Worshipping God, studying God’s Word, and responding to God’s call
Ministries led by our members:
Our Christian Spiritual Development Ministry organizes and supports community-building classes, small groups and church-wide events to help members of the Plymouth community grow their faith and deepen their understanding of God. The goal is to advance the spiritual journey that each member is individually called to take. CSD programs foster spiritual practice and growth that fall into four categories: intellectual, emotional, contemplative/mystical, and activist. Our recent offerings have included a weekly Lectio Divina small group, a symposium on human trafficking and modern day slavery, eight small groups (including men’s and women’s Bible studies, a prayer group, a loss support group, and a single parent’s support group), a Lenten Bible study on Thursdays, and a variety of adult educational classes throughout the year. Our new online Bible study is one of several attempts to reach out to busy members in ways that meet them where they are, both spiritually and in terms of time.
The Worship & Arts Ministry helps members grow in the image of God through worship, fellowship, and the inspirational power of the arts. Ongoing activities sponsored by Worship & Arts include the annual Greening of the Church and Advent Wreath making during Advent, a pancake supper at the beginning of Lent and an Agape Feast on Maundy Thursday, as well as an annual lay-led Sunday morning service that engages members as liturgical dancers, singers, musicians, visual artists, and actors performing dramatic readings. In addition, Worship & Arts also supports the Lay Reader, Communion, and Usher ministries.
In 2012, Worship & Arts mounted a visual arts exhibit entitled “Art From the Heart”, displaying art loaned by congregation members. In 2013, working through a Concert Task Force, the ministry hosted a Juneteenth Concert featuring Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens along with the Welcome Wagon, drawing members and neighbors into the Beecher Garden for a lively evening of music. The success of this initial concert set the stage for a second concert called “Let Freedom Ring” on January 11, 2014, starring the Grammy award winning Impressions and benefitting the organization Free the Slaves. On the evening proceeding the concert, Plymouth Church joined forces with the Brooklyn Historical Society to sponsor a panel discussion on human trafficking, and the weekend was brought to a conclusion in the Sunday morning worship service, when the choir sang The Freedom Trilogy. This very special weekend was part of an overall church effort led by Plymouth’s new Anti-trafficking Ministry to bring attention to the issue of modern day slavery.
Ministries led by staff:
The Children’s Christian Education Ministry builds a biblical Christian spiritual foundation for children in a safe and loving environment, engaging them in the broader church community and in faith-driven causes both inside and outside the walls of the church. The following programs are part of CCE’s ministry:
- Sunday School: Children ages 3 through grade 7 attend the church service with their parents at 11am. After a short children’s sermon, midway through the service, they are off to their respective classes. In 2013-14, 125 children were enrolled in the Sunday school, with an average of 75 attending weekly and 20 parent volunteers teaching the classes on a rotating basis.
- Nursery & Childcare: A professionally staffed nursery provides childcare during worship and coffee hour on Sundays for children 8 weeks to under three years old; childcare is also provided for all-church events including Christian Spiritual Development classes and retreats.
- Confirmation classes: Eleven youth ages 12 – 15 are enrolled in the current confirmation class that meets bi-weekly and is led by Plymouth’s seminary intern. Over the course of a year, we are working our way through the confirmation text, “My Confirmation,” as well as the teen edition of “The Story: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God.”
- Youth Group: Also led by Plymouth’s seminary intern, 10 youths ages 15 to 18 meet approximately two times monthly for various activities such as an interfaith dinner, cooking for the homeless shelter, and social activities such as a movie and pizza.
- Vacation Bible Camp (VBC): VBC is held one week in August for ages 2 to 12, from 9am-3pm. Over 70 children enrolled in 2013 and 15 volunteers helped make it happen. Past themes have included Under the Big Top, Veggie Tales, etc. Last year, the older youth participated in a weeklong YSOP (Youth Service Opportunity Program) camp. Local service opportunities included working at a food pantry, soup kitchen and community garden.
- Seasonal and Social Events: CCE’s annual Ice Cream Social, PumpkinLand and ValentineLand provide family-style fellowship, and last year they collectively raised over $2,500 for Plymouth’s long-time overseas partner, The Mission School of Hope in Cameroon. In addition, our annual Christmas Pageant offers more than 100 school age children an opportunity to participate in a colorful retelling of the Nativity story followed by a large celebration in the gym complete with a bouncy house. The annual Easter Egg Hunt is a huge draw for residents of the community and hosted over 150 children in 2013. Comfortably casual events throughout the year include monthly movie and pizza nights and summer family playground nights. Weekday programming includes after-school art and cooking classes to grade school-age children and morning parents groups facilitated by Plymouth’s Director of Family Ministries.
Plymouth’s Music Ministry carries on a long-standing tradition since the 1800’s — during the days of Henry Ward Beecher — of worship with beautiful music sung joyfully both by the choir in the loft and the members in our pews. Led by our full-time Minister of Music, Plymouth supports six choirs: an Adult Choir, composed of a paid octet and 17 volunteer singers; four youth choirs for children ages 3 through high school; and a Tone Chime Choir. Plymouth also sponsors concerts in our sanctuary by local noted artists and enjoys one of New York City’s most distinctive instruments — an early 20th Century Aeolian-Skinner Organ, which was extensively restored in the 1990s.