Practice Makes Plymouth: Online Toolkit

Practice Makes Plymouth, this Lenten Season! On this page, you will find all accompanying materials to our Practice makes Plymouth guide that you got in the mail! Didn’t get a guide? You can click here to download a PDF copy to print at home.

This guide is designed to allow you to explore various faith PRACTICES during this Lenten season and show how they align with the four pillars of our new STRATEGIC PLAN – Practice Radical Love Everywhere and Always. Quite simply, the more you PRACTICE, the more we fulfill the aims of the plan. In other words, PRACTICE makes PLYMOUTH.

Engage, explore, and enjoy finding the most meaningful practices for you during this Lenten Season! The pillars to the right will correspond with your copy of the guide and include all digital materials you may want to use!

Strategic Plan: An Introduction

After months of gathering and sifting through the ideas and reflections all of us offered about our beloved Plymouth Church, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee delivered our plan to us at the Church Council meeting on August 25.  The Church Council then adopted our plan and it is now in place to guide our church community through 2025. The 2020-25 Strategic Plan is called Practice Radical Love Everywhere and Always. This title includes some very big words and the first way we can engage with our new plan is to invite ourselves and our Plymouth friends to examine and reflect on these words together.

Practice. Radical Love. Everywhere and Always.

Practice:

If you own a copy of Marcus Borg’s The Heart of Christianity, take a look at Chapter Ten again. It’s all about Practice in the Christian context. According to Borg, Christians are really good at reminding ourselves that God loves us, but we need a little help remembering that we are also called to love God.

If we love God, we will do two things: pay attention to God and also love what God loves. Anything we do that helps us pay attention to God or to love what God loves is a Practice. So, Christians should really think of their faith as a set of practices, plural. These include the things we do on our own as well as with each other such as devotional disciplines and worship, but also acts of kindness or justice.

If we think of Practices as something akin to exercising our bodies or learning something new,  then we also understand that we won’t get it right all of the time and that there are rewards for repetition as well as for trying out new things.

Radical Love:

Radical is a difficult word for some people. It’s provocative and attention-grabbing. And it has some specific connotations for some people that aren’t related to their faith. One thing that Jesus asks his followers, though, is to re-think or re-interpret our current understandings and knowings. So….maybe we are being invited to look at this word anew?

Radical can be used as both an adjective and a noun. (It’s worth a mention that some have used the noun version to label Jesus.) The strategic plan uses it as an adjective. And as you know, adjectives require a noun in order for them to mean something. This is important. In our strategic plan, we are not using Radical alone, we are using it to describe LOVE.

If we apply a dictionary definition to the word in this context, then to practice Radical Love is to love in ways that are more far-reaching and more thorough. In short, it is a challenge to us to stretch and do more to extend love.

Far more important than the dictionary, though, is how we see Radical Love. Scroll down to hear from two members of the Steering Committee and two members of the Implementation Committee as they share their reflections.

Everywhere & Always:

While Radical is a difficult word for some, Everywhere and Always are more easily understood and accepted as ingredients in our faith. We know as Christians we are called to love God and love each other Everywhere and Always. And we also know it’s really hard to do and that we all fall short.

No matter what though, God keeps loving us Everywhere and Always.  In this way, Everywhere and Always serve to both assure us of God’s love and to challenge us to deliver it.

So, how can we honor this expansive and timeless giving and receiving of love? We can practice. We can look for reminders of God’s unfailing love for us and we can seek reminders of our call to love others.

So, how can we Practice Radical Love Everywhere and Always? You can start with a meaningful Lenten Challenge for yourself in 2021.

What does Radical Love mean to you?

  • Radical love is the fuel that makes us burn brighter and do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. It is selfless. It is ministering in the name of Jesus Christ.
    Pam Kenyon (member of the Steering Committee)
  • Practicing radical love means seeking to love ourselves and others the way God loves us. Love that is not based on merit or earned, but rather love that is limitless and cannot be fractured.
    Caroline Bettis Valentine (member of the Steering Committee)
  • Nonjudgmental acceptance of everyone!
    Keith Uhl (member of the Implementation Team)
  • Unselfish, caring, respectful love (with Gods help)
    Christine Woods (member of the Implementation Team).