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Ministry Impact Story – Plymouth Church, Brooklyn Heights, NY

Jennifer Byrd August 13, 2015

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Plymouth 2Plymouth Church in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. has a rich history rooted in helping others not only find freedom in Christ, but freedom from oppression. The church was founded in 1847 and called Henry Ward Beecher as their first pastor. Beecher was known for his opposition to slavery and soon the church had ties to the Underground Railroad, helping slaves find freedom.

John Scibilia, Plymouth’s executive administrator, says, “Plymouth had that reputation, that ministry of reaching out to people who are looking for something better in their lives and trying to leave an oppressive situation.”

The church quickly became woven into the American tapestry. Many well-known authors and activists spoke at Plymouth Church. The list included: Charles Sumner, Clara Barton, Frederick Douglass and Ralph Waldo Emerson. In early 1860, before Abraham Lincoln won the National Union Party presidential nomination, he was scheduled to give his now famous anti-slavery speech at Plymouth Church. Due to weather concerns the speech was moved to another location, but Lincoln did attend Plymouth Church when he was in New York City.

More than 100 years later, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. took to the pulpit at Plymouth and delivered a sermon called “The American Dream.” Months later, those same thoughts turned into King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

plymouthToday, Plymouth Church still holds close to their foundational beliefs of caring for others. One of their current missions is to help victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. John says, “Human trafficking is still alive and unfortunately well in the United States, it goes back to our Underground Railroad days, it’s modern-day slavery.” To help wage the war, Plymouth runs “The Underground Thrift Store” and donates 25 percent of profits to organizations who combat human trafficking. But it doesn’t stop there.

The church decided to make care kits for victims who escaped from domestic violence situations or human trafficking. The goal was to make 60 kits, but they surpassed that number and made more than 120 kits. This was a project where everyone was included. Even if they couldn’t afford to help with donations, they could write notes of encouragement to go inside the kits.

While the church continues to fight human trafficking, there are several other organizations they like to support with their time and finances. And with online giving, John says, “All you have to do is click here and make a gift. When we send out our e-news, there is always a place, if we are raising money for something in particular, click here to make a gift.” John even uses online giving creatively when he needs to collect money for banquet tickets or other types of events.  He says, “It makes the gifts so much easier.”

John is a longtime client of ACS Technologies and loves how the software helps keep his church organized on a daily basis. The first two things he opens on his computer are OnDemand and Facility Scheduler, even before he checks his email. “The ministry aspect of ACS Technologies, the support and care that is provided to anyone using the product, that is what sets it apart and that makes all the difference in the world for me. I’m not looking for vendors, I’m looking for partners and ACS Technologies is a true partner.”

Online giving can be a great tool to help keep your ministries moving forward. If your church isn’t using online giving you can learn how easy it is to start.

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