The making of a postliberal: Beyond civic faith

Two stories

Seattle's Plymouth Congregational Church could be described as an "old first church." Founded in 1869 when the population of the city was 1,000, the church conceived of its mission as one of civilizing this rough-and-tumble city on the nation's western edge. Members of the congregation have served at one time or another on the City Council and school board and as mayor. At the turn of the century Plymouth members led the effort to close down Seattle's thriving brothels and gambling establishments. The church also functioned as "mother church" to most of the 20 other Congregational churches in the city.

Plymouth has a proud history of civic activism. It organized boys and girls clubs between 1910 and the mid-'30s; it helped with refugee resettlement efforts following World War II and the Vietnam war. In the early 1980s the congregation pioneered an innovative low-income housing development program, and today the parish supports a ministry to the mentally ill.


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