March 17, 2015
March 7, 46 people gathered at Mercer Island Congregational Church UCC. The building, designed by Plymouth member Don Frothingham, who also designed Pilgrim Firs’ South Lodge, provided the perfect location for the morning’s work: welcoming the 2015 Leadership Team and orienting them to the ministry year ahead.
All eight of Plymouth’s senior staff, 13 Council members, three At-Large Congregants and 22 various Board and Committee members joined together in prayer, song, conversation, discernment and decision making.
Brigitta walked the group through an activity used at a recent two-day ‘Do What Matters! Workshop’ to help the group articulate where they are in their personal faith journeys and where they perceive Plymouth to be now. Boards and Committees met. We then reviewed five Bible stories (featured in recent Herald articles) that Plymouth is using to make meaning of the year ahead. (Biblical arc stories are available online or at the church office.)
The morning’s final session determined three topics for upcoming congregational conversations. While it felt like we were muddling through to identify Plymouth’s most important issues, looking at these three topics now and how well they fit together makes something clear: That morning was a great example of the Holy Spirit at work! Think of each conversation as a bowl that logically nests into the next one, like the four bowls pictured.
WHO ARE WE NOW? Focus: Plymouth’s overall purpose and mission. (blue bowl) What’s our identity? As a community of faith, we have a fundamental “DNA” which connects us and gives us an opportunity to serve others in ways different than a non-profit social service agency. For us to move forward well, we must first understand and live into this basic premise. Dates: Thursday, April 16 and Sunday, April 19.
WHAT IS OUR CALL? Focus: How do we define mission? (green bowl) By ‘call,’ what do we mean? Because mission comes from our core identity and encompasses sharing our financial resources, think of this conversation as the green bowl nested between the blue overall Plymouth purpose bowl and the red one. Dates: Sundays, May 17 and 24 and Thursday May 21.
HOW MIGHT WE USE OUR RESOURCES? Focus: Plymouth’s financial resources, including endowment. (red bowl) We are abundantly blessed. How are we called to use our financial resources in service of God’s work? This conversation comes last and is informed by previous two topics. Dates: Sundays, June 14 and 21, and Thursday June 18.
How about that big yellow bowl? The biggest bowl represents the five Biblical arc stories Brigitta laid out for 2015. As you read, look for how the stories, and questions Brigitta offered, support Plymouth during upcoming conversations.
Each topic will be discussed in Adult Forums, Horizon House gatherings and post-worship luncheon conversations. Come when most convenient. Stay tuned for details in future Herald articles. –Cory Maclay, Retreat Facilitator and Jon Palmason, Moderator