It is great to have your Congressman visit your church, and it is even better when he comments, “You are the most active church in the area, if not in the state of Colorado.” That is what Rep. Joe Neguse told an overflow crowd in Plymouth’s Forum Room last Sunday morning. Neguse was with us as part of the Adult Ed. Forum series on Ending Gun Violence, and he is sponsoring several bills in the House of Representatives aimed as sensible gun legislation, including national background checks. (Special thanks to Anne Thompson and Mark Lee for arranging this extraordinary visit!)
Carla's sermon on putting John 3.16 into context was a winner, and the choir’s a cappella rendition of Ola Gjeilo’s setting of “Ubi Caritas” was deeply moving.
And then a crowd of Plymouth folks gathered along Prospect Road to show signs of support for the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in every aspect of the life of the church and society. Again, kudos to Mark Lee for helping organize the event across several congregations…I designed the signs. : )
The event was planned by a group of progressive clergy in Fort Collins as a positive response to several local evangelical congregations that sponsored workshops on what to me seems like a “kinder, gentler” form of homophobia. Rather than dwell of condemning others or arguing with them, we chose the path of trying to present a response that affirms who we are as Christians and sends a message of inclusion and welcome to all LGBTQ+ folks.
I was heartened to see so many of you literally out in front! We had members in their teens through their 80s waving colorful placards and rainbow flags I counted three flag variations!) to passing motorists, many of whom honked or waved in support. (We know what Plymouth stands for — the same thing Jesus stood for — love.) It was a beautiful and affirming time for Plymouth last Sunday!
I also want to acknowledge that for many of us news about the coronavirus is getting overwhelming and maybe even scary. Please be assured that we are keeping abreast of the news and CDC recommendations and will do everything we can to keep you safe while you’re at Plymouth. (And we are working on a live stream of one of our services, which is likely to come out via Facebook, so if you haven’t “liked” Plymouth's Facebook Page, it’s a good time to do so!) I’ve just heard that we have the first coronavirus diagnosis in Larimer County, so stay tuned for further information about how we will continue to respond.
In the meantime, here is a prayer:
God of all things, we ask for your presence
with all those affected by the corona virus.
We ask for your strength
to be with all those who are working for treatment and prevention.
As we continue our pilgrimage this Lent,
help us to trust in you and your desire for our wholeness.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage. Amen.
The Rev. Hal Chorpenning has been Plymouth's senior minister since 2002. Before that, he was associate conference minister with the Connecticut Conference of the UCC. A grant from the Lilly Endowment enabled him to study Celtic Christianity in the UK and Ireland. Prior to ordained ministry, Hal had a business in corporate communications. Read more about Hal.