With five ministers on staff, Plymouth members get the benefit of hearing different perspectives and different approaches to illuminating scripture. This variety of voices is a blessing, helping us see the scripture in its fullness and richness of meanings — making God more present to us, helping us understand the historic context of these texts, and allowing us, even in the Bible’s strangest stories, to see what truths are revealed.
November 23, 2014, Matt Mardis-LeCroy became Senior Minister of Plymouth Church. He had served as Senior Minister-Elect since a congregational vote in October 2013. Matt has served Plymouth in various pastoral roles since 2005. Before making the move to Des Moines, he was the solo pastor of The Community Church of Little Neck on the north shore of Long Island.
An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Matt holds a Bachelor’s degree (in religion) from Messiah College, and a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. During his time at Princeton, he received two awards for outstanding preaching and another for New Testament exegesis. In 2013 he completed his Doctor of Ministry degree (in preaching) at Chicago Theological Seminary.
As Senior Minister, Matt does minister stuff (preaching, teaching, worship leadership, pastoral care), carries administrative oversight for several of Plymouth’s ministries, and collaborates with the Director of Operations and Finance to guide the overall life of the church.
Outside of Plymouth, Matt has served as chair of Committee on Ministry for the Central Association of the Iowa Conference of the UCC, and teaches preaching through the Iowa Conference CENTER/LEARN program. He is a past chair of the Board of Directors of Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, past president of the Great Neck Clergy Association and a former member of the National Steering Committee for the UCC’s 20/30 Clergy Network.
Matt is married to Mary Beth Mardis-LeCroy, an ordained Presbyterian minister who (among other things) leads the Saturday Night Band at Plymouth. They have one daughter (Ellie), one son (Wil) and one cat (Hildegard). In his spare time, Matt enjoys reading, walking and experimenting in the kitchen.
Minister of Vitality and Outreach
Lindsey Braun (pronounced “brown”) serves as Plymouth’s Minister of Vitality and Outreach. In this role, Lindsey tends areas of ministry that contribute to a living and growing faith. These include Plymouth’s two-year, high commitment confirmation program, as well as Plymouth’s community efforts in Benevolence (direct service) and Christian Social Action (advocacy and solidarity with our neighbors). Opportunities for ecumenical and interfaith connection are also part of Lindsey’s portfolio, as is Plymouth’s connection with our wider United Church of Christ denomination. Lindsey serves on the Iowa UCC’s Central Association Committee on Ministry and the Iowa Conference Annual Meeting Planning Committee.
A graduate of St. Olaf College and the University of Chicago Divinity School, Lindsey’s first ministry was as a Transition into Ministry resident in Chicago. As an alumna of a TiM program, Lindsey is excited about Plymouth’s ongoing commitment to the continued development of young ministers. Lindsey first came to Iowa via a solo pastorate in 2011. After over five years of solo ministry, she gratefully accepted the call to serve on Plymouth’s team of settled ministers in 2016.
One of Lindsey’s passions in life and in ministry is storytelling. (Think “The Moth” or “The Storytellers Project” or “This American Life.”) She hopes to engage this interest and expertise by helping Plymouth’s people tell their stories and the story of how our shared ministries impact their faith and their lives. When we recognize our own story as part of God’s story, we are empowered to grow a more vital faith and reach farther in love of God and neighbor.
Lindsey makes her home in Windsor Heights with her husband Lucas Forte. They are exploring new ventures in vegetable gardening and look forward to a future that again involves live music and theatre. They also enjoy exploring bike trails, finding quiet water to put in a tandem kayak, and walking the neighborhood together. When weather allows, Lindsey likes hanging in her hammock with a good book. When it doesn’t, stress baking and storytelling are great outlets. You can see her work via the Des Moines Storytellers Project or the Today Show.
Mary Kate Buchanan
Mary Kate was ordained at her home church in Hudson, Ohio in the same month that she arrived here at Plymouth to begin as the new TiM Associate Minister in June 2019. Her ordination was Plymouth filled! The Matins choir sang for her service while on tour, and Jeanette Brodersen, a former TiM, blessed her as the Associate Minister of First Congregational Church of Hudson.
Mary Kate earned her bachelor’s degree from Furman University in South Carolina then followed her call to continue her studies at Princeton Theological Seminary where she received her Master of Divinity in May 2019. While her time in the South and on the East coast were exciting adventures, Mary Kate is so glad to return to the Mid-West for the next two years!
Besides the shared everyday work of pastoring, Mary Kate is especially looking forward to diving into the creation of an older adults ministry at Plymouth. Older adults and the wisdom, stories, and laughs that they bring, are a passion of hers. Ministering to and with older adults by providing opportunities for intergenerational growth, meaningful service, fellowship, mentoring, teaching, and learning will be some of her main goals.
As she continues to explore Des Moines, Mary Kate enjoys baking, gardening on her porch, reading in the sunshine (with sunscreen!), and spending time with her fat, orange cat named Princie. While Mary Kate has many passions, her passion for frogs and the color pink are most notable!
Minister of Care and Connection
A native of California, LeAnn happily calls Iowa home. Although if she had her way, winter would last for only six weeks.
Graduating from the University of New Mexico with a degree in art education, she ended up teaching Texas History to 7th graders in a small town outside of San Antonio. When middle schoolers told her she should be a pastor, she listened and attended Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, a member school of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. Her first call was to St. John’s in downtown Des Moines. She has also served as campus pastor at Grand View University and most recently was the senior pastor at St. Stephen in Urbandale.
On January 2, 2013 she began her adventure at Plymouth Church, having been called to provide leadership for Plymouth’s ministries of pastoral care and evangelism, including the Board of Membership, Plymouth Women, Stephen Ministry, Visiting Ministry, and the flower delivery team.
Several years ago, to her great surprise, she took up running and hanging out at the gym. She enjoys cooking, but not baking. Baking has too many rules. Her faithful companion is a German Shepherd named Kairos. She cannot believe her good fortune in being called to Plymouth where she has been called to care about and love folks.
Native to the hot and sunny climate of Orlando, Florida, Rushing Kimball now calls Iowa home to serve as the TiM Associate Minister beginning in June 2020.
Graduating from the University of North Florida with his bachelor’s degree in International Studies, he continued his education at Candler School of Theology at Emory University where he received his master of divinity with a certificate in religious education in May 2020. While in seminary, Rushing served as the chaplain of an Atlanta homeless shelter, completed his C.P.E. internship at the Atlanta V.A. Medical Center, served as the seminary intern at St. Mark UMC in Atlanta, and as the Intern in Congregational Leadership at St. Luke’s UMC in Orlando.
Currently a candidate for ordination on the elder track in the United Methodist Church, Rushing is excited to be in ministry with Plymouth Church where he hopes to find opportunities for personal and spiritual growth, and to preach and teach God’s love.
In his spare time, Rushing enjoys biking, running, spending time outside, reading non-fiction books, musical theater, and trying new food!