Campus Task Force Update

Week of Sept 21, 2022

Last spring and summer, well over 100 members and staff responded with over 500 recommendations for the future use of our building, our adjacent properties, and how we can be more welcoming to our neighbors. Grounded in our historic 150+ year tradition of strengthening our neighborhood through partnerships that serve its needs, we acknowledge that our building and land represent substantial financial wealth that can better support the church’s Growth Task Force Plan and the Purposes of the Church.

One of those Purposes is “….to further social, economic, racial and environmental justice”. The Deacons have charged the Campus Task Force with making specific and highest priority recommendations to them in December. Grateful for the members’ enthusiasm, generous attitudes, and creativity, we use a process of discernment to identify the most prominent themes. We are focused on potential uses for the building, including our existing and not yet existing buildings, our grounds, potential programs and services for which we could offer space, stated needs of our near neighbors and those in the broader community, our relationships with them and, underlying all, how our Plymouth culture supports or undermines these ideas.

In our next blog post, we will discuss what we are learning from our neighbors, both those who live in the neighborhood, those who move in and out of it, those who are inadequately housed, and those organizations and companies that own or rent the property and operate programs and businesses.

We are particularly exploring how Plymouth’s resources, commitment, and creativity merge with the needs most expressed by our neighbors. How can we together strengthen the neighborhood and our relationships with our neighbors?


Contact Sonia Cairns, with more ideas.

Now Hiring – Director of Spiritual Formation

Director of Spiritual Formation


Position Summary

The Director of Spiritual Formation will lead and supervise the spiritual formation activities and programming of Plymouth Congregational Church of Minneapolis by providing direction, vision, and oversight for a variety of developmental initiatives for members and visitors, including classes, workshops, retreats, and special events. The Director will also look to develop new opportunities to enhance the discipleship, personal development and spiritual lives of members and guests of Plymouth Church.

Plymouth Congregational Church is a progressive faith community grounded in the Christian tradition. In mutual care and respect for our diverse understandings of God, we seek to embody the radical love and justice found in the life, teachings, and spirit of Jesus.



  • Serve as the primary coordinator with the Board of Spiritual Formation on all aspects of spiritual formation for Plymouth Church.
  • Direct, teach and recruit teachers/facilitators for all classes/workshops/retreats for adults.
  • Serve as liaison to the Board of Spiritual Formation plus necessary committees:
    • Sunday Forum
    • Contemplatives
    • Library Committee
    • Spiritual Exploration (if it is reconstituted)
  • Manage, plan and promote Sundays @ 10 activities.
  • Recruit and manage volunteers for Spiritual Formation classes, activities, and programming.
  • Work with the Clergy team to coordinate themes, vision, and church events.
  • Manage and plan budget for all Spiritual Formation and Children/Youth expenditures
  • Plan and coordinate the Confirmation process.
  • Collaborate with the Director of Children and Youth Ministries to integrate young people into the life of the church.
  • Collaborate with other Plymouth groups (e.g., Racial Justice Initiative, Climate & Environmental Justice Committee, Immigration Welcoming Working Group) to offer opportunities for experiential, intellectual and embodied learning.
  • Help promote spiritual formation activities, programming, and opportunities beyond the walls of Plymouth.
  • Attend Leadership Council meetings plus Board of Spiritual Formation and committee meetings.
  • Support and assist in worship services as needed.
  • Attend weekly staff meetings.
  • Have availability on evenings and weekends, as needed.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in Education, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation, Pastoral Care, Counseling or related field.
  • A minimum of three (3) years of experience in spiritual formation, professional ministry, higher education, or related experience.
  • Ability to effectively reach and teach a diverse population of people.
  • Outstanding supervisory skills.
  • Outstanding written and communication skills.



  • Fulltime, exempt position


Application Instructions

  • Please email cover letter and resume as one document to

SmartArt Exhibit at Minneapolis Convention Center

Plymouth Alto Soloist Lisa Drew is one of 14 featured artists at the Minneapolis Convention Center through December 2022 as part of the SmartArt bi-annual program. Selected from an open call for Minneapolis artists, Lisa is one of two photographers currently on exhibit featuring 10 of her large-scale photographs of Minneapolis on all four levels of the Convention Center. Walking Maps are available at the front desk, or go on a ‘scavenger hunt’ and see if you can find all 10!

Building the Beloved Community Public Safety Project

Session #3

Tuesday, June 28

In-person and Online



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.



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

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?

Notice Of Annual Meeting

June 12, 2022
12:15 p.m.


Notice of Annual Meeting

Notice is hereby given that the Annual Meeting of Plymouth Congregational Church of Minneapolis will be held on Sunday, June 12, 2022, at 12:15 p.m. at the church. To ensure that all who wish to attend will be able to do so, the meeting will be available via Zoom as well as in person.


Approve minutes from:

June 13, 2021 Annual Meeting


Lead Minister


Leadership Council

Nominating Committee

Roll Call of:

New 50-year Members

Deceased Members

Staff Milestones

Action Items:*

Budget for Fiscal Year 2023**

Election of Church Leaders

No other business may come before the meeting.

If you wish to attend virtually, you may register to attend via Zoom at the church’s website (

Information regarding how to participate via Zoom will be provided to registrants in advance of the meeting. To participate via Zoom, you will need either a smartphone, electronic tablet, laptop, or computer.

*While observers are welcome, only Plymouth Church members may vote on the Action Items.

**Materials for the 2023 fiscal year budget will be available at

Rev. Jia Starr Brown

Rev. Jia Starr Brown’s experience in community education, engagement, and outreach encompass more than 25 years.
Conversationally fluent in three languages, she has served as a diversity trainer and community educator, continuing to be a fierce advocate for underrepresented and marginalized communities. Pastor Jia’s passion to increase accessibility of affordable academic and enrichment opportunities for all youth and families led her to design – and facilitate – more than 160 educational programs in the Twin Cities, receiving a Congressional Award for her service in 2015.

Upon receiving the call to serve God and the Church, Pastor Jia received her Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary and went right into pastoral ministry. In 2019, Rev. Brown was the recipient of the Frederick Buechner Preaching Award and an honoree of the MN African American Heritage Calendar Award.

Embarking on her final year of doctoral studies as a PhD student, Pastor Jia’s heart remains at the intersection of faith, education, and justice – studying societal conditions that lead oppressed to become oppressors, and how the Church – particularly teachers and preachers – can and should interrupt these violent systems.

Living out loud as a lesbian African American pastor, Pastor Jia is a truth-teller, known for her activism and advocacy, and her innovation of interfaith learning platforms that permeate the fringed boundaries of faith, race, and access.

Rev. Brown is the Project Designer and Coordinator of the ACTION Project, a three-year immersive journey toward intercultural competence, now offered to congregations throughout the state in partnership with the Minnesota Council of Churches; and, is Adjunct Faculty at United Theological Seminary.

Pastor Jia is married to her wife, Jennifer, and is the mother of five inspiring children ranging in age from teenagers to young adults…with her first grandchild on the way! Her life philosophy: “I give what I need.”