Senior Minister Search Update: July 26


Hello friends,

I write to provide you with another update on our Senior Minister search.

As you all know, the Senior Minister Search Committee was formed in late November 2020. When I think about all the work it has accomplished since then, I cannot help but be impressed by the devotion of my fellow committee members to this critically important work of the church.

Following the selection of the committee members representing the nine church boards, we gathered in December to select our three at-large members. We took a brief break to celebrate Christmas, and then in January 2021, we decided we wanted to hire a search firm and sent out numerous requests for proposals to firms across the country. In February, our committee held Zoom interviews with three search firms and ultimately selected the Slingshot Group and consultant Mike Goldsworthy. Following that selection, starting in March we engaged in an extensive discovery process with Mike so that he could obtain an understanding of Plymouth, our values, and our congregation. Around the same time, our committee began preparing our UCC profile, which, as you saw when we circulated it to the congregation, was no small task. Our profile ended up being 41-pages, plus attachments! We also prepared a separate profile for Slingshot to utilize. While the creation of these two profiles was a large undertaking, the drafting was made much easier by the hundreds of responses we received from the congregational survey. These responses helped guide us throughout the entire drafting process.

After our UCC and Slingshot profiles went live in early May, our committee set out to determine what our initial interviews would look like and what we hoped to learn about each candidate. In late June, Mike presented four candidates to our committee. Of the broader pool of applicants who expressed interest in the position and who Mike reviewed and spoke with, the four candidates were the persons Mike felt possessed the skills and talents necessary to fill our senior minister role.

The committee agreed. In early July, we held 90-minute Zoom interviews with each of these four candidates. These initial interviews went extremely well and the committee concluded the first round of interviews feeling inspired and hopeful. Since then, we have narrowed down our candidates from four to three and this week we will be holding 60-minute second-round Zoom interviews with those three candidates.

Plymouth Church, I am so excited for our future. It is my sincere hope that you all can feel how invested your search committee is in this important task and that we have been diligently at work. I ask that you continue to keep the search committee, our candidates, and Plymouth Church in your prayers. We will continue to keep you updated on our progress as we are able.

As a reminder, you can stay up to date on all developments from the search committee by visiting the Senior Minister Transition page on Plymouth’s website found here. There you can find a complete archive of all postings as well as new updates. Updates are also sent out regularly in the Monday Moderator Minute e-mail. Lastly, if you have any questions or concerns, the committee can be reached at

In service,
Caroline Valentine
Chair, Senior Minister Search Committee


Refugee Family Food Donations


Get your grocery lists ready! The Plymouth Welcomes a Refugee Family Project is now collecting food donations to prepare for the family’s arrival. See details below.

To learn more about the refugee family project, click here.


Non-Perishable Food

We are asking for donations of the following items:

  • Dried pinto beans
  • Rice
  • Cooking oil
  • Palm oil
  • White corn meal
  • Tomato paste
  • Sugar
  • Black tea
  • Salt
  • Black pepper


Beginning the weekend of July 24th & 25th and through the end of August, you may drop off these items in the refugee box on top of the cabinets by the Welcome Center.

At this time, we are only asking for the above-listed items. As we get closer to the arrival of the family, we will update this list with any additional items needed.

If you have questions about donating food, you may contact Janet Rosebury, or 712.898.4277; or Diane Krell, or 515.238.0123.


Financial Donations

If you’d prefer not to grocery shop but still want to help, you may donate money for fresh food and other items, which need to be purchased later.

You may donate online here by selecting “Other” under Donation Type and typing “Refugee Family Project” in the Donation Note.

You can also mail cash or a check with “Refugee Family Project” in the memo line to:

Plymouth Church
ATTN: Nancy Basset
4126 Ingersoll Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50312

Thank you, Plymouth community! Stay tuned for updates in the coming weeks!


Hearing Assistance at Plymouth


Pastor Sarai’s sermon on May 21 admonished us to pay attention. It is hard to do that when one can’t hear most of what is going on. In a quick survey of five Plymouth wearers of hearing aids, none knew if their hearing aids had telecoils or not. Do you have hearing aids? Do you have telecoils or not? And how does one find out?

A telecoil (t-coil) is a very small device in some hearing aids that can detect electromagnetic signals from sound systems then amplifies the signal and presents it to the ear through an individual’s hearing aid. The name telecoil originated from the early form of telephones that would emit an electromagnetic signal as well as sound. Hearing aids were subsequently designed to take advantage of that signal. The limiting factor to t-coils is size of the battery case. The coil is about 1/40 the size of a dime. But it can be crowded in the battery case. About 30-40% of hearing aids in the USA have t-coils.

What does this have to do with hearing aids at Plymouth?
Since the renovation of the sanctuary worship space (nave and chancel), we have a wired loop around the perimeter of the room that emits an electromagnetic signal carrying the sound from the church sound system. This loop also surrounds Burling and Greenwood rooms for overflow situations. When the sanctuary sound system is on, the loop picks up transmissions from microphones used by pastors and choir. Additionally, another loop in Waveland Hall is activated when the sound system is in use there.

The loop transmits sound directly to t-coils in hearing aids if the t-coil is activated. If it isn’t activated, the microphone in the hearing aid does the best it can. If t-coil is activated, pastors’ speech should be clear and audible. The microphone in the hearing aid works for talking to the person next to you in the pew, but not in a large space like the church.

How does one know if the hearing aid has a t-coil? And how is it activated?
The simplest method is to talk to one’s audiologist. Further, take off the hearing aid and look at the battery case. There may be a toggle switch or a button on it. It may be labeled T, M, or TM. Those would stand for Telecoil, Microphone, or Telephone and Microphone.

The hearing aid needs clear instruction on what it is
supposed to do:

  • T will allow you to listen to the loop/t-coil. You will be able to hear the church service clearly.
  • M will allow you to hear the person next to you with the microphone on the hearing aid.
  • TM will allow you to do both. You will be able to hear the church service and hear what a someone nearby is saying.


If there is a button on the battery case rather than a toggle, one may need to push it 1, 2, or 3 times to activate the desired function. Best bet: check with your audiologist.

How does one know the public space has a loop?
Look for a sign in the room or on the bulletin/program with a symbol of a blue or black background with two lines and the T. The T is key. Many public spaces such as the Civic Center have a loop.

What about the hearing devices available during church services?
These hearing devices also are connected to the main sound system (just ask one of our Deacons). However, these devices are not engineered to a specific hearing loss. If you have a personal hearing device, it will be calibrated to your needs and work much better for you.

Contact your audiologist or the church office at 515.255.3149.
We can learn this together! See you in church!


Vacation Bible School 2021


Vacation Bible School: Begins July 26!

Late registration is still open for Plymouth’s Virtual Vacation Bible School! Enjoy Stories, Skits, Songs, Movement, Crafts, Snacks and Games when it works for your family’s schedule! Click here to register! For registrations received after Saturday, July 17, every effort will be made to provide all craft materials.

Virtual VBS begins Monday, July 26. You will be able to access videos with skits, movement, and music whenever it works best for your family! Material pick up will begin Friday, July 23. More details to come.

Want to volunteer?
Plymouth’s virtual VBS begins on July 26. We are looking for assembly volunteers to help prep materials families will be taking home for VBS. Several assembly times are available. To sign up, click here.


Dan Olson/Facilities Update


Plymouth’s Facilities Manager, Dan Olson, has been with Plymouth for 21+ years. In July, Dan will be moving to Sioux City, and will be getting married to his fiancée, Sarah Nitzschke, later this fall. Dan said the biggest change he saw while at Plymouth was the 2003 addition and that the thing he will miss most about Plymouth is working with staff and the parishioners. Dan’s final day with Plymouth will be July 16. We are grateful for all the work Dan has done in our church, and we wish Dan and his wife-to-be the best in Sioux City!


Capital City Pride Parade 2021


On Sunday, June 27, Plymouth Church participated in the Pride “Parade.” Attendees were encouraged to deck out their cars with Pride and drive on the parade route through Waterworks Park to view all the Pride displays. We heard that around 3000 cars came through the parade route. It’s such a joyful way for Plymouth to show up and make an impact in our community! See below some photos of Plymouth’s Pride booth!


Courtyard Clean Up


Thank you to all the wonderful gardeners who have been hard at work to clean up our courtyard! Next time you’re at Plymouth, be sure to stop by and see it!


Mary Kate Buchanan/TiM News


Dear Plymouth,

I am very happy to share that Mary Kate Buchanan has accepted a call to join First Community Church in Columbus, Ohio, as their Minister of Pastoral Care. Pastoral Care is a true passion and calling for Mary Kate and she is an Ohio native, so I hope you will all join me in celebrating with her.

Mary Kate joined us immediately after graduating from Princeton Theological Seminary and being ordained in June of 2019. During her time with us she kick-started a new weekly Bible study, offered new programming for older adults, reworked the Discover Plymouth curriculum, demonstrated the spirituality of cooking on Facebook, and most recently, she worked with Frank Thomas to create a cancer support group at Plymouth. Anyone who has interacted with Mary Kate knows she is caring and a lot of fun. We have been blessed by her time with us and we bless her as she joins First Community Church.

Her last weekend of worship at Plymouth will be July 25-26. If you want to congratulate her directly, feel free to send an email to: Cards or notes can be mailed to her attention at the church: 4126 Ingersoll Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312.

So what about our next TiM? As you know, we paused the recruitment of our next TiM Associate Minister during the pandemic, but with conditions rapidly improving, we re-started that search process a few weeks ago. We welcome your prayers over the next several weeks as we look for a new TiM pastor to join us this fall.

It feels apt to celebrate these next steps on the same day we are also celebrating the life of Frank Thomas, former Director of Plymouth’s TiM Program. No one would be happier than Frank to see Plymouth Church continue to welcome first-call pastors and then release them to serve at churches across the country. This work we all do together is a blessing, near and far.

As always, if you have any questions about the TiM Program you are welcome to contact me at

Peace be with you,
Karen Quance Jeske
Director of TiM Programs


Refugee Family Project Update


Do you have a couch, table, or dresser you no longer need? Or do you have a few hours available in the coming months.

The Plymouth Welcomes a Refugee Family Project is collecting new or gently used furniture and household items to fully furnish a small, three-bedroom apartment for a refugee family of six.

Donate Furniture or Household Items

To donate items or see a list of the current items needed, click here.

Please note:

  • Items should be new or gently used.
  • Pick-up for donated items is available. We will contact you after you sign up to make arrangements.
  • Please do not drop off unsolicited items at the church. Our current needs are limited to the specific items listed at the link above.
  • We are NOT accepting clothing donations at this time.


Volunteer Opportunities

We’re looking for a few groups of short-term volunteers to help with specific tasks:

  • Collecting & Organizing: Assist in picking up items from donors, boxing, labeling and transporting them to a storage unit awaiting the arrival of our family. Youth volunteers welcome. (Another group of volunteer movers will assist with large items.) Time frame is June and July.
  • Shopping: Assist with shopping for needed items that were not donated and for toiletries and clothing. Items will need to be boxed, labeled and transported to the storage unit. Time frame August or September. Youth volunteers welcome.
  • Small Truck & Flexible Driver: Needed at various times to move heavier items between June and Aug (or until the refugee family arrives). Frequency depends on volunteer driver’s schedule and availability of volunteers to pick up donated items per the donor’s request.
  • Heavy Moving Volunteers: Help small truck driver move heavier items between June and Aug (or until the refugee family arrives). Frequency depends on volunteer driver’s schedule and availability of volunteers to pick up donated items per the donor’s request. Youth volunteers welcome.
  • Moving Day Volunteers: Move all furniture and household goods from storage to the refugee family’s home in Des Moines. Youth volunteers welcome. Moving date TBD.


To sign-up as a volunteer, click here.


For questions about donating furniture/household items or volunteering to move items, please contact Donna Paulsen at or 515.225.9784.

To learn more about the Plymouth Welcomes a Refugee Family Project, click here. For more information or other questions, you may contact our project chairperson, Alicia Claypool at

Watch for updates in the coming months!


AMOS Delegate Assembly June 2021


AMOS Delegate Assembly

Sunday, June 27 at 3-4:30 p.m.

Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Church- 510 E 1st St in Ankeny and Zoom. Outdoor social after the meeting.

To register in advance for the Delegate Assembly, click here.

The Delegate Assembly is the decision-making body of AMOS. Each member institution is encouraged to organize a strong delegation to attend and represent your institution as we make decisions about the direction of your broad-based organization of organizations.

The Delegate Assembly agenda will include celebrating major AMOS victories, ratifying the 2021-22 AMOS budget, commitments to strengthen institutional core teams, and relationship building across Central Iowa.

AMOS leaders committed to organize 111 people to attend the Delegate Assembly! If your institution has not yet made a turnout commitment, let the turnout captains know how many people you will organize to attend:


Remember to register for the June 27 Delegate Assembly. Registration will help us to keep track of turnout and aid with in-person and virtual logistics.