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Welcome New Members!

The following new members joined Plymouth Church on Saturday, October 9 and Sunday, October 10 following our virtual Discover Plymouth class. Welcome!

Mike Bany & Ro Ruth-Bany
Mike worked in newspaper production for 43 years and retired from Gannett in 2020. Mike enjoys doing narration for the Iowa Library for the Blind. He has also participated in a number of theatre productions here in Iowa, most with Lorenzo and Robin’s Iowa Shakespeare Experience.

Ro was raised in a UCC church. It feels like home for her. After earning a BA at college in Ohio, she earned her second BA in Episcopal Diaconal Studies from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Ro has been a Stephen Minister for three years. In December 2020, she stopped working. Instead she focused on helping others, feed the hungry, and learn more about how she can help her community as a Stephen Minister.

Mike and Ro met in a Reader’s Theater group at college in Ohio. They were married in 1982. Together they have one son who recently earned his MBA and lives with his wife south of Portland Oregon. They’ve lived and worked in Ohio, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, California, and Iowa. Plymouth’s acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community is very important to them. Mike and Ro are thrilled to be joining the Plymouth community.

Robyn & Elizabeth Belden
Robyn and Elizabeth (Liz) Belden have been attending Plymouth since early 2020 after moving to Marshalltown, IA from the Nashville, TN area in 2019. Liz is splitting her time between working as an administrative assistant at Mid-Iowa Community Action and completing an internship with a web development company. She recently graduated with a degree in Computer Networking & Management. She graduated with her first degree in Vocal Music from Simpson College in 2011. In Tennessee, she sang with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra for six years. Robyn and Liz have already joined the Plymouth Chancel Choir and have enjoyed singing every Sunday. Robyn completed a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Vanderbilt University in 2010 and works as an Infant & Toddler Development Specialist in the Early Head Start Program at Mid-Iowa Community Action. Liz likes to spend her free time baking and gardening. Robyn is always watching sports or has her nose in a book. They both love to attend Broadway shows and symphony concerts.

Mark Gookin & Benton Mass
Mark and Benton live together in West Des Moines. Together they enjoy travel, playing golf, biking, boating, spending time with friends, and playing with their dog, Blitz. Mark and Benton both work for UnityPoint Health Des Moines. Mark specifically works with Eyerly Ball, which provides mental health services. They spend most of their summers away at a lake house in Clear Lake, Iowa. Benton also enjoys playing piano in his free time and is from Atlantic, which is a small community in Southwest Iowa. Both are so excited to become active members at Plymouth.

Erin Hooker
Erin is originally from Colorado and now lives in Des Moines. She is a writer and enjoys running, cooking, reading, and spending time outside with her fiancé and French bulldog.

Nancy Moon
Nancy is a long-time resident of Des Moines. She retired from Meredith Corporation after nearly 25 years. She enjoys playing bridge, traveling, and lunching with friends. She’s a season ticket holder to the Des Moines Symphony and the Des Moines Playhouse, so she’s looking forward to the art and music events Plymouth offers. Most of all, she loves to spend time with her family.

Tom & Julie Preisser
Tom and Julie have recently moved to the Des Moines area from Dayton, Ohio, where they listed for almost 50 years. They have two sons, Evan and Jonathan, and five grandchildren. Evan lives in Rhode Island and Jonathan lives here in Des Moines with his wife, Rachel.

Julie is a retired college librarian. She enjoys reading, especially about current political issues and biographies. She hopes to have time to help the Plymouth Quilters and return to her knitting.  Tom is a retired college historian. Nothing pleases him more than spending time with his sons and grandchildren. He has a great interest in current affairs, science, mountains, and WWII airplanes. He has traveled to Nepal to see Everest and to Pakistan to see K2.