The Rev. Dr. Timothy C. Murphy is a minister-scholar-activist. He is responsible for the spiritual life of the church through preaching, teaching, and pastoral care, serving as executive head and administrator of church staff. Prior to accepting the call to serve Plymouth Church as its Senior Pastor and Teacher in August 2018, Timothy most recently served as Transitional Pastor of All Peoples Christian Church in Los Angeles, CA. He previously led Progressive Christians Uniting, a faith and social justice organization based in southern California, as its Executive Director for three years, focusing on the areas of mass incarceration and climate change. He has also taught courses at Claremont School of Theology in the areas of Religion, Ethics, and Politics. From 2007-2010, he was the Minister for Youth and Social Justice at Pilgrim UCC in Carlsbad, CA.
Holding standing in both the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Timothy has served in various congregational and ministry settings in Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, and California. Author of Counter-Imperial Churching for a Planetary Gospel: Radical Discipleship for Today and Sustaining Hope in an Unjust World: How to Keep Going When You Want to Give Up, he and his wife, Candace, are proud to call Fort Wayne home.
REV. DR. TIMOTHY C. MURPHY
Rev. Sara Ofner-Seals was called to serve at Plymouth as associate pastor in June of 2021. Before arriving at Plymouth, she served for four years as co-pastor at First Congregational Church in New London, CT and for five years as pastor at Park Congregational Church in Norwich, CT. In addition to her pastoral work, she served as the communications manager and volunteer coordinator at the New London Homeless Hospitality Center from 2017-2021, and was the director of the New London Urban Outreach Project from 2018-2020. Before becoming a pastor, Sara received a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance from Millikin University and a master of music degree in early music performance from the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. After completing her studies in music, Sara went on to receive her master of divinity degree from Yale Divinity School in 2010, and was ordained in the United Church of Christ in 2012.
While she has spent many years on the east coast, Sara originally hails from Davenport, IA, and is excited to return to her midwestern roots. She is married to oboe player Barrett Seals and together they share their home with two rescue dogs named Maya and Amos, and a cat named Shiroashi (Japanese for white feet).
REV. SARA OFNER-SEALS
January Simpson serves part time as Associate in Pastoral Care, bringing the community and care of Plymouth to church members who are homebound or living in nursing homes. January became a member of Plymouth in 2016, and also serves on the Benevolence Committee and Evangelism & Marketing Board. In 2018, she completed a 9-month residency at Lutheran Hospital in Clinical Pastoral Education, and was installed as a Licensed Minister at Plymouth in 2019.
Continuing to explore a call to ministry, January is now a member in discernment at Plymouth and also leads worship services for Cross UCC in Berne, IN. She shares life with her wife, Maggie, and their adorable pets – cats Knucklehead and Chucklehead, and pup Freckles.
Associate in Pastoral Care
EDUCATION & CHILD CARE
Kara Jaurigue is proud to have the title of Youth Director. She is a child of the church and Plymouth is her second home, and now her own children are growing up here! Kara loves and appreciates so much about this place! As an adult friend and mentor, Kara is thankful to be able to offer a safe-haven for the young people in our church family. In her free time, she loves to sing and spend time with family and friends.
Director of Music
Maestro Robert Nance is a multi-talented musician who maintains a lively schedule as conductor, keyboardist, teacher, composer, and arts advocate. A distinguished graduate of DePauw University School of Music (Indiana) and the Peabody Conservatory (Baltimore), Nance has served as the the Director of Music at Plymouth Congregational Church of Fort Wayne since 1999. He is also the President and Founding Artistic Director of Heartland Sings, Inc., a company of professional vocal artists and ensembles founded in 1997.
He has received many honors and awards to his credit, including guest conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a recipient of the Indiana Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship, has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and appeared on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. His “Attitude Series” of keyboard recordings are favorites and his recording “The Spirit of Christmas” featuring Heartland Sings continues to receive rave reviews.
Maestro Nance has made Fort Wayne his home since December of 1989, where he has distinguished himself as a dedicated performer and teacher, as well as a capable community leader committed to the arts and the artists who make it possible. In honor of his commitment to the arts, in 2017 he was awarded “Artist of the Year” by Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne. For more information, visit www.MaestroNance.com
Tina Puitz oversees all support staff and keeps the office running smoothly as its Office Manager. She is originally from Lafayette but moved to Fort Wayne when attending St. Francis College. She loves spending time with her three children, working in her flower gardens, reading books (especially murder mysteries), and spending time in nature. Tina’s background of an English/Art degree, office and volunteer management and organization skills are especially helpful in her position.
BUILDING & TECH
John Hoelderle is the maintenance manager here at Plymouth Church. He is always up to something, being active around the building, but is always there when you need him.