Worship

Who’s Welcome?

At Plymouth, two things drive our decisions about who’s welcome.  First, we believe that God calls every single person to important work, and gives her gifts of personality, insight, intelligence, experience, and skill to get that work done.  Second, we believe that God is always trying to communicate with the world, and that there’s no way of knowing whom God will choose to speak through in any particular moment.

We need gifted people in our midst.  We need to hear what God has to say to the world.  So we don’t turn anyone away—and that includes you, no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey:  Married, single, partnered, divorced.  Cool or nerdy.  Straight, gay, trans, bi, or undecided.  Rich or poor.  Wise or foolish.  Clean record or adjudicated.  Conservative or lefty.  Natural-born citizen or undocumented immigrant.  Ambulatory or wheelchair racer.  Full of belief or full of doubt.

Whenever we have Communion, the last thing we say before eating together is this: “Gathered with Jesus that night were one who would doubt him, one who would deny him, and one who would betray him, and they would all leave him alone before the night was over.  And he knew it.  Still he sat down and ate with them.  If he was ready to eat with them, he’s ready to eat with you: baptized or not, confessed or not, perfect or not, sure or not, saint or sinner or a little of both—all you have to be at this table is hungry.”

If you’re hungry—or even just a bit peckish—we hope you’ll join us!

 


Worship at Plymouth

 

Every Sunday at 9:55, our great tower bell rings out over downtown Syracuse, calling the city to worship. Plymouth’s worship is designed to be a mix of ancient and modern, staid and ebullient, expected and unexpected. At the beginning of each service, worshipers receive a paper bulletin to guide them through the service. Electronic bulletins are available for download ahead of time for those who would like to save paper by using a tablet or phone to participate in worship. From week to week, the structure of the service is designed to remain comfortingly similar, a rhythm of spoken word and music, single voice and unison. It moves from welcome, through confession and assurance, through a kids’ sermon, through Bible reading(s) and sermon, through community prayers, then an offering, and finally sending back into the world. Within that familiar framework, you will experience pieces that are just surprising enough to open us up to God’s presence: unexpected music, lively video, excellent and diverse preaching, invitations to ritual actions, dramatic readings, and more. On the first Sunday of each month, we share Communion together, in a number of different styles.

Our worship is explicitly Christian, taking as its aim and model the life of Jesus Christ, but we welcome the insights and leaders of other religions to broaden our thinking and bring us closer to God. There is no test of belief to worship with us; believers, questioning believers, and disbelievers are all welcome (since most of us are all three at once!).

Most weeks, music is led by our 20-person vocal choir, with piano or our 3000-pipe Moller organ. We also have children’s choirs, a handbell choir, timpani, drum kit, and brass instruments that spice things up periodically. Most of our music comes from the Western European tradition of church music, but it’s not at all uncommon to hear Dixieland jazz, Brazilian drums, tunes from East Asia, or hymns from the global South.

It is no small thing to give up an hour or more of one’s time to this experience, so each Sunday’s service is carefully planned, from prayers to music, silence to visuals to preaching. Our goal is to open ourselves wide to the whispering, powerful rush of the Holy Spirit so that none of us leaves quite the same as we were when we entered.

Kids are welcome at all our worship services! See our Christian Formation page to learn more.