Welcoming All, Growing in Faith, Working for Justice and Peace
Plymouth was founded in 1853 by a group of Syracusans who wanted to create a Christian abolitionist bulwark in the city. Since then, we have fought against slavery, poverty, and war; for immigrants’, natives’, workers’, LGBT, and women’s rights; and sought to be agents of mercy in a hurting world. We believe in beauty, laughter, the struggle for peace with justice, taking risks for God, and the Way of Jesus Christ.
Our faith is over 2,000 years old; our thinking is not!
We are Open and Affirming
We believe God calls us to welcome all people and their gifts regardless of gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, physical ability, socioeconomic status, or religious background.
We are Just Peace
We covenant to live actively within the holy longing that weds justice with the quest for peace – within us, between us, in community, and across the globe. We covenant to affirm the sacredness of all life and to honor and preserve creation.
We are Sanctuary
We provide a space of physical, emotional, and spiritual safety for immigrants without documents, and specifically pledge to the principles of the national New Sanctuary Movement.
We are Progressive Christians
We try to walk in the way of Jesus Christ, our brother and savior. We believe God speaks new meanings for new days, and that She does so not only in the church and the ancient words of the Bible, but through the insights of science, the arts, the revelations of other religions, and the best strivings of the human spirit. We believe God has granted us a purpose, and that life is too short for long-faced religion. Join us!
Plymouth Church is a member congregation of the United Church of Christ. Our denomination marks as its beginning the year 1957, when it completed a process of conversation resulting in the union of two denominations: the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church. Both denominations were animated by an urgent desire for freedom of worship, a respect for diversity while remaining committed to a covenant, and an eagerness for spiritual guidance that would foster individual engagement in the wider community. Our own congregation’s roots are in the Congregational tradition, which can be traced back to the Pilgrims and Puritans who settled New England.
UCC churches have a profound respect for each other, but they are not bound by hierarchical control. The covenant we share allows individual churches to be “informed but not instructed,” able to care and respond in unity in the world, but with a regard for divergent voices. Each local church is autonomous in matters of its leadership. Each calls and supports its own pastors, manages its own resources, and creates and sustains its own liturgical practices. Yet we draw strength from our covenantal connections with other congregations and with the wider church. Indeed, the UCC takes as its motto Jesus’ prayer, “that they may all be one” (John 17:21).
In the UCC, we emphasize personal faith, guided by the Holy Spirit and scripture, as well as the social responsibility that derives from Jesus’ teaching that we are to minister to others. The UCC is a pioneering denomination in many ways—in the quest for religious freedom, in the struggle against slavery, in the furthering of access to higher education, in the ordination of African-Americans, women, and gay and lesbian people, and more.
Plymouth Church is a member of the Oneida Association of the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ. For more information about the United Church of Christ, visit ucc.org
Hello my name is Nellie Fisher. For the past 51 years I’ve taught at Danforth Middle School — and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life! The first 34 years I taught sixth grade, and also created and taught an after-school traveling contemporary dance troupe. And for the past 16 years I’ve taught an alternative to suspension program. My days are spent teaching, reading, planning, searching the web and downloading information for the program.
I describe myself as a very straightforward person who likes to take things in stride in a very level headed manner. Every day I am greeted by students that touch my heart, make me smile, provide opportunities for me to redirect, and impart knowledge and wisdom. It is such a privilege for me to listen to students’ stories (everyone has one) and interact with students, their families and so many cultures and background far beyond academics.
If there is still time left in the day I may spend it walking, listening to music of all types, exercising, listening to audio books, debriefing with colleagues, watching my favorite TV shows: soap opera (Y&R), Dancing with Stars, and The Voice.
From the very beginning, Plymouth Congregational Church’s sermons, music ministry, and the people always gave me a feeling of inner peace — which prompted me to join the church. I drifted away for awhile, and then reconnected to the church — adding richness to my life, lifting me up, and giving me inner peace to live more positively with Christ in my life. Since rejoining in 2012, I have been involved in Bible study, greeting, ushering, working in the kitchen, washing furniture, and helping with the “downtown festival” in the summertime.
There are many great experiences at Plymouth that enhance feelings of inner peace. The leadership, without a doubt, is at the top of my list. The service and messages give a framework that nourishes the spiritual welfare to challenge our complicated world. The leadership delivers great Biblical teachings with dignity and grace that encourages thinking and reflecting on what is happening or has happened in the world past and present. The message gives you an opportunity to pause, reflect, and plan to go forward with hope and positive intent in your heart. Sometimes I get the feeling the message is speaking directly to me, personally.
Our magnificent music ministry is excellent. I think my favorite part of the service is how the music program pulls the service all together. The choir is a sermon in itself.
Our congregation is a blend of traditional and contemporary people that are committed to nurturing our diverse and multigenerational community. The congregation is also committed to not just talking about reaching out and serving the community but actually acting on restoring faith and addressing many social justice issues, in the community and world. All are invited and encouraged to participate in a wide range of programs to connect with the group as well as our surrounding community.
I am incredibly impressed with how all this is accomplished with a level of compassion, love, and joy expressed by the blending of the congregation. But, don’t take my word for it! Please come and see — and maybe you will also become a welcomed member of Plymouth Congregational Church!
Marcus and I live on an 86-acre farm in Pennellville, NY. We spend our extra time enjoying the land and striving to build a healthy and sustainable life.
Marcus enjoys working as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor at Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare. He feels lucky to be fulfilling his passion of helping people in a outpatient mental health clinic. He loves working in the area of health and wellness that makes it easy for him to support my dream to be a farmer! I am a work-from-home Mom; balancing our organic farm, Hungry Soul Farm, with an emerging health coaching practice, an estimating consulting business, along with caring for our son Marley.
Marley was God given to us, through birth parents. We are very proud of our open adoption and growing relationship with Marley’s birth parents. Marley is simply the light of our life and represents God’s promise. He is nothing short of a miracle.
Plymouth drew Marcus and me in with its clear message of love, acceptance, and by speaking God’s true message. The ongoing conversation of justice, both worldwide and local, kept us coming back.
We have been coming to Plymouth since 2012. We attend with my brother and his family, as well as several friends we realized came after we became regular attenders. Marcus serves on the Pastoral Relations Committee and I served on the Christian Education Board for about a year.
Our world is broken in so many ways, with fear leading the pack with the darkness it spreads. But Marcus and I see the light Plymouth spreads. We see it in each member, every smile, every handshake. We often close our eyes in service and feel the light pour out of Quinn as he speaks the truth of God’s heart.
There is injustice in this world that often stems from fear, but it’s our job to stand up together and fight it with light. Plymouth repairs the world by bringing courage to each of us to stand up and promote love and make a path for justice. We do it in small ways and in big ways, each in our own way.
I have been coming to Plymouth Church for 40 years. I come by myself. I usher on Sunday mornings and have served on the Boards of Christian Education and Deacons. I also post the numbers for hymns at the front of the sanctuary, unlock the door of the closet where Food Bank food is stored, return hearing devices to where they belong, visit shut-ins, and unload food from the Food Bank truck.
I think the most beautiful thing about church is the children. When school is in session the acolytes light and put out the candles at the altar. Every summer the youth go on a mission trip and tell about it during a service in the fall.
I’m an avid Syracuse University sports fan, and in the summer I closely follow the Syracuse Chiefs baseball team.
Abby was raised in Syracuse.She is an attorney and has a small law practice focusing on civil and criminal matters.She is also an adjunct professor and teaches courses on criminal justice.She is very active and played lacrosse in high school and college.Now she enjoys snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing, running, swimming, riding her bike, hiking, and recently started karate.
Brendan was raised in North Syracuse where most of his family still resides. He became involved in the fire department and ambulance service at 14 years old and has been involved ever since!Brendan has been a Paramedic for the last 10 years and recently transitioned from working on the ambulance, to inside the Emergency Department at Crouse Hospital. He still volunteers as a firefighter in the Solvay Fire Dept. During his free time, Brendan enjoys spending time outside and taking his dog for long walks in the park. He also enjoys traveling and live performances, both music and theater.
Abby began attending Plymouth at two years old with her family.After moving away for college, though, she was not great about attending church.
We started dating in 2009. We moved to Syracuse and spent some time looking for a church that would be ours.We were initially hesitant to come to Plymouth as a couple.Brendan was raised Roman Catholic, and Abby didn’t want Brendan to feel like she was pushing her faith and church on him. Despite our research and attendance at several local churches, we were unable to find a place that they could comfortably call home.
In late 2012 we were searching for a place to be married.Plymouth had recently hired Quinn as the minister.Abby watched one of Quinn’s sermons on YouTube and decided that they should go see Quinn preach in person.Quinn married them in August 2013 and Brendan officially joined the church in 2015.
One of the most important things to us in choosing a church was to find somewhere that welcomes all people regardless of race, sexual orientation, marital status, gender, sex, or life story.Plymouth recognizes that Jesus walked with the outcasts and every person who walks through Plymouth’s doors is considered a child of God.
Abby is drawn to the yearly Lenten series.She loves the thought-provoking questions and the opportunity to engage in challenging conversations with other parishioners.She also loves the young adults group, which gathers intermittently for social gatherings and mission projects.In December 2015 this group went to the Rescue Mission to help prepare and serve lunch.In February 2016, it went to the Blue Tusk for fellowship.
Brendan loves the community aspect of the church and how welcoming everyone has been to him.He was used to the very structured Catholic service, but has come to love the ever-changing ways of supporting our prayer and mission at Plymouth.He loves how everyone becomes involved in their own comfort zone, and how much everyone shows their love to one another.He is glad to call Plymouth his new home, with Christ and family.
We volunteer packing bags for the food pantry many Sundays.Abby is also the vice moderator of the church and involved in the Mission Giving Task Force.She went on numerous mission trips with Plymouth as a youth and hopes to go on future mission trips.
There are many things to appreciate about Plymouth Congregational Church…positive attitudes, an array of people, laity involvement, musical variety, children’s time, [2015 ministerial intern] Anneke Peereboom, and acceptance of different lifestyles, to name a few.
Perhaps the words of our ten-year-old granddaughter, Emily Phillips says it best. “I’ve been going to Plymouth for seven years. I was scared of going upstairs by myself at first. I discovered friendship and love. I almost cried when a little girl was baptized. The most beautiful thing about church is that everyone is welcome. I really like the building. I like the people too. I also love the routines. Well, I pretty much love everything.”
We have lived in Syracuse since 1998 when we moved here for graduate school. Before joining Plymouth we attended other local churches for about six years. Rebecca is a part of Wood Hath Hope, a local Christian community and she heard that a few fellow members attended Plymouth. We felt that Plymouth is a place that truly welcomed everyone, regardless of socio-economic status, gender identification, or ethnicity. Also, there is a wonderful diversity of religious backgrounds. We knew they wanted our children to be surrounded by a loving community that would reinforce our family’s values. The children want to come to church, to see friends and be a part of Learning Community and Chapel time.
The sermons challenge and resonate with us to reflect and act on how our Christian faith weaves into our daily lives. The adult forums are informative, but it’s the Bible study or book discussions that draw Rebecca to church on a regular basis. Knowing that the kids are being cared for makes for a less stressful Sunday where we are all being nurtured. The traditions that the church celebrates go beyond a family Christmas Eve service or a joyous Easter Sunday. The congregation walks around downtown following a Dixieland band each Palm Sunday after the kids decorate the sidewalks with flowers to create an Alfrombra! Those memories and sense of community are what we want for our family.