Jazz & Justice
Welcoming. Diverse. Inclusive.

Care & Compassion Ministry

Haleema Farrar & Gayle McWilliams, Co-Chairs

Care & Compassion #1Plymouth’s Care and Compassion Ministry provides loving care and support for members and friends of the church during times of crisis and times of celebration.

This is the ministry that sends birthday, anniversary and graduation cards when we are celebrating milestones in our lives.

This is also the ministry that sends get-well cards and condolence cards, organizes home and hospital visits, delivers meals and runs errands, and provides rides to and from church for those who are ill or grieving.

Community Life Ministry

Valerie Baptiste & Leslie Leasure, Co-Chairs
At Plymouth, we believe that church is much, much more than Sunday morning worship. It’s all of us working together to build God’s beloved community – working and yes, sometimes struggling – to extend love to one another in spite of our differences, in spite of our human failings and challenges.

The Community Life Ministry helps build our faith and nurture loving relationships within our community through gatherings that help us know each other better, hear each other’s stories, welcome each other in Christian love.

Our key annual gatherings are:

  • Community Meals – intimate gatherings of 10 or fewer church members, held over brunch, lunch or dinner in members’ homes during the spring season
  • National Night Out – a wonderful block party for our members, friends and neighbors with food, music and games, held on the church grounds the first Tuesday in August
  • Church Picnic and Worship in the Park – a fun experience of outdoor worship with a potluck picnic held at Roberts Regional Park on the last Sunday in August
  • Thanksgiving Feast – a fabulous Thanksgiving meal and wonderful time of fellowship held in the Fireside Room on the Sunday before Thanksgiving

Children & Youth Ministry

Cynthia Ovando, Chair

At Plymouth Church, we recognize that children and youth have rich and vibrant spiritual lives, and we celebrate their participation in worship. We want our young people to know themselves as deeply loved by God, their families and their church. We encourage them to be curious, to ask questions (no question is off-limits at Plymouth Church), and to share their own insights and understandings about God.

Child Care
Our growing congregation includes more and more families with small children (ages 0-4). We understand and respect that some parents prefer to keep infants and toddlers nearby. We will be hiring a child care provider to care for small children whose parents feel comfortable allowing their child(ren) to leave the sanctuary during worship.

Sacred Zone
Younger children (ages 5-11) join us for the start of worship each Sunday. Following the choir song, they are invited to participate in the Sacred Zone. The Sacred Zone uses the Seasons of the Spirit curriculum (www.spiritseasons.com), which follows the lectionary – the assigned scripture readings for each Sunday. We explore Bible stories through music, art, movement, and open-hearted conversation. We also use Godly Play, an approach based on Montessori principles which invites children to explore spirituality through story, play and inquiry.

Confirmation Classes
Older children (ages 12–15) are invited to participate in a nine-month confirmation program. Monthly classes address such topics as God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, Worship, etc. Each young person is paired with a mentor, a carefully selected adult from our congregation. Following the nine-month confirmation program, these young people are formally confirmed during a Sunday morning service, during which they serve as the worship leaders.

Youth-Led Services
Several times a year, on 5th Sundays, our young people serve as the liturgists during worship – leading prayers, reading scriptures, and making presentations during Grace Notes.

Safe Church
We are committed to maintaining an environment in which all members of the Plymouth community – especially our children – can worship, learn and work together in a safe environment free of discrimination, harassment, and abuse. Our Safe Church policy requires that all children’s activities be led by at least two adults.

Justice & Witness Ministry

Bruce Schmiechen and Mary Lou Watson, Co-Chairs
The focus of our Justice & Witness Ministry is what our sisters and brothers at the Ella Baker Center call “Books, Not Bars.” As people of faith, we are called to work for:

  • More books and fewer prisons
  • More education and less incarceration
  • More learning and literacy, and less locking folks up

Our Justice & Witness Ministry is guided by a three-fold approach:

1. Prayerful Study and Reflection: Members of our congregation participate in film and book discussions that help us become better informed about education and incarceration. Examples include Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness and Joe DeFrancesco’s John Brown’s Body at San Quentin Prison.

2. Direct Service and Support: Plymouth has launched an exciting partnership with Hoover Elementary School in West Oakland. Hoover is a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) school with a focus on the environment. Our church will provide backpacks and school supplies, tutors and mentors, and support for field trips and other special activities. For more information on Hoover Elementary School, go to http://www.ousd.k12.ca.us/hoover.

3. Action and Advocacy for Change: Plymouth Church is an active member of Oakland Community Organizations (OCO), working with other congregations and community groups to advocate for legislation and policies that increase funding for education and reduce funding for incarceration. We are currently involved in a Get Out the Vote (GOTV) effort in support of three local ballot initiatives and one state ballot initiative that help to advance this effort. For more information on OCO, go to http://www.oaklandcommunity.org.

January Justice Month: At the start of each year, Plymouth dedicates the month of January to a carefully selected justice issue. We show films, read books, participate in community service activities, and welcome guest speakers and preachers. Our guest preachers and speakers in 2014 included Zachary Norris, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center and Jakada Imani, former Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center and current Director of the Center for Spiritual and Social Transformation at Pacific School of Religion (http://psrtransformation.org).

Additional Ministries, Programs and Activities

Ministerio Latino

Rev. Rhina Ramos, Pastor

Ministerio Latino PhotoPlymouth is home to the first open and affirming, Spanish-speaking, Latino immigrant congregation in the Northern California Nevada Conference of the UCC.

Ministerio Latino was founded by Rev. Rhina Ramos in December 2011. It welcomes and reaches out to Latino immigrants of all faith traditions and all sexual orientations. It is attracting a growing number of people from the Latino LGBT community as well as allies who recognize that we are all divine creation.

Ministerio Latino meets on the third Friday of each month at 7:00 pm in the Fireside Room at Plymouth Church.

Oakland Care Center

Elizabeth Hasychak, Coordinator

Oakland Care Center #1Once a month, we lead worship at the Oakland Care Center, an extended care and rehabilitation facility for the elderly and infirm. During this one-hour service, we sing, pray and share stories with the residents, bringing a bit of hope and joy to what can often be a lonely time in life.

These services are held on the fourth Saturday of each month at 3:00 pm at 3030 Webster Street in Oakland.

The Fellowship

Marylin Tracy, Coordinator

Women's FellowshipFormerly known as the “Women’s Fellowship,” this group meets once a month for lunch, card and board games, and lively conversation.

The Fellowship meets on the third Thursday of each month at 12:00 noon in the Fireside Room at Plymouth Church.

The Food of God (FOG)

Barbara Collins, Director

FOG #3The Food of God offers a weekly, free, nutritious meal to those who are homeless and hungry. Vegetarian meals are prepared by volunteers from Plymouth Church and Skyline Church, then served at a location in Downtown Oakland near the Greyhound Bus station and the Alameda County Social Services office.

Meals are prepared every Thursday morning at 10:00 am in the kitchen at Plymouth Church. Meals are served every Thursday at 1:00 pm in the public park at the corner of 21st and San Pablo in Oakland.

The Front Porch

Joanne Grimm, Convener

Front Porch #1The Front Porch is a weekly gathering for seniors from Plymouth Church and the nearby community. Members bring food to share, then join in everything from yoga and chair massage to films, dance performances, story-telling and lively discussion of current events.

The Front Porch gathers weekly on Tuesday mornings, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon in the Fireside Room at Plymouth Church.

Back to Top