Plymouth Church is many things. Some would say it is a building at Atwood Avenue and Ohio Street in Madison, WI. Some would cite our history as a neighborhood church that seeks to love our neighbors, and has been doing so for over 113 years.
But that’s not how we, or most people who know us, would describe us. We are a congregation-a community of faith, a diverse yet united group of people we call family, the body of Christ-that seeks to help each other and all our neighbors near and far on their journey of life and faith, which we experience as deeply and richly intertwined. We are according to some a small congregation-today under 200 members and friends-but we feel it is our mission to have a big impact on our community and the world, helping to bring God’s peace and justice and mercy and shalom to a world in need. We feel a deep connection to all people, but especially those who are vulnerable, and to the great creation we share with each other and future generations. We seek to follow in the ways of Jesus of Nazareth, who shows us all we can be, with God’s help.
We are a faith community that believes and lives out the gospel message of extravagant welcome to all, as our response to the extravagant, all-encompassing love of God that we have experienced in our lives.
We are part of the United Church of Christ, with roots in the Congregational, Christian, Evangelical, and Reformed churches that were established by early settlers of this country. The UCC is a progressive Christian church in the Protestant tradition. With others in the UCC,
- we seek to be a uniting church as well as a united church (“that they may all be one,” (John 17:21));
- we believe “in essentials unity, in nonessentials diversity, in all things charity,”
- we believe in testimonies of faith rather than tests of faith,
- we believe that “God is still speaking” (the study of scripture should be pursued with expectancy for new insights and help for living today);
- that each of us is part of the “priesthood of all believers,” that is, that we are called to help one another and that each of us has direct access to the mercies of God through personal prayer and devotion.
Okay, that’s a very short summary of what the UCC is all about. You can access more through their website and other social media.
So that’s a little bit about us. We’d love to get to know you and work with you to make our world a better place for all to live in and thrive!
On June 4th, Plymouth Congregational UCC voted unanimously to declare ourselves an “Immigrant-Welcoming Congregation.” The full resolution is given below. We see this declaration as an extension of our “Open and Affirming” and “Just Peace” commitments; being welcome to all means all to us, including our immigrant neighbors. After all, Jesus calls us to love God and love our neighbors, and he didn’t put any limits on either. We will continue to work toward helping those who feel marginalized or oppressed in our community; we would love it if you would join us in this effort toward unifying, not dividing, and toward love, not fear.
“We, the congregation of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, Madison WI, commit ourselves to being an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation, seeking to learn about, support, and develop practices and programs that facilitate the respectful welcome and inclusion of all immigrants and refugees into our congregation and community.
We make this covenant understanding that it is grounded in scripture and our faith as God calls us to support our immigrant brothers and sisters, including:
“When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)
“Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, all you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,’…And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you,…’Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:34-40)
“One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, ‘Which commandment is the first of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’” (Mark 12:28-31)
We make this covenant recognizing that the world is in the midst of a long-term refugee crisis with thousands of God’s people displaced or on the move, seeking safety, security, freedom, and opportunity. We also recognize many immigrants continue to fear raids, deportation, and seeing their families torn apart.
We make this covenant in support of the Wisconsin UCC Conference’s resolution to become an Immigrant Welcoming Conference that walks in solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters as together we welcome all God’s people.”