Campus Task Force, Did You Know?

Our neighbors include people who live in the neighborhood, institutions that run non–profits or businesses, and those individuals who move in and out – who bus, work or are homeless. We have been able to meet with many individuals and groups of neighbors who responded to our questions about how we can be better neighbors and strengthen our neighborhood together. We’ve also had dozens of more casual, on- the-street conversations. Generally, they seem to trust our good intentions. We on the Campus Task Force are eager to help Plymouth move beyond intentions. We’re talking about transformational change.

Plymouth’s long, rich tradition of helping our neighbors and neighborhood by providing direct services to people with various needs has begun to morph toward changing the conditions that underly their challenges. Compassion has and will always matter. But as we prepare to make recommendations to the Deacons in December, we believe it’s time to strengthen and transform our commitment to racial and economic equity. We believe we should create a new model for concrete changes that will enhance the well-being of our neighbors and the neighborhood we share.

Fortunately, and not unsurprisingly, a growing number of more than 125 church and staff members inspired these themes above and added specific ways we might honor this path toward justice. But what do our neighbors say? In the most general of terms, they include the following:

  • Might Plymouth create a community center, a hub that offers a continuum of services that help neighbors build more independent lives? Job-related, medical screening, and support services for teens are just examples.
  • Could neighbors participate in programs Plymouth is already offering its members? Music and theatre programs, gallery exhibits, Helping Hand program on Wednesday nights are among those cited.
  • Might neighbors use various spaces – theatre, sanctuary, library gallery for their own performances and exhibits, chapel for memorial services for people who don’t have or can’t afford their own spaces, safe inside spaces to relax with others?
  • Might we host or co-host occasional social block parties, musical events at or outside Plymouth?
  • Will our members become actively involved in our neighborhood and participate in their organizational events?
  • Will Plymouth and its member advocate for public policies or recommendations that improve the neighborhood?
  • Above all, will we partner with them in deciding what programs, services and assets might made at Plymouth and in the surrounding neighborhood?

Stay tuned as we come back with more thoughts in two weeks. Do you have ideas you want us to consider as we develop our recommendations to the Deacons? Please contact Sonia Cairns, scairns@mosscairns.com Thank you, members and staff, for your energy, creative ideas, and commitment to making the real and bold change on behalf of our neighbors and the neighborhood we share.

Campus Task Force Update

Did You Know?

Who are our neighbors? How can we work with them for sustainable change?

Our neighbors include people who live in the neighborhood, institutions that run non–profits or businesses, and those individuals who move in and out – who bus, work or are homeless. We have been able to meet with many individuals and groups of neighbors who responded to our questions about how we can be better neighbors and strengthen our neighborhood together. We’ve also had dozens of more casual, on- the-street conversations. Generally, they seem to trust our good intentions. We on the Campus Task Force are eager to help Plymouth move beyond intentions. We’re talking about transformational change.

Plymouth’s long, rich tradition of helping our neighbors and neighborhood by providing direct services to people with various needs has begun to morph toward changing the conditions that underly their challenges. Compassion has and will always matter. But as we prepare to make recommendations to the Deacons in December, we believe it’s time to strengthen and transform our commitment to racial and economic equity. We believe we should create a new model for concrete changes that will enhance the well-being of our neighbors and the neighborhood we share.

Fortunately, and not unsurprisingly, a growing number of more than 125 church and staff members inspired these themes above and added specific ways we might honor this path toward justice. But what do our neighbors say? In the most general of terms, they include the following:

  • Might Plymouth create a community center, a hub that offers a continuum of services that help neighbors build more independent lives? Job-related, medical screening, and support services for teens are just examples.
  • Could neighbors participate in programs Plymouth is already offering its members? Music and theatre programs, gallery exhibits, Helping Hand program on Wednesday nights are among those cited.
  • Might neighbors use various spaces – theatre, sanctuary, library gallery for their own performances and exhibits, chapel for memorial services for people who don’t have or can’t afford their own spaces, safe inside spaces to relax with others?
  • Might we host or co-host occasional social block parties, musical events at or outside Plymouth?
  • Will our members become actively involved in our neighborhood and participate in their organizational events?
  • Will Plymouth and its member advocate for public policies or recommendations that improve the neighborhood?
  • Above all, will we partner with them in deciding what programs, services and assets might made at Plymouth and in the surrounding neighborhood?

Stay tuned as we come back with more thoughts in two weeks. Do you have ideas you want us to consider as we develop our recommendations to the Deacons? Please contact Sonia Cairns, scairns@mosscairns.com Thank you, members and staff, for your energy, creative ideas, and commitment to making the real and bold change on behalf of our neighbors and the neighborhood we share.

NAMI Walk

The Plymouth Drop-in Wanderers team is walking again this year for NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) September 24, 11-3, at Minnehaha Park. We went last year and we plan to improve on that great success.

You can join the team and walk by emailing Plymouth Drop-in Coordinator, Larry Johnson, at larryjvfp@gmail.com. We are making walk tee shirts at September 14 and 15 Drop-in.

You can also join by making a donation below for the Plymouth team effort. That page also lets you register and create your own team. It all goes toward helping all of us be better at living with a mental illness.

 

Want to encourage voting in November?

Please join us to write personalized, non-partisan letters urging sometime voters to vote this November. Work with others at our table in Jones Commons 9:45–11:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 18 and 25, and October 2, 16, and 23. We will provide names, addresses, examples, and stamps.

Sponsored by the Racial Justice Initiative

Rebuild Ukraine

The humanitarian crisis created by the Russian War of 2022 in Ukraine is immense and will last for decades. To contribute to the resolution of this crisis, REBUILD UKRAINE was established. Its mission is to work directly with partners in Eastern Europe to provide immediate humanitarian aid to Ukraine, its refugees, residents, and children.

Dr. Paul Gavrilyuk will speak to the ways in which REBUILD UKRAINE is responding to the urgent needs of Ukrainians—the day-to-day crises for those still in Ukraine, the crushing exodus of refugees into neighboring countries, and the plight of traumatized children.
Pianist Ora Itkin, University of Saint Thomas Music Faculty member, will perform works of Bach, Schubert, Silvestrov, and others.
More information at https://rebuild-ua.org/

Building the Beloved Community Public Safety Project

Session #3

Tuesday, June 28

In-person and Online

ATTENTION ALL PLYMOUTH MEMBERS:

 

Please join us at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28, for our third police encounter dilemma and discussion. It is not necessary to have participated in the first or second discussion. All are welcome. We will hold our discussion live and in person at the church, but will also offer a Zoom streaming option.

 Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington has given us our third police encounter dilemma scenario for feedback, a dilemma he faced as a young police officer, involving an encounter at night, answering a frantic 911 caller’s demand for police support.

Commissioner Harrington has thanked participating congregations for our feedback from the first two sessions and is eager to have our continuing feedback from this third session.

 

PLEASE REGISTER TO JOIN FELLOW PLYMOUTH MEMBERS FOR THIS THIRD SESSION DISCUSSION

As with our first two sessions, this third session will focus on a specific police encounter dilemma that Commissioner Harrington has prepared for each faith community’s detailed discussion and feedback.  We will view a video about this dilemma, followed by a discussion of our immediate and visceral reactions to this dilemma.  Then Rev. Dr. DeWayne Davis will introduce a faith reading that bears on this dilemma, and we will break into small groups to discuss how the values of our faith tradition may change our views about this dilemma.  This feedback will be given to Commissioner Harrington.

Important to Note: During this session, we will be showing a video that discusses police fear in the dark of night about a possibly armed and non-compliant suspect. We encourage everyone to prepare themselves emotionally for this and to mute and/or turn off video if you sense that this may be traumatizing to you.

Registration is required.  

Click here to register to attend this event live at church. 

Click here to attend this event via zoom

March with CTUL Construction Workers and Allies

June 16, 2022, Noon – 3 p.m.

Where: Plymouth Congregational Church
1900 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis

CTUL members will publicly name three large multi-family housing developers that have a history of using problematic contractors on their job sites, inviting them to join the Building Dignity and Respect (BDR) Program. Over the past six months, CTUL members who work in construction have been reaching out to large multi-family housing developers to inform them of the severe abuses that non-union workers face in the industry, including rampant wage theft, dangerous working conditions, and at the extreme, labor trafficking.

CTUL is inviting these developers to join the Building Dignity and Respect (BDR) Program, a monitoring program that ensures a voice, as well as dignity and respect for construction workers.

Despite multiple attempts to communicate with the developers over the past six months, only one developer has agreed to meet but does not seem to have taken any meaningful steps to improve working conditions on their projects. We can no longer sit back as workers continue to face severe abuses of their workplace rights. On June 16, CTUL members will bring our message to the broader public. In this action, we will name the three large multi-family housing developers that we believe have the most power and influence to change the industry.

Join us to win basic dignity and respect for all construction workers in the Twin Cities metro area.

See you in the streets!

Summer Embroidery Conversation – Questions for Reflection

 

Monday, May 23, 2022

Some questions I hope we will consider and use for deep listening and reflection:

 

What system of belief does the summer embroidery present and represent? Is it a shared belief? To what extent has there been communal reflection, conversation, and interrogation of that system of belief outside of the attempt to defend or indict the embroidery or outside of the decision to possibly rest it?

 

What values does the summer embroidery communicate? Not so much what we intend or even the history or narrative we hope to transmit, but what others may glean from it. Communication is a mutual and dialectical process. We won’t be able to avoid that the values, messages, and system of beliefs we hope we are communicating, and transmitting have undergone reinterpretation and reconsideration, distortion and politicization, and readjustment due to new discoveries, new information, and an unfolding, expanded historiography.

 

Mary Carson is reported to have maintained in reference to the summer embroidery, “our freedoms release us from elitism, persecution, rigidity of long-held customs and laws.” How do we guard against those same pitfalls in the images, symbols, and messages found in our words, liturgies, and art?

 

In what cultural, political, and economic context was the summer embroidery conceived, created, and understood? What was going on in Plymouth? Was there an engagement or negotiation with the larger Plymouth community about the images and messages of the embroideries?

What was going on in the Twin Cities and in the United States at the time? What cultural and political debates, conflicts, and realignments was the nation experiencing at that time? What theological discussions were happening? How were we influenced by the cultural and political context?

 

What ideology or ideologies does the summer embroidery project? Whatever the ideology or ideologies may be, are they outdated or in need of counter-message? Do we have a way of forecasting that we acknowledge that it may be outdated? And if the projection of the ideology is outdated or in need of a counter-message, then has it outlived its usefulness? How do we separate ourselves from negative or outdated sentiments and ideologies from an earlier time that may reside in the embroidery? Are we spending more time on a counter-message than on our hoped-for message? Are we lending our imprimatur to negative or outdated sentiments and ideologies in a piece of art that contains no context or no argument upon being seen?

 

Where in the display of the summer embroidery or even in our programming do we get the chance as an institution to express our regret, our reconsideration of some of those sentiments and ideologies? How do we account for the silencing and suppression of voices and perspectives of those depicted in the summer embroidery when we invited their voices and participation in other parts of our institution?

 

Even if we are able to contextualize the message transmitted or ideologies transmitted through the summer embroidery, to what extent does that effort to contextualize it undermine other values and commitments we hold? Does it undermine relationships with others in our community? Does it undermine potential partnerships?

Does it betray our efforts at solidarity with marginalized groups? Are we inadvertently asking certain people who attend Plymouth or visit our church to gird themselves to confront images or messages that relegate them to loaded, demeaning, and stereotypical spaces? If we are prepared to hold onto images that cannot be fully contextualized or whose potential harm cannot be mitigated, is Plymouth also prepared to repent and repair? Can Plymouth be trusted?