Meet Our Program Staff
Director of Child and Family Ministry
- Phone: 515.255.3149, ext. 26
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel has worked with children for 16 years, connecting to their energy, curiosity, and love. She has taught PK through high school in both the private and public school setting, teaching general studies, English, drama, dance, voice and choral music. She has volunteered in children’s ministry since high school, and finally decided to listen to God’s call to do it professionally in 2013.
Rachel is passionate about finding common ground in the church setting by empowering creativity, honesty, and kindness. She loves writing curriculum that is accessible to every volunteer and allows children to grow in their faith without restriction. In her spare time, Rachel teaches Incredible Years and Love and Logic parenting classes through Polk County/Child Abuse Prevention Council. She loves to cook, read books on Spirituality, and watch historical fiction television series on PBS.
Rachel is a trained singer and loves to share her voice with others. She is trained in classical voice but loves to sing all types of music, especially songs from the 1930s-40s and musical theater. She has directed many productions, including Oliver, Phantom of the Opera, Gepetto and Son, The Wiz, Oklahoma, Hansel and Gretel, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Grease, and her own work, The Last Hours of Christ. She has sung with the University of Iowa Opera Theater, Cedar Rapids Opera, Ottumwa Symphony, Southeastern Iowa Symphony Orchestra, Dubuque Orchestra, and at every church she has ever attended.
Rachel is an Iowa girl, wife, and mom to Olivia, Sam and Felix. Her husband, Edward, teaches voice at Drake and has his own voice studio here in town called the Edward Corpus Voice Studio. They have three cats named Pepe’, Figaro and Oliver. They live in West Des Moines.
Director of Communications
- Phone: 515.255.3149, ext. 22
- Email: email@example.com
Cindy was born in southeast Kansas, and grew up in Kansas City, MO. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City with bachelor’s degrees in English (Journalism) and Psychology. Cindy also attended graduate school at the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She has lived in the Des Moines, IA area since 1991.
After an invaluable start in newspaper journalism as a reporter for the Kansas City Star/Times, Cindy discovered the thrill of marketing communications, where she developed expertise in copywriting, graphic design, branding and managing creative teams. Her work during her career has been recognized with numerous awards from professional and industry associations. She has served as Director of Communication for Plymouth since March 2010.
Cindy’s goal at Plymouth is to devise and implement a communication’s strategy that is consistent, cutting-edge and creative, and that successfully reaches the congregation’s wide variety of internal and external audiences.
Cindy lives in Urbandale with her spouse, Sharon Eklund, who operates her own business. Cindy’s interests include training and showing dogs, and perennial gardening.
Director of Music and Fine Arts
- Phone: 515.255.3149, ext. 24
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris is thrilled to be called to lead the music ministry at Plymouth Church, working with the wonderful staff and volunteers.
Chris loves what he does, and is fond of saying, “I’ve never worked a day in my life!” Chris is most happy when he stands in front of a choir or an ensemble, a band or an orchestra, in rehearsal or in worship. Chris has had the fortune to work with and direct a wide variety of instrumental and choral ensembles of all ages.
A native of East Tennessee and cradle Methodist (until now!), Chris has been involved in leading church music and worship since age 15. Chris was active in music ministry in the Knoxville area for over a decade before moving to Wesley United Methodist Church at Frederica (2012-2017), located on St. Simons Island, Georgia. At Wesley, he was responsible for the Chancel Choir, Women’s Chorale, Men’s Ensemble, Wesley Ringers, Golden Isles Community Chorus, Messiah Chorus, and Coastal Brass Choir. Additionally, Chris actively supported and participated in other community music ensembles.
A clarinet player, Chris holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education—Wind/Percussion (cum laude) and Master of Music in Choral Conducting, both from University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Currently, Chris is a student in the Doctorate of Worship Studies program at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies in Jacksonville, Florida.
While at UTK, Chris played in the “Pride of the Southland” Marching Band, the Symphonic Band, the Wind Ensemble, and sang in the UT Chamber Singers, Concert Choir and Men’s Chorale. Additionally, Chris spent three years (two as a conductor) participating in DCI’s Drum & Bugle Corps.
When not making music, Chris enjoys cooking, tennis, reading, and exploring his new home city—Des Moines! He lives downtown with his three cats: Louis, Sam, and Miss Kitty.
- Phone: 515.255.3149, ext. 25
- Email: email@example.com
Carl is a graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, where 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 serving as organist at a church in Clearwater, FL, for more than a decade.
Carl has won prizes in many competitions and has performed extensively in recital on both the organ and the carillon.
As accompanist, Carl is a perennial favorite of Plymouth kids who travel on the annual Matins tour.
Director of Operations and Finance
- Phone: 515.255.3149, ext. 19
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer’s hometown is Yardley, Pennsylvania, located in Bucks County near Philadelphia. Her family moved to the Midwest and Naperville, Illinois, when she was a sophomore in high school. Jennifer continued her education at Drake University and earned a BSBA with a major in finance.
Her career includes a blend of private sector and church-related positions. Following graduation, she worked as a financial analyst for CNA Insurance in Chicago. Back in Des Moines, she was administrator for the Presbyterian Church in Iowa. Immediately before joining Plymouth in 2007, Jennifer served as a business manager for three magazines published by Meredith Corporation. Jennifer has earned two professional certifications in Human Resources, PHR and SHRM-CP.
Jennifer is married to Rich Harbart, a retired UCC minister. They each have two grown children, Katie and Joe for Jennifer and Shelaine and Jon-Martin for Rich. Other members of the family include three dogs, Lucky, Humphrey, and Skeeter.
When not at work, Jennifer gardens and reads.
Pastoral Residency Coordinator
- Phone: 515.255.3149, ext. 47
- Email: email@example.com
Frank Thomas, B.A., Grinnell College; J.D., Indiana University is Coordinator of the Transition into Ministry (TiM) program, a 27-month residency funded by the Lilly Endowment and Plymouth Church. He has served in Iowa State Government in the Citizens’ Aide/Ombudsman Office originating the position of Legal Analyst; as an Assistant Attorney General; and, in the Department of Human Services. Frank was employed by Grinnell College from 1991 until 2009 and served in various positions—including as Special Assistant to the President and Secretary of the Board of Trustees; Vice-President for Human Resources; Vice President for Diversity; and Senior Counselor, from which position he retired in 2009.
Frank’s community experiences include being a Board Member of the following: Young Women’s Resource Center; Youth Law Center; United Theological Seminary; Iowa Student Loan; and formerly Sponsor for the first “I Have a Dream” Foundation program in Des Moines, beginning in 1989 and serving as a member of the Foundation Board from 1997 through 2008. Frank has served various positions at Plymouth including Family Life Committee, Board of Christian Education, Assistant Moderator and Moderator. In the Iowa Conference he served consecutive terms as chair of the Board of Directors. In 1995 to 1997, Frank served as Assistant Moderator for the General Synod of the United Church of Christ. Frank is married to Sheena Brown Thomas, a goldsmith and co-owner of Elements, Ltd. in Des Moines and they have two adult sons. He is a long-time suffering fan of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox—waiting for next year.
Director of Youth Ministry
- Phone: 515.255.3149, ext. 21
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan joined the Plymouth staff in 2006 as the Director of Youth and Children’s Music and currently serves as Director of Youth Ministry. 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 and Children’s Music. Susan oversees the Youth Ministry Program at Plymouth Church as well as hands-on musical direction of the Matins Choir (9-12th grade) and the Soul Singers (7-8th grade). She also oversees the Children’s Choir Program and their directors.
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.
Susan lives in rural Van Meter with her husband, Chad. She has two sons – Grant, who will be a attending Simpson College and Gavin, who will be a sophomore. Both boys have been actively involved in the youth program and Chad serves as the 2nd grade Lead Teacher in the Sunday School program.