Students at commencement

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Looking for a CPL site? Please review this Site List for available options. Please pay careful attention to the CPL site descriptions: if you are looking for a position in your concentration offering compensation, the description is where that will be listed. After checking out some sites, please select your choices on your Student Preferences Form by August 22.

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Macalester Plymouth United Church

Address:1658 Lincoln Ave
City:Saint Paul

Student Information

What kind of Christian Public Leader student would be right for you:A student interested in exploring general pastoral ministry in an established, healthy, dual denominational, college related, intergenerational congregation.
How many students have you worked with in the past:3
How many rising students or seminarians do you work with currently:0
For this coming semester, what is the maximum number of students with whom you could work:1
What is the optimal length of learning for students working with you:2 semesters
Why would this length of time be best:Ministry opportunities expand as relationships grow. It takes a minimum of one semester to get to know each other. We might be open to something longer than one academic year if all goes well.

Site Information

Site keywords:As a Christian Public Leaders you will be invited to join the staff team in supporting the spiritual growth of the congregation. A range of learning opportunities is available and will be narrowed to one or two depending upon the student’s interests and skills. Opportunities include: leading worship including preaching, exploring new intergenerational worship forms and inclusion of the Arts; supporting the theological reflection within environmental justice efforts; accompanying a recently arrived Congolese refugee family; exploring the congregation’s possible membership in Isaiah, a faith-based community organizing coalition; seeking possibilities for developing stronger ecumenical relationships in St. Paul—particularly with racially diverse congregations; participating in a racial justice book/discussion group; observing a strategic congregational discernment process. These projects are all underway and will be moving forward in the coming year. Join us for a mutually enriching and Spirit-led experience.
What is your congregation or nonprofit organization all about:Macalester Plymouth United Church is a vibrant faith community in St. Paul, Minnesota next door to Macalester College. We do not claim to have all the answers but, together, we strive to ask the right questions as we seek God’s will in our lives.

We are mid-sized: Small enough to be friendly, large enough to be vibrant and diverse. We are truly intergenerational and moving to be more intentionally connected across all ages.

We believe that God calls us into the church, binding us in covenant with faithful people of all ages, races, genders and sexual orientations. In and through our church, we strive daily to bear witness to Christ, coming together to celebrate, explore & live our faith.

At our best, we work together combining our differing gifts to make a difference in people's lives and for the planet--like phone banking for marriage equality, helping settle a refugee family, planting rain gardens, making meals for someone recovering from surgery, composting our waste or starting a preschool. Sometimes, though, we take ourselves too seriously, get stuck in our heads, can be a little too attached to our own opinions, and are still working to understand and step out of our privilege.

Throughout our history, we have grown through the uniting of congregations of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ. Macalester Plymouth is an Open and Affirming and More Light congregation which is church jargon for being welcoming of the GLBT community. We are also a Just Peace church, committed to working towards Peace with Justice. Two years ago we became an Earthcare/Earthwise congregation because of our commitments to environmental justice.

With open hands and open hearts, we strive to reflect the radically inclusive love we know in Jesus to a beautiful and broken world.
Please tell us a bit about your site:This congregation is the result of many mergers, so it has many starting points. But the primary merger happened over 40 years ago between Plymouth Congregational (UCC) and Macalester Presbyterian (PCUSA). Macalester Presbyterian Church had been meeting in the current building, what had been the chapel of Macalester College, and Plymouth Congregational came and joined them. Continuing in both denominations has been wonderful and challenging given the different ethos of each. While we take both of our denominational affiliations seriously, we take a laid back and practical approach to polity. The merger of congregation was facilitated by a sense of shared vision and mission, serving God through worship and mission. Our proximity to Macalester College has meant we value education and the importance of encouraging the next generation. We do this currently through our youth program, and have in the past through our relationship with Macalester students. We hope to revitalize that relationship in the future.
Please tell us what a student can learn at your site:Students here will join a vibrant community of faith as it seeks to discern its identity and future. This is a challenging time for all mainline churches. This is a community that is open to change and has demonstrated great courage in its commitment to justice. It helped resettle refugees in the 1980s, organized peace protests in the 90s, and pushed for GLBT rights and marriage equality in the last decade. The challenge it now faces is to deepen the theological reflection on these commitments and strengthen the spirituality of the congregation while remaining outwardly focused on service and justice.

Mentor Information: Adam Blons

Current position:Senior Minister
Please tell us a little bit about yourself as a Christian public leader:I am a graduate of Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA. I was first ordained in the UCC and served 12 years in a UCC church in California. All of my professional ministry experience has happened since 9/11 and has been shaped in part by our responses to that event. I was called to this church in June of 2013 because they thought I would help them take risks. My goals include revitalizing worship, creating a more intentional and intimate church culture, establishing a long-term relationship with a congregation that is culturally different than ours, and integrating children and youth more in the life of the church. I particularly value the role the arts can plan in worship and congregational life.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself as a mentor of students:Effective Christian public leaders are constantly translating between Christianity and the dynamics of everyday life. They must be grounded in their faith having integrated the Christian story into their own. They must be open to the experiences of people around them and across the world. The kind of mentoring that has helped me involves good questions and gentle, but sometimes firm encouragement. As a mentor, I try to offer appropriately challenging opportunities for growth and support for self reflection.