During the months of May and June, we are devoting a “Corner” of our Communications to our Annual Stewardship Campaign. This year’s campaign concludes in June, the end of our “church year.”
This article comes from Jean Thomson, a member of the Stewardship Committee.
Hello! As you may know, we are in the midst of finalizing our budget for the next fiscal year, and that’s where you come in.
And I want to invite you to come right in through the church door you normally use, this time using your imagination.
As you enter, let me remind you of a couple of ways the church spends money. You are entering our building—and the lights are on! The heat is on! As we continue to warm up, the a/c will be on. Our building looks kept up and well-attended too!
This takes budgeting, this use of light and heat, and a/c. And the maintenance! But oh, do eyes glaze over when we talk about the cost of light and heat and a/c and maintenance. Instead, let’s continue on the tour we’re taking as you enter the church. No doubt you are heading for a particular room.
Do you know that most of our rooms are named for people who have come before us? There’s a book about our rooms, written by long-time member Jane Pejsa with help from our Archivist Mary Welfling. I don’t know about you, but I am really looking forward to reacquainting myself with our church rooms!
As you enter, you may pass through the lobby of the Howard Conn Fine Arts Theater, or you may come in via Jones Commons—spaces named for beloved senior ministers Howard Conn and Vivian Jones. In between is a hallway adjoined by the Elaine Marsh Library, a tribute to our much-beloved Elaine, for her 23 years of ministry with us. Situating in Jones Common, look up! At the end is the brilliantly lit Nancy Baltins window. Nancy is commemorated here and in the Nancy Baltins Room off our downstairs kitchen, used as our Drop-In Center. Do you know Nancy is pretty much singularly responsible for the revival of the Drop-In Center? It’s one of the most important outreaches to the community that we have ever made. Nancy was a good friend and I always love gazing at her window.
Now, when I am back at Church, I know I want to head to the Bovey room, on the second floor. The beautifully decorated room served as a primary Sunday school room for almost 50 years. (I remember!) In later years it housed junior high activities and served as a meeting room. Recently the room has been restored to its original beauty and now serves as the home for Plymouth’s Archives.
Perhaps one of the most romantic commemorative spaces we have is the choir-robing room—because of its legacy. This room, the Ross Room, commemorates the late-in-life marriage of Hazel Fraker and Archie Ross. They were, respectively, assistant treasurer and treasurer of the Church for 30 years—before marrying!
Time for a little respite, after hiking about? I would go to the Parsons Room, named for dear Jack Parsons, a longtime member, and advocate extraordinaire of our Church.
Now, aren’t these spaces intriguing?? They are not just rooms in a physical plant requiring light and heat and maintenance. These rooms, indeed our whole Church, are made up of people – people who have come before us, people who thought enough of our future to endow us with money to create living, breathing spaces.
We owe our future members the same courtesy – we must keep up the treasured rooms, alive with the memories of people from yesteryear, alive (soon!) with people today, and alive tomorrow, due to us.
Maintenance of our treasure of rooms, peopled as they are with legacy and memory, is a very necessary and important budget item.
Please give generously—before June 30! The rooms we love look to you.
Hi, I’m John Schenk,
As a part of May’s Stewardship Month, I want to reprise/revise my stewardship video that I posted last November, which started out by noting what an improbable, unpredictable and unsettling year 2020 was … and then shifted to noting some of the good news that came our way during the year.
- As last year ended, we said farewell to Paula Northwood and had a chance to thank her for her inspiring leadership, her loving care for so many of us and her many years of thoughtful and generous spiritual presence.
- We called our new Lead Minister, Dr. DeWayne Davis. From Day One, DeWayne hit the ground running and quickly began to deliver continued energy to community ministry, social justice, and prophetic preaching.
- In the face of the adversity of the Covid-19 Lockdown, Plymouth adapted well to the challenges of virtual and socially distanced worship and fellowship – calmly, effectively, with good humor and more than a little bit of grace. That said, I can’t wait to be together in person once again!
And just in case you missed last Fall’s video (who am I kidding, I missed it!), I wanted to make sure I shared the results of 2020’s Pledge Campaign – last year we had pledge goals of $1.5 million and thanks to an 11th-hour rally, actual pledge dollars collected for the year snuck just past $1.6 million, thanks to all of you!
Another reminder – exceeding our 2020 goal helped us weather the first shocks of the pandemic without any staff reductions, expand the church’s support of racial justice and climate environmental justice initiatives, and help see Academie Elze, the Spanish immersion preschool, through a difficult spring and summer.
So that’s great news about 2020 and about our congregation’s resilience and generosity, but where are we standing as the current fiscal year is coming to its close?
Well, in many ways about the same spot we were in about a year ago, still largely virtual, still finding ways to show up strong in the community, still building on the promise and positive energy that has been Plymouth’s hallmark for as long as I can remember … and still trying to sneak over the finish line of our 2021 Pledge Campaign.
Through March 2021, we had pledges totaling $1,415,000. Also through March, our actual pledged contributions received were running a little more than $100,000 behind our budgeted goal for the year – frankly, not unusual as historical cashflow trends go, but still, from a Stewardship Campaign standpoint, a little bit nerve-wracking…
So, a final “ask” …
- For those of you who haven’t yet made your pledge to Plymouth, now’s the time.
- For those of you who made your pledge for 2021 but haven’t yet written your check, now’s also the time.
- And for those of you fortunate enough to realize that you made it through the lockdown of 2020 and saw your finances remain healthy and maybe even increase, there’s no better time than now to honor that abundance and share that wealth by increasing your pledge to Plymouth.
So, yeah! Let’s keep it up!
It’s been an honor to have served Plymouth as a co-chair of the Stewardship Committee for these past few years. And I’m super-excited about Plymouth’s continued growth and vitality.
Thank you for your support and your generosity and thank you for keeping the faith!
By now those seed packets have arrived and been planted in those special little seed pots and I’m sure there’s green peeking through. There’s been at least one trip to the nursery and a walk-through in the garden. April was a bit tricky this year. Was Mother Nature kind to you this winter or were Thumper and Bambi, regular visitors? Is this the year for expansion; perhaps more native plants and additions to attract the pollinators? What are your plans for your containers and are your beds ready for the tender vegetable plants that we’re all ready to plant. Tom Anderson and Remona Weaver will host the evening of garden ’talk’ on Monday, May 17th at 6:00 p.m. Register for this event by clicking here.
Plymouth members will now have the opportunity to enjoy Spiritual Exploration classes throughout the year. Starting in May, the Spiritual Exploration Committee is introducing a new term that will run through August. The next term will go from September through December, and a third term will run January through April. The committee hopes the change will provide more options to meet seasonal and intergenerational needs.
Classes scheduled to kick off the Spring/Summer term include
- “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Government Segregated America,” presented by the Racial Justice Initiative, and related to an April Zoom presentation by Richard Rothstein;
- “Pilgrimage to the Lake of the Isles,” presented by the Plymouth Contemplatives and led by Emily Jarrett Hughes;
- “Forest Bathing,” a series of monthly walks presented by Johanna Schussler, Certified Forest Therapy guide with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs (ANFT);
- a book study presented by the Racial Justice Initiative on “When They Call You A Terrorist;”
- two Zoom classes and a nature walk led by David Astin, entitled “The Spirit of Nature: What Gifts Does the Spring Bird Migration Bestow?” and;
- a book study lead by Rev. Beth Hoffman Faeth based on Sarah Griffith Lund’s “Blessed Are Crazy: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness, Family, and Church.”
More details will be available in early April. Visit the Plymouth web site under the menu option “Explore.” If you have ideas for future programming, please feel free to seek a Proposal Form by contacting any member of the Spiritual Exploration Committee, including Jan Rabbers, Anne Fabel Cheatham, Bonnie Janda, Joan Thompson, Diane Boruff, Linda Seime or Seth Patterson.
See the movie on your own; join us for discussion April 18!
Guest hosted by Plymouth’s Climate and Environmental Justice group
Plymouth Film Club Discussion April 18 of Kiss the Ground, guest hosted by Plymouth’s Climate and Environmental Justice Committee
by Jan Neville and Richard Jewell
Plymouth Film Club is offering a discussion of Kiss the Ground (2020, 84 min., documentary, all ages welcome) Sunday, April 18, 12:30-1:30 pm on Zoom. Guest host Plymouth CEJ–Climate and Environmental Justice committee–chose the film.
Seth Patterson and organic farmer Emma Homans will facilitate the discussion. Please view it on your own before the discussion: see options below.
What if a simple solution existed to help balance our climate, replenish our freshwater supplies, and feed the world?
In the beginning of Kiss the Ground, the film’s narrator, actor Woody Harrelson, states, “Earth–it’s a great place to live, but when it comes to the future of our small planet, there is so much bad news…. The fear that we are headed for a cliff puts most of us into a state of paralysis. But what if there was another path? This is the story of a simple solution, a way to heal our planet. In fact, the solution I am talking about is right under our feet, and it is as old as dirt.”
Kiss the Ground documents how we can grow our food using a method that builds and protects our precious soil. It restores our ecosystems instead of destroying them. It absorbs carbon dioxide safely back into the ground, rather than releasing it to destroy the atmosphere. “Regenerative agriculture” is the key. A farmer, an agronomist, a scientist, a government expert, and others show us how we can help rehabilitate the Earth.
Critics call the film “passionate” (TV Guide), “compelling” (SF Chronicle), “innovative” (People), and “groundbreaking” (Awards Daily). The New York Times says it “inspires a rare feeling of hope.” The LA Times declares it “Earth’s climate savior.” The film also has won four awards and four nominations at recent film festivals.
REGISTER FOR THE DISCUSSION IN ADVANCE:
You’ll immediately receive the discussion’s link. (If you’ve never used Zoom, join us 10 min. early to download the simple, safe software.)
VIEW FILM INDIVIDUALLY BEFOREHAND:
Trailer/Preview: https://kissthegroundmovie.com (2½ min.)
Full movie free online: https://vimeo.com/528990233. Password: kiss
Subscription: Netflix (by subscription), Vimeo (subscription + $1)
Purchase DVD: Walmart ($7), Target ($16), et al.
Please join the Deacons on Sunday, April 11, at 11:30 a.m. for a “Conversation with the Congregation” to learn about how Plymouth Church might implement the recommendations in the report: “Advancing Plymouth Church 2019-2022: A Visioning Document from the Growth Task Force.” Lynn Moline, the chair of the Growth Task Force, will give an overview of the report and the possibilities it presents. We will discuss the proposed Marketing/Communication Task Force and will invite your ideas for fostering growth.
As you listen to Lynn’s presentation and discuss among each other, we want you to consider these questions:
- In which areas do you think Plymouth has the greatest potential for growth?
- What are some things you think Plymouth should do to foster growth?
- What are you personally willing to commit to in that effort?
Please Join here at 11:30 April 11, for this one-hour Zoom session.
The Deacons and Leadership Council are eager to hear your response to the Growth Task Force’s report and your ideas for bringing it to life. We look forward to being with you in virtual community!
Please join the Deacons on Sunday, February 21, at 11:30 a.m. for a “Conversation with the Congregation” to hear what we’re working on and to solicit your thoughts on what Plymouth Church should be doing in the coming months. We will reflect on:
Moderator’s Midyear Report
- Our exploration of the history and use of our real estate
- How the Purposes of the Church inform our work
- Resources we use to ground our work in our spirituality
- Our involvement with saying farewell to Paula and welcoming DeWayne
- Our discussions of what it means to be antiracist
Congregation’s Thoughts and Questions
- What resources that Plymouth currently provides are giving you spiritual sustenance these days?
- Are there Plymouth activities that you thought were important (pre-COVID) that you find you aren’t missing?
- What has COVID taught us about what is important at Plymouth?
- How can we grow into an authentic community with one another?
The Deacons are eager to hear what’s on your minds and address your questions. Our conversation will be less about reports by the presenters and more about what you have to say. We look forward to being in virtual community with you!
by Hazel Lutz, a member of the Racial Justice Initiative
The last century’s format for addressing the problem of racism defined it as a problem of the actions of racist individuals. Certain individuals were viewed as a cancer, so to speak, on an assumed, largely healthy society. Society-wide efforts to address racism focused on the removal of segregation signs; education, or re-education, of individuals; busing for educational equality and some government programs to give people living in poverty a “leg up.” The goal of equal opportunity was draped in words and phrases like “tolerance” and “getting along with each other.” Equal opportunity programs and the social safety net of government programs created during the War on Poverty, however, have slowly lost funding, been altered or closed down altogether through the last six decades in response to the attacks of politicians who blame the victims of racism and economic oppression for their situations.
The 21st Century format for viewing the problem of racial inequality has broadened the focus to include not just bigoted individuals, but the whole structure of our society; its history; American White culture; and the hearts and minds of every individual. Now we are looking at a societal problem — systemic racism. This is defined as racial prejudice + power. The overwhelming proportion of people occupying the positions of authority in government, businesses, churches, schools, colleges, museums, NGOs, etc. are white. They make decisions based upon assumptions and methods of evaluation originating in their European cultural heritage. The cultures of people of color have little chance to influence important decisions about our American life. In fact, the dominant white culture of our society’s leaders consciously, but more often unconsciously, work against the interests of people of color.