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Green Faith Congregational Survey Results

Survey Result Summary

Continuing to Serve Metro Caring

Now that gas is cheaper than water and you have More-Time-On-Your-Hands-Than-You-Can-Handle, make the drive to Five Points to donate canned goods to the Metro Caring food bank at 1100 E. 18th Avenue in Denver, Colorado 80218. Metro Caring has long been the recipient of food bank donations from First Plymouth on CAN DO Sunday each month. They need our help. They are experiencing four times the usual demand for food in response to the Covid 19 pandemic. They’ve purchased a lot of cardboard boxes to supply two people for two weeks through a makeshift drive-through system in their parking lot. Recipients do not enter the building and Metro Caring is not providing fresh foodstuffs, but, they deliver to persons in need who are sixty years or older. At this time, they are particularly in need of canned protein sources: canned tuna, canned chicken or ham, as well as canned vegetables and fruits. If you make the drive, you will encounter young, friendly, and dedicated volunteers, masked and gloved, awaiting your delivery. You don’t even need to get out of the car if you do not care to.  Let’s help with food needs for our community!


Community Camp 2020

Date: Friday, April 24, 2020
To: First Plymouth Community Campers 2020 & Camp Supporters
From:  Steve Erickson & Elizabeth Thompson, Co-Deans

Re: Update and Decision-making Process to move forward or cancel Community Camp 2020

Camper Action Items: Make choice about what to do with pre-registration payments
(download this letter here)

Dear Campers,

We know this is a difficult time for everyone, and much uncertainty is swirling even as we begin to settle into the life of social distancing and shelter-in-place orders. We hope that this letter finds each of you healthy and taking the precautions necessary to remain so. We know that Community Camp, and especially La Foret, serve as sacred spaces that provide respite, healing and renewal for our souls, our bodies, our families and our church community. We will do what is needed to keep us as safe as possible now and will also do what is needed to make sure that we have camp and La Foret for the future as well. With that in mind, here is an update on where things stand for Community Camp 2020.

Where We Have Been
As many of you know, just six weeks ago the plans for Community Camp 2020 were getting revved up, with a successful pancake breakfast fundraiser on March 8, nearly 100 people pre-registered for this summer’s camp, and excitement brewing for another talent show fundraiser at Clocktower Cabaret. Then the reality of COVID-19 pandemic shifted all of our plans, putting many things including camp into a state of “wait and see.”

Where We Are Now
Despite initial concerns, gratefully La Foret has been receiving donations, as well as having secured loans and funding to stabilize their finances and operations for the next several months. They have worked with us with full transparency, and obviously we, and they, are waiting to know what governmental directions/mandates will be in place for conference facilities for this summer.

We have canceled the Clocktower Cabaret talent show fundraiser because of governmental closures on all public event spaces such as Clocktower Cabaret through mid-May. Please know that we will reschedule this event if/when the timing is right. Until then, if you would like to support Clocktower Cabaret and staff, who have graciously supported camp by sponsoring these events the past few years, please go to their website and consider becoming a VIP member and contribute generously.

How We Go Forward from here
The Co-deans are monitoring the situation and will make a decision by June 1 if they need to cancel based on the situation at La Foret, First Plymouth’s decisions about safe gatherings and governmental and health guidelines in place at that time. As of now, we optimistically continue to hope we will have Community Camp from July 19-25, 2020, although plans for specific camp activities and class leadership are on hold. If you have made payments toward camp as part of your pre-registration, we are asking you to make a choice on what you want to do with those funds because we know your plans and priorities may have shifted with the COVID-19 crisis. These choices will also help us know better how to make decisions about camp as we move forward.

Action Item for Campers
Please choose from the options below and let us know what you want to do with the funds you have already paid towards Community Camp 2020.  Email your responses by May 8 to Steve Erickson so we can plan accordingly.

Your choices:

  1. You still plan on coming to camp, so want us to hang on to your payments for now
  2. You are pretty certain now that you will NOT be attending camp this summer therefore…

(choose from one of the following)

(a)      Please refund to you any payments you’ve made.

(b)      Donate your payments to the First Plymouth Community Camp Fund to help keep camp going and support others in attending.

(c)      Donate your payments to La Foret as general support for La Foret. In this case we will refund your deposit to you and have you donate it directly to La Foret.

Ongoing Ramifications

  • If you are asking that your payments be refunded or directed as a donation, then we will be back in touch with you to confirm the amount and logistics.
  • In order to effectively plan the details for camp, June 1 will be the deadline to decide if we are going forward or canceling this year.
  • If the co-deans cancel camp this year, then all refund options will still be available at that time.
  • If “regular” camp has to be canceled, we will explore alternatives such as a day retreat and/or workday at La Foret, or maybe FP, or virtual offerings? We won’t know what is possible until we get to June.
  • If we have to cancel this year’s camp, we will move forward with plans for Community Camp in 2021. Both of us have committed to continuing as camp co-deans and will roll our leadership over a year. Thus Steve would be Dean for 2021, and Elizabeth would be Dean for 2022.
  • We will keep you informed as we go along.

As always, please let us know your thoughts, desires, as well as concerns about camp this year.  We will take all of this into account as we discern and make decisions in the coming few weeks. We offer continued prayers for your health and safety, for La Foret and all that it means to us, for our community and leadership at First Plymouth and for the wider community.

Thank you,
Steve Erickson, Dean 2020
Elizabeth Thompson, Co-Dean 2020



Meet Ken Hoagland

For Ken Hoagland, First Plymouth has been an important part of his life since 1981.

Many who know Ken find it hard to believe he was considered the introvert in his family while growing up. He is the third of three boys born shortly after his father returned from serving in WWII when his family lived near DU in Denver. His father’s job after the war took him to the Federal Center so the family moved to Lakewood in 1950, where Ken grew up.

Following his brothers through the Jeffco public schools and a local Lutheran church, Ken was happy to go off to college out of state to Doane College in Nebraska. There he got an introduction to the UCC which is a much more inclusive and progressive brand of religion than what he experienced growing up.

While working in Denver during the summer between his junior and senior year, he met Diane who also grew up in Denver and also went away for college. The two of them later realized this was the third time they had been introduced. After a senior year of college apart, they were married the following year and celebrated their 50th anniversary last fall.

After graduate school in planning at University of Massachusetts, where he worked on housing policy, he had jobs at the state of Maryland, in Annapolis, and the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) in Washington, DC. Wanting to be closer to family with two small children, Ken & Diane moved back to Denver in the early 1980s. Ken took a job at Midland Federal Savings where he was hired by long-time FP member Marvin Buckels, who became his mentor. Shortly after moving back to Denver, Ken & Diane began attending First Plymouth where Diane’s parents, Don & Doris Forster were members. After 4 years at Midland when the organization was merging with one of its competitors, Ken decided to go out on his own and formed Community Capital Corp. which, since 1985, has been involved with the financing and development of over 6,000 units of senior and affordable housing.

Outdoor activity has always been important to Ken since his early days of Boy Scout outings and adventures. He & Diane regularly hike and ski in Colorado and travel to National Parks throughout the country. They have also traveled abroad over the past several years but their plans for 2020 have been interrupted by the COVID19 pandemic.

The seed sown in religion classes at Doane took many years to grow but has blossomed during his years at First Plymouth. His spiritual journey has informed his extensive participation on numerous nonprofit boards and a decision on a career that resulted in housing for people not served by the private market. At First Plymouth, he was chair of PPRC in the early 2000’s and was president of First Plymouth Foundation beginning in 2010 until he became vice moderator in 2018. In addition to First Plymouth being an outlet for his leadership skills, Ken says that the community provides him a place of connection, renewal and peace, for which is he very grateful.

First Plymouth’s Covid-19 Update

At the request of Pastor Jenny and the Director of Administration, Carol Hainsey, a group of church members with diverse backgrounds and medical expertise convened in mid-March to review the best available information and provide advice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This group originally made a recommendation to close the church, including the Learning Center, until May 15.

This COVID19 Task Force is now recommending that this date be extended until June 15 with the understanding that new information in the interim may result in modification of this recommendation. At their meeting on April 21, Church Council endorsed extending the closure date to June 15. To discuss this and other COVID19 related issues, Council has scheduled an all-church virtual meeting on Sunday, May 17 at 4:00P. The purpose of this all-church meeting would be to update members, answer questions and get ideas about how the First Plymouth community can move forward to support its members and forward the church’s mission in the midst of this pandemic. More information will be forthcoming soon.