November 1, 2016
When I think of Plymouth right here, right now, I feel nothing but blessings. From a personal standpoint, I haven’t come regularly to church in eight years. But I came back to this place and it felt like coming home. There is palpable new energy in this place. I love it. I’m proud to be a part of it. To say that directing YF with my best friend Katie Stultz is a blessing is a massive understatement. To return to the place that helped raise me into who I am right now, only to be invited to be a part of furthering its agenda of open and affirming love, is beyond a blessing.
If this is home, then this is family. Family is not perfect; I have learned this. And if I have learned anything in this life, it is what a blessing it is to have an imperfect family. It is the blessing of having the opportunity to learn the truths of one another and ourselves. It is the discovery of who you are in the face of conflict. It is the blessing of knowing that even if we don’t like each other, we love each other. It is the blessing of knowing that there is a village standing behind you.
You are my village. Starting from the beginning, I was baptized by my Granddad in the front of the Sanctuary; I took my first steps in the back of the Sanctuary. Tad Anderson and Jon Daniel gave me the best first impression of Sunday school I could have ever hoped for. I confirmed my faith under the guidance of a stellar confirmation teacher, Becky Colwell, and alongside an amazing mentor, Ann Palmason. In YF, Cory Maclay showed us what it was like to be valued and taken seriously as young adults, and I intend to return the favor.
Since that beginning, you have shown me what it looks like to be a member of this place. You brought me through all the insecurities, all the love and doubt in my faith, times of death and rebirth and you held me. I felt it then, and I feel it now. If growing up in a safe place where you can love your faith, completely doubt your faith, leave and then come back and actually teach your faith isn’t a blessing, then I have no idea what is.
Growing up, my mother told me, “Everything is a link in the chain of your good.” All I know is that Plymouth, we look GOOD. Look at us. We have a new Sanctuary floorplan that breeds a more inclusive atmosphere. We have a congregation that has been empowered by its faith and stood strong in its beliefs; and it is BECAUSE of that, I believe we are in the process of showing ourselves that we are already the support we have been craving. We have an organist that plays Jurassic Park on a multi-million-dollar instrument. THAT IS AMAZING. And the leaders, my God! Jon Palmason, who kept everything together when things, more-or-less, hit the fan; Jen Castle, who is probably the most laid back and easy-going person I have ever seen organize anything; Steve Davis, whose default vibe is completely kind, positive and loving; and we have Kelle Brown who, seriously, every word out of her mouth is a blessing.
This shift, this new energy, is all possible because of where we have been. It is not in spite of, it is BECAUSE of the fact that we made our way through some tough, drama-filled times. We probably will again, one way or another, but we’re figuring it out. Together. I’m in. Who WOULDN’T be in? I’m IN!
What is a blessing within the context of Plymouth? Support is a blessing. Community is a blessing. Safety is a blessing. Perspective is a blessing. Humor is most definitely a blessing. PLYMOUTH is a blessing, and remember that YOU are Plymouth. YOU are the blessing that make these words come so easily.
KNOW that I love you, and from the bottom of my heart, for all that you are, have been and will be, THANK YOU. —Anna Colwell