CHRISTIAN EDUCATION MINISTRY
8:45 AM on Sundays
Join us for lively lay-led discussion on biblical issues. No expertise is required, just an open mind and appreciation of good conversation.
“Progressive Christianity; a look backward at the roots of Christianity and a look forward to what might be next.”
This will be the theme of a class that will meet every Sunday before worship during the fall and spring. Kay Grice and Chip Cole lead the conversations using a guided discussion methodology based on short readings, quotations, book excerpts, and your ideas or questions. It’s not going to be about finding answers, but an opportunity for participants to explore what it means to be a Theologically Progressive Church. Each Sunday will stand alone, so anyone is invited to attend when ever they can. No prior knowledge or reading is required.
Held after the conclusion of the main worship service, Adult Forum features a variety of speakers and topics pertinent to the life of the congregation of First Plymouth. Check the newsletter or semi-weekly email updates for upcoming topics.
Bible Basics & Beyond
8:45 AM on Sundays
Bible Basics & Beyond includes lively discussions on Biblical topics and good fellowship. This lay-led group has been meeting for a number of years; new members and visitors are always welcome. Go to the church calendar to find the GoToMeeting link to join the group during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Contact Rev. Dr. Eric Smith to be added to the Youth mailing list to stay abreast of their socially distant and/or virtual opportunities.
The First Plymouth Youth Program welcomes youth in sixth through twelfth grades, whether members of the church or not. The First Plymouth Youth Group meets every Sunday night from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM during the school year. We have discussions, play games, go on trips, have snacks, and generally have a good time. All youth are welcome. It is a safe space for youth to be themselves, learn about the world and their faith, and build relationships. We do not meet weekly during the summer. We are an open, accepting, and supportive community that encourages everyone to be who they are. If you are interested in youth group or have questions, please contact Rev. Dr. Eric Smith.
During the Covid-19 pandemic we offer virtual opportunities for children and their families.
Contact Children's Ministries to subscribe to their email communications (please click here).
Sunday School Program (September – May)
Children’s Sunday School meets at 10:15A on the lower level of the church. For children up to age two, we have a nursery staffed between 9:00A until the end of the Worship Service. Trained volunteer teachers and youth assistants engage the children in Bible stories, activities, crafts, music, and more. Sunday School is coordinated by Alix Wright, our Director of Children’s Ministries.
Music has also become a special part of our Sunday School program for Grades 1-4 with 25 minutes of class devoted to music study and performance. For more information, contact Assistant Director Abby Ballinger.
Open at 8:30 AM through the end of the 10:00 AM service for infants and children through age 2.
The Cherub class is for ages 3 and 4, meets every Sunday during the school year in Room B-26, from 10:15 AM to the 11:15 AM. They learn stories about Jesus and God’s love, practice in their choir, and have a lot of fun.
The Kindergarten through 2nd-grade class . They use the “A Joyful Path” curriculum to begin the talk about their faith journey. Sunday School goes from 10:15 AM until 11:15 AM, followed by a healthy snack and choir practice.
Our 3rd to 5th-grade class meets in the CE Center. The class studies one Bible story each month, with a three-week unit encompassing literature, art, and drama. Sunday School goes from 10:15 AM until 11:15 AM, followed by a healthy snack and choir practice.
The Middle School Class (Bible Budz) for youth in Grades 6-8 meets in room B-22 at 10:15A on Sundays. This takes a more in-depth look at the Bible.
Vacation Bible School
Vacation Bible School is held for one week in the Summer. The hours are 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM with an optional extra hour for “lunch bunch”. VBS campers will share what they have learned throughout the week at the worship service the Sunday following VBS. Vacation Bible School is open to children age 4 through Grade 5.
The Cherub Choir is for preschoolers. They practice during their Sunday school class and sing in services.
The Revelation Singers, a choir for children starting in Kindergarten through seventh grade. They practice after Sunday School starting at 11:15 AM.
An Advent Party is held on the first Sunday of Advent in Plymouth Hall following the worship service. Children enjoy games, crafts, decorating, treats, and music.
LOFT is our family fellowship group that meets to do multi-generational service projects every other month. In addition to these projects, LOFT also participates in two community brunches at Denver Inner City Parish at College View during the Christmas and Easter seasons. Thanksgiving dinner with all of the trimmings is also held on the Monday before Thanksgiving. People of all ages are invited to help plan and prepare the brunch and to come enjoy a meal and activities with our friends at Denver Inner City Parish.
CAMPS AND RETREATS
Throughout the year our church community embarks on retreats and camp experiences. From youth excursions for service or learning, to Men’s Retreat, to Community Camp, these trips offer rest, recreation, fellowship, fun and long-lasting memories.
La Foret Conference and Retreat Center
Many of First Plymouth’s camps and retreats are held at La Foret Conference and Retreat Center. Located on 400+ wooded acres north of Colorado Springs, La Foret offers “inspiring scenery in a peaceful, private setting. With meeting, dining and sleeping facilities for groups large or small, we have the comfortable, well-equipped accommodations you desire. Meeting rooms of all sizes are available and there is a large central meadow for outdoor events.”
First Plymouth’s Fall Women’s Retreat
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the annual Women’s Retreat at La Foret, normally held in the fall has been cancelled for 2020. Based on a specific theme, women commune in the Black Forest at the UCC's La Foret Conference and Event Center for spiritual, emotional, physical exploration and rediscovery.
First Plymouth Community Camp features activities and events for people of all ages. Whether you are a parent, a single, a senior, a youth, or a child, you are welcome. You will have a great week sharing in the spirit and community of La Foret Conference and Retreat Center near Colorado Springs. Some come to relax, read, talk, learn, explore, or just get away from it all.
COMMUNITY LIFE MINISTRY
Second Saturday of each month at 8:00 AM for breakfast and fellowship
From 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM women are welcome to join for a lively presentation and discussion on a wide variety of topics. First Plymouth men also do service projects both within the church and to the wider community including, outside Christmas decorations, maintenance and cleanup of the church exterior grounds and Kentucky Circle Senior Homes, Sanctuary set up, and barbecuing and cooking for church functions. Funds collected at breakfasts are used for service projects such as children’s supplies, window coverings, landscaping, LED outdoor lights, and Habitat for Humanity housing. A highlight of the Men’s Fellowship season is the annual Men’s Road Trip - an extended weekend outing to a scenic, cultural, or historical area in Colorado or one of our neighboring states.
Travel Memories Club
Bi-monthly from September to May on the second Saturday of the month at 5:30 PM
Join us for social time, a potluck and travel talk. Experience great places around the United States and the world through the eyes of others. Watch for upcoming sessions in the Sunday bulletins and monthly Newsletters. Contact Nancy Joe Shaw for more information.
Third Tuesday monthly at 1:00 PM
For more information, please contact Alice Weeda.
Monthly on the second Monday from 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Between the Lines is a women's book group. Books are chosen from among participants' recommendations on an annual basis. Genres include contemporary and classic works, both fiction and non-fiction. Participants take turns leading the discussion. For more information, please email Debbie Harrington.
Women’s Cancer Support
Third Monday of Jan. March, May, Sept., and Nov. at 11:30 AM
All are welcome, from the newly-diagnosed to survivors for over 20 years. For more information, please contact Alice Weeda.
Monthly as listed in Sunday bulletins and monthly Newsletters.
Senior church members, singles and couples get together monthly for a potluck gathering with wine and soft drinks, hearty hors d’oeuvres, desserts and friendship. For more information contact Roger Diggle.
Highline Canal Yacht & Donut Club
Wednesdays at 8:30 AM in the Commons Room
Join us for donuts and a lively discussion on topics like foreign affairs, economic policy, international, national, state, local and even church politics.
First Mondays at 10:00 AM
Come for for fellowship and stitch-craft of all kinds. Please contact Marie James for more information.
Community Life Ministry
Community Life focuses on building our beloved First Plymouth community by providing radical hospitality and opportunities to become individually involved. More more information, please contact Colleen Egan or Genette Henderson.
Second Wednesday monthly from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Learn and practice Healing Touch and other hands-on energy healing techniques to help one another. Please contact Ann Seig for more information.
The Learning Center Preschool
The Learning Center is an outreach of First Plymouth, providing a preschool program for children 15 months through four years old and a Pre-K program for late fours, and five-year-olds. The Learning Center’s programs are child-centered and based on the belief that play is the best way for children to learn. Their approach is individualized to meet each child’s needs and interests. Each classroom is organized with age-appropriate centers for creative art, literature, science, pre-math, dramatic play, and cognitive and small motor development. The environment is planned to stimulate imagination and creativity, socialization, exploration, and discovery, while challenging the use of muscles important to developing bodies. Our professional staff is qualified to guide your child’s growth in a consistent and nurturing manner. The primary goal of the program is to create a positive attitude toward learning and instill feelings of confidence and self-esteem.
Schedule and Programs
The Learning Center operates on a nine-month calendar and is located in the children’s wing of the church. Pre-School hours are 9:00 AM – 2:30 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Preschoolers ages 15 months through four years old can attend 3 or 4 days. The Pre-K class must attend 4 days Tuesday- Friday.
Children attending First Plymouth Learning Center must be at least 15 months old and walking by September 15. Those in Preschool, children age 3 and above, must be potty trained. In some years a class may be offered for older 2s and younger 3s together. Children in kindergarten are not eligible for the Learning Center.
OPEN AND AFFIRMING MINISTRY
We are an Open and Affirming Church, committed to supporting Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, and Transgendered people and their families in Denver and beyond. First Plymouth Congregational Church designated itself an Open and Affirming (ONA) church in 1999. Simply put, our policy is:
In keeping with the life and teaching of Christ Jesus, we joyfully and unconditionally welcome all people of any age, gender, race, culture, ability, or sexual orientation into our community of faith and affirm the worth of all people as unique individuals made in God’s image. We are open to the special gifts that each person brings and invite each one to participate in the life of our church.
First Plymouth has a committee that focuses on the implementation and manifestation of the church’s commitment to being an inclusive, welcoming place for everyone, no exceptions. Its activities include the annual PrideFest parade and response to critical events unfolding in our community, such as firearm violence and social justice. For more information about the ONA committee, please contact the church office.
On December 9, 2012, First Plymouth member and Eagle Scout, Rolf Asphaug delivered the following message during the worship service regarding the Boys Scouts of America’s recent decision to ban gays from participating in the Boy Scouts. Rolf has penned an update to his 2012 statement, bringing us up to date (2018).
Scouting and Reverence for Our Faith – Continued
by Rolf Asphaug
Six years ago I spoke to our church and wrote an article for our newsletter on the Boy Scouts of America’s resistance to equality and inclusion for LGBT persons. Earlier that year the national BSA had issued a decision publicly reaffirming a long-hidden official policy prohibiting anyone who was “openly and avowedly” gay or lesbian from being a Scout or a Scout leader. I wrote about the struggles local Scout families had in squaring that ugly national policy with our own faiths and personal beliefs. We were wondering whether to pull our two boys out of Scouting: both were Cub Scouts at the time.
After a lot of soul-searching and prayer, and with guidance from Rev. Anastos, we decided to keep our kids in Scouting and work from within to overturn this ignorant, discriminatory decision – as did many other devoted Scouters. The benefits of Scouting to our youth were far too important to cede the field to a misguided clique of fearful bigots – at least not without a fight!
Well, it’s now six years later, and as many of you know, there has been a total sea change in American Scouting. (I emphasize “American,” because with the notable exception of the USA, Scouting movements throughout the world have long accepted LGBT persons without any fuss or issues.) That ignorant, discriminatory decision by the national BSA to dredge up a long-forgotten policy actually did the Scouting movement a favor: it forced the issue into the open. For years Scouting had been unofficially operating on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” system similar to the military’s old system, in which LGBT persons needed to hide their identities and were always at risk of being outed and dismissed.
The rear-guard action of the national BSA failed spectacularly. Instead, it led to an outcry unprecedented in the history of Scouting: an outcry not just by American society as a whole, but by thousands and thousands of devoted Scouting families and volunteers who said, plain and simple, that Scouting isn’t about discrimination. A movement called Scouts for Equality drew tens of thousands of Scouters to its ranks. Current and former Scouts across the nation made their voices heard. Everyone pointed out the hypocrisy of the national BSA’s prohibiting openly gay or lesbian members and volunteers, when the Scout Handbook itself states: “Your relationships with others should be honest and open. You should respect and defend the rights of all people.”
The national BSA’s 2012 reaffirmation of bigotry also collided with Scouting’s bedrock value of non-sectarianism. Scouting has always been a movement open to persons of all faiths – including the UCC and its Open and Affirming churches – yet here the national BSA was seeking to impose on all Scouters a narrow belief system held by an ever-diminishing group of churches.
Scouting has always been a very traditional, even hidebound, organization that is slow to change, yet within a matter of months the national BSA had recognized its huge mistake. The first step the BSA took was to say that it was OK for “openly” gay or lesbian youth to stay in the organization – but LGBT adult leaders still had to stay in the closet. That “solution” wasn’t acceptable to anyone, so the next step the BSA took was to state that from now on, there is no national policy prohibiting openly gay or lesbian adults or youth in the BSA.
This means that, for example, an openly gay adult can get a job working at a BSA store, or serve in a local council, or staff a national camping event, and any local unit that is comfortable with openly LGBT volunteers may recruit them without fear of being second-guessed from above. However, in recognition that some local Scout units are chartered by religious organizations that still view homosexuality as a sin, the BSA said that it would still allow local units to select its own adult leaders based on their own standards. This is problematic to say the least, but it was enough of a compromise so that large chunks of Scouting – Catholics, Mormons, conservative Protestants, etc. – were content to remain within the Scouting umbrella, while the movement towards full equality continues from within. Efforts to create a new, discriminatory youth group basically collapsed.
And now, most recently, BSA has taken another huge step by opening up “Boy” Scouting to girls. There are now already girl Cub Scouts (ages 6-11), and by 2019 there will be opportunities for girls to be involved in Boy Scouting and even to earn the cherished Eagle rank. When my oldest son becomes an Eagle Scout later this year, he will be among the last Scouts for which such an opportunity was available only to boys.
Looking back six years, if it hadn’t been for a last, loud gasp of reactionary, fearful bigotry – which led to an uprising across the land – the Boy Scouts of America might have been content to follow its “keep-‘em-closeted, no girls allowed” stance for many more years. It took ugliness coming out into the open, where it could be seen and rejected for what it was, to inspire and catalyze lasting change for the better.
Maybe in this respect, the painful but ultimately successful transformation of the Boy Scouts over the past six years holds lessons for our entire nation in the next few years.
ABOUT THIS MONTH'S RECIPIENT
JANUARY 2021 SHARE-THE-PLATE
Founded in 2002, the Second Wind Fund (SWF) has built an innovative program that matches children and teens, ages 19 and younger, who are at risk for suicide and do not have the means or adequate insurance to pay for necessary mental health treatment, with licensed therapists in their local communities. So far over 6,500 Colorado kids have been referred to SWF. SWF's unique program provides an avenue for families to obtain actual treatment services for youth at risk for suicide by breaking down financial and transportation barriers.
Referrals are typically made by school mental health staff (School Counselors, Social Workers or Psychologists) and sometimes by other mental health professionals. Home schooled youth or those no longer attending school are also eligible. If the referred youth is at risk for suicide and does not have adequate insurance or the means to pay for the necessary mental health treatment, the cost of therapy for up to 12 individual sessions is paid for by Second Wind Fund.
Second Wind Fund believes that all communities and people are affected by suicide and that open, honest communication about the pervasiveness of suicide is critical to reducing its incidence.
To recommend an organization for First Plymouth's Share-the-Plate program, download and complete this form.
A New Dimension of Hope
Denver Police Brotherhood Youth Boxing
Eco Justice Ministries
Family Promise of Greater Denver
Friends of the Haven
GraceFull Community Cafe
Kentucky Circle Village
Loaves & Fishes
Reach Out and Read Colorado
Rocky Mtn. Immigrant Advocacy Network
Second Chance Center
Second Wind Fund
Solar Energy International
The Action Center
The Rock Center
Loaves & Fishes
Mission: Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.
Vision: A world where everyone has a decent place to live.
People in our community and all over the world partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers, and they pay an affordable mortgage. With your help, Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability, and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and their families.
The Loaves & Fishes Committee is First Plymouth’s outreach link to Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver, through the Loaves & Fishes coalition of eleven churches spanning the Denver metro area from Golden to Castle Rock. Together we have built a house each year since the coalition was organized in 1998.
Habitat for Humanity’s work is supported by coalitions like Loaves & Fishes, which depend on your contributions to continue building our homes. We also rely on volunteers to help construct the homes. There is always something for everyone to do, no matter your skill level. There is a dreadful shortage of affordable housing in the Denver area, and you can become part of the solution to this problem through your financial and time commitments.
To donate to Loaves & Fishes, please make your check payable to “First Plymouth Congregational Church” and mark it for “Loaves & Fishes” in the memo line. To volunteer to help build a home for a deserving family, house, go to https://denver.volunteerhub.com/lp/loavesandfishes-denver. And for more information about Habitat and its programs, please visit https://www.habitatmetrodenver.org/.
The Loaves & Fishes Committee: Carole Westphal, Stan Harwood, Bruce Thumm, Nancy Joe Shaw, Paul Erickson, and Kit Cowperthwaite.
Denver Inner City Parish
First Plymouth’s connection with Denver Inner City Parish goes back more than 50 years. Formed by a group of churches that included First Plymouth so that we would always have a hands-on avenue for ministry in the inner city, “DICP serves approximately 25,000 people annually through 14 programs that focus on four community needs: Hunger, Education, Health & Wellness, and Community Support.” In the past 50 years DICP has been the most widely supported ministry of our congregation. From teaching in the schools to mentoring and tutoring children, from feeding the hungry to building community, from making friends to equipping children to flourish in our society, our ministries there have made a difference. For more information go to dicp.org.
Kentucky Circle Village
Kentucky Circle Village has been part of the outreach mission of First Plymouth for more than 60 years. It was established in 1959 to meet the growing housing needs of seniors with limited incomes and remains an important part of the affordable housing movement in the Denver metropolitan area. Learn More >>
Web of Care Ministry
First Plymouth is a large and loving community of faith. The means by which we strive to stay connected as church and community is called the Web Of Care. The Web of Care is staffed by dedicated volunteers, called Web Of Care Coordinators, who commit to checking in with members of First Plymouth to offer personal connection and relay Pastoral Care needs or concerns to the ministry team. Each First Plymouth member is assigned to a Web Of Care Coordinator. The coordinator checks-in with members on a monthly basis by text, phone, email or face-to-face contact to offer support, prayer and encouragement. The Web Of Care is one of the many ways we strive to be in community with one another.
Giving to First Plymouth Congregational Church encompasses three main forms:
- Stewardship, or annual giving, supports the ongoing mission and programming of the church through regular financial contributions.
- Planned giving establishes a donor’s legacy by including the church in the donor’s estate plan.
- Unpledged giving allows a donor to donate to a specific fund as a one-time gift or as a recurring gift.
The worship ministry at First Plymouth includes a dynamic expression of the congregation’s gifts, skills, passion and theology. The worship experience is diverse and inclusive, rooted in traditional elements of the early church such as holy sacraments and a common liturgy. The service is supported by a large chancel choir, exceptional musicians and a decorated hybrid pipe organ. Our communal response to G-D (Love) is undergirded by progressive and universal service prayers and prophetic proclamation of the word.
The worship ministry invites lay participation in preparing and serving The Lord’s Supper, artistic design of the worship space, and shared leadership in music and spoken word. Worship is at the heart of the church’s call to pray and praise, and compels us to enact compassionate service in the world.