Sixth Sunday of Easter

A weekly e-mail from

Plymouth Congregational Church


232 E. Onondaga Street, Syracuse NY | 13202 | 315 474 4836



 Welcoming All, Growing in Faith, Working for Justice and Peace

 Preparing for Sunday Worship

We will receive a special offering in support of rehabilitation efforts in the area affected by the devastating earthquake in Nepal. Your contributions will be greatly appreciated.

We welcome Ann Schwartz as substitute organist while Joe Downing is on vacation.

Our Sunday morning Bible study will resume after worship. This is a weekly examination of the following week’s preaching text(s). Grab a cup of coffee (but don’t worry about a Bible; we’ll provide those!) and join us downstairs in the Adult Ed room. Facilitated by Quinn Caldwell and friends.

Focus Scripture John 15:9-17

[Jesus said:] “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”


      Focus Questions

  1. How does being a member of the church afford us the possibility of both space and time for friendship, for caring about one another?
  2. Have you ever experienced another person or a community being “for” you? Is your church a “safe space” where you can be known and cared about?
  3. What is your understanding of the “plan” that Jesus has shared with you, as one of his friends?
  4. Should the kind of love Jesus commands have any effect on the way we structure our communal, public life, or is it only for the church and our families?
  5. Are you and your church “captured by the story” of Jesus? Where is the light of that story taking you?

Reflection by Kate Matthews

Our passage from the Gospel of John contains many familiar phrases that inspire and comfort us, including the heart, the bottom line, of what it means to be a Christian: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (v. 12). As Jesus neared his death, he made a farewell address to his followers, and the theme of love is powerful throughout. When Jesus knew that his death was drawing near, “[h]aving loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (13:1b). “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (14:15). And now, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you” (15:9). These words about love help us to understand Jesus’ command to “abide” in him, to understand ourselves as living our lives within his own reality, as part of him in the Body of Christ, as branches of a vine that bears rich fruit for a world hungry for love. These words about love help us to understand what love really is, and what it means to make our homes, or to abide, in Jesus.

John’s Gospel tells us that we are known and cared for, as sheep are loved and cared for by the shepherd who even lays down his life for the flock, rather than running away like a hired hand. Because of that love, we can trust the One who knows us intimately and cares for us tenderly, who holds our very lives in that care. We are known and held and loved, but we are commanded, too, to belong to one another, to care for one another, to love one another. That is the kind of obedience, not blind obedience but trusting obedience, that Jesus inspires and even models, for he has lived his own life in trusting obedience to God. This kind of love and trust is where we yearn to live our lives and to live out our faith.

The Reverend Kathryn Matthews serves as Dean of the Amistad Chapel at the national offices of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio. To read her entire reflection, go to

 In Our Church Community

 Bold Vision Bold Witness Capital Campaign

We continue to receive commitments that signify participation in our Bold Vision Bold Witness capital campaign. You may mail your card to the church office or place it in Sunday’s offering plate. If you need a commitment, please see George Bain. Won’t you prayerfully consider your three-year commitment to this campaign to support Plymouth’s vision of a renovated Sanctuary, a building with three floors accessible by elevator and lift, other building improvements, a new web site, and a mission giving project to serve our Syracuse community? And join the 75 households that have made their commitments totaling more than $560,000 to the campaign.

Heifer Festival

After worship on Sunday, May 17, our annual Heifer Festival will take place in Kirtland Hall. One of Plymouth’s great traditions, it’s a lively event for the young and young-at-heart to enjoy some activities and food, while supporting the work of Heifer International. Plants for your porch or garden will also be on sale and there will be a silent auction of gift baskets. Plan to join us!

 Youth Mission Trip Fundraiser at Moe’s

Save the date. Help support Plymouth’s youth by enjoying delicious food at Moe’s Southwest Grill, 3409 Erie Boulevard East, on Wednesday, May 20. A coupon to be used for 15 percent of your bill to be donated to the Youth Mission trip to H.O.M.E. is printed in Sunday’s worship bulletin.

Quinn’s Non-Office Office Hours

Quinn loves his office, but he’s sick of sitting in it. So, you’ll be able to find him at Recess Coffee (110 Harvard Place) from 4 to 6 p.m. on Mondays and Café Kubal on South Salina Street from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursdays. Come join him; no appointment is necessary.

Ushers, Greeters, Liturgists and Community Time

Consider signing up! We’ll give you all the training you need, and great partners as well.  To sign up as a greeter, email Craig Greczyn at To be an usher, email Jared Titus at To proclaim the word and share your voice as a Liturgist, call Jackie Manier at 760-3177 and leave a message. To host Community Time, email Linda Milosky at

Plymouth on YouTube

Did you know that Plymouth Church has a YouTube channel? You can find recordings of sermons given at Plymouth on it, along with some of the choir’s anthems. Our YouTube channel is one way that Plymouth is reaching out to folks who missed a Sunday or who want to listen again to a sermon or anthem, and letting the wider community and world know about us. You can search YouTube for Plymouth Church Syracuse or use this link:

You can also listen to any sermon since November 28, 2012, on Plymouth’s website at

Plymouth Is on Facebook

If you are on Facebook and you haven’t “liked” the church yet, please do!

Help Plymouth When You Shop

Want to help Plymouth when you’re shopping? Here are two ways.

Staples office supply store has a Rewards Program that allows Plymouth to benefit. When you purchase anything at Staples, tell the checkout person the church’s phone number (474-4836) to activate a reward and Staples will direct 5 percent of that sale to Plymouth. Joan Fogarty has copies of the church’s Rewards card if you would like to present that at Staples. Ask her for one.

And you can raise money by shopping with GoodShop and GoodSearch: has added a new feature to expand the ways you can shop and donate a percentage of each purchase to Plymouth. You can use Goodswipe, a credit card rewards program. By linking your card with one signup, you can earn donations to Plymouth for every in-store purchase at 50,000 stores. Goodswipe uses bank-level encryption to keep your information safe. To learn more about Goodswipe, go to

When shopping online, you can use and benefit Plymouth. For more information on that, go to, enter Plymouth Congregational UCC in the box labeled “Who do you GoodShop for.”

Pastoral Care

The Rev. Quinn Caldwell is available to respond to emergencies, to visit those with special needs, or for conversation and prayer about whatever’s on your mind or heart.  You can reach him at 315-474-4836 or In an emergency, you can reach him at 617-851-0158.

Food Pantry Offerings

The Food Pantry requests your participation is its “toiletries of the month” collection. Contributions of lotion are being gathered in May. Put your donations in the box in the back of the Sanctuary.

The Week Ahead

Tue. May 12    Board of Deacons, 5:30 p.m.

All Boards Meeting, 6:30 p.m.

Board of Trustees/CE Board, 7 p.m.

Thur. May 14   Food Pantry, 10 a.m. to noon, Parlor

Handbells Rehearsal, 5:30 p.m., Sanctuary

Sun. May 17 – Seventh Sunday of Easter

Worship and Learning Community Chapel Time, 10 a.m.

Learning Community Classes, 11 a.m.

Bible Study, 11:15 a.m.

Heifer Festival, 11:15 a.m.

 In the Wider Community

A Jazz Benefit for Hunger

You are invited to “Feeding Body and Soul” on Friday, May 15, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Palace Theater. Tickets will be available at the door for $25, and donations of non-perishable food items are requested. All proceeds will benefit the Interreligious Food Consortium. For more information, contact the IFC office at (315) 474-8855.

Catholic Charities Seeks Household Items

Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement is accepting donations of household goods such as kitchen tables and chairs, couches (no sofa beds) living room chairs, beds, dressers, lamps, dishes, blankets, linens or other usable items. It cannot accept knick-knacks or decorative items. Pickups are on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please call 474-7428 ext. 31 to arrange a pickup. Plymouth’s Kelly Tooley works in the Refugee Resettlement program.

Walking the Long Road with Nepal

How the UCC is providing relief, with a link for you to donate to UCC Disaster Ministries through the International Emergency Relief fund.

North Carolina Churches Support Homeless

UCC church joins other denominations in Rockingham, N.C.

Connecticut Bishop Nominated to Lead Episcopal Church

Ian Douglas is one of four candidates.

Soul Hungry?

How to take care of your spirit the six days of each week you don’t go to worship? The UCC has launched a new area of its web site designed to support people in their individual spiritual journeys: Feed Your Spirit. Daily prayers, a biblical personality test, advice column from God-lovers, and magic 8-ball await. Check it out at

God in Your Inbox

The Stillspeaking Daily Devotional is written by UCC pastors and leaders, including Quinn Caldwell. Subscribers are sent a daily email containing a Scripture passage, short reflection, and a prayer. Sign up at

Joys and Concerns

In the week ahead, you are invited to pray for

The repose of Uncle Jim’s soul, and for all who love him in the Shaffer and Covelend families, especially Rebecca, John, Abigail, and Elias Mannion

Jean Henderson, in hospice care

Pat Partridge and Kent Partridge

Dave West, who graduates from Pacific School of Religion with his M.Div. May 24

Dottie Clark

Dawn Franits

Bill Andrews

Fung Chan Chin

Caroline Ryder



Betsy and Don

Stan Reeves

Dorothy, a dear friend of Joan Fogarty

Jamie Shavers

Cath and Barbara

Lee Dreamer, continuing with cancer care

Michelle Diegoli


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