November 12, 2012
The Plymouth community gathered on Saturday Nov. 10 and Sunday Nov. 11 to take the next step in our discussion of congregational priorities. The conversations were triggered by the offer of a new organ for the sanctuary and focused on questions of changes to the building that will better enable Plymouth to live into its priorities.
Pastor Brigitta Remole opened the meeting with prayer. She went on to affirm the congregation for its work since February to enter into the hard work of “adaptive change,” triggered by shifts in our culture and society. She reiterated that Plymouth has specific core values that will not change: its commitment to social justice, its role as a change agent, the centrality of music to its culture, its commitment to beinga downtown church and its seeking after that which is spiritual as well as intellectual. She reminded the congregation that we recognized our “DNA” in the discernment process: that Plymouth is a church that experiences the divine in relationship. And she noted that our current focus is on three priorities: the vitality of worship in diverse forms, the role of music and the arts in congregational life and outreach, and programs for youth and young adults.
Pastor Remole went on to announce that through the continuing work of the Worship, Arts and Music Board, several decisions have been made towards cultivating emerging forms of worship in complement to the traditional forms at which Plymouth is already adept. These include:
Moderator Susan Ford reminded those participating of the path that led to the November conversations. Throughout the spring, the congregation discerned together in the development of its priorities, which were recognized and claimed in May. The subsequent offer of contributions to pay for a Fisk organ triggered the Council to convene congregational discussions on living into its priorities. Participants met in October to explore their dreams and hopes for worship, music and the arts. Representatives from Schacht Aslani architects and the Fisk organ company observed the conversation, who took what they heard and prepared concepts for discussion in November. Susan noted in her introductory remarks that as a result of this process, the committee planning the conversations learned more about the potential costs of the various ideas expressed. Changes to seating, acoustics, lighting and other aspects of the Sanctuary alone would be on the magnitude of costs from the most recent Sanctuary renovation in the 1990s.
As a result, the conversations focused on showing examples of what the changes might look like, and asking those participating to provide feedback on what aspects or ideas most inspired them.
Those who were unable to participate are invited to visit the congregational priorities page to download a PDF of the concepts show, link to an audio recording of the Saturday presentation, and print out a Feedback form. Please complete the feedback form and either email it to Susan Ford or drop it off at the church office by Friday Nov. 16.
The Council will meet in late November to review the results of the discussions and the feedback data, and revisit the gift of the organ in light of all that has been learned through this process.