Our Practices and Beliefs
Our Mission Statement: No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here to discover meaning in life, grow in relationship with God, and serve neighbors near and far.
'Into the Mystic' is the Rev. John C. Dorhauer's weekly podcast on UCC.org. The United Church of Christ's General Minister and President is creating these weekly messages so the "the art and practice of spiritual reflection is modeled as a priority and not just a part time avocation." (These podcasts are also available in text format for those who prefer to read them.)
Our Core Practices
Our Christian faith was originally known simply as "the way." Christianity meant following in the way of Jesus; living our life according to his way of life. At Plymouth Church, we want to recapture that earliest meaning of our faith by focusing on several central practices. We want to be a church where people not only learn about God but where we profoundly experience God in the midst of our lives. Practices involve living a life shaped by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
These practices connect us to our tradition - not just 2000 years of Christian discipleship but to Jews stretching back to a time before memory. They also connect us to one another. Most importantly, these practices connect us to God. They are a way for us to touch the sacred in the everyday way we live.
We are lifting up six practices for our congregation to grow into. There is much more to the Christian way of life than these six practices but we see them as important and central to developing as disciples of Jesus. The goal of these practices is not to get a 4.0; the purpose is to grow in our faith and the expression of our faith in our lives. How we do that will necessarily change over time. In one season of life we may need to focus on just one practice; in another we may find a dynamic interplay between all of them.
Together we can be on a journey with Jesus, on the way towards a life of rich and faithful meaning.
- Passionate Prayer - naming to God our greatest joys and concerns and attentiveness to God's spirit at work.
- Life-Giving Bible Study - engaging wisdom of the scriptures to better understand God and ourselves.
- Inspirational Worship - opening ourselves within community to the grace, beauty, and wonder of our faith.
- Risk-Taking Friendship - loving one another so honestly and vulnerably that our relationships help us to be more like Christ.
- Transformational Service - changing others' lives changes ours too.
- Extravagant Generosity - trusting in God's abundance radically enough to share beyond what we can imagine.
Our Core Beliefs
As a vibrant and inclusive Christian congregation...
We believe in the triune God: Creator, resurrected Christ, the sole Head of the church, and the Holy Spirit, who guides and brings about the creative and redemptive work of God in the world.
We believe that each person is unique and valuable. It is the will of God that every person belong to a family of faith where they have a strong sense of being valued and loved.
We believe that each person is on a spiritual journey and that each of us is at a different stage of that journey.
We believe that the persistent search for God produces an authentic relationship with God, engendering love, strengthening faith, dissolving guilt, and giving life purpose and direction.
We believe that all of the baptized 'belong body and soul to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.' No matter who – no matter what – no matter where we are on life's journey – notwithstanding race, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, class or creed – we all belong to God and to one worldwide community of faith. All persons baptized – past, present and future – are connected to each other and to God through the sacrament of baptism. We baptize during worship when the community is present because baptism includes the community's promise of 'love, support and care' for the baptized – and we promise that we won't take it back – no matter where your journey leads you.
We believe that all people of faith are invited to join Christ at Christ's table for the sacrament of Communion. Just as many grains of wheat are gathered to make one loaf of bread and many grapes are gathered to make one cup of wine, we, the many people of God, are made one in the body of Christ, the church. The breaking of bread and the pouring of wine reminds us of the costliness of Christ's sacrifice and the discipleship to which we are all called. In the breaking of bread, we remember and celebrate Christ's presence among us along with a 'cloud of witnesses' – our ancestors, family and friends who have gone before us. It is a great mystery; we claim it by faith.
We believe the UCC is called to be a united and uniting church. "That they may all be one." (John 17:21) "In essentials–unity, in nonessentials–diversity, in all things–charity," These UCC mottos survive because they touch core values deep within us. The UCC has no rigid formulation of doctrine or attachment to creeds or structures. Its overarching creed is love. UCC pastors and teachers are known for their commitment to excellence in theological preparation, interpretation of the scripture and justice advocacy. Even so, love and unity in the midst of our diversity are our greatest assets.
We believe that God calls us to be servants in the service of others and to be good stewards of the earth's resources. 'To believe is to care; to care is to do.'
We believe that the UCC is called to be a prophetic church. As in the tradition of the prophets and apostles, God calls the church to speak truth to power, liberate the oppressed, care for the poor and comfort the afflicted.
We believe in the power of peace, and work for nonviolent solutions to local, national, and international problems.
We are a people of possibility. In the UCC, members, congregations and structures have the breathing room to explore and to hear ... for after all, God is still speaking, ...