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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As One We Rise


Striving for Unity in Fractured Times

As One We Rise Sermon Series with Dr. Jim Keck

Sunday, September 8, 15, & 22, at the 9:00, 10:30am and 11:59am services

This year we will focus our attention on the concept of unity—what it means to us as Christians and how we think about it as the highest form of respect for ourselves and others.

First-Plymouth has long been known for celebrating diversity and deep inclusion - and we will never slow down on that - but we also need to be creating a greater sense of unity. The human soul longs for connections and shared purpose, for a sense of oneness. Beginning in September, we will examine and practice unity at the highest level possible.

Unity is experienced when human beings come together around a common vision and work collectively for a better world. But that doesn’t mean we all have to agree on every issue. A higher unity—at the level of spiritual truth-- is achieved through respecting differences and the uniqueness of each person. 

An ethic of honoring differences comes from a unified purpose of love and justice—unity in its highest form.

In these divisive times, the human soul is searching for some sense of unity. While we cherish the wide spectrum of politics and theology and consider it vital to our spiritual health that we have Democrats alongside Republicans, and conventional believers alongside curious agnostics, we also know a sense of oneness is vital to a church. But that oneness will never be achieved through argument and persuasion about politics or even theology, it will only be discovered in shared compassion and commitment to the highest ideals.

True unity guides us to a place where we remember our core values and our common humanity above all else--God’s love in action.

Jim Keck, Senior Minister

The Forgotten Creed

Christianity’s Original Struggle Against Bigotry, Slavery & Sexism


with Theologian and Author Stephen J. Patterson
Thursday, September 26, 7:00pm, Sanctuary
Keynote lecture followed by Q&A, and book signing

Long before the followers of Jesus declared him to be the Son of God, Jesus taught his followers that they too were the children of God. This ancient creed, now all but forgotten, is recorded still within the folds of a letter of Paul the Apostle. This ancient creed said nothing about God or Christ or salvation. Its claims were about the whole human race: there is no race, there is no class, there is no gender.

Christian theologians would one day argue about the nature of Christ, the being of God, and the mechanics of salvation. But before this, in the days when Jesus was still fresh in the memory of those who knew him, the argument was a different one: how can human beings overcome the ways by which we divide ourselves one from another? Is solidarity possible beyond race, class, and gender?

Copies of Stephen Patterson’s books will be available for purchase before and after the lecture. A book signing will follow the lecture. For more info. contact addie@firstplymouth.org.

Stephen J. Patterson A scholar, teacher, and writer, Patterson is the endowed chair in Religious and Ethical Studies at Willamette University, where he teaches courses on the history of religion. He writes and lectures widely on the hidden histories of earliest Christianity, especially the lost gospels, Q and the Gospel of Thomas.