4126 Ingersoll Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50312
January 2, 2021
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Jared came to Plymouth Church in 2021 after serving at Peachtree Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Midtown Atlanta. He is passionate about faith formation for all ages and believes the church is at its best when difference is held together through thoughtful discussion, engaged relationships, and meaningful advocacy. His time spent in growing urban congregations and developing ministries has been invaluable in his development as a faith and community leader.
He earned his doctorate from Emory University, where he explored theological, sociological, and philosophical assessments of dementia. His dissertation, “Re-Membering Who We Are: Congregational Care in the Face of Dementia,” explored what it means for a person’s faith journey to continue—even if they no longer recall the names, faces, and practices that were once familiar—and the role congregations play in upholding and dignifying the lives and stories of those facing memory loss.
Jared graduated with a Master of Theological Studies from The Divinity School at Duke University with an emphasis in New Testament and Christian origins. His master’s thesis addressed Jewish-Christian relations and how dynamics of power played a role in textual interpretation and social development. He has also completed coursework at Harvard Law School, Harvard Divinity School, and Emory Medical School.
Jared’s writing has been published in academic journals, and he has been an invited presenter and guest lecturer for churches, colleges and universities, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the American Academy of Religion. He is married to Katrina, and they have three young children.
A native from the Foothills of the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, Brandon has been a member of church choirs and worship teams since he was in middle school. Since then, he has always found a way to be able to worship and make music.
A tenor, Brandon graduated from the University of Sioux Falls and holds a Bachelors degree in Music Education and minors in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy. As a lifelong learner, he is currently working on a Masters degree in Urban and Culturally Responsive Education from Drake University. When not directing Soul Singers, Brandon is the Director of Choirs at Hiatt Middle School, Music Director and Stage Manager at the Des Moines Playhouse, and a voice and piano teacher at City Voices. Brandon has sung and conducted nationally and internationally as a soloist and with choirs all over the world.
As well as singing and directing choral music, Brandon has performed and directed many stage productions. When not making music, Brandon enjoys being outside, cooking, socializing with friends and family, and spending time with his puppy, Fynn.
Bloyce has a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Iowa. He has done post-graduate work in music at the University of Iowa and Garret-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and continuing education in music, including several years of hand bell/chime training and performance at FUMMWA (Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts) regional and national convocations, learning from nationally known conductors and composers.
Before coming to Plymouth, Bloyce was a music educator in Iowa and Wisconsin in grades 5-12 instrumental music and K-12 vocal music for over 14 years. He was Director of Music and Worship at West Des Moines United Methodist Church for 10 years, including substitute player and director for bell/chimes. After serving 6 years as director of HandChimes, Bloyce is looking forward to a fun, exciting year with the new Youth Handbell Ensemble.
Kelli has a BA in Music Education from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, and has received further certification in Orff (levels I & II) and Kodaly (level I) methods of music teaching from Drake. She is starting her 17th year teaching elementary music, having taught in Marshalltown, Marion, and now in Johnston. Kelli currently serves as the membership chair for the Iowa Music Educator’s Association. She has attended Plymouth for 10 years, and is starting her ninth year as the director of the Treble Choir (grades 3 AND 4). Miss Kelli loves spending time with her husband and three daughters, reading, and baking. She also plays saxophone, piano, and sings with the all-educator funk band, “Faculty Lounge.”
Jade will be starting her 15th year teaching as a K-5 General Music Teacher at Webster Elementary in Urbandale. She graduated with her Bachelor of Music degree from Simpson College in 2008 and finished her Masters in Music Education in 2017 from the University of Northern Iowa. She has been a member at Plymouth for ten years, but has been attending church at Plymouth for much longer. Jade loves to run, be outside, and anything musical! This will be Jade’s third year directing the Hallelujah! Choir.
Lydia is an Urbandale resident who grew up in Carroll, Iowa. She attended Simpson College for her Bachelor of Music Education and teaches K-5th grade music in Johnston CSD. She has additional training in Kodaly, Orff, and Dalcroze approaches to music teaching. In her free time, Lydia plays ukulele, practices yoga, and plays with her niece. She loves working with musicians of all ages and is excited to help cultivate young musicians here at Plymouth
Brianne received her B.A. in Music Education from Luther College. She directed the Glory Choir for 10 years, and is looking forward to a new year directing Chorister Choir. Bri loves to spend time with her amazing kiddos (Eleanor, 7 and Asa, 4), directing musicals, acting, being creative, and cheering on the Hawkeyes!
Linda has been the Cherub Director for over 25 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education and Master of Science in Music Education from Northwest Missouri State University. For 16 years she was an instrumental and vocal music teacher in the Saydel Community Schools. She transitioned to a career in Real Estate which allows her the time and flexibility to sing in the Plymouth Chancel Choir, direct the Cherub Choir, and play flute in an ensemble or choir anthem. Linda is looking forward to welcoming your first grader to Cherub Choir in September. “Through our singing we tell stories from the Bible and celebrate special times during the Church Year. Life experiences, even the sad times, are more bearable in our singing.”
Susan joined the Plymouth staff in 2006 as the Director of Youth and Children’s Music. She had previously served as the Director of Music at Walnut Hills United Methodist Church in Urbandale, Iowa for nine years.
In November, 2011, Susan received a Certificate in Progressive Youth Theology through the Iowa & Minnesota UCC Conferences. In January, 2012 her title changed to Director of Youth Ministry. Susan oversees the Youth Ministry Program at Plymouth Church as well as hands on musical direction of the Matins Choir (9-12th grade). Beginning fall 2021, Susan Waller will become Director of Creative Arts. She continues to oversee Matins Choir activities and direction.
Susan is also a Spiritual Director with a certificate from the Spirations Institute of Interspiritual Formation. She holds two degrees in vocal performance: a bachelor’s from Simpson College and a master’s from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. She has taught on the Adjunct Music Faculty at Simpson College and the vocal department at the Drake Community School of Music.
Dr. Barb Rush is a 1980 graduate of Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She was raised in North Dakota and has lived in the Des Moines area for more than 40 years. Upon graduation, she began practice in Des Moines and started Rush Animal Care Clinic in March of 1992. Dr. Rush is an Elite Fear Free Certified veterinarian and has four dogs: Murphy, Brody, Colin (left to right) and Zorro. What else would they be but Shelties!! Only the best breed! She has 2 grown daughters, as well.
In her free time, Dr. Rush is a pianist. She has played for the West Des Moines United Methodist Church, Urbandale Community Theater, and helped with other small groups. Dr. Barb is the director of the Christ Chimers group at West Des Moines United Methodist, a position she has held for over 15 years. Currently she is on the keyboard for the praise band at Union Park United Methodist Church in Des Moines and is an accompanist for the Edgewater Singers (Wesley Life community in West Des Moines). Dr. Barb is excited to be a part of the Plymouth Church Arts family and is very much looking forward to meeting folks and helping build enthusiasm for the handchime program.
Title: Director of Technology
Boards, Committees, groups: Technology Advisory Group
When did you start at Plymouth: November 2021
What do you do at Plymouth? I oversee all things related to technology: wireless access, phones, computers, software, etc.
Birthplace? Lake View, Iowa
Family? I am the youngest of six kids. There are three brothers and two sisters who paved the way for me.
Pets? Currently, I only have one kitty, Stella. Always looking to expand the family.
Education? B.S. in English Education (Morningside University); M.S. in Curriculum & Instructional Technology (Iowa State University)
Hobbies? Reading, theatre, cooking, gardening, walking, yoga, spending time with friends
Bucket List Item? Travel to New Zealand
Why Plymouth? I have been a member of Plymouth for many years, and appreciate the progressive theology and opportunities to learn and grow spiritually. I am happy to share my talents with Plymouth’s staff and help in any way to continue the work for the greater community.
Title: Program Assistant/Childcare Coordinator
When did you start at Plymouth: October 2021
What do you do at Plymouth? I help create, organize and set up art and activities for Church school and Child Care.
Birthplace? Des Moines, Iowa
Family? My husband Mark and I have two wonderful kids.
Hobbies? Hiking, Road trips, Museums, Antiques, Art
Bucket List Item? Travel to Ireland and Norway
Why Plymouth? I am proud to work at an affirming and progressive church.
Title: Associate Pastor
What do you do at Plymouth? Youth Ministry, Wednesday Evening Bible Study, Stephen Ministries.
Birthplace? Granby, Connecticut
Education?Undergrad at Franklin & Marshall and Graduate at Yale Divinity School
Hobbies?Painting, Drawing, Reading, Athletic Training, Cooking, Hiking
Bucket List Item?Go to Antarctica
Why Plymouth? Plymouth allows me walk with God in a new place, with a new congregation.
Anything else? I am a Chaplain Candidate in the United States Navy.
Title: Admin Assistant for Music & Fine Arts
Boards, Committees, groups: Board of Music & Fine Arts, Gallery Committee, sometimes Chancel Arts, Children’s Choir Guild, Chancel Choir Council, to name a few…
When did you start at Plymouth: November 2013
What do you do at Plymouth? All clerical support for Pre-K – age 101 Music & Fine Arts. Help fill in the weekly bulletins. Whatever is needed. Music library, instrument organization & storage, ensemble attendance, Gallery signage, Still learning new things! Currently also supporting Child & Family Ministries, Flowers, etc.
Birthplace? Ames, Iowa
Family? Retired hubby, 6 adult kids (his, mine, & ours) 3 of which are married. 5 grandkids, 3 granddogs, & a grandcat.
Pets? None, but the neighbor’s chickens sometimes come sit on our porch swing!
Education? Urbandale High School, BMus Simpson College, MMus Northwestern University
Hobbies? Knitting, sewing, bread baking
Bucket List Item? Visiting the UK and Germany again
Why Plymouth? Because my job and I are a good fit, I like my boss, and I really enjoy all the people I work with.
Anything else? Sunday mornings find me at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, where I’m in the choir, and am a member of the Chapter (think “Episcopal version of Church Council”).
Title: Executive Assistant
Started at Plymouth: June 2021
What do you do at Plymouth? Provide administrative support to the Senior Minister, pastoral staff, and Director of Operations and Finance.
Birthplace? Fort Dodge, Iowa
Pets? Francis, English Springer Spaniel
Education? BBA – University of Iowa, MTS – St. Paul School of Theology
Hobbies? Watercolor, Cooking, Books
Carl is a graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. He earned both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in organ performance.
Carl began playing the organ at the age of 10. He held his first permanent church position at 14. A church organist for more than 35 years, Carl joined Plymouth in 1992, after service as an organist at a church in Clearwater, FL for more than a decade
Carl has won prizes in many competitions and have preformed extensively in retail on both the organ and the carillon. As an accompanist, Carl is a perennial favorite of Plymouth kids who travel on the annual Matins tour.
Boards, Committees, groups: Finance Committee
Start: November 2010
What do you do at Plymouth? Accounting
Family? All grown children
Pets? One dog, Stanley
Education? University of Iowa; CPA
Title: Communications Assistant
Start: September 2019
What do you do at Plymouth? I organize Plymouth’s regular email offerings and the monthly Contact Magazine. I also help maintain the Plymouth website.
Birthplace? Marshalltown, Iowa
Family? Husband, Aaron. I’m the oldest of 3 and he is the youngest of 5. Also an auntie to 5 wonderful kids.
Pets? Orange tabby, Latte
Education? AAS in design from DMACC, BA in Graphic Design and Photography from Grand View University
Hobbies? Video games, painting, and listening to audiobooks.
Bucket List Item? Take a trip to Europe
Why Plymouth? I’m a life-long church-goer and it was my goal to work for a church in my career. I also love the progressive theology here at Plymouth.
Title: Director of Operations & Finance
Boards, Committees, groups: Trustees, Council, Stewardship, Foundation
Start: November 2019
What do you do at Plymouth? budget, stewardship campaign, building maintenance
Family? 1 son birth year 2012
Pets? 2 cats
Education? Bachelors of Business Administration from University of Iowa; Masters of Accountancy from the University of Iowa.
Anything else? I love to attend the opera
Title: Interim Senior Pastor
Boards, Committees, groups: Membership; Stewardship; Deacons; Trustees
Start: October 2020
What do you do at Plymouth? As an interim pastor, I preach, teach, manage the staff, and work with church leaders to explore the congregation’s future.
Birthplace? Lancaster, WI
Family? Two sons, Christjahn and Daniel
Pets? Two cats, Addie and Bader
Education? BA in Political Science from Truman University; MDiv from Yale Divinity School
Hobbies? Reading, embroidery
Bucket List Item? Live at the beach
Title: Pastor of Care and Welcome
Birthplace? Glendale, California
Family? Married to Tracy. Two wonderful step-sons. Parents in Pheonix. Only sibling and his family live in Holland, MI.
Pets? Home is currently shared with Grizly, a mini golden doodle and Mellie, a mini Bernie doodle.
Education? B.A in Art Education (K-12) from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM. M. Div. from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, CA
Hobbies? Being in nature, cooking from scratch, reading cookbooks
Title: Pastor of Vitality & Outreach
Boards, Committees, Groups: Board of Benevolences, Board of Christian Social Action (and all committees that fall under them), Confirmation.
Start: September 2016
What do you do at Plymouth? I oversee all things related to our UCC relationship, community partners, and things that grow justice & kindness in the world. Also things that contribute to a vital (living & growing) faith: like leading our confirmation program and encouraging people to see their own stories as part of God’s story and to share them!
Birthplace? Le Sueur, Minnesota
Family? Lucas (husband)
Pets? Chet Barker (supermutt)
Education? MDiv from University of Chicago Divinity School; BA from St. Olaf College in Interdisciplinary Fine Arts (storytelling!)
Hobbies? Swimming, reading (in the hammock is best!), stress baking, gardening, walking with Chet!
Bucket List Item? Cappadocia!
Why Plymouth? The Spirit called and I answered! Team ministry is a gift. The witness of progressive Christian faith is a gift. The people of Plymouth are a gift!
Boards, Committees, Groups: Board of Christian Stewardship, Board of Trustees, Board of Christian Social Action, Board of Benevolences.
Start: June 2020
Birthplace? Orlando, FL
Education? Master of Divinity from Emory University / BA International Studies from the University of North Florida.
Hobbies? I like to go hiking, camping, rafting, and go on walks around Des Moines. I also like to experience a new city through food.
Bucket List Item? I want to visit all 50 states and 5 territories.
Why Plymouth? Plymouth is an open and affirming congregation and committed to social justice.
Title: Director of Music & Fine Arts
Boards, Committees, Groups: Board of Music and Fine Arts, Chancel Choir Council, Children’s Choir Guild, Board of Deacons, all arts committees and musical ensembles
Start: September 2017
What do you do at Plymouth? I administrate the Music & Fine Arts programs at Plymouth Church, including directing the Chancel Choir, Chancel Chorale, Instrumental Ensemble, and assisting with the Matins Choir. I work with 30+ gifted professional musicians and directors on staff at Plymouth and over 300 volunteers in our Music and Fine Arts programs.
Birthplace? Knoxville, TN
Family? I’m an only child. My extended family live in East Tennessee.
Pets? Three cats: Louis, Sam, and Miss Kitty.
Education? Bachelor of Music in Music Education, Wind Percussion Emphasis (cum laude) from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Doctoral Candidate in the Doctor of Worship Studies program at the Robert Webber Institute for Worship Studies, Jacksonville, Florida.
Hobbies? I play clarinet in the Central Iowa Wind Ensemble and the Thornwood Clarinet Quartet. I also enjoy playing tennis recreationally, cooking/baking, walks/hiking, travel, men’s style, and personal finance.
Bucket List Item? I hope to travel more in the next five years.
Why Plymouth? I was attracted to the Music and Fine Arts program at Plymouth and willing to move from coastal Georgia to be in ministry here. I find Plymouth people to be thoughtful, conscientious, curious, open to new experiences, and appreciative of music and the arts.
Title: Director of Transition into Ministry Programs
Boards, Committees, Groups: Transition into Ministry
Start: April 2017
What do you do at Plymouth? I help equip pastoral residents and members of the congregation to effectively use their gifts, time, interests, and talents to grow and serve in meaningful ways at Plymouth Church and beyond. In other words, I help members and our TiM Residents explore and fulfill their unique calls to ministry.
Family? Married to Doug. Auntie to eight nieces and nephews.
Pets? Wellington, our beloved West Highland White Terrier
Education? B.S from Iowa State in Distributed Studies, Masters in Urban Planning, Ph.D. in Sociology
Hobbies? Reading, Writing, and Learning the Piano (Former Hobby: Cooking)
Bucket List Item? Parasailing, Writing a Novel, Seeing the Northern Lights
Why Plymouth? I’ve been a member since 1998, Plymouth is my community and has helped me grow in love of God and neighbor in the most surprising ways. More than anything, I desire helping others to do the same.
Title: Director of Communications
Start: March 2010
What do you do at Plymouth? I oversee all internal and external communications at Plymouth so we present a consistent voice and brand.
Birthplace? Southeast Kansas
Pets? Two toy poodles and two border collies
Education? BA in English and Psychology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City
Hobbies? Painting, showing and training dogs
Title: Interim Child and Family Ministries
Boards, Committees, Groups: Board of Christian Education
Start: April 2020
What do you do at Plymouth? Some activities I oversee are favorites: Church School, Vacation Bible School and the Kid’s Cart that has started showing up at worship services. An added bonus to my work at Plymouth has been getting to know children, their families, Church School teachers, Board of Christian Education members and so many Plymouth members who have offered to help with child and family programming!
Birthplace? Biloxi, Mississippi
Family? My husband, Rick, and I live in Urbandale. Our daughter and her wife live in La Crosse, Wisconsin, our daughter-in-law lives nearby and we have extended family across the U.S.
Education? My degrees from Radford University (VA), Western Illinois University, and Indiana University- Bloomington have focused on early childhood, special education and speech pathology.
Hobbies? Cooking, gardening, travel, and recently, downsizing!!
Why Plymouth? Plymouth has provided a church home that has challenged us to think about our faith and our faith-in-action for over 20 years. Our church family including ministers, staff and members has celebrated our joys and has been a source of strength and support during difficult times. We are blessed to have Plymouth church in our lives.
Anything else? My dad was in the Air Force and we moved A LOT! I attended five different schools in 1st grade!
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