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 Whatever the ideology or ideologies may be, are they outdated or in need of counter-message? Do we have a way of forecasting that we acknowledge that it may be outdated? And if the projection of the ideology is outdated or in need of a counter-message, then has it outlived its usefulness? How do we separate ourselves from negative or outdated sentiments and ideologies from an earlier time that may reside in the embroidery?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 Are we lending our imprimatur to negative or outdated sentiments and ideologies in a piece of art that contains no context or no argument upon being seen?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

Campus Task Force Round Tables

Join other members at the Round Table conversations. We are eager to hear your thoughts and dreams about how we can make our church, property and land more hospitable to our neighbors and guests and to create a stronger sense of community.


One hour discussions will be held on

  • Sunday, May 22 at 10 a.m. in the Parsons Room.
  • Zoom conversations will be held on Tuesday, May 24 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Zoom conversations on Wednesday, May 25 at 10 a.m.

Join Zoom Session here:

Habitat for Humanity

Join other Plymouth members and friends as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer for one or more days during the week of May 24-27. We will be working on a home at 3921 24th Ave S, Minneapolis.
Or contact Jim Christenson at

New Members Inquirer’s Classes, May 2022

Plymouth provides unique ways to explore and experience progressive Christianity, personal spirituality, the arts, and social justice, all within a supportive congregation. To know the care and concern of others during these uncertain days is a special blessing, and feeling rooted within a spiritual community can be life-affirming.

Our new member process begins with “Inquirer’s Classes,” during which some history of Plymouth will be shared along with relevant information on governance, programs and activities, and vision for the future. These classes will be held in person on Sundays, May 1 and 15 at 10 a.m. Participating in the series does not obligate you to church membership. Following the classes, for those who are interested, you will be invited to participate in Membership Sunday on June 5.

Please contact Beth Hoffman Faeth with your interest in participating in the “Inquirer’s Classes” and ask any questions you might have. If you are not yet comfortable gathering in person or live too far away to attend the classes we would welcome an opportunity to talk to you about virtual ways of participation. If you have already experienced the Inquirer’s Classes and are now ready to join you do not have to attend the classes again, but we would need to know of your desire to become a member.  If you would prefer to be removed from our list of potential new members, please let us know. We look forward to hearing from you . . . and to creating community with you!

Springtime Get-together

Sundays at 10 offerings

By the Board of Spiritual Formation

The Board of Spiritual Formation and its committees offer a variety of activities between the 9 and 11 a.m. services. This time is referred to as “Sundays at 10” and offers an opportunity for folks to learn and engage with one another outside of worship.

Sundays at 10 will provide options organized around 5 primary categories. The offerings within these categories may vary, but you can expect to see something offered in each category each week. Weekly topics, meeting locations, and information about virtual participation options will be published in the church calendar.

Sunday Forum: Chapel

This category is coordinated by the Sunday Forum Committee. They will continue to offer high-quality, engaging speakers on a variety of relevant topics each week. This will be both in-person in the Chapel as well as a live Zoom webinar for remote viewing.

Introduction to Hennepin History Museum

John will introduce the work of the Hennepin History Museum, talk about current and upcoming projects, and reflect on the power of local history to help us understand and improve our communities.

Learn more at


Church School: In the Education Wing


Group Discussion HourThis I Believe| Racial Justice is Personal

Hosted by the Racial Justice Initiative: After viewing a Plymouth member’s This I Believe/Racial Justice is Personal video statement, the discussion will center around the racial justice issues raised in the statement. Karen Barstad’s video is featured this Sunday, March 20, and the discussion will be facilitated by Seth Patterson. For more information on the This I Believe/Racial Justice is Personal go to:


Contemplative Practice: (Fireside room)- Hearing from the Heart–3rd Sundays


Coffee and Social Time: Throughout Sundays at 10, there will be a casual, unstructured time to gather and connect with our community over coffee and tea. This will be in Jones Commons.

Our hope is that Sundays at 10 will be a time for our community to gather between services to learn, explore, and grow together. If you’ve never attended Sundays at 10, we hope you’ll check it out! And if you’ve come in the past, we hope you’ll come again and try something new.

Calling All Cookie Elves!

Attention all cookie bakers (and shoppers)! We are looking for volunteers to donate cookies (your favorite recipe or store bought) for the Christmas Festival on December 18th. If you are able to donate cookies by the dozen or more to enhance the Christmas Festival, please follow the sign up link below or email to for one or multiple dozen delicious treats. Please note that cookie donations should be dropped off by 10 am on Saturday, December 18th. Thank you for your consideration!