Outreach Ministries

Child Hunger Update

backpack program pic.jpg

This past school year volunteers from First-Plymouth worked with the Food Bank to help feed hungry children in Lincoln. Each week 3 to 4 volunteers from a group of 13 distributed 85 backpacks from Prescott on Fridays. This was a part of the 1,682 backpacks distributed each week in Lincoln. A total of 456,385 meals were distributed this way throughout southeast Nebraska.

Each month 12 to 15 volunteers from a group of 20 helped distribute food at the Elliott marketplace. Eighty to 100 families were served each month with a variety of staples plus bread and baked goods and fresh produce. This was a part of the 367,914 meals provided to families in Lincoln from the food markets.

In addition, just about every Monday, 8 to 10 Volunteers from a group of at least 15 came to Bryan school to stock the shelves at the LPS emergency food pantry. This pantry distributed 35,164 meals throughout the year.

Also, the third Saturday of each month First-Plymouth is a distribution site for food to our neighborhood. The number of families served grows each month. If you would like to help with these programs, watch The Herald in coming months for more information.

Volunteer One Day with Habitat for Humanity

Join your FP friends and help construct a Habitat For Humanity home on Sat. July 13, 8:00am-3:00pm.  All skill levels are welcome.  Or, offer to provide lunch items for our volunteer group.  For more information contact Beth Hartman (bethjh@connections.net, text:  402-617-0309).

Her Voice Matters Book Discussion

August 3, 9:00am, Calvert Parlor

As part of Her Voice Matters, the congregation is invited to discuss books about important women’s issues. Discuss the book MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche; exploring the complexity of female friendships. Grab some coffee and join the discussion with facilitator Kelly Tyrell!

Save the Dates

Choose Joy: Your Spiritual Journey
Women’s Retreat September 20-21 at the St. Benedict retreat center near Schuyler. Hosted by the FP Board of Women’s Ministries. Registration starts July 15. 

Trivia Night Summer Edition
Tickets will go on sale soon to be part of our second trivia night on August 2, 7:00pm.  All proceeds will support the team going to the Dominican Republic this November to provide clean water. 

Our TV Ministry Needs You!

If you have an interest in music and or video, our TV and music ministry needs volunteers. No experience necessary; just a desire to learn and to help our audio-visual team. Opportunities to learn the sound system and audio board in the Sanctuary, helping with the music ministry and TV ministry on social media, as well as working with TV equipment for the live stream and Reach Out and Live TV show. Contact tdiperna@firstplymouth.org to learn more.

Sustainable Living Ministry

God’s Garden
Sundays thru September 29, outside on the church patio. Produce donated and purchased with a free will donation will be appreciated.

Help Maintain the Church Grounds This Summer
Join the garden group! 1st Saturday of the month (9:00-10:00am). Bring gloves, tools, and water. Contact Margo Young, margoyoung@huskers.unl.edu, for more information.

Animal Ministry leader Karen Clarke to retire

“The Blessing of the Animals” service, held each June, has gained dramatically in popularity and attendance over the course of its 10-year existence since Karen Clarke helped found the ministry at First-Plymouth. Attendees at the June 2 11:59 service included a very large tortoise that rarely misses the event, and at least 125 other pets including too many cats to count and all varieties of dogs from a Great Pyrenees to a Tea Cup Yorkie mix, all gracing the sanctuary pews along with their human companions.

“There are so many gifts animals give us-- unconditional love, comfort, empathy and entertainment. We provide them with the same gifts. Our animals become a part of our families,” said Clarke.

Clarke, a retired teacher with degrees in Theology and Biology, joined First-Plymouth in 2008, just as a group started forming the Faithful Friends Animal Ministry, modeled after such ministries at other churches across the county. She became a licensed UCC minister in 2010.

“I love animals and knew the comfort and love they offer to us and the mutual relationship we develop with them,” said Clarke. She dived into learning about animal rescues, shelters and issues related to animal cruelty. “I felt I could do something really special for people and their animal companions,” she said.

In addition to praying for and with people and their animal companions, the ministry works with people who are grieving the loss of their animal friends, working with them and other animals in the house who may also be grieving. The ministry has an annual memorial service on the second Sunday in September. “When people ask for prayers for a sick pet, we have a prayer chain and keep track of those needs,” Clarke added.

Clarke had no idea at the outset of her animal ministry that it would evolve into such a sought-after service, one that recognizes and supports the important role of animal companions in a meaningful, caring and compassionate way. “In the past we have had a camel from the zoo, a miniature horse, special breeds of chickens and a bearded dragon with a six-foot tail that rode on his owner’s shoulder. We also love to bless the stuffed animals of young children who do not have “real” pets at home,” she said.

Looking ahead to retirement, Clarke plans to spend more time with family and friends, especially her granddaughter, as well as with her own animal companions, a West Highland White Terrier and four cats. The animal ministry committee will continue the blessing and memorial services.


An Update from the FP Animal Ministry

The recent Blessing of the Animals service was held during the 11:59am service on June 2. The ministers blessed a total of 129 animals who also received a St. Francis card and charm. We collected $800 which was equally divided between Nebraska Humane Society and Hearts United for Animals (a no-kill shelter) for their assistance with animals impacted by Nebraska floods. If you were a part of this service, we hope you found it meaningful.

Are You Looking for Spiritual Direction?

If you feel a tug to deepen your connection with God – or, if you aren’t sure who God is – you may find it helpful to talk with a spiritual “director”/companion/guide who will listen confidentially, in a safe space, as you talk about whatever in your life calls out for attention.  

Visit firstplymouth.org/spiritual-direction or contact Kathryn Campbell, kathryn@firstplymouth.org or Jeanne Johnson, jeanne@firstplymouth.org to set up a time.

Transforming Power of Self-Compassion

Oct 25, 5:00pm – Oct 27, Noon.
Creighton Retreat Center, 16493 Contrail Ave., Griswold, IA

The ways of self-compassion can be elusive.  What does self-compassion mean?  How do you welcome yourself?  How do you practice self-care?  Register before September 27 for the early registration rate of $180 ($200 until October 10 deadline).  Includes two nights stay in a private room and all meals, labyrinth, campfire, hiking trails, time together and in silence on your own with God and creation.  Spiritual direction opportunities also available. Register online.

Summer Drop-in Choir for 10:30am Service

July 7, 14

Come sing with the Summer Drop-in Choir. No reservations, rehearsals, resumes, or robes required. All are welcome whether you’ve ever sung in choir or not. Meet in the Choir Room at 9:45 a.m. to practice for the 10:30 service.

Tuesday Bible Study – Summer Schedule

4th Tuesday of the month, 9:30-11:00 AM, Calvert Parlor. Led by Carolyn Zeisset

July 23: Sacred Texts: Islamic Themes & Stories that Sound Familiar

August 27: Sacred Texts: Diversity within Islam

Board for Women’s Ministries Awards 2019 Scholarships

As we advocate for and support the women of First-Plymouth and beyond, the Board for Women’s Ministries awards four scholarships each year. We are excited to announce the 2019 winners and share their amazing stories! Your support of the Scholarship Fund has made it possible to lift up these women as they pursue higher education.

We awarded a Non-Traditional Student Scholarship to two hard working women in our community:

Andrea Madera, is a 28-year-old mother of three kids and is pursuing a Masters of School Counseling at Doane University. Andrea’s parents are from Mexico and she was the first in her family to earn a college degree. Now she is a para-educator at Riley Elementary School.

Katie Ness, Works as an interpreter at Beattie Elementary School and her next step is to become a Deaf Educator by pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree at Doane University. Katie works three jobs while raising her four kids.

We awarded the Plymouth Pioneers Scholarship (for an individual who is the first in their family to attend college) to:

Selene Izaguirre, graduated from Lincoln East in 2019 with a 3.9 GPA after overcoming some serious health challenges in her senior year. In August, she will attend UNL. She is passionate about music, languages, and she would like to be a veterinarian.

We awarded the Nancy Erickson Scholarship to:

Anna Whyman, is pursuing a degree in animal science at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture and plans to pursue a degree in animal nutrition once she transfers to UNL. She would like to be an Animal Nutritionist.

Susan Simon (Chair of the Board for Women’s Ministries) congratulated these strong women at the Salad Supper in June and thanked all our guests for their support in encouraging the scholarship winners.


Community Summer Sing – Mozart’s REQUIEM

July 31, 7:00pm. FREE – Freewill Offering

Do you miss singing with your choir during the summer months? Join Abendmusik for our annual community Summer Sings! No entrance fees. No auditions required. No sign-up, just come ready to sing. Music, hospitality, air conditioning, refreshments, and fun provided!

First-Plymouth Family

Contact Rev. Hollie Schmidt, hollie@firstplymouth.org

Family Camp at Kamp Kaleo - July 19-21 
Register online to be part of this fun weekend for the whole family. 

Sand Volleyball
Middle school & High school youth...join us July 17 & 31,
7:00-8:00pm at Holmes Lake for sand volleyball. 

Matt Talbot Outreach Kitchen
Volunteer to help us cook and serve July 13, 4:30-7:00pm

The Group

1st & 3rd Mondays 6:30pm Calvert Parlor
For anyone experiencing mental health issues in their life. All are welcome.

Adult Fellowship Groups

Get connected…join a group.

Peace & Justice Coffee and Conversation
July 6 & August 3, 9:00-10:00am, Meadowlark Coffee (16th & South). All are welcome.

Monthly events listed @ firstplymouth.org/singles

Church Social

Sat. July 20, 6:30-9:00pm. Hosts: Tim & Joan Creger. The socials are a great way to meet others who attend First-Plymouth and FP East! Bring an appetizer and beverage (most bring wine) to share. RSVP for directions to cregers5@inebraska.com


If you'd like to receive the newsletter via EMAIL ONLY, please contact the church office by emailing lana@firstplymouth.org or call 402-476-7565 ext. 201.

Spirituality & Aging Book Talks

Sponsored by Third Chapter Ministries (55+)

July 30, 6:30pm, Pilgrim Hall
“The Second Mountain” Facilitated by Rev. Jim Keck


You’ve heard Pastor Jim Keck quote David Brooks’ The Second Mountain in his sermons. Now come hear him lead an hour long discussion of this NYT #1 Best Seller. Brooks believes the goals of our first mountain are the ones the culture endorses: career success and personal happiness. When this becomes unsatisfying some people, not all, begin the climb of the second mountain. Come discuss the four commitments Brooks believes define meaning on the second climb and how they relate to our faith community at First-Plymouth.


August 27, 6:30pm, Calvert Parlor
“The Salt Path” Facilitated by Jane Holt

Jane Holt, recently retired media specialist from East High School and much loved FP book talk leader brings us “The Salt Path.” This international best seller is the true story of a British couple married 32 years who lost everything and decided to walk the 630 mile west coast of England. It calls to question the definition of “home.”

*Reading the books in advance is not required.

Wednesday Summer
Courtyard Series

Live Music | Dinner | Inspiring Message | Kid activities

July 10 | Aug 7

5:30-6:15pm Dinner Served Catered by Chef Au Chef Catering ($3 person suggested donation), Balloon Animals, Face Painting and more!

5:30-6:15pm Live Music in the Courtyard
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.

Save the Date - August 7: Back to School Backpack Blessing

Questioning the Bible with Rev. Patrick Messer

Wed. July 17, 6:30pm, Mayflower Hall

Did these Bible stories really happen?
Where does the Bible come from?
Does the Bible contradict itself?
What is a “Testament”?
Is the Bible inspired by God?
What does that even mean?

Have you ever wondered questions like this? If so, this Bible study is for you! Whether you’ve never cracked open a Bible or you’re a lifetime student of Scripture, together we’ll tackle the big picture and the big questions about this sacred text.