WE ANTICIPATE SUNDAY, April 20, 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’s Worship

We celebrate Easter with an intergenerational service.

Sunday’s music:

This Sunday will be one big Hallelujah at Plymouth, starting with Mozart’s famous “Alleluia” sung by soprano Mary Rose Go and ending with everyone singing Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” In between, two children’s choirs will sing, a brass choir will accompany the choir, and you’ll hear a new jazz arrangement of “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.” Of course you’ll get to sing your favorite Easter hymns accompanied by brass, timpani and our great Plymouth organ. After grabbing a quick coffee, you’ll want to hear the second annual Plymouth Bells Easter Concert.

Focus Scripture John 20:1-18

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.


Focus Questions

1. Why do you think Mary Magdalene, rather than, say, Peter, was chosen to be the witness to the resurrection?

2. What do you expect from life? What do you dare hope for?

3. When have you been caught off guard by “unbelievably” good news and unforeseen joy, something “too good to be true”?
4. Were you hesitant, or eager, to share what you experienced?
5. What evidence did you need in order to trust in the good news? What did you need to “see” in order to “go tell”?

Reflection by Kate Huey

Saying yes and saying no

The garden encounter that Mary Magdalene experienced is familiar in different ways for us today, when we experience resurrection and new life, when we encounter the risen Christ in our own lives. But there is the other side, too, for “God has said ‘yes’ to Jesus and ‘no’ to the powers who killed him,” Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan write. Even after he is raised, Jesus “continues to bear the wounds of the empire that executed him,” and yet, “if Jesus is Lord, the lords of this world are not.” And that, Borg and Crossan write, tells us something about God: “Easter means God’s Great Cleanup of the world has begun–but it will not happen without us.”We may feel very close to Jesus when we imagine ourselves in the garden, “walking and talking” with our risen Lord as the hymn describes. But following Jesus after that encounter, according to Borg and Crossan, means sharing Jesus’ passion for “the kingdom of God, what life would be like on earth if God were king, and the rulers, domination systems, and empires of this world were not. It is the world the prophets dreamed of–a world of distributive justice in which everyone has enough and systems are fair.” This beautiful world, Borg and Crossan write, “is God’s dream…that can only be realized by being grounded ever more deeply in the reality of God, whose heart is justice. Jesus’ passion got him killed. But God has vindicated Jesus. This is the political meaning of Good Friday and Easter” (The Last Week).

That sounds as if there is more for us to do than merely take good news back to the others: it’s a call for our whole lives. The world should be able to see in our lives our own passion for the truth that Jesus is risen and that God has begun the “Great Cleanup,” the one that won’t happen without us. If we go back to our lives tomorrow as if nothing has changed, what then have we really experienced?

      – Kate Huey is dean of the Amistad Chapel and minister for stewardship, scripture, and discipleship with the United Church of Christ. To read her entire reflection, go to

     In Our Church Community

     Volunteer Forum

      The next Forum, after worship Sunday, April 27, will be a volunteer fair with representatives from 10 to 12 local organizations on hand to promote volunteer opportunities around Syracuse. For more information, contact Kelly Tooley.

Red Cross Blood Drive

Plymouth will be hosting its next Red Cross blood drive on Monday, April 28, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall. We encourage Plymouth members and friends to support this community effort.

      Reception for Our Iraqi Family

A reception in honor of our Iraqi refugee family will be held at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, May 4, at Plymouth Church. Plan to attend this special time of welcome for Hussein and Dhikra and their children. We have invited Hussein’s parents and two brothers of Hussein to join us. His parents and brothers have been in the States since August.

Ushers and Greeters Wanted

It may look as if the people up front are the ones that make the service go, but most of the work of creating our worship services is done by you. Two relatively easy, but extremely important, jobs are greeting in the bell tower entry before the service and serving as an usher during the service.

If you can smile and shake hands, and know where the restrooms are well enough to tell somebody how to find them, then you’re ready to greet. If you can hand out bulletins, help people find seats, and move safely around the worship space, you’re ready to be an usher.

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

      Join an Evaluation Feedback Group

During the next several months, Plymouth’s evaluation team will be holding “Completing the Circle” meetings of feedback groups to evaluate how Quinn and the congregation are living out Plymouth’s vision of its ministry. Members are invited to sign up for these sessions, which will last 75 minutes. To sign up, contact George Bain or the church office. If you have any questions, contact any member of the evaluation team: George Bain, P.V. George, Amy Goodall-Ayres, Brenda Hartman-Souder, Rich Jaeger, Carol Johnson, Sam Kraemer or Dorothea Nelson.

      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

Save the World with a Casserole

The Care Team is initiating a project to gather and store food at the church that can be taken to people as needs arise. The Plymouth Women have already contributed some soups and casseroles. The food (dated and labeled) will be stored in the freezer. When there is an illness or other emergency, we will be ready to provide a meal. If you wish to contribute to this effort, please contact Ellen Heinrichs. If you become aware of a need and/or would deliver a meal, please contact Quinn or any member of the Care Team.

Plymouth Is on Facebook

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

Help Plymouth When You Shop has added a new feature to expand the ways you can shop and donate a percentage of each purchase to Plymouth Church. 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 like Gap, Sears, Kmart, 7-Eleven, Burger King, and Dunkin’ Donuts. 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 in its “toiletries of the month” collection. Contributions of shampoo are being gathered in April. Financial contributions are welcomed, and the Food Pantry is always happy to receive personal products. If you stay at a hotel and don’t use the shampoo, soap, lotion or other complimentary products, please save them.

The Week Ahead

Mon. April 21   The Plymouth Story deadline


Wed. April 23   Living the Questions, 12:30 p.m. (Call Menno Heinrichs for location.)


Thur. April 24  Food Pantry, 10 a.m. to noon, Parlor


                                Handbell Choir Rehearsal, 6 p.m., Sanctuary


                                Choir Rehearsal, 7 p.m., Memorial Hall


Sun. April 27 – Second Sunday of Easter


                        Worship, 10 a.m.


                        Chapel Time/Pre-K/K Class, 10:20 a.m.


                        Learning Community Classes, 11 a.m.


                        Forum: Memorial Hall, 11:20 a.m.


                        Refugee Resettlement Meeting, Parlor, 11:30 a.m.


                        Oneida Association Spring Meeting, Trinity United Church of Christ, Rome, N.Y., 2:30 p.m.

In the Wider Community

Community Garden Work Day

Plymouth members and friends are invited to the West Newell Street Community Garden on Saturday, April 19, for a work day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to help clean up the garden and spread manure, compost and mulch. All workers will be invited to share a barbecue at the end of the day. For more details, call Mable Wilson at 471-7063.

Senior Brunch and Forum

The Ida Benderson Seniors Action Group invites you to a Senior Brunch and Forum Friday, April 25, from 10 a.m. to noon in Memorial Hall. All older adults, family members and those interested in senior concerns and services are welcome and encouraged to attend. Brunch will be catered by the Mission Restaurant. (Freewill offering only.) Speakers will include Lisa Alford, commissioner on aging and youth of Onondaga County, as well as representatives of SAGE Upstate, FOCUS Syracuse, and Catholic Charities of Onondaga County. Nader Maroun of Syracuse Common Council will moderate. There will be time for questions and discussion, so come and share your concerns, hopes and vision for a more senior-friendly community. Space is limited; RSVP to Denise Nepveux at 315-223-2480 or to reserve your seat.

ACTS Spring Banquet

ACTS (the Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse) holds its annual spring banquet Tuesday, April 29, at Drumlins. A social hour starts at 6 p.m. and the dinner and program will follow at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $60 apiece, with $35 of that amount tax-deductible. For more information, contact Gert Danzy at 491-7650.

InterFaith Works Award Dinner

The annual InterFaith Works Leadership Award Dinner will be held Tuesday, May 6, at 5:30 p.m. at the SRC Arena at Onondaga Community College. Plymouth Church would like to support this worthwhile event and fill a table with 10 people. The cost of a ticket is $75, but if you would like to attend and need some financial support, the church can help. Send your reservation to the church office as soon as possible.  Questions? Call Chris Welch at 729-6521.

Welcome the Stranger

Immigrants Rights Sunday is May 4.

Unity of Faith Marks Marathon Anniversary

Commentary by Nancy Taylor of Old South Church (we often sing her words for the doxology).

Evangelicals Debate Boundaries over Sexuality

World Vision reverses course on recognizing employees’ same-sex marriages.

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 ….

Alice Allen, recovering at home after a brief hospitalization …


Dawn Franits, recovering from knee replacement surgery …


Anneke, Martijn, Viggo, and Rasmus Peereboom as they travel the country experiencing American churches and waiting to pick up her work visa …


Stan Reeves …


David Jenks …


Dorothy, a dear friend of Joan Fogarty …


Jamie Shavers …


Andrea Stoeckel’s cousin’s son Kyle, on his second deployment to Afghanistan …


Cath and Barbara …


Nancy Johnson, recovering from a successful double knee replacement …


Greg and Ellen Wright, as they live into his call as pastor of Plymouth Church in Louisville, Ky. …


Jake Boyer, recovering from successful brain surgery …


Lee Dreamer, continuing with cancer care …


Ann Badger, recovering from neck surgery for a spinal stenosis …


Noni Bristol …


Michelle Diegoli …


Pat Partridge and her husband, Kent, as he cares for her at home …


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