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!
During this COVID time, our staff at Plymouth have created and modified a variety of different programs for our church community. Currently, our staff are working to prepare programming for 2021. They have created a survey of questions regarding the past eight months of virtual and hybrid programming, and they want to hear your thoughts! They encourage you to provide open and honest answers and feedback. One survey per household is sufficient. All responses are anonymous.
Please use the link below to fill out the survey. Submit your responses by Sunday, November 15.
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!
Nine OnLine is a three-week small group experience for the Fall of 2020. The purpose is to grow in love of God and neighbor by getting to know new people and sharing about your faith in this moment.
Each group will include nine screens on Zoom and will be facilitated by one of Plymouth’s ministers. The groups will meet for one hour each week for three weeks during September. Follow this link to see the available slots and to sign-up: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/508094AAEA72DA1FA7-nine
We ask that you please sign-up up for only one slot per household! If there is interest, we will offer additional groups in October.
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!
Register now for Plymouth’s 2020 take-home Vacation Bible School!
Kids from pre-K to 5th grade (rising 6th graders) will have fun with Bible stories, crafts, skits, songs, snacks and MORE!
Enjoy the three days Aug. 10-12 or as your schedule permits! All materials will be provided and can be picked up at Plymouth or delivered!