November 7, 2017
Part of what makes us community here at Plymouth is sharing our stories with one another. Elizabeth and Michael Gordon recently joined in covenant and here they share a bit of their journey that led them to Plymouth.
Michael was born and raised in Seattle. Elizabeth moved here in 1992 from Michigan to join family after completing a judicial clerkship with the Michigan Supreme Court.
After high school, Michael served in the Air Force as military police for four years. Later, he trained and worked as a residential, commercial and marine electrician. He took business classes and opened a barbecue restaurant with Elizabeth called Uncle Mike's Superlicious Barbecue. They closed the restaurant in 2015 when Michael retired, and in part to allow Elizabeth to pursue her academic career. Michael currently volunteers at Disabled Vets of America and spends time improving their home and yard.
As a lawyer, Elizabeth worked as a legal advocate on disability rights issues, particularly for individuals experiencing mental health crisis. She attended seminary to better understand how people's hearts and minds are changed to resist injustice. Her doctoral research focused on integrating spirituality into public mental health services. Elizabeth now teaches classes focused on spirituality, theology, social justice and well-being at Seattle University.
When Elizabeth was a seminary intern at Grace Madrona Presbyterian Church, an historically African American church, she met Michael. The church was being repaired and remodeled as part of reparations by the regional Presbytery for past discriminatory practices. During the remodel, Elizabeth served as an unskilled volunteer making supply runs while Michael, an electrician, served as a skilled volunteer. The two were paired up for a supply run to get electrical supplies and they've been together ever since!
They currently live in West Seattle and enjoy spending time with Michael's son and daughter, both grown.
When asked who or what inspires them, they said, “We are inspired by love and justice and those who pursue both - the love of God and justice for all; Jesus, Shaka Zulu, Malcolm X, MLK, Jr., Stokey Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Nat Turner, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, Barack and Michelle Obama and Rev. Kelle Brown.”
Michael’s passionate about helping others, being of service, cooking BBQ and design projects. Elizabeth enjoys advocacy, teaching, learning and the critical study of religious and non-religious spirituality.
Why Plymouth? “We chose Plymouth because of Rev Kelle Brown's ministry, her commitment to God and social justice and the support that the church has given her in her call to ministry.”
They are particularly pleased with Plymouth’s many efforts to educate and bring about equality and justice for all, guided by a commitment to God. “So many of the church's programs reflect these efforts from the library selection, to worship, Plymouth Housing and the “welcome to all” approach.” –Janice Randall
Whether you are new in covenant or have been a part of the Plymouth community for many years, share your stories with us! Please email Janice at jrandall@PlymouthChurchSeattle.org.