A Congregation of the United Church of Christ
402.476.7565   I   2000 “D” St., Lincoln NE 68502   I   Issue 2   I   February 2017

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FP East Offers a Unique Community of Faith in East Lincoln

Having just completed my first year at First-Plymouth, I wanted to take this
opportunity to update the entire FP congregation on the work that is going on at FP East. I think about the “E” in FP East as standing for ‘energize,’ ‘embrace,’ ‘enlighten,’ ‘enrich,’ ‘expand' . . . 
First-Plymouth East provides weekly worship for a community of faith in east Lincoln, and the congregation is in growth mode. Each Sunday at 9:30am I lead a casual, authentic worship service for people of all ages with modern music and a strong sense of fellowship. 

The FP East congregation is growing and First-Plymouth is reaching out to members of the east Lincoln community to invite them to join the journey based on our church mission to increase the love of God and neighbor through exploration of the Bible. 

I believe the Bible contains some of the most liberal and liberating insights of all time--messages of radical love, not divisiveness. I love telling stories that amplify the voice of the Bible in a way that is relevant in our time. 

Last fall, FP East became a host site for First-Plymouth’s new children’s programming, FP Kids, so we have incorporated both worship and special programming for kids in the FP East Sunday line-up. 

Between now and March we are focusing special outreach efforts in east Lincoln, and community-wide, to engage more members. In our ongoing efforts to build up the FP East congregation, I am asking everyone in our congregation to let me know if you know of anyone in east Lincoln who would appreciate being a part of FP East, so we can reach out to them. 
And I’d love to have you join me at Kloefkorn Elementary School at 6601 Glassridge Drive if you have not already taken the opportunity to experience FP East. 

If you think of more “E” words we should use to describe the vibrant culture at FP East, let me know that, too. Doesn’t ‘enclusive’ start with an E?

With appreciation and blessings,
Rev. Patrick Messer


pledge campaign shows broader support

First-Plymouth received 743 pledges of financial support for the 2018 budget, totaling $1,656,754.16 as of Dec. 20, including 100 first-time pledges, broadening the number of individuals and families involved in this critical fund-raising effort. 

“I don’t know of any other church that has received 100 new, first-time pledges,” said Senior Minister Jim Keck. First-time pledges were matched by funds from donations to the budget by members of the First-Plymouth Board of Trustees. The FIRST LOVE effort brought in pledges ranging from $12 to $10,000, from all ages, including high school students. “Our church literally runs on generosity,” said Keck. “My thanks to all who support our church and its important mission.”

The total goal for the LOVE MORE pledge campaign is $1.8 million towards a total budget of $2.3 million. It is anticipated that the $500,000 gap between the pledged income and total budget will be covered by non-pledge income during the year, based on historical numbers. 
It is not too late to make a pledge for 2018. To participate in First-Plymouth’s LOVE MORE pledge drive, visit www.firstplymouth.org or contact Kristin Buntemeyer at Kristin@firstplymouth.org, or call the church office at (402) 476-7565. 

Jerusalem Cross

Matt Finkner, church member and artist, along with the help of Jeanne Johnson, recently designed and created a beautiful copper and silver pectoral cross necklace based on the Jerusalem cross in First-Plymouth's narthex as a gift for Rev. Jen Davidson's recent ordination. Follow the journey of this piece - from initial planning to it's creation -- by reading this full article posted below.

Last September, Jeanne Johnson began planning a gift for Pastor Jennifer Davidson on the occasion of her November 12th ordination. Jeanne had the idea of a pectoral cross based on the Jerusalem cross mosaic in First-Plymouth’s narthex. She and Matthew Finkner visited several local galleries but did not find a suitable cross. They then decided that Matthew would do some drawings for a custom piece, and on October 2nd they agreed on a copper and silver design. The cross would also incorporate four semiprecious stones to reflect the colors of the mosaic tiles in the narthex.

Since the cross was to be a surprise for Jennifer, Jeanne began quietly enlisting those who wished to be included in the gift. As word of the project got out, dozens of Jen’s friends asked to participate. At the end of October, the final design was submitted to Heart of Gold Jewelers in Lincoln for assembly. Knowing the cross would not be finished by November 12th, a drawing of the cross with a description of its elements and symbolism was presented to Jen at her ordination reception along with the names of the donors.

The cross has since been sent to a firm in Denver, Colorado, to inlay the semiprecious stones. When the cross is returned, it will receive a final polish and Jen will be fitted for a chain. Because of the symbolism of the cross and its significance to First-Plymouth, Jen has decided that it will eventually remain at the church in perpetuity and handed down to the senior female clergy at First-Plymouth. More donations were received than needed for the cost of the cross, and it was decided that with the extra money a scholarship will be created at First-Plymouth for any woman who would like to pursue theological education.