By Francesca Norsen Tate
As it seeks a new identity for a renewed congregation, Plymouth Church — the historic landmark Congregational Church in Brooklyn Heights — has looked to the past.
The congregation began its life in 1847 as Plymouth Church with the celebrated Rev. Henry Ward Beecher as its first settled minister. It was not until the 1934 merger with Church of the Pilgrims, a fellow Congregational church on Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights, that the name Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims first appeared.
The idea of abandoning the composite name gained support in recent years within the Plymouth congregation. “Many members felt it was a clumsy hybrid name for a congregation that sees itself as vital and rejuvenated,” explains the Rev. Dr. David C. Fisher, Plymouth’s Senior Minister. “Our goal was to modernize without losing a sense of Plymouth’s rich history. Returning to the name Plymouth Church felt like the perfect solution.”
Before launching as Plymouth Church minus “of the Pilgrims,” the congregation embarked on a process of self-learning and discovery to better understand its current attributes and goals. Beginning in the spring of 2010, a group of volunteer members who are experienced in branding and identity development (Timothy Malefyt, Peter Bysshe and Tony Kleckner) led focus groups, interviews and discussions with church leadership. According to Sandra Deming, President of the Plymouth Council, most of the congregation was already using a shortened name for the church. “Today’s members think of this place as ‘Plymouth,’” she points out. “The concept of ‘Pilgrims’ is not central to the draw that brings people to the church.” Following approval of the name change, the Plymouth Council in May 2011 adopted a new mission statement to better focus and support church decision-making and communications, together with a new tagline, “Knowing God. Growing together.”
Now with the adoption of a new tagline and a shortened name, Manhattan-based graphic designer Alan Barnett revised his 2004 identity for Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, retaining the existing multi-colored cross design. The new logo for Plymouth Church will begin appearing on church banners, signage and print materials this month.
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More 9/11 Commemorations: Our Lady of Sorrows Procession Takes On Special Meaning This Year
A Carroll Gardens tradition continues this Sunday, September 11, with Brooklyn’s first Italian Roman Catholic parish hosting its traditional street procession and Mass.
Sacred Hearts & St. Stephen R.C. Church hosts the Congrega Maria S.S. Addolorata and the people of Mola Di Bari. Maria S.S. Addolorata refers in English to Mother of Sorrows.
While it is not the first time that the feast falls on September 11th, this year has become extra special as it marks the tenth anniversary of the terrible events of September 11, 2001. “The Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows is an example to us all of the pain and suffering felt when we lose someone we love in a sudden and violent way. She shows us that it is appropriate to mourn while at the same time never losing our faith,” remarked John Heyer, one of the event organizers. “The procession this year will be particularly somber for more than one reason.”
Starting at 3 p.m. on Sept. 11, the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows will be carried from the church at Summit and Hicks streets, and brought through the streets upon the shoulders of the faithful. Accompanied by men and women devoted to Our Lady, the procession will travel throughout the neighborhood stopping for food and drink. The procession will return to Sacred Hearts and St. Stephen Church for a 7 pm Italian-language Mass in Italian. Readers wishing more information can visit http://www.mariaaddolorata.com .
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Congregation Mount Sinai, in the spirit of “We are many. We are one,” invites the community to a twilight 9/11 Remembrance ceremony at the Brooklyn Heights this Sunday.
The ceremony will give another opportunity to reflect, remember and honor the brave and beloved men and women who were lost on September 11, 2001. The ceremony begins at 6 p.m., at the intersection of the Promenade and Pierrepont St. A group will gather in front of the synagogue at 5:45 and will walk together to the Promenade
For additional information about the Twilight Community 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony, please contact the office at 718-875-9124 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org