Matt Mardis-LeCroy

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.

Lindsey Braun

Lindsey began her service at Plymouth Church as Minister of Discipleship in September 2016. A native Minnesotan, she grew up steeped in so many Iowa jokes that she never imagined she would serve in Iowa, let alone love it. Five years as solo pastor of Immanuel UCC in Latimer converted her, and she is now proud to call Iowa home.

A graduate of St. Olaf College and the University of Chicago Divinity School, Lindsey is interested in how music and the arts – particularly storytelling – help people make connections between life and faith.

As Minister of Discipleship, Lindsey gets to put this interest to work with the good people of Plymouth across all ages and points of their faith journey. Besides the shared everyday work of pastoring (preaching, worship leadership, and pastoral care), she gets to focus on questions of faith formation, spiritual growth, and discipleship here at Plymouth. Lindsey supports the Boards of Spiritual Growth and Christian Education and the Youth Executive Committee, supervises the Discipleship Team, and teaches through the Stepping Stones, Confirmation, and Adult Education programs.

As an alum of a Transition into Ministry residency in Chicago, Lindsey is excited about Plymouth’s commitment to the continued development of young ministers. As she makes Des Moines her home, Lindsey enjoys exploring bike trails and opportunities for live music and theatre, hanging in her hammock with a good book, stress baking, and walking her neighborhood.

Valerie Miller-Coleman

Plymouth Church called Valerie Miller-Coleman to serve as Minister of Community Engagement in September of 2011. Leadership for our social justice, direct service and charitable-giving ministries all fall in her wheelhouse – in addition to the full range of ministerial duties. Aside from preaching, her great loves are launching new worship services, facilitating strategic planning with lay leaders, and building life-changing justice and service ministries from the ground up.

An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Valerie holds a Bachelor’s degree (in religious studies) from Macalester College, a Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and in 2018 she will complete a Doctor of Ministry degree (in preaching) at Chicago Theological Seminary. Prior to joining the clergy team at Plymouth, Valerie was the founding executive director of Family Promise of Lawrence, Kansas. Previous to that call, she served as Minister of Community Outreach at Sixty-First Avenue United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee.

Outside of Plymouth, Valerie has served on the Polk County Continuum of Care governing board and its affordable housing committee, the Committee on Ministry for the Central Association of the Iowa Conference of the UCC, and the Polk County Supervisors’ Living Wage Task Force, the congregational relations committee of Family Promise of Greater Des Moines and the board of directors for CROSS Ministries, an area homelessness prevention agency.

Valerie is married to Ben Miller-Coleman, an attorney and gifted lay leader. They have three children, Lucy, Leo and Lawrence (if you think that’s cute, you should meet the L-squad in person!), and enjoy throwing parties, hitting the playground, and traveling to spend time with extended family.

Laura Robinson

Laura was born in Honolulu, but spent the bulk of her childhood and youth in Seattle. She is the daughter of a UCC minister and a public educator (both retired), sister to two brothers, and a proud aunt to three nephews, two nieces, and one more on the way – all of whom live in Seattle.

She graduated from Whitman College in 2009 with a degree in History. After college and some adventures abroad, Laura returned to Walla Walla and jumped into the world of wine. She spent the next four years working for a small, family-owned winery and vineyard.

Laura often says seminary was the least surprising surprise of her life – her decision to attend seminary continues to surprise her and yet has felt right since she made it. Laura landed at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, a Methodist school associated with Emory. Candler was a great place to deepen her faith, learn alongside excellent professors and peers, and to discover that the UCC was absolutely her denominational home.

Personal stuff: she loves to travel and explore new corners of the world, near and far. She loves to read, practice yoga, and get outdoors. Laura also love dogs, sometimes cats, horses and most of the rest of God’s creatures.


LeAnn Stubbs

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.


The Preaching of Paul and a Punk Rock Song: Acts 13 and 14

  This week’s Scripture reading reminds me of a punk rock song. No, seriously. Belfast’s own Stiff Little Fingers has a song called “Nobody’s Hero.” It’s a (loud, angry) reminder that human beings have a habit of trusting too much in mere mortals. But the thing is: you don’t need a punk rock song to... Read More

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