New Member Spotlight

On June 4 we welcomed new members into our congregation.

Carrie Bassett

Carrie has been involved with this church for more than ten years as part of the Literary Witnesses Committee. For the last five or six years, she has organized and hosted the annual program Plymouth Reads Poetry. She spends a good deal of time writing poetry, too.

Carrie has two grown daughters and four grandchildren, one in town and three in Virginia. She has had an academic career, having worked for Walden University and Capella University.

A transplant from the East Coast, Carrie finds the Twin Cities her spiritual home, enjoying the range of cultural opportunities this community has to offer, liking many aspects of winter, and pulling ropes of creeping charlie from her garden in the growing season.

Annual Budget Meeting

Plymouth Looking Forward

May/June 2023


As we’ve been in preparation for the June 11 Annual Meeting, the Deacons see anew that dealing with the budget leads us into significant questions about Plymouth’s future. Because our decisions reflect our values and faith commitments, they will define the future of Plymouth Church. We propose then a six-month period of conversations that will culminate in a budget that will be voted on at a Special Congregational Meeting in December and will also be part of the larger work of congregational renewal.


Last summer, Plymouth set a budget that anticipated a “new normal,” following the acute phase of the coronavirus pandemic. We estimated a strong response to our stewardship campaign and did our best to forecast the expenses to support a full return to in-person activities.


In the year since, we have learned much. On the income side, individual givers continue making the same or greater contributions, but the count of givers continues its downward trend, and income is well below what we had budgeted. On the expense side, we see upward pressure from inflation as well as the effects of discretionary and non-discretionary choices, and as a result, expenses are above budget. While church staff are working to align spending and income, the current year’s gap is substantial.


Unfortunately, the pressures experienced through this year seem likely to continue. For FY24, Church staff proposed a budget that incorporated current cost estimates, some cuts, and some additional spending in line with Plymouth’s priorities. The Board of Finance and Administration reviewed the budget and recommended that it be revised with a lower income forecast and less spending. The Board, in recognition of the impact of the cuts necessary to align with their recommendation, also suggested that an interim budget be proposed in June, to give the congregation an opportunity to provide input on what comes next.


The Church staff brought a revised budget to the Deacons for approval. In summary, it is a short-term budget provides time determining what comes next. It covers a 6-month period instead of a full year. It incorporates a lower income forecast. It adopts many cuts that, while not painless, were tolerable and/or reversible. It does incorporate salary increases recommended by the Human Resources committee, which are largely irreversible. This budget requires a higher draw than the Board recommended.


The Deacons approved this budget for consideration during the Annual Meeting on June 11. In addition, the Deacons will propose a set of activities in the immediate, medium, and long terms to help discern the best course through this transformation.


Immediate (Now – June):

Make visible and explicit the link between the budget and our values, vision, and future.
Adopt a lead minister-proposed 6mo budget for July- December 2023.
Convene two overlapping but differently aimed conversations related to the budget
Focusing on the budget itself, led by DeWayne, Mike McCallister, Treasurer, and Anne Gustafson, Director of Operations (in person and on Zoom)

Wednesday, May 31 at 6 p.m.

Thursday, June 1 at 3 p.m.

Focusing on the spiritual dimensions of our budget-making: What’s at Stake:

The Spiritual Heart of Plymouth’s Budget, led by the Deacons

Sunday, June 4, 10 a.m. in the Chapel

Sunday, June 4, 12 p.m. in the Sanctuary


We also have a plan for medium and longer-term responses that we’ll be sending out in the next weeks.


We look forward to your participation in this soulful work.

Yoga at Plymouth

Gentle Yoga

Saturdays 9:30 – 10:45 am, starting March 25th.

Plymouth Church Gallery


Start your weekend with this soulful, welcoming yoga class, skillfully led by long-time Plymouth members Summer, Steve and Sharon Hills-Bonczyk. Each 75-minute class will include meditation, slow, flowing postures with attention to alignment and deep relaxation. Poses are guided with in-depth, non-intimidating cues to ensure comfort and rejuvenation for all bodies. Appropriate for beginners to seasoned practitioners – anyone looking for a spiritually-informed, meditative yoga class to build strength, flexibility, balance and tools for navigating life’s ups and downs. All teachers are certified Kripalu yoga instructors. The word Kripalu means compassion. This yoga style is accessible, safe and informed by authentic yogic wisdom. We are very pleased to be sharing our deep dedication for the art and practice of yoga with the Plymouth Church community. We hope to see you there!

This is a donation-based class. Meaning that no one will be turned away if they cannot pay. All are welcome. $10 – 20 recommended donation. (Ages 15 – 100)

 Saturdays, 9:30 – 10:45 am, drop-in (no registration required), Bring your own yoga mat or let us know if you need one. Please contact with questions.


Summer Hills-Bonczyk (she/her) is an advanced Kripalu Yoga and Meditation teacher. Her style is creative, gentle and alignment-based. She loves yoga philosophy and integrates it into her teaching. During the week Summer is a professor at Macalester College where she teaches Ceramic Art. She is an independent artist, performer and JourneyDance teacher. She guides immersive yoga and performance art retreats locally and internationally.

Sharon Hills-Bonczyk (she/her) holds advanced certifications from the Kripalu Yoga school as well as Vishoka meditation training from the Himalayan Institute. She is also a certified Ayurvedic educator. She leads international yoga retreats with her yoga-teacher family. Sharon’s smooth, meditative voice, deep wisdom informed by 35+ years of personal practice and authenticity draw people to her classes. She has an interest in Yoga therapy and enjoys helping people with physical issues find a yoga practice that is supportive and kind.

Steve Bonczyk (he/him) is a certified Kripalu yoga teacher. He brings a gentle sense of humor to his teaching; creating a playful, inclusive community environment. He loves showing people that not all yogis look like you’d expect. He is a dedicated meditator, Ayurvedic home cook, gardener and sought-after handyman.

Climate and Environmental Justice Speaker Series

Monday, March 13, 6:00-7:00 pm via zoom
Solar Opportunities for Your Home

Are you interested in shifting to solar energy for your home? Considering adding solar panels to your roof or possibly subscribing to a solar garden instead? Join us to learn the basics of solar energy, get resources to determine if solar is right for your home and find out about financial incentives for installing solar. Join the Clean Energy revolution!

Speaker: Diana McKeown, Metro CERTs (Clean Energy Resource Teams) Director

Zoom meeting. Please register in advance

Make a Joyful Noise – with Ukuleles!

Third Monday of each Month – Starting February 20th

10:30 a.m. in the Chapel

Facilitator – Jill Nelson

Looking for uke players of any level who want to meet others and play music together. We will focus on songs of joy, community and inspiration. I’ll have some songs to get us started and I’m hoping you’ll find songs to share with the group. Bring your ukulele and a music stand (if you have one). Questions? Email Jill at

Midwinter: Winter Revival (ages 0–adult)

For the next two months, Sandy Spieler, our truly remarkable Children, and Youth Specialist will help us create a liturgy and performance around the importance of water in our lives. This performance, which will include masks, puppetry, music, and movement, is designed to be intergenerational.
There are two options to participate:


January 11, 18, 25,
February 1, 8, 15, 22
7:15-8 p.m.
Room 204
Sandy will be working with a core group of adults, teens, and children to create the performance that happens during the worship service on February 26.
People who sign up for this are committing to attend these 7 sessions with Sandy and will be creating masks of different animals that live by and interact with water, as well as a “liturgy” that will be used on Sunday, February 26.  Register here!
Please note: participating on Wednesdays means you are committing to being part of BOTH the 9 and 11 a.m. worship services on February 26. We will present at both services; participants will be at church from approximately 8:30-noon on that Sunday.

Sundays, as you are able to

January 8, 15, 22, 29
February 5, 12, 19
10-10:50 a.m.
Rooms 205, 204, and 203
All ages are invited to come work on an art installation that will be put together as part of the worship service on February 26.
We will be making art for the worship service, including “box puppets,” where each puppet interacts with a river. All the boxes together will form a long river that will be incorporated into the worship service. Every young person ages three and up through high school who is present on Sundays from 10-10:50 will participate in this art-making, and any and all adults are invited to participate as well. Creating art alongside one another is a wonderful way to make new friends and acquaintances.


Plymouth Film Club: “Gold Fever”

Sun., Jan. 29. Guest Host—Immigration Welcoming Group

On Sunday, Jan. 29, Plymouth Film Club is showing “Gold Fever” (2013, 84 min., documentary) at 12:30 pm. Guest host Plymouth Immigration Welcoming Group chose the film and will lead a discussion afterward.

The film shows the impoverished lives of those controlled, says, by “gold, an obsession of men and nations; a symbol of wealth and power. For Diodora, Gregoria, Crisanta and the people living near the Marlin Mine in Guatemala’s highlands, gold represents oppression, intimidation, pollution and even murder. With the rising price of gold, the mine’s owner, Goldcorp, posts record profits, while these courageous women live in resistance to the mine’s unstoppable hunger.”

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, well known in the Twin Cities as a pacifist author, Minnesota politician, and University of St. Thomas professor, and Noam Chomsky, the celebrated U.S. linguist and social critic, are among the cast who portray themselves. The film has been featured at several film festivals and well shows why immigrants leave their countries to pursue new lives in the U.S.

Film Club uses large-wall projection downstairs in Jackman Hall with wide spacing for seating and with the folding doors to the Lenmark Room open at its back. For the discussion, we may move into Lenmark.

Coffee and tea available. Lunch: Bring your own, go to Cajun Boiling (open at noon) for takeout (sandwiches et al.), or call Social House (Ethiopian) after 10 am for takeout. Tables in Jackman for eating. Be back by 12:30 for the start of the film!

Book Study. The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

Book Study: Tuesdays at 10:30 am & Wednesdays at 6:30 pm                    

Led by Peter Eichten

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, by Heather McGhee.

In the 1950s and 1960s, white officials in communities across the country opted to drain their public swimming pools rather than integrate them. Generations later, the United States still hasn’t recognized that racism has a cost for everyone.  This book is an excellent analysis of how we arrived here: divided and self-destructing, materially rich but spiritually starved and vastly unequal.  Our future can look different.  This five-week course will dive deep into the material in the book and help us to learn what we can all do to prosper together.  The course will be held in-person only on Tuesday mornings from 10:30 – 12:00 and repeated on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 – 8:00.  The course will begin on January 17 and run consecutively for five weeks. Registration is required.

This offering is sponsored by the Racial Justice Initiative and is open to all interested individuals.  Plymouth members are encouraged to invite friends and family to join you for this rich review and meaningful discussion.