Iowa Interfaith Power and Light faith statement on climate action, Uphold and Upheave.
  • Stop buying bottled water and carry a reusable water bottle (Americans throw away 35 billion empty water bottles a year. Of those, only 12 percent are recycled.)
  • Dial down your thermostat a few degrees at night or install a programmable thermostat.

 

Want to get really serious?

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Plymouth is Hiring

2021-04-06

Plymouth Church is looking for someone to join its team as Executive Assistant!

Click here to read the full job description.

If you are interested in applying, please send a cover letter and resume to jobs@plymouthchurch.com.

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Go on a Joy Hunt

2021-03-31

Go on a Joy Hunt!

Make a “Joy Spotter” to look for things that bring you and your family JOY!

Download a PDF of these directions here!

You Will Need:

  • An empty paper towel or toilet paper roll OR a piece of cardstock for each family member
  • Crayons, markers, or paints
  • OPTIONAL: stickers, ribbon or yarn, colored tape, etc.

Directions:

  1. Decorate the tube. You can cover it with paper, or color it with crayons, markers or paint.
  2. If using cardstock: decorate the cardstock. Roll it into a tube. Tape the seam
  3. You are ready to use your God Spotter to look for things that bring you JOY!
  4. Go on a JOY HUNT in your home, outside or on a walk.
  5. Later, try to remember all the things you found that bring you JOY!
  6. Say a prayer of thanks- include the things that bring your family JOY:

Loving God,
We have so many joys in our life
Thank you for: [list your joys]
On days when things are hard,
Help us remember the joys you have given us.
Amen.

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Make Your Own Joy Jar

2021-03-31

Make Your Own Joy Jar

Here is a way for your family to identify the joys in their lives!

Download a PDF of these directions here!

What you need:

  • A jar or container
  • Paper
  • Pencil or pen
  • Markers or crayons

Instructions:

  1. Decorate your family’s Joy Jar. Make a Joy Jar label, draw pictures, and have fun!
  2. Cut paper into strips. Your family will write their joys on the strips of paper. Children may want to draw pictures of their joys- make wider strips for pictures.
  3. Put the Joy Jar where your family will see it and use it.
  4. Over the next couple of weeks, start to fill the Joy Jar (choose a time each day to ask everyone “What brought you Joy today?” Write answers on strips of paper. Ask each family member to write or draw their answer.
  5. Watch your jar fill up!
  6. After a few weeks, empty the jar and read the strips of paper. Celebrate how blessed your family is to have Joy in your lives.
  7. Make a collage. Glue the strips on a large piece of paper.
  8. Make a paper Joy Chain with the strips of paper.
  9. Start to fill your Joy Jar again.

When a day is not going well for someone in your family, think about how your Joys can help.

Look through the collage or chain or the papers in the Joy Jar.

Which JOY or JOYS make you feel better?

Say a prayer of thanks:

Loving God
I am having a hard time.
Thank you for the Joy(s) of ________________.
Help me think about my Joys when things are hard.
Amen.

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Return to In-Person Worship Recommendations: 3-23-21

2021-03-29

Plymouth Church Health and Safety Task Force Return to In-Person Sanctuary Services Recommendation for Church Council (March 23, 2021)

CHAS recommends the return to in-person sanctuary services starting May 2, under the following conditions:

Timing:

  • Indoor, in-person worship to begin at 11:15 a.m. on Sunday, May 9. There will be an in-person service on May 2, but this service is for Confirmation only. This will give Plymouth staff who participate in liturgy the opportunity to be fully vaccinated before indoor services restart

 

Compartmentalization of and Access to the Building

  • Includes access to Narthex, Sanctuary, Gallery Hallway, and Bathrooms. Other access areas will still be roped off.
  • Open doors include those from both parking lots and the Ingersoll doors.
  • Doors open 30 minutes ahead of each service and 15 minutes after service. Deacons will encourage people to come and go from the sanctuary promptly.
  • Deacons will dismiss each row in order to ensure a distanced departure.

 

Details:

  • Masks and social distancing required.
  • Messaging sent out ahead of time detailing expectations around participating.
  • Seating capacity: 70 family units, with seating areas pre-marked. Total capacity: 100 people
  • Pre-registration required (online or call church office)
  • Office staff will monitor sign-ups to ensure variety of participants across Sundays.
  • Deacons will keep track of who is present/absent using pre-registration lists in case of the need to contact-trace.
  • Time limit of each service: 45 minutes.
  • No singing in for now.
  • Staff will not stand at doors to greet people before or after the service.
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Spreading Joy

2021-03-24

What could be more joyful than giving and receiving compliments? These sharable compliment pages will hopefully give you plenty of the inspiration to spread the joy of a good compliment!

Download here!

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Immigrant Rights Weekend

2021-03-23

On April 24 and 25, 2021, Plymouth will celebrate Immigrant Rights Weekend, sponsored by the Welcoming Migrants Committee. The United Church of Christ has designated Immigrant Rights Sunday as an opportunity to lift up immigrants: to learn about their concerns, honor their contributions to our country and communities, hear their pain, pray for their well-being, and listen to hear where God is leading us regarding issues of immigration.

Congregations are encouraged to include stories about immigrants in their worship service and explore avenues to advocate for immigrant justice.

Welcoming the stranger among us as native born is part of our faith tradition, for we too were once strangers (Exodus 22:21, Leviticus 19:33, Deuteronomy 10:17-19). However, too often the immigrants among us are rejected, treated as outcasts and placed on the margins of society.

On Immigrant Rights Weekend, Plymouth will welcome Reverend Dr. Randy Mayer, to deliver the sermon for the Saturday night/Sunday services. Dr. Randy Mayer is the Senior Minister at The Good Shepherd United Church of Christ (Sahuarita, Arizona), where he has served for the past 19 years. When Randy began to look for a church to pastor, he and his wife Norma dreamed of being as close to the US/Mexico border as possible. Randy has carefully blended his love of church camp and mission work into a very unique ministry of action, compassion, and inclusion of all. Randy is known in the Santa Cruz Valley as a musician, community organizer and a steady, progressive voice. He is a founding member of most of the border humanitarian groups and seeks to follow and teach about a “God That Is Still Speaking.” Randy and Norma reside in Sahuarita with their two boys, a dog, a cat and a yard full of packrats.

The Saturday night/Sunday services will also feature music from a border musician, as well as photographs taken by members of the Plymouth delegation (led by Pastor Nikira Hernandez-Evans) that participated in the Faithful Witness at the Border in 2018. Reverend Dr. Randy Mayer will also join Plymouth for the April 25 Fellowship Forum.

Leading up to Immigrant Rights Weekend, the Welcoming Migrants Committee co-sponsored a three-week book study of The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cant. with Plymouth Faithful Readers Book Group, and sponsored the I Was a Stranger 40-Day Challenge as part of the Practice Makes Plymouth Lenten Guide. The latter involves daily reading and reflecting on a short Bible passage that relates in one way or another to the theme of immigration. The Welcoming Migrants Committee also advocates on an ongoing basis at the state and national level supporting bills and policies that improve the lives of immigrants and refugees, and opposing those that discriminate or are punitive towards our Latinx neighbors.

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Stories for the Easter Season

2021-03-23

The Project:

Stories are catalysts to create and share meaning and grow community. During Eastertide (the season immediately following Easter), Plymouth is exploring JOY. When Jesus told the disciples he would make their joy complete, he had some notion of both how important and how fleeting joy can be. So. From the silly stories when you laughed so hard your stomach hurt, to the challenges that have taught you to savor joy when it appears, we want to hear your stories about JOY.

Question/Prompts:

Joy found me when… Can you finish this sentence? If so, go for it! If that feels too broad or you need help homing in, take a look at the prompts below and choose one that speaks to you. See if you can fill in the blank in two sentences or 35 words or less. What else do people need to know to really get it? Growing out from this kernel will be easier than trying to cut down a bigger story.

  • I laughed so hard my stomach hurt when…
  • I felt joy when I least expected to when…
  • I thought I’d never feel joy again when…
  • I knew my joy was NOT complete when…
  • I jumped for joy when…

Coaching & Directions:

  • Prepare a three-minute video sharing your story. (It’s best to record in landscape mode)
  • Three minutes is approximately 350-400 words if it’s written out, but we hope you will practice and film your video without using notes. (or with minimal notes)
  • Share it with Lindsey Braun for support and feedback!
  • If you don’t know how to start, try starting in the middle of your story (drop us right into the middle of the action)
  • Imagine your story on a storyboard or as a comic strip. What three main scenes or images do people need to see and understand to “get” it.
  • Think about your senses in the moment (or period of time). What could you smell, feel, hear, see? Set the scene for us and help us be there with you.
  • What’s at stake?
  • Make sure there’s a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Check to see that the “end” really is the end to the story you just told. (Sometimes our desire to wrap things up with a nice bow leads us to tack an ending on that doesn’t belong to our story)
  • When your video is complete, please upload it to the Dropbox link here: dropbox.com/request/wyDN94CUUtVOHSQPxwen