Thank you for the honor of serving as your Moderator for this past year. I have had several people ask me about the experience of holding this leadership position. That question has led me to reflect on the year both personally and what has been accomplished within our church.
Performing the duties of Moderator has allowed me to experience church in very different ways than in my past volunteer commitments. It required me to understand and help make decisions from a business perspective with the need to always remember that compassion must factor into those decisions. It has helped me to improve my listening skills, not one of my strong suits, when approached by members to share successes and challenges in the work of the church. I have had the privilege of working with our staff and learning to appreciate the roles they all play and how hard they work behind the scenes to make things seemingly happen so smoothly. It has been overall a good year and I am grateful for the team of dedicated people serving on Leadership Council and the committees of Council.
It has been a year of resurrection for so many of the activities we took for granted before the pandemic and of the creation of new opportunities for being church. Following are some of these and I’m sure I am forgetting others. Our Outreach and Mission focused efforts include working with the family from Afghanistan to help them become a part of our community, hosting Faith Family Hospitality families, implementing Share the Plate to raise financial resources for a variety of mission-oriented organizations, and the sleep-out organized by our youth to support Homelessness Prevention. Children are once again attending Sunday School, our youth are meeting and Our Whole Lives (OWL) curriculum is being shared, there have been interesting topics presented at Adult Forum and several book studies. Social groups are meeting and a fun bingo night and Advent Craft event were held. Ministry Match was implemented to help folks find their place at Plymouth, and our new settled Associate Minister, Marta Fioriti, will be joining us the first of March. All our Boards, Committees and Ministry Teams have worked hard to reopen and rebuild our church community. Thanks to all involved in these vital ministries.
The theme this year was “Extending and Embracing Beloved Community.” For me, the following Bible verse speaks to how that is done. “Above all, love each other deeply… Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace.” 1 Peter 4:8-10 (NIV) A recent UCC Devotional by Mary Luti shared this reflection on church “Some Christians think that the church is most fully what Christ intends only when it’s publicly engaged in the struggle against the sinful systems of our unjust world. But the world’s axis also tilts towards God’s dream whenever some random old woman (or anyone at all) comes to us to be accompanied and is met with open arms.” Plymouth for me is all of you and your willingness to open your arms and build beloved community.
Peace and blessings,
Claudia DeMarco is was our 2022 Moderator. She has been a member since 2006 and involved in the Deacons Board, Celtic Spirituality group, Women's Friendship, Congregational Life Board, Associate Pastor Search Committee.