May 24, 2016
Mark and JT Edwards lived in North Carolina nearly 20 years, before taking on contract work throughout the United States. Prior to that, they lost everything in a devastating house fire, which taught them to live a simpler life and rely on their faith.
They discovered a small, growing UCC church in Tennessee where they were welcomed with love, kindness and support. “Here we learned more about the transformative spirit of the UCC faith,” adds Mark. They arrived in Seattle, October 2014, and now reside on Capitol Hill’s west side, just blocks from Plymouth Pillar Park on Pike and Boren.
JT grew up Catholic and became disenfranchised. Attracted to the Salvation Army’s religious outreach, JT soon found the group he was involved with held differing social views that did not match his own.
Mark was raised conservative, Southern Baptist. “I grew angry at the belittlement, hypocrisy, condescending and shallow attitude towards parishioners who had less than average means or lower living conditions.”
They discovered Pullman Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, an open and affirming congregation, where they were joined in a ‘Holy Union’ ceremony May 28, 2005. They recently celebrated twenty-two years of love, support and commitment.
In June, 2015, friends from Tennessee, one of whom is a UCC Moderator, visited and together they attended Plymouth. “Upon entering, we immediately felt the spirit of Christ. Everywhere we looked we saw beautiful, warm smiles, folks interested in our ‘odd’ accents, a beautiful Sanctuary, a solid community of loving Christians and a church that is forward thinking and wants to grow in love and become a stronger force in the community in which we reside.”
JT graduated from North Carolina State University in architectural landscape, soil science, turf grass management and horticulture science. He also worked extensively on local, state and national political campaigns.
Mark graduated from Auburn University in Civil Engineering, with a focus on Structural Engineering. After twenty plus years with a southeast firm, Mark now works as an independent consulting engineer.
“We love it here. We believe that we have found our retirement city and we know that we have found our permanent home church at Plymouth.”
Mark and JT love college football and may often be found either attending a college football game, or watching their favorite teams on television. They also enjoy travel.
“We love the history of Plymouth and that Plymouth continues to transform and grow with the community. Plymouth is a solid anchor in this community. Christ's love is inclusive, never ending, and neither is the love at Plymouth. We get big smiles when we tell others we are members of Plymouth Congregational Church, UCC!