An Introductory Conversation with Rev. Sarai Rice


Rev. Sarai Rice is the newly selected Interim Senior Minister for Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, Des Moines. In this video on Plymouth Church’s YouTube channel, Rev. Rice is interviewed by 2020-2021 Church Council Moderator David Johnson.


Sarai Rice Named Interim Senior Minister


We are very pleased to announce that we have called our new Interim Senior Minister—Rev. Sarai Rice. This past Tuesday, September 22, Church Council approved this action. Sarai will begin her work with us on Monday, October 5. Sarai’s name will be familiar to many; she recently provided her consulting expertise to our strategic planning group as they crafted our Practicing Radical Love plan.

Here’s a recap of the process that led us to this moment. The August 24th Moderator Minute provided insight about why calling an Interim Senior Minister is important and outlined the selection process. A collaborative effort resulted in a robust job description that grounded our search.

Former moderators comprised the initial search team: Dave Everett, Steve Jacobs, and Beth Stelle Jones. They sent their top three of five candidates on to the interview team that was approved at the August 25th Church Council meeting: Dave Everett, Anita Fleming-Rife, Jim Green, Jodi Gruening, David Johnson, Linda Sullivan, and LeAnn Stubbs. And then the entire Plymouth staff conducted group interviews with all three candidates. After this thorough vetting process, our top candidate emerged. On Tuesday, September 22nd the Church Council voted to accept the Interim Senior Minister candidate, who was recommended unanimously by the interview teams and the church staff.

Some may ask, “Is Sarai too close to Plymouth Church, does she know us too well?” In fact, we considered this question, also discussed it with Sarai, and we determined quite the opposite: her considerable consulting and organizational expertise, combined with her understanding of our operations and our values means she will “hit the ground running.” There is much work ahead! Considering revisions to our bylaws, laying the groundwork for a new senior minister search, acting on our new strategic plan, continuing our virtual and then in-person worship—all these initiatives and more. We are very enthused Sarai will be part of our journey over the coming months, helping us grow in love of God and neighbor.

Comments from some staff and others involved in the interview process include: “Sarai is exactly who we need right now. . .” and “She demonstrated great pastoral care during thinterview by the questions she asked us.” When we asked Sarai about her favorite Bible story, she referenced  an Old Testament story of Jacob and God’s advice to him. One of her takeaways from the story is to “listen to everyone”.

In sum, we believe Sarai’s experience, wisdom, compassion and enthusiasm are exactly what Plymouth needs at this moment in time. As our congregation gains clarity about who we are, and what we need from lay and staff leadership, particularly our next called and settled Sr. Minister, Sarai’s gifts will serve us well. And it sure doesn’t hurt that she is super smart and has a great sense of humor!

There will be many opportunities to hear from and get to know Sarai in the coming days. By Monday afternoon a brief video chat between Moderator David Johnson and Sarai will be posted on the website. Please check back to see the Q&A.  With radical love, we welcome Sarai Rice to Plymouth Congregational Church!


Justice Rallies 2020


Join Us for Justice Rallies

Black Lives Matter Rally to be held Sunday, September 20, 3-4 p.m. outside Plymouth on 42nd Street and Ingersoll Avenue. This was spontaneously brought up in Plymouth’s Fellowship Forum that we ‘old white people’ support Black Lives Matter. We invite all parishioners of any age to join us with signs and with masks. We will practice social distancing. We will also have a voter registration table out.


Voter Registration Day Rally and Table for sign-up to be held Tuesday, September 22 from 5-6 p.m. outside Plymouth on 42nd Street and Ingersoll Avenue. Wear masks, practice social distancing. All are invited.


Bread Week 2020


Bread Week 2020

September 28 to October 2


World Communion Sunday is October 4th! Pastor Mary Kate is bringing back a reprise of From the Kitchen as she leads us in baking some of her favorite bread recipes all week long in preparation for the big day.

The tradition of World Communion Sunday was adopted by the Federal Council of Churches in 1940 and Christians across the world have been participating on the first Sunday of October ever since. We celebrate our oneness in Christ with all our siblings around the world.  The Apostle Paul tells us that we are to “discern the body” when we partake of Holy Communion, mindful that we note our relationship to all our siblings in Christ in the celebration. World Communion Sunday is a time for remembering that around the globe—in different languages, with different traditions and customs, and with various forms of bread—the Lord’s Supper is celebrated.

Gather your ingredients and join Pastor Mary Kate on Plymouth’s Facebook and YouTube. Videos will be available at 9 a.m. every weekday morning, but you can follow along at any time! Choose one day to bake, or bake every day! Then use your baked goods as we join together in celebration of World Communion Sunday- October 4!

Monday, September 28

“Lasher” Bread


  • 3 C flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Yeast
  • 5 C warm water



  • Fresh herbs
  • Chopped garlic
  • Cheese
  • Cracked pepper


  • Large bowl
  • Plastic wrap
  • Dutch Oven (oven safe baking dish with lid)
  • Parchment paper (optional, but recommended!)

Tuesday, September 29

Sesame Crackers (vegan & GF)


  • ½ C brown rice flour
  • ½ C almond flour
  • ¼ C + 2 T sesame seeds
  • 2 T ground flax seed
  • ¼ t baking powder
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • ¼ C water


  • Medium bowl
  • Parchment paper
  • Rolling pin
  • Sharp knife
  • Baking sheet

Wednesday, September 30

Grandma’s Cornbread


  • ½ C butter
  • ⅔ C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C buttermilk
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 C cornmeal
  • 1 C flour
  • ½ tsp salt


  • 8 in. square baking pan
  • Large skillet
  • whisk

Thursday, October 1

Challah Bread


  • 1 T active yeast
  • ¾ C warm water
  • ⅓ C packed brown sugar
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ C vegetable oil
  • 3-4 C flour


  • Large bowl
  • Plastic wrap
  • Baking sheet

Friday, October 2

Hannah & Jeremy’s Tortillas


  • 3 C flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ⅓ C extra virgin olive oil OR vegetable oil (OR any other fairly neutral flavored oil)
  • 1 C warm water


  • Easiest to use a stand mixer w/dough hook
  • Large pan
  • tongs or spatula (for flipping tortillas)

Evolving Faith Fall Retreat


Evolving Faith Virtual Fall Retreat

If God is still SPEAKING…

If we are GROWING in love of God and neighbor…

If we BELIEVE Plymouth’s best days are still ahead of us….

If we want to PRACTICE radical love everywhere and always….

Then our faith is EVOLVING even if we don’t always see how and even if we have doubts.

If these callings speak to you, join other Plymouth members for a virtual retreat as we attend the Evolving Faith Conference alone and together October 1 to 6.


Retreat Schedule:

  • Register on your own for the Evolving Faith Conference (see details below)
  • About two weeks before we start, you will receive a resource guide to use to prepare on your own
  • October 1 at 8 p.m.: gather on Zoom to “gear-up” together to participate
  • October 2 & 3: participate in as many live events as you can and “converse” and debrief with other Plymouth members in a private Facebook Group
  • October 6 from 7-9 p.m.: gather on Zoom again to share lessons learned, joys and concerns, and where you are being called next


You will need to register separately for the Evolving Faith Conference ( then email Karen Jeske to let her know you would like to join the Plymouth group.

$100 per person. Plymouth has $30 coupons available to share part of the cost. Please email Karen Jeske for details.