Christian Social Action


acting, or ‘standing up,’ on behalf of another’s or one’s own interest, e.g. petitioning, legal action, lobbying.

Our advocacy work is wide ranging, and we respond to both immediate concerns in the community and long-standing systemic concerns. Most recently we advocated on behalf of:

  • civil rights of LGBT people,
  • survivors of human trafficking,
  • welcome for refugees and immigrants,
  • women’s health,
  • mental illness,
  • climate change, and
  • water quality in Iowa.
Willits GLBT Advisory Team

Advocacy focus: Expanding and living into our open and affirming policy in regard to GLBT folks and our resolution in support of marriage equality. Partners with community advocacy organizations including Interfaith Alliance, One Iowa, Iowa Pride Network to advance GLBT civil rights and inclusion in the broader community. Dan Warren.

Human Trafficking Task Force

Advocacy focus: Legal protections and community support of human trafficking survivors. Collaborate with a wide range of grassroots service, education, and law enforcement agencies to effect change. Shirlee Reding.

Economic Justice Task Force

Advocate focus: Income inequality, living wage, worker justice, wage theft. Collaborate with local and national advocacy including Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Interfaith Worker Justice. Jerrid Kruse.

Mental Health Task Force

Advocacy focus: Mental health services for all who need them, heightened awareness of the unique challenges faced by people living with mental illness and improved representation of their interests in the public sphere. At the congregational level, living into our open and affirming policy as concerns the mentally ill. Neil Fagan.

Green Coalition

Advocacy focus: Environmental resilience including investment in the alternative local food system, climate change mitigation, and water quality. A loosely affiliated group of teams working on various of these issues. Partnering with Global Greens Farm, Coyote Run Farm, Wabi Sabi Farm, Drake Agricultural Law Center, Citizens Climate Lobby, Interfaith Climate Change Coalition, Interfaith Power and Light. Lois Schultz.

Peace Committee

Advocacy focus: Peacemaking at the local, national and international levels. Draw attention and call us to action to reduce gun violence and U.S.-linked militarism abroad. Partners include the Ecumenical Peace Committee, Catholic Peace Ministries, American Friends Service Committee, and many more. Mark and Janet Rosenbury.

Educating for Change

Expert researchers, front-line activists, grassroots leaders teach us about critical social and environmental concerns and invite action.

Education is a core value at Plymouth, and educating for change is central to our identity and history. Recently we’ve sponsored expert lecture series on human trafficking, income inequality and economic justice, water quality in Iowa, the transgendered experience, climate change, and human rights in Latin America. Keep an eye out for a wide selection of timely lectures and panel discussions sponsored by our community action teams.

Community Organizing

Systematic connection between people and community institutions for action toward a shared interest.

A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy (AMOS): We intentionally build relationships with one another, with other congregations and community organizations for the purpose of creating social change. Through grassroots listening sessions, house meetings and collective discernment, we act together for change. Sue Hoss.

Direct Service

Serving others through face-to-face relationships, e.g. serving meals at the shelter, tutoring, mentoring.

We serve our neighbors as servants at Central Iowa Shelter and Services twice every month, tutors to refugee families, mentors to students with intellectual disabilities from Ruby Van Meter High School every weekday in Plymouth Grounds coffee shop, as hosts to families experiencing homelessness for a week each quarter with Family Promise of Greater Des Moines, as mentors for men and women returning from prison with Bridges of Iowa, and in many, many other capacities.

Homeless Assistance Team (HAT)

Service focus: Homeless residents of our community. Second Sunday of every month HAT provides service projects following worship in Waveland Hall and then gathers there again in the evening to build breakfast casseroles for the Salvation Army, pack lunches for residents at Central Iowa Shelter and Services, deliver bread to the shelters, assemble hygiene packs and much more. In addition, HAT coordinates church-wide dinner service at CISS twice every month. All are welcome! Jane Hemminger.

Family Promise

Service focus: Families with children experiencing homelessness. As part of a metro-wide interfaith network, one week each quarter Plymouth hosts up to three families experiencing homelessness right here at church. We provide overnight accommodations, family-style dinner and warm hospitality for the whole family inside the church building. Meals, hosts and van drivers are always needed. Jack Lufkin.

RENEW Family Literacy

Service focus: Refugee families in need of language skills and caring community. Saturday afternoons and Wednesday mornings Plymouth volunteers teach English and literacy to refugee families in an atmosphere of respect and hospitality.

Transition from Prison Ministry

Service focus: Men and women recently released from incarceration. Volunteers work in pairs with same-gender individuals referred to us by Bridges of Iowa and other community half-way houses. Partners work together for six months or so to build healthy relationships, envision new goals and add support through the transition to life on the outside. Ben Miller-Coleman.

Plymouth Grounds Coffee Shop

Service focus: Vocational training for young people with intellectual disabilities. Volunteers and professional staff work with students from Des Moines metro schools to develop work readiness and interpersonal skills as baristas in our full-service coffee shop. Trained volunteers work alongside baristas as they build confidence and skills that will help them enter the workforce. Sue Hoss.

To learn more about Christian Social Action at Plymouth Church, contact Valerie Miller-Coleman, Minister of Community Engagement:


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