WEATHER ALERT UPDATE: Plymouth Church will be closed all day, Friday, January 15 due to continuing unsafe travel conditions as a result of inclement weather. We will reopen Tuesday, January 19 following the MLK Day Holiday on Monday.
Due to the snow that continues to fall, Plymouth is postponing the Saturday morning Christmas Flower sale that was scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday morning, Dec. 12. Please stay home and stay safe.
Instead, please plan to stop by the lower level of the Plymouth parking garage on MONDAY, DEC. 14, 1-3 p.m. to pick up your Christmas flowers.
This year Plymouth, like most of the rest of the world, is Home for the Holidays. But that doesn’t mean nothing is happening! Far from it! During Advent, Plymouth will host online and in-person, socially-distanced events, along with an Advent Bag full of ideas for you and your family to enjoy at home. If you didn’t pick up a bag (or if you want to print additional copies of any of the bag’s pieces), never fear…we’ve created a Virtual Advent Bag just for you. Click here to visit a page that includes all the elements of the bag in PDF format. We wish you Peace, Joy, Love and Hope during this most holy holiday season!
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.
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 the interview 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!
As we enter into this time of transition, communication is especially important. We are committed to sharing what we can, when we can – in a consistent, timely and transparent way.
Starting the week of Aug. 17, we will send a weekly message to keep everyone informed of what is happening with various work being done by passionate members of our church. We will use this forum to brief you on the most current information about things like:
- Status of senior minister interim leadership
- Senior Minister search
- The Strategic Plan
- Bylaws Committee Updates
- Returning to in-person worship
Depending on the pace of the work on each topic, some weeks may have more updates than others. If there are things you’d like to know more about, please let us know.
We will send these weekly messages each Monday during our transition period, and also archive them on our website. It will be a short read, from the Moderator and Moderator-Elect, sent on Mondays – so, look for the Monday Moderator Minute.
As always, please reach out with your questions, comments and ideas.
It’s Time for VBS!
Do you have your packet? Whether you’re participating in Plymouth Church’s Vacation Bible School 2020 Aug. 10-12, or at another time that’s convenient for you, you may find ALL the goodies HERE!
Church Council met in executive session with Senior Minister Matt Mardis-LeCroy on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, where it received his letter of resignation. You can read the full email sent to the congregation following that by clicking here, or using the Senior Minister Transition tab at the top of this webpage. Worship on Saturday, Aug. 1 and Sunday, Aug. 2 will feature Matt’s Service of Leaving, and we hope you will join us on Facebook Saturday at 5 p.m. or on YouTube Sunday at 9 a.m. to participate.
As the Senior Minister Transition progresses, you may continue to refer to the tab at the top of the website menu bar for current information.
Thank you good and faithful servant.