Lenten Meditations: March 31

Without a moral or spiritual awakening, we will remain forever trapped in political games fueled by fear, greed, and the hunger for power.” – Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow

“Can we swim together in the same pool or not?  It’s a political question, yes, and one with economic ramifications.  But at its core, it’s a moral question. Ultimately, an economy – the rules we abide by and set for what’s fair and who merits what – is an expression of our moral understandings.  So, if our country’s moral compass is broken, is it any wonder that our economy is adrift?”Heather McGhee, The Sum of Us


We live in a country that is not only founded on violence but is also founded on lies, and they go hand-in-hand. Lies lead to violence, and violence leads to lies; it’s a vicious circle of moral ineptitude.  We have lied about our history, we have lied about the supremacy of white people, we have lied about the inferiority of black and brown people. We have recently had a president who lied at a rate unprecedented in our history. His lies led to violence on Jan. 6, 2021.

We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves; is that even possible as we swim in centuries of lies and violence? Are we a nation that is spiritually and morally bankrupt? I’m not always sure.

And there is hope. And we are that hope. Lent for me is a time for self-reflection. A reflection not only on my personal failures and sins, but also a reflection on my participation in our communal and systemic failures and sins.

Grant us God, the wisdom to see our failures. The courage to change, and willingness to work to make our city, our state, our country, and our world a better place for all people and for all of creation. Amen.

Community Organizing and Social Movements Training

The Racial Justice Initiative at Plymouth Church will offer a series of free online training sessions on Community Organizing and Social Movements, Thursdays, December 9 and 16, 7:00–8:15 p.m. via Zoom.

Many of us at Plymouth want to take action as a result of our educational efforts in working toward a more just and level playing field for all citizens of our cities. Claudia Albano, who taught social movement theory at the University of California-Berkeley for 20 years and is a long-time community activist, will share her knowledge of and involvement in community activism and social movements.

This two-part training will offer frameworks for understanding the theory and practice of community organizing and social movement-building. It will consist of two introductory online classes of 75 minutes each. The purpose of these introductory sessions is to prepare and kindle the interest of Plymouth members for attendance at an in-person training in 2022. There will be no charge for participating in these sessions but registration will be required.

Ann Manning, RJI co-chair, said of this training: “Claudia introduced me to the theory and practice of social movements more than 10 years ago when I was working with a Lutheran group to bring about full inclusion of LGBTQ in the ELCA. The models Claudia will offer can help us see the long game and recognize that we all have a role to play. It’s so important to see and understand those who are different from you. I encourage everyone who is interested to attend these first 2 sessions. You will not regret it. Claudia will make it fun, engaging, and well worth your time.”

Intersection Returns

In winter and spring of 2021, Plymouth’s Immigrant Welcoming Working Group (IWWG) and Racial Justice Initiative (RJI) offered Intersection, a multi-media book club that included podcasts, documentaries, and articles as well as books. The goal was to learn about racial justice and immigration issues from a historic and current perspective and explore the junctions.

Intersection will return in 2022 with Plymouth’s Climate and Environmental Justice Team joining IWWG and RJI to offer new materials that explore issues unique to each group as well as those that overlap. Intersection will be offered on the 2nd Monday of each month, January through June, 2022, from 5:00-6:30 over zoom. Sessions will provide opportunities to discuss the prework as well as share learnings/reflections.

Materials include:

  • When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Kahn-Cullors & Asha Bandele – a deeply moving and visceral story about the personal history of one of the founders of Black Lives Matter.
  • Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. The selected chapters serve as an overview of Wilkerson’s concept of caste and how it emerged in America.
  • Silent Sacrifice. A PBS documentary film based on the experience of Japanese Americans before, during and after WWII.
  • Bayou Sutra – Orion Magazine.
  • Immigration Nation. A moving Netflix documentary about immigrants in the U.S.
  • Westminster Town Hall Forum presentation by Jose Antonio Vargas about life in America as an undocumented immigrant.
  • As She Rises. We’ve selected 4 episodes of this podcast which focuses on a specific area of the U.S. that is feeling effects of climate change.
  • Bangladesh: A Climate Trap. Video about Bangladesh climate change refugees who are forced to move to the slums in Dhaka due to environmental degradation.
  • Inequity at the Boiling Point. New York Times article.
  • Rising Seas Will Erase More Cities by 2050. New York Times article.

Please register at the link below. Feel free to contact Nancy Siska with any questions.

Indoor Worship

November 12, 2021

Dear Beloved Community,

It was a blessing to see many of you last Sunday. And it is understandable that even more of you are waiting to return. Daily new cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota are startingly high. While we will continue to gather in the sanctuary for worship for now, please adhere to following protocols as we come together. We have made some very slight adjustments following last week:

  • There will be no pre-registration for attending worship. Only Door #1 will be open on Sunday mornings. Please plan to park in the main church lot or at Park Nicollet. When you arrive, you will be asked to sign in. This is so we can alert you if we learn that someone in attendance develops a positive Covid case up to seven days following Sunday morning.
  • If you receive a positive COVID-19 test result (even if you are asymptomatic!) within 7 days of participating in a church activity: worship, small group, meeting, etc. please contact me (BethF@plymouth.org or 612-977-1286). Your name will be held in confidence, but we must alert others of a possible exposure.
  • We will not be requiring vaccination Rather, we ask that all adults planning to be present for worship be vaccinated, and we trust that you will be thoughtful in the decision to attend. Vaccinations have begun for our children under 12, but in the meantime, we do not want to exclude children from worship and we hope families will attend Sunday morning church activities. We can not emphasize enough the importance of vaccination as the most effective way to protect you, your loved ones, and our community at large. Even in the youngest age groups, it is remarkably effective in preventing the serious consequences of COVID-19.
  • We require face masks for everyone in all parts of the building on Sunday morning (and all days).
  • We ask that you maintain a social distance, to the best of your ability, inside the sanctuary. Family groups are of course welcomed to sit together. Some pews will be roped off to encourage distancing.
  • The sanctuary will be open at 8:45 a.m. for 9:00 a.m. worship and 10:45 a.m. for 11:00 a.m. worship. If you arrive at church earlier than this, you will be asked to wait in Guild Hall.
  • While it will be a blessing to be together in person inside the sanctuary, the experience of worship will be different. Offering plates will not be passed; rather there will be depositories for the collection of giving envelopes. We will not yet celebrate communion. Initially there will be no coffee fellowship. And only two of the three clergy will be present each Sunday because all three of us cannot risk exposure together, forcing all of us into quarantine at the same time.
  • While we are taking seriously all precautions to prevent spread of infection, we cannot eliminate all risk. If you are feeling at all unwell, please stay home and take good care.
  • Please stay tuned as protocol may need to change based on circumstances.

I will continue my weekly correspondence as we move into this new season of church life together, alerting you of any necessary changes in procedure or other important updates. I hold you all in prayer as this pandemic wears on. May we be people of hope, may we be kind and caring, may we remain faithful in community.


Rev. Beth Hoffman Faeth
Minister for Congregational Care and Worship

This I Believe | Racial Justice Is Personal

Plymouth member Richard Jewell is featured in This I Believe | Racial Justice Is Personal video, a project of the Racial Justice Initiative. The goal of these personal stories is to inspire reflection and action, and we offer them with humility and vulnerability. The video is included below.

Through This I Believe, Plymouth members can practice speaking up, and we invite you to listen with an open heart and mind. RJI hopes that all of these personal stories, from people you may know, will inspire deeper thought about your own relationship to systemic racism. Before Plymouth can become a truly antiracist church, we need to first look at our own participation in a system that favors white people.

If you are interested in writing a personal statement and/or being featured in an upcoming video, you can learn more about the journey and view previous videos at www.plymouth.org/rji or contact Jean Kennedy at jekennedy21@comcast.net. We are looking for many Plymouth members to be involved.