First United Church of Christ – Plymouth, Indiana

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A Prayer for a Leader

January 03, 2017

Written by Talitha Arnold
May the leader be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.” – Psalm 72:6

Sometimes the daily scripture for these devotions poses a real challenge. The text doesn’t make sense nor does it seem relevant. Other times, like today, the lesson lobs you the reflection. As we anticipate the inaugurations of new leaders, from a president to county commissioners, Psalm 72 offers an ancient prayer for them all.

“Give the leader your justice, O God,” the Psalm begins, “and your righteousness to a leader’s heir. May the leader judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice.” It continues: “May the leader defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.”

The Psalmist affirms that a leader exercises power with gentleness and consideration: “May the leader be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.” Throughout their term of office, “may righteousness flourish and peace abound.”

The Psalmist concludes the leader’s job description with:

“For a leader delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
The leader has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves their lives.
From oppression and violence the leader redeems their life.”

Finally, the Psalmist encourages the people to pray for the leader: “May prayer be made for the ruler continually, and blessings invoked all day long.” Yes, we need to pray for our leaders. Psalm 72 is a good place to start.


God of all nations, as the Psalm affirms, give our leaders—and us—your justice, your compassion for the poor, and your passion for peace. Amen.

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Due to weather, church services have been cancelled for December 18, 2016.
We hope everyone stays safe & warm!!

Welcome New Members!


Sunday, December 04, 2016 we will be having a new member induction during worship service. We are so happy to be welcoming new members Karen Ogle & Family and Marcy Heil into our First United Church of Christ family!

UCC Daily Devotional November 29, 2016

Singing to Bullies

November 29, 2016
Written by Matthew Laney

“The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble are clothed with strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.” – Hannah’s song from 1 Samuel 2:4-5

In September, twelve-year-old singer songwriter Grace Vanderwaal won the grand prize of America’s Got Talent: a show in Vegas and a big record deal. Her final song “Clay” was about standing up to a bully. You can listen to it here.

Grace Vanderwaal captured the hearts of America (including mine) with her unique sound and original songs. Yet Vanderwaal’s music has undertones of well-known artists like Katy Perry, Stevie Nicks and Twenty One Pilots.

In 1 Samuel we meet another singer songwriter named Grace (better known as Hannah in Hebrew). Her breakout hit, quoted above, could be titled “God Humbles Bullies.” Hannah’s song was based on an older number from Miriam who belted out her ballad after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and as their Egyptian overlords drowned. Years later, when Mary sings God’s praises, she blends Miriam’s and Hannah’s songs to announce God’s next plan to confront injustice though the coming Messiah.

I look forward to the day when songs about bullies sung by women and other marginalized groups are no longer necessary. Until then, we have a great musical and missional tradition to stand on, belting it out with the best of them.

Today the mic might be handed to you. Take courage and sing with Grace. If a twelve-year-old can do it on a national stage, if ancient young women can do it in a brutally oppressive world, so can we.


Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy praise… and back it up with a rockin, kick-ass, beat. Amen.

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Standing Rock allies call on supportive citizens across the country to pick up the pen and the phone

November 30, 2016

Written by Connie Larkman

As thousands of religious leaders, clergy, chaplains and military veterans make plans to converge in North Dakota Dec. 4 for a day of prayer at the water protectors camp north of the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation, UCC allies are calling for continued advocacy in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in the form of phone calls and petitions.

The veterans ‘deployment,’ a show of support planned for this weekend, coincides with Sunday’s Interfaith Day of Prayer, initiated by Chief Arvol Looking Horse, the 19th generation spiritual leader of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations. The thousands putting their bodies on the line near the reservation will be supported by a movement to mobilize people across the country to reach out to their elected representatives before Dec. 5–the date water protectors were told to leave the lands where they have been camping for months.

“This is a very serious time we are in,” Chief Looking Horse said in a video call to action for the day of prayer. “I know in my heart there are millions of people that feel this is long overdue. It is time that all of us become leaders to help protect the sacred upon Mother Earth. She is the source of life and not a resource.”

After the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced plans Friday, Nov. 25 to shut down the Standing Rock encampment on Dec. 5 for “safety reasons,” North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple issued an executive order Monday, Nov. 28 calling for mandatory evacuation of the 5,000 water protectors at the Oceti Sakowin camp located on USACE lands, citing harsh weather conditions and a threat to human life. But those people trying to stop the $3.7 billion pipeline from crossing sacred Tribal sites and under the Missouri River say they aren’t going anywhere, despite the snowy winter weather that has just moved in and the threat of trespassing charges.

“As I have stated previously, the most dangerous thing we can do is force well-situated campers from their shelters and into the cold,” said the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Chairman, Dave Archambault II. “If the true concern is for public safety than the Governor should clear the [highway] blockade and the county law enforcement should cease all use of flash grenades, high-pressure water cannons in freezing temperatures, dog kennels for temporary human jails, and any harmful weaponry against human beings.”

Archambault is referring to the violence at the hands of law enforcement that left scores of people injured Sunday, Nov. 20, after a confrontation on a barricaded highway bridge. Water protectors were trying to remove burned out vehicles off the road that provides the quickest access to area medical centers.

With the Monday deadline looming, there have been reports that the North Dakota governor plans to escalate the blockade, stopping supply shipments from reaching the water protectors, and threatening fines for those who don’t comply.

The Rev. Marlene Helgemo, pastor of All Nations Church in Minneapolis, Interim Executive Director of the UCC Council of American Indian Ministries (CAIM), and a frequent visitor to the Oceti Sakowin camp, points out that telephone advocacy is a very important way thousands around the country can show solidarity with Standing Rock. She hopes every person who has voiced support for the tribe will now use their voice to call their lawmakers.

“Please make an effort to contact your Senators in Washington, D.C. Everyone we know, all those who have been to the camps need to call their Senate offices and share their concerns and observations ASAP. Our Senators need to hear from constituents from as many states as possible so they can act on upcoming solutions and ask the President to intervene. Let’s make 5,000 calls by Dec. 5.”

Leaders of several Tribal Nations also plan to meet with Senators, government to government, to encourage President Obama to take a stand to stop the pipeline. More than 300 Tribal Nations are offering support and allegiance to stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Rev. Brooks Berndt, the UCC environmental justice minister, is currently working with a group of interfaith religious organizations around the country who plan to reach out as one to President Obama. He’s encouraging clergy who want to be part of the effort to send him an email, with a statement expected before the Dec. 5 deadline.

“While the US Army Corp of Engineers and the Governor of North Dakota have made Monday a deadline, we plan to call for a lifeline, a lifeline extended by President Obama through the act of denying the final permit necessary for the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Berndt said. “With the closing days of this administration upon us, we cannot stand by idly as the water protectors face ongoing threats and more ominous prospects. The time for action is now.”

A list of phone numbers for government leaders can be found here.

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