Pastoral Musings by Tom Stiers 

March 10, 2014

Two months after my wife Brenda’s death, Brigitta called and invited me to visit Plymouth for a month-long “theologian in residence.” Her call came just as I was beginning to move out of my depression. It was an exciting offer to think that I could re-connect with friends at Plymouth and Horizon House. So with gratitude for the opportunity, I said yes! This time with Plymouth was a time of personal healing for me.

The month passed quickly. It began as I arrived the evening of the annual meeting, an opportunity to see a snapshot of a vibrant Plymouth. The following Sunday, I shared my faith journey at the Forum with reflections on various Bible texts. The next week I was invited to share with Mike Denton, the conference minister of Pacific Northwest Conference UCC, our thoughts on the “past, present and future of the United Church of Christ.” Looking back over the 50 years of my ordination provided a framework to share important parts of the journey of the United Church. The United Church of Christ was born in 1957, and I was ordained in 1964. Mike Denton pointed to several exciting points of hope and renewal in the near future of the UCC. February 23, I was invited to preach and decided to preach on “View from the Pew.” Now that I’m retired, I worship from the pew. If you missed anything, it may be found on Plymouth’s website.

Sitting in on several staff meetings enabled me to feel the pulse of Plymouth’s excellent leadership team. With the installation of a new organ and a capital campaign in full swing, staff are supporting those while simultaneously planning Lent and Easter. We experienced stimulating discussions about challenges of planning exciting worship in Hildebrand Hall during the Sanctuary’s construction phase. We looked beyond, to the need for developing a Plymouth master plan.

The Capital Campaign and Adult Education Committees invited me to participate with them in certain events. I am excited by the number of adult education offerings available at Plymouth. I attended Don Mayer’s Thursday afternoon Bible Study and I sat in on one of Roy Hoover’s provocative Jesus Seminar sessions. During my final weekend at Plymouth, I attended the Men’s Retreat at Pilgrim Firs.

On a personal level, I was invited by Plymouth members and friends for one-on-one conversations. A number of parishioners invited me to share fellowship and a meal, including a delightful Thursday evening at Fare Start.

With gratitude to Plymouth members and friends, I packed my suitcase for Boulder, CO. Special thanks to Brigitta and the Plymouth staff! I look forward to returning in the future.

Tom Stiers 

Topics: Church Life



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