April 14, 2015
Thanks to Mary Lee Peters who is currently serving on Council. Here she shares a few thoughts on Plymouth and its place in her life and work.
How do you describe Plymouth's theology to neighbors, friends and co-workers?
I wish I found it more natural to present Plymouth's theological strengths to non-Plymouth people. What I would like to witness to is Plymouth's commitment to self-examination and redefinition of Christian principles for our particular circumstances.
As a community, Plymouth continually asks: Who is Christ, and what does it mean to follow him in this time and place? What is the essence of the Good News and what are our challenges to it in this era? How are we called to manifest our faith so the Gospel is not watered down? Plymouth has a proud tradition of social action and commitment to social justice informed by the faith of its members.
Plymouth's theology is a pilgrim process, always on the way. We reject authoritarian assertions of "truth" and take our faith claims as signs along the road of our faith journey. Our testimonies of faith are not the end of the journey, but remind us where we are and where we are headed. The “God is Still Speaking” UCC mind set is one that demands we examine our beliefs in the light of ever changing threats and challenges.
How has Plymouth influenced your faith?
Seattle is a mostly “un-churched” city. It is counter-cultural to belong to and participate in organized religion. At Plymouth, members come because the church matters a great deal to us. Participation is not taken for granted. Plymouth has helped ME see more clearly that the “individual Christian” or “privatized Christianity” is an oxymoron, since to be a Christian is to be incorporated into a community greater than the sum of its parts. The church is the context in which Christians live out their calling to love God and neighbor. Plymouth members strengthen one another to live in ways that may well be counter to the surrounding culture. If I am absent on Sunday at Plymouth I have missed something vital.
As a Council member, what goals do you hope to work toward this year?
Plymouth is facing some significant issues. We need to either grow to support church functions we have come to rely on as a community, or downsize to live within our means. Council has a variety of highly faithful and reflective people who will face these decisions together. I am honored to be in dialogue with those seeking solutions. I think our solutions must be practical, but come from a deepening and focusing of our values as an intentional Christian community. Responsibility for the life of the church needs to rest on the broad shoulders of all of us, not just clergy and staff.
Tell us about your professional and personal background.
I am grateful for having been raised in the context of faith. My father was a Methodist minister, one of five generations of clergy. Church was part of the fabric of life in our household. Though raised in the Methodist Church, as an adult I was drawn to the united and uniting qualities of the UCC.
My vocation as a physician has been a good fit for me to use the talents and skills I was given. I am a plastic surgeon at Swedish Medical Center. Being mother to my two adult children Chuck and Sarah, and married to my husband Jim Pritchett gives me lots to be grateful for!