The Way Forward 

August 14, 2018

Saturday, August 11, an all-day meeting full of discussion, collaboration, debate and love took place. I am grateful to be able to participate in a gathering where clergy, council, staff, committees and teams are all welcome. Reflecting on the people present in the room that day, I am stunned by the competency and passion of the current, church-wide team. As we continue to develop Plymouth’s future, I have no doubt we will continue to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our revolutionary God of love.

Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory, by Tod Bolsinger, guided our conversation on a big move forward. Beginning in September, worship continues its momentum of the 10:30 am Sunday service into the church calendar year. I could not be more excited! We have tried many service options over the years, and for good reason. However, having one worship opportunity Sunday mornings unites the congregation under the umbrella of who we are: a single community. I honor those who perceive this as loss. A single Sunday service allows us to worship fully with everyone experiencing worship together. This opportunity to pour our efforts into sharing the light of God with one another will manifest in more opportunities for music, higher combined attendance rates, opportunities for members of groups and choirs to participate in the faith formation hour, ease of conducting services, clearer communication and more opportunity to convene together as one church for fellowship.

Two other action items came from the meeting that I am thrilled about. First and foremost, we will clearly define leadership roles, so we may, as a congregation, be on the same page as to who oversees specific areas. This move allows for clearer communication and more comprehensive teamwork, and transparency to strengthen core infrastructure and personal dynamics of our church. I believe members will be empowered to gain information and feel welcomed to get involved in whatever way the Spirit calls.

The other action item includes a mapping of our “Footprint of Oppression.” This vital exercise will unfold over the next few months so that we may know and understand Plymouth’s true history and power pathways. We will consult The People’s Institute for Undoing Racism during this work to discover more honest perspectives that our own biases may blind us to. We firmly believe that we cannot fully commit to a faith of justice if we are not willing to learn our own past of white supremacist oppression. Only good can come from this education, and we are excited to dig deep.

If you have questions, please ask. If you have concerns, please raise them. I invite you to analyze the drivers behind the questions. There is room for growth in these moments and there is Spirit in the cracks if how we do not lead with the motivation to conform the world to fit our preferences. YES, this is new, AND this is exciting. These are steps in the right direction for the health of the church so we may remain strong in tumultuous times when our surrounding communities need us—when we the church need ourselves to be people of faith.

As we explore this uncharted territory together, be reminded that love and empathy are not new concepts and are primary when change occurs. As Rev. Dr. Brown says, continue to be the church. Let us lead through our actions, starting with our own hearts. Thank you. —Anna Colwell  



Topics: Church Life, Events

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