Advent Season Meditation


We’re Home for the Holidays this Advent season, but Plymouth Church has created three Sundays during which you can visit your church home for individual meditation services. On Sunday, Dec. 20 and Monday, Dec. 21, you may register for a half-hour, masked, socially-distanced space in the sanctuary to meditate alone or with members of your immediate household. You will only be able to enter the sanctuary through the north Ingersoll entrance to the narthex; parking is available on the upper parking deck. Reservations are required and limited spots are available.

To register for a time slot, click here. If you have any questions, email Kathy Sohn at or call the church office at 515.255.3149. We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to sit quietly in the sanctuary this Advent season and meditate.


Christmas Eve 2020


This Christmas Eve, Plymouth is offering THREE different opportunities for worship and fellowship!

Recorded Service:Released on Christmas Eve morning, a recorded worship service will blend together music and hallmarks from all Plymouth’s Christmas Eve services, including Matins traditions, “O Holy Night,” the Saturday Night Band, and more. Sit down to worship when it is most convenient for you and your family! This service will be available on our YouTube Channel and Facebook Page at 9 a.m. on Christmas Eve.

Zoom: We are offering a Zoom Worship & Fellowship service at 7 p.m. There will be an opportunity for fellowship before the service, so hop on early at 6:40 to say hello to your fellow members. At this service, you will hear the Christmas story, pray, and spend some face time with your fellow Plymouth members. Click here for PDF of the Zoom service bulletin.

Join us on Zoom here:

In-Person: We offer 4 in-person, outdoor, 20-minute services. At these services, we will sing carols, hear the Christmas story, and welcome the light of Christ. Registration is required, and we will have a participant cap. Due to lifting of the Governor’s outdoor event cap, we can increase our cap to 100 participants for each service. All in-person services are now full.

If you are registered to attend one of the in-person services, see more information below regarding logistics. Click here for PDF of the in-person service bulletin.

In-Person Logistics
Location: The services will take place outside, physically distanced, and masked on the upper level of the parking garage.

Parking: Please park on the lower level of the parking garage or the street. Minimal accessible parking will be available to the east end of the upper level of the parking garage (just off of 41st St., behind 4000 Ingersoll), and at the south entrance of the church. Keep in mind, St. Augustin’s Catholic Church has Mass scheduled for 4 & 6 p.m.

Drop offs and pick-ups can most easily happen at the southwest entrance to the upper level of the parking garage (access from 42nd St.).

Arrival: Please arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before your scheduled service. Park. Walk up to the upper level of the garage. Deacons and staff will greet you and guide you to a marked area for your party. We will use parking spaces to delineate safely distanced areas for each party.

Departure: Following the service, please do not linger. We want everyone to stay safe, get warm, give staff an opportunity to reset and warm up, and minimize any parking challenges.

What to Bring:

  • Bring a flashlight, glow-stick, or use your cellphone flashlight for the singing of “Silent Night”
  • There will be no seating will be provided. Please bring a chair if you would prefer to sit during the service.


Weather: The forecast high for December 24 is 21 degrees. Please dress warm for the weather.


Connect with the Cuba Partnership Team


Want to learn ways to connect with our Cuban neighbors? Join us on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 1 p.m.

The Plymouth Church Cuba Partnership Team invites you to an interactive conversation with Paula Dempsey and Mike Castle on Sunday December 13 at 1 p.m. Via Zoom, of course. Zoom Meeting ID: 84614150541. Passcode: 988269.

Over the past several years, many Plymouth Church members and friends connected with our partner church, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Havana, Cuba. We formed lasting friendships when we visited Cuba through delegations blessed by Plymouth Church to our sister church in Cuba. We stayed at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center next to Ebenezer Baptist Church for several days. We learned about Cuba’s history and current issues from and with the pastors, staff, and members of our partner church. We continue to correspond with our partner church pastors and learn about current events directly from them.

The Plymouth Church Cuba Partnership Team hopes to build on our relationship with our partner church by adding more U.S. church partners for Ebenezer Baptist Church and other Cuban churches. We hope to share the knowledge and inspiration we received through our Cuba delegation visits with other churches in the Des Moines area, in Iowa, and around the United States.

We invited two pastors with experience building these partnerships between U.S. churches and Cuban churches to speak with us and provide advice on effective ways to begin and build these relationships.

Paula Clayton Dempsey serves as director of partnership relations for the Alliance of Baptists. She lives in North Carolina. She brings 25+ years of varied pastoral experience to her role. She will provide advice on building partnerships with Cuban churches and answer our questions about the process.

Rev. Dr. Michael Castle currently serves as pastor of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Sioux City, Iowa. He will share his experiences connecting with partner churches in Cuba through the Alliance of Baptists and the UCC denomination.

Please join us if you’re interested in assisting with this effort. Please contact the Cuba Partnership Team Co-Chairs, Emily Chafa at or Jan Campbell at with any questions.


Nativity “Seen”


Join your Plymouth friends for Advent “Show and Tell” fun. We will gather on Zoom on Sunday, December 13 from 6-7 p.m. to show each other our home Nativity Scenes. Since we are “Home for the Holidays” this year, it will be fun to see the variety of Nativity sets our members have in their homes.

If you want to show yours during the hour-long event, please set your Nativity Scene up so that it gets some good light and can be viewed with your laptop, phone, or tablet during the meeting. It would be nice if you can show us your Nativity set and tell us a little about it: how long you’ve had it, where it’s displayed in your home and any special memories associated with it. We will look at as many as we can within the hour time-frame.

To join us on Zoom, visit:

If you have any questions, email Karen Jeske at:


Baking Advent Cookies


Mary Kate is baking with us again! We are so excited!

Join Mary Kate in baking Angel Eyes Advent Cookies. Below are the ingredients you will need for these cookies. On Saturday, December 5, Mary Kate’s instructions video premiered our YouTube Channel. Click here for the video. Watch at any time!


  • 5.3 oz butter (1 1/4 sticks / 10 tbsp / 150 g)
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar (70 g)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (240 g)
  • pinch of salt
  • jam or jelly of your choosing (e.g. raspberry, orange, blueberry)
  • More confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Project Memories 2.0


Plymouth members have the opportunity to participate in Project Memories 2.0 this holiday season. The opportunity to give is different, however, we are thankful for the opportunity to provide support and gifts to individuals served by our partner agencies. You may participate in the following way:

1. Youth Homes of Mid-America Transitional & Independent Living Programs. This program provides care and services to adolescents ages 16–18 who are not able to return to or live in their family’s home or another home setting for a variety of reasons.

  • Thank you for your interest in providing a gift! All gifts have been reserved. Please read on for details about making a financial donation to the project instead.


2. Three Des Moines school programs:  There is a tremendous need for winter clothing in the three schools we have partnered with in the past: Hubbell, Ruby Van Meter and All Points Academy & FOCUS schools.

  • Plymouth members may make a cash donation that will be split evenly and given to each school’s administrative team.
  • Donations of ANY amount will help! $2 will buy a pair of warm socks; $10- warm mittens; $15- child boots; $40- youth coat.
  • Cash donations will be accepted through Monday, December 13.

You can make a donation by mail or by debit or credit card. If you would like to donate by mail with a check or cash. Please include “Project Memories” on the memo line of your check, and send it to:

Plymouth Church Attn: Nancy Bassett
4126 Ingersoll Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50312

If you would like to make a donation online with a debit of credit card, please click here and select the yellow button labeled “Make a one-time or recurring donation by credit card.” Then follow the steps below.

Enter the donation total you would like to contribute. Click the white “Donate with Debit or Credit Card” button, and a form will pop up on the page. Please be sure to leave include a note at the top of the form. See the screenshot below for help on where to make this note:

Project Memories 2.0 is also partnering with Mosaic. Plymouth High School Youth will be purchasing gifts for all MOSAIC client from MOSAIC through Project Memories 2.0.

Thank you in advance for your participation. For more information email Georgia Sheriff at:


December 7-Day Challenge


We continue our discussion about our new Strategic Plan this month by continuing to explore what this plan is inviting us to do. This month, we focus on “Everywhere and Always.” While “Radical” is a difficult word for some, Everywhere and Always are more easily understood and accepted as ingredients in our faith. We know as Christians we are called to love God and love each other Everywhere and Always. And we also know it’s really hard to do and that we all fall short.

No matter what though, God keeps loving us Everywhere and Always. In this way, Everywhere and Always serve to both assure us of God’s love and to challenge us to deliver it.

So, how can we honor this expansive and timeless giving and receiving of love? We can practice. We can look for reminders of God’s unfailing love for us and we can seek reminders of our call to love others. During the month of December, we offer a new 7-Day Challenge to get more comfortable with the Everywhere and Always parts of our new Strategic Plan.

While you’re doing it, feel free to share your thoughts with me at and with each other whenever you have the chance.

1. Complete any six of these items on any six days you choose during the month of December.

  • Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to get centered, then repeat the St. Patrick’s Breastplate  Prayer (see below for that prayer) as often as you need to remind you that Christ is with you Everywhere. Feel free to add hand gestures.
  • If you didn’t pick up an Advent Bag at the church, download this year’s Advent Devotional from the Plymouth website, Maya Angelou and the Freedom Poetry of Advent, and try to follow the weekly program and practices outlined in the booklet.
  • Set up an Advent Wreath at home and light the candles during worship or when using the Maya Angelou and the Freedom Poetry of Advent devotional to remind you that hope, peace, joy and love are available to us Everywhere and Always.
  • Download the recipe for Angel Eyes cookies from the Plymouth website and bake them to share with a neighbor or someone who could use some cheer and a reminder of God’s love this season.
  • Do an internet search for “Nichole Nordeman Legacy” and listen to this beautiful song as an expression Always.
  • Attend the Nativity Seen event for all Plymouth members on Zoom on Sunday, December 13 at 6 p.m.
  • Attend the Longest Night drive-through service at Plymouth on Monday, December 21 at 6 p.m.
  • Attend one of the special Caroling or virtual concerts offered by Plymouth during December. You can download an Advent Calendar from the website or check the Events page for details.
  • Prepare for 2021 by subscribing to or purchasing a daily devotional to use everyday next year. (See below for suggestions).

St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Daily Devotionals for Everyone

A great way to stretch toward Everywhere and Always is to find a daily dose of inspiration such as the United Church of Christ’s (UCC) Still Speaking Daily Devotional which is available as a free daily email by subscribing at:

If you prefer a book format you can try:

  • From the United Church of Christ: God is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotions by Christina Villa
  • From local author, Joyce Rupp: Anchors for the Soul or Fragments of Your Ancient Name
  • Or a year of poetry: A Poem for Every Day of the Year by Allie Esiri
  • Or a year of music (you need to have Apple Music): Year of Wonder by Clemency Burton-Hill

2. For the seventh day take a rest or sabbath.

Make space for an intentional break from your work, worries, stresses, or perfectionism. Make the duration whatever length of time would feel like a true sabbath: five minutes, an hour, half a day or a whole day. Unlike God, we need to rest and recharge to be more loving.


Christmas Special Offering 2020


Christmas Special Offering 2020

*NOTE: Christmas Special Offering is still open if you would like to donate. It will remain open until January 24!*

Updated from January 14, 2021: Without the opportunity to pass the plate at our traditional Christmas Eve services, Plymouth’s 2020 Christmas Special Offering came in about $10,000 short of our goal. Though an understandable byproduct of the pandemic world we are living through together, we hope to honor our commitments to our community partners. So we are reopening the 2020 Christmas Special Offering. Until January 24, you can mail your check or give online. Your donation will help six worthy organizations receive the money they need to fulfill the work included in their special offering applications. Thank you for your prayerful consideration of this extended opportunity to support the missions of these important community partners: Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, CROSS Outreach, Des Moines Public Schools, Nutrition4Young Children, Children and Family Urban Movement, and Children and Families of Iowa. Funds will also support the Plymouth Good Samaritan Fund (formerly known as the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund).

Dear Plymouth Members,

As you prepare to celebrate Christmas, please consider a Special Offering gift that supports our Just Peace covenant. This year’s Christmas offering recipients have been decided. Below are the groups that this offering will go towards and some more information about each.

Pastor’s Discretionary Fund
These funds are directed to urgent needs of community members, covering items such as rent assistance, utility cost, medicine, and bus/travel expense.

Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center
Funds from Plymouth’s Christmas Special Offering will support therapeutic supplies for children and teens who seek mental health services from the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center’s C.O.O.L. (Children Overcoming the Obstacles of Life).

CROSS Outreach
The funding from this grant will provide direct financial assistance toward the payment of rent, security deposit, mortgage, electric/gas or water bills for low- or no-income Des Moines area residents experiencing a one-time emergency. If fully funded the funds from Plymouth’s Christmas Special Offering will prevent 20 households from losing their utility service or from becoming homeless.

Des Moines Public Schools
As a district level professional, I will collaborate with our programs and needs to identify how the support can impact the most families. This year we may look at using funds for basic needs and keeping families in housing or we may just use it for holiday giving.

Nutrition4Young Children
When mothers/pregnant women attend our sessions they receive a back pack containing several items of use for babies and small children.  We serve both English and Spanish speaking clients.  One item in each pack is a bilingual book for mothers to read to their children.  We are requesting funds for this expenditure.

Children and Family Urban Movement
CFUM has incurred new cost due to Covid-19 and all the changes we have made to fit the needs of our community.  Funding from this gift would relieve some of the additional cost CFUM has accrued.  It will allow us to continue to offer all-day programming until students return to 100% in person learning. It will allow us to continue to get the extra supplies needed for each individual student.  CFUM’s added expenses due to Covid-19 include mask, thermometers, gloves, disinfectant wipes and cleaner, paper towels, and hand sanitizer.  CFUM has had extra cost for staffing now that we are limiting the classroom sizes to a 10:1 student to staff ratio.

Children and Families of Iowa
To assist with the transportation and housing needs of clients, Children & Families of Iowa respectfully requests a grant of $5,000 from Plymouth United Church of Christ. Funding would specifically be utilized for drivers’ salaries, insurance, gasoline, and vehicle maintenance for shelter’s van; bus tokens and cab vouchers for clients when the van is in use; as well as apartment application fees, rent deposits and moving assistance. Although CFI budgets for these needs, a grant from Plymouth Church would allow CFI to reach even more survivors.

To keep our Church Family safe and healthy, we will not be passing the plate at our brief in-person Christmas Eve services. You can give online or by mail. To keep our Church Family safe and healthy, there will be no in person Thanksgiving services. Please make your gifts online at (see more details below).

If you would prefer to mail a check, please include the memo line “Christmas Gifts” and mail address it with the following:

Plymouth Church Attn: Nancy Bassett
4126 Ingersoll Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50312.

Thank you for your generosity,
Plymouth Board of Benevolences

Making an Online Donation

Make a donation by check, electronic checking or the gift of stock. If you chose to make a donation by one of the above methods, please visit the Pledge page on our website. Select the middle Donate button. At the bottom of the form, you will see “This donation is for…” Select one of those offerings.

Make a one-time or recurring donation by credit card. If you chose to make a donation through PayPal, please visit the Pledge page on our website. Select the yellow Donate button on the right. You will be directed to PayPal. Input the total donation, and select to pay through your PayPal account or by Debit or Credit card. At the top of the form, you will see “Write a Note.” Select this and type in the “Christmas Special Offering.”


Support AMOS


As we approach the end of 2020 and are nearly to our $20,000 goal, will you consider supporting AMOS financially this year and help us close the gap?

AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy) is a relational grassroots approach to organizing that empowers people to take action and change communities and lives. Through this process, we cut through divisions such as race, religion, and socioeconomic status, and discover the passions and concerns that unite us all. Hundreds of people enter public life and claim responsibility for their future here in central Iowa. Click here to read more.

The budget for AMOS is raised from the dues of its member institutions, individual support, and annual fundraisers (like this one). AMOS does not accept government funding. We rely on the leadership and guidance of trained and committed community organizers – like our AMOS lead organizer, Courtney Dufford.

This year, our fundraising goal is $20,000 and we have just over $4,000 left to raise. Consider supporting the organization standing for over 20 years in Central Iowa for local democracy and local accountability. Consider a donation to help us meet our goals to develop leadership, create and host training, and fund meaningful actions.  By organizing people and organizing money, we are creating lasting and meaningful change in our communities.

If you’d like to donate to AMOS this year, you can do so online at or make out a check to “AMOS” and mail to:

c/o St. Theresa Catholic Church
1230 Merle Hay Rd
Des Moines, IA 50311

Thank you for your generous support!


Financial Peace 2021


Financial Peace University 2021

Start the New Year right! Find peace in getting your finances in order through proven steps. Financial Peace University Classes are Sunday evenings from 6-8 p.m., beginning Jan. 3 to Feb. 28, 202. For Plymouth members, the fees are $100 (originally $129) which includes all course materials and access to e-resources. Register before December 1, and receive a 25% discount. Class size is limited to 10 registrants.

Registration includes a spouse or a significant other attendance with the registrant. Register by December 30 to reserve your place to a happier and healthier future. To enroll or ask more question, please call or email Emily Tripp at 515.255.3149 or