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Courage comes to life at First-Plymouth

‘Modern Courage Inspired by Timeless Wisdom’ not only describes the core of the Cathedral Series of special services this year, it also describes the actions and inspiration of many individuals at First-Plymouth.

“During the past year as we have focused attention on the concept of courage and what that means as influenced by our Christian faith, we have witnessed many acts of intentional courage in serving others—stepping up to live our mission to increase the love of God and neighbor,” said Senior Minister Jim Keck.

Here are a few examples of acts of courage—ways we stand with others to uplift and love our neighbors locally and globally:

  • The fall Mission & Outreach fundraiser brought in $10,000 to support the building of bunk beds, outhouses and decks in Pine Ridge and houses in Guatemala. FP Mission volunteers worked in Pine Ridge last October and a group will return in July. Another group went to Guatemala in February and 23 youth and leaders are going back in June to build four more houses. A November trip to the Dominican Republic is being organized for a team to help build and distribute filters for clean water.

  • First-Plymouth became a monthly food distribution site in February, with over 60 volunteers not only handing out 3,612 pounds of free food to folks from low-income households, but also building stronger relationships with these members of our community.

  • FP has donated $1,200 to immediate flood relief in Nebraska and is ready to organize volunteer teams for clean-up and rebuilding.

  • FP teams deliver Meals on Wheels weekly and there’s a waiting list of volunteers.

  • Our youth continue to serve meals at Matt Talbot’s Kitchen and Outreach to about 120 people each month.

  • Our Women’s Ministry provided $4,000 in scholarship support for women furthering their education, $250 as a special award to a woman incarcerated at the Nebraska Correction Center in York, and $1,000 for tools needed by a Southeast Community College student.

  • Our choir volunteered to sing at the Nebraska State Penitentiary (Dec. 17, 2018) in a service to uplift and inspire prisoners.

  • And on a community-wide basis, First-Plymouth sponsored special services and guest speakers specifically designed to increase our courage and consider paths that enhance unity:

  • Our Cathedral Series offered deep reflection on ‘letting our faith be stronger than our fear’ in the face of our current points of division such as nationalism and racism.

  • John Pavlovitz spoke on re-introducing compassion, kindness and generosity of spirit.

  • Philip Gulley’s presentation in November urged us to let go of inherited certainties in order to flourish in a more authentic relationship with God.

“Our story of courage is far from over. This year was a good start, as many individuals are stepping into their own personal power to stand for something that matters, and with those who need them to do that,” said Keck. “This was a good beginning to a story that has the potential to change the world, one act of courage at a time.”


Sunday, May 12, 7:00pm

Pre-Compline Performance:
The Journey of Life Through Music & Dance

UNL Glenn Korff School of Music students and faculty will present “The Journey of Life Through Music and Dance” on Sunday, May 12 at 6:00pm in the Chapel. Karen Becker (cello faculty), Hye-Won Hwang (dance faculty), Seung Kyung Baek (doctoral piano student), and Kelli Bower and Gayle Rocz (junior dance students) look forward to presenting this collaborative program of dance, piano, and cello as they prepare to travel to Seoul, South Korea in late May for performances and masterclasses at Gyeonggi Arts High School and Hansei University. This performance is approx. 40 minutes, followed by a brief Q&A. Afterwards, all are welcome to join the Compline service at 7:00pm.


Virtually all of the top 50 United Church of Christ churches are smaller today than they were a decade ago except one: First-Plymouth.

We are attracting more individuals to our community of faith in our mission to increase the love of God and neighbor. This week, as you step up in courage and faith to serve others, invite a friend to join you at First-Plymouth, a simple, effective way to spread God’s love.

Third Chapter Ministries (55+) Presents

Spirituality & Aging Series

Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing As We Age

Presented by New York Times Bestselling Author Mary Pipher, and a few of her writer friends
Wednesday, May 1, 6:30-8:00pm, Sanctuary

Join us as author Mary Pipher explores the specific issues women face as we transition from middle age to old age. The core concern of this life stage, with all of its perils and pleasures, is how to cultivate resilient responses to the challenges we face. We can take responsibility for our attitudes and focus on our strengths and our joys. We can go deep and face truth squarely. We can learn the skills that allow us to adapt to anything. Yes, anything. 

Copies of Mary’s books will be available for purchase that evening before and after the lecture. Mary will sign copies of her book following the lecture.

The Aging Body: Walking To Maintain Health

Presented by Mark Sunderman, Director of Rehabilitation, Eastmont Towers Community
Wednesday, May 8, 6:30-8:00pm, Chapel

Gait speed and walking distance – do they matter?  Hear the recent research about gait as it relates to function in daily life and learn ways to improve your gait and how to enjoy our aging!

Living Your Best Life Now: How Rightsizing Can Change The Next Chapter of Your Life

Presented by Jeannine Bryant, Owner, Owner, Changing Spaces SRS
Wednesday, May 15, 6:30-8:00pm, Chapel

What is rightsizing, and why does it matter?  How can it help my next chapter in life?  We all have items in our home that we no longer need, use or love.  Senior move manager Jeannine Bryant discusses how we can all be a better steward of our STUFF, re-distributing our items with intention and thoughtfulness when it’s time to let go.  Jeannine is the owner of Changing Spaces SRS, a local company that helps older adults when they are downsizing and moving. 

All lectures are free and open to the community.

Buddhist Psychology: Pathways through “Stuckness”

Presented by Buddhist Lama, Gretchen Ann Groth
May 22, 6:30-8:00pm, Chapel.
Event is FREE and open to all.

Buddhism, a 2500 year old spiritual path, is one of the growing spiritual traditions within Western countries. Mindfulness, a meditation practice grounded in Buddhism, has almost become a household word.

Buddhism takes a different approach to working with our emotions, mind, stresses, ego, suffering, and everyday challenges. Explore some of these differences and share methods to penetrate or release our "stucknesses."

 Gretchen Ann Groth, Ph.D. has been a practitioner of Nyingma Tibetan Buddhism for over 40 years. Several years ago, she was appointed as a lama, Lama Pema Chokyi.She has been a central member and meditation teacher with Yeshe Nyingpo Denver. She also teaches Psychology at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Gretchen grew up in Lincoln and attended Westminster Presbyterian Church until she left for college at the University of Michigan.


Abendmusik Give to Lincoln Day

On May 30th, for 24 hours, every donation given to Abendmusik through Give to Lincoln Day is made bigger by a matching fund of $450,000. Gifts can be made at Minimum donation is $10 and can be given in advance starting May 1. Donations by cash or check may also be made in person on May 30 at one of the three donation stations: Lincoln Community Foundation, Tower Square, and West Gate Bank.

Red, White & Brass

June 30, 4:00pm. Celebrate the gift of freedom and independence with a toe-tapping and heart-pounding program of Patriotic favorites, featuring the engaging and entertaining Plymouth Brass. For Tickets: 402-476-9933 or

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Compline Pilgrimage to the Holy Family Shrine

Friday, June 21, 7:30pm, 23132 Pflug Road, Gretna, NE

First-Plymouth takes the ancient worship of Compline on the road to the beautiful architectural designed glass chapel along I-80. Hear the beautiful prayers and chanting sung by our Schola Cantorum choir as the sun sets in this gorgeous chapel on the hill.

Arrive early to walk the grounds and take a self-guided tour to learn about the vision and history of the chapel, and then enjoy Compline at 7:30pm. Space is limited to 125. Reservations required by contacting daniela@firstplymouth.og. Parking is very limited, carpool is strongly encouraged.

First-Plymouth Presents

A Sermon and A Band

with Patrick Messer & Jim Keck
June 2, 7:00pm Downstairs at Brewsky’s Haymarket (201 N. 8th)

You don’t always have to be in a pew on a Sunday morning to enjoy music and a sermon. You can also have food and a beer while listening to an inspiring message. Change things up and try church in a bar!  

6:30pm Live Music by popular reggae band 23rd Vibration, cash bar, and food.

7:00pm Program


Animal Blessing

Sunday, June 2, 11:59 Worship

All people attending this service are invited to bring their well-behaved pets on leashes or in crates. Following the service, the clergy will offer an individual blessing in the courtyard. In addition, a blessing will be given to photos of pets not present as well as to a child’s favorite stuffed animal. A certificate and a St. Francis of Assisi charm will also be given to each pet. The blessing is free and open to the public; a free will offering will go to the Nebraska Humane Society and Hearts United for Animals for their assistance with animals impacted by Nebraska’s devastating spring floods. (Artwork by Lincoln artist, Julia Noyes, will be displayed.)

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Pilgrimage to the Tri-Faith Initiative

One Home – Three Different Faiths
Sponsored by Third Chapter Ministries, led by Rev. Jen Davidson. Sat. June 1.

Join fellow seniors (55+) for a stimulating day exploring the faith traditions at the newly completed Tri-Faith Initiative Campus (Christian Church, Muslim Mosque and Jewish Synagogue – all located in one campus.) Pack your own lunch and be on the bus at 9:00am for this day full of learning and reflection. $20 per person (cost includes bus and tour fees). Register by May 28 by mailing your check to the church, Attn: Addie. Must include an email address. Registration is only confirmed once payment is received.


Nebraska Flood Relief

Our Nebraska neighbors still need our help from the devastating flooding a few weeks ago . . . First-Plymouth Board of Christian Outreach has donated $1200 to the immediate needs of those devastated by the floods throughout Nebraska.

We are also watching for when we can send work teams to help in the clean-up and rebuilding process. We hope to offer other ways in which we as a whole church can help. If you are interested in getting involved, or would like more information, please contact

Become a Part of First-Plymouth
May 12, 6:00pm, Calvert Parlor

Are you ready to make First-Plymouth your church home? Meet with Dr. Jim Keck and others who are also joining the church or have recently joined. Visit for more info.

Sustainable Living Ministry

God’s Garden

Sundays, May 12-September 29, outside on the church patio. Produce donated and purchased with a free will donation will be appreciated.

Who grows your food?
By Troy Kash-Brown, FP Sustainable Living Ministry

Food on your fork has the power to improve Nebraska’s economy, environment, reduce climate change and fortify your family’s nutrition! Eating locally grown food can do all that & more by supporting family farmers in Nebraska. 90% of the food Nebraskans eat is imported into the state. The book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, says, if each person in U.S. ate just 1 meal a week of locally and organically raised meat & produce would reduce U.S. oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.

Eating local food options are signing up for a CSA, checking out online groceries like Nebraska Food Coop or Lone Tree Foods, Buy Fresh Buy Local Guide & RegeNErate Nebraska, Farmers Markets (5 +) in Lincoln & several grocery stores. Look for identity preserved products from local producers. Nearby farm to table restaurants include The Hub Café, Pepe's Kitchen, and Prairie Plate (Waverly)

Who would have guessed knowing your farmer by eating locally would taste so good & increase your food security.

First-Plymouth Family

Contact Rev. Hollie Schmidt,

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VBS 2019, June 3-6, 9am-12pm

Don’t miss this year’s VBS- it’s sure to be out-of-this world! Register online now by May 28. Volunteer online too! 

FP Swim Party, June 8, 10:30am-12pm

Everyone’s invited for this All Church event at Star City Shores. 

FP Family Night, May 3, 6-8pm

All families of 5th graders & under . . . it’s movie night! Popcorn, superheroes, snacks, and more. RSVP to

Matt Talbot for K-5th Grade Families

Sign-up online to serve on May 11, 4:30-7:00pm. Contact

Cinnamon Rolls for Moms- May 12

All moms/grandmas/step-moms & those filling mom roles are welcome to enjoy a free cinnamon roll on Mother’s Day.  

MSYG Mission Trip, June 28-29

Are you in 5th-8th grade? Join us as we head off to Sioux Falls, SD to serve others. Register online or contact

Summer Schedule

Want to know what all is happening for Children, Youth & Families this summer?  Visit

Annual Salad Supper – Save the Date

June 20. Presented by the Board for Women’s Ministries. This fundraiser includes salads, breads and desserts for $7.50 ($10 on-site). Non-traditional women will be awarded scholarships and Kristin Pfabe and Steve Dunbar will present on Gerrymandering. Register by calling 402-476-7565 or email or between services the first three Sundays in June.

Music ministry

Drop-in Choir @ FP East

Sun. May 5, at Kloefkorn School (6601 Glass Ridge Dr). All are invited to sing! We will be so grateful to have you there to sing for the service. Arrive at 8:45am to prepare for the 9:30am service.

Sing your faith.
Refresh your spirit.

July 19-21 at First-Plymouth. A weekend choral and spiritual retreat that will offer inspiration for those who love to sing their faith and healing for those who long to refresh their spirit through singing and worship. Facilitators include Tom Trenney, Ariel Merivil, Rev. Barbara Crafton, and Dr. Michael Hawn. Visit for details and registration.

May Orchaband Sign-up

If you play a band or orchestral instrument, you have all it takes. On Sat. May 4, rehearse at 3:00pm and then play at 5:30pm worship. Sign-up with

Wednesday Night Summer Worship in the Courtyard

Live Music | Dinner | Inspiring Message | Kid activities

May 15 | June 12 | July 10 | Aug 7

Dinner ($3 person suggested donation), balloon animal artist, face painting and more.

Live Music in the Courtyard
May – Will Hutchinson Band
June – The Wildwoods
July – Levi Williams Band
August – Daniel Christian Band

Message from Patrick Messer and Jim Keck

Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and join the fun! For all ages! In case of inclement weather, event will be moved indoors.

April Highlights

National Speaker John Pavlovitz spoke April 4th to a big crowd on “Stuff that Needs to Be Said”

National Speaker John Pavlovitz spoke April 4th to a big crowd on “Stuff that Needs to Be Said”

Palm sunday

Palm sunday

Middle School Youth Group created tie-dyed flower pots and had an epic noodle battle in the gym.

Middle School Youth Group created tie-dyed flower pots and had an epic noodle battle in the gym.