Meet the newest members of the Plymouth Church family.
Jennifer Bonilla (pronounced Bow-Knee-Ah) has lived in Lawrence for most of her life. She has been an educator for Lawrence Public Schools for sixteen years. Currently, she serves as the library media specialist for the Billy Mills Middle School learning community. Jennifer is looking forward to building community at Plymouth and participating in service projects alongside her children Amaya (19), Jude (16) Milo (12) and Bodhi (4).
& Sagan Smith
“My wife and I have been together for six years, married for almost three years, coming up in May. Sagan moved here to Lawrence in 2011 to get her Master's degree at KU. I moved here in 2016 to be with her. We have two boys: Alex (16) and William (12). Our family likes to travel, play games and be outdoors. We wanted to find a church accepting of my wife and me and our family that we have created. We also wanted a church with a sense of community and purpose for ourselves and our kids.”
Chris & Bob Deter
Bob and Chris moved to Lawrence in June of 2021 from Red Oak, Iowa. Bob was the IT director for Red Oak Community Schools, and Chris ended her 40-year teaching career as a special education teacher for Red Oak Community Schools. Bob currently teaches technology classes at West Middle School in Lawrence. Chris enjoys her retirement and likes walking her dog, Jules, reading, and meeting new people in their neighborhood and Lawrence. After visiting several churches in Lawrence, they chose Plymouth because of how welcoming it is and how they have been embraced. They are eager to participate in some of the service opportunities.
Gayle & Donna Engel
Last June, Gayle, and Donna moved from St. Louis, MO, to Shawnee, KS, to be nearer to their two sons and families. They are joining by letter of transfer from Parkway United Church of Christ in St. Louis. Gayle is a retired United Church of Christ (UCC) minister, having served a local parish for six years in Missouri before entering a 35-year career in conference ministries, including Arizona, Northern California, Kansas-Oklahoma (1979-1990), and Missouri Mid-South (1990-2006). Since retirement, he has been a consultant for national ministries of the UCC. Donna taught elementary music before retiring in 2005. They have three children (two sons and a daughter) and two grandsons.
“I moved to Lawrence a little over a year ago. Originally I come from Windsor, MO, where my family still lives. I graduated from Southwest Missouri State University (now MSU) with a BS in Early Childhood Education and Family Development. I also have an M.Div. from Phillips Theological Seminary. After taking a break from church life, I am looking to rejoin the community and find a church home.”
Rachel & Duane Goossen
Rachel and Duane Goossen live in Topeka and are joining by letter of transfer from Southern Hills Mennonite Church. Rachel is a professor of history and religion at Washburn University, and Duane is retired from a career in Kansas government and politics. They are the parents of two young-adult children, and their interests include woodworking, camping, hiking, and music. Duane and Rachel appreciate being part of Plymouth's vibrant, inclusive faith community.
Sacie and David moved to town five years ago after living 23 miles north for about 22 years. Long retired from a life in the Foreign Service with David's assignments mainly in Asia, Sacie retains her interest in building projects, although it is likely the house they live in on New York Street, which they gutted and rebuilt, will be their last big job. These days, their greatest activity is walking, so they know this part of Lawrence very well. Both appreciate the open and affirming attitude of Plymouth Church.
Phyllis moved to Lawrence in the summer of 2019 to live with her daughter, Melissa. Both had become widowed within a few months of each other. Melissa and her children are also attending Plymouth. Her grandson, Jackson, recently won the Chili Cookoff supporting the youth mission trip this summer.
Phyllis lived most of her life in Tennessee, where her husband was a pediatrician for 40 years, three in the Navy, and the remainder in private practice in Jackson, TN. Phyllis has a son, Chris, who is married with one child and lives in Nashville. Her daughter, Melissa, is a teacher at Deerfield Elementary and has two children.
Phyllis received her degree in accounting, and after three years in public accounting, she received certification in church administration. For the next seventeen years, she was the Church Administrator at First United Methodist Church in Jackson, a rewarding and fulfilling time for her. Phyllis looks forward to meeting more of the Plymouth church family and finding ways to be of service to the community.
& May Winebrenner
Bridge was born and raised in Lawrence and has attended church most of her adult life. She is the mother of three wonderful children: Joe (22), Jamie (20), and May (17), and also two wonderful boxer dogs, Scarecrow and Ithaca.
“We started coming to Plymouth because we needed to find a church that would be welcoming and accepting of our family. We were not only accepted at Plymouth; we were welcomed with open hearts and open arms (as much as can be during a global pandemic).”
Bridge has an extensive background in the customer service industry and is currently working at the AAA office in Lawrence.
Brian & Kristin Salmans
Kristin and Brian and their kids, Jackson, Cooper, and Lily, have lived in Lawrence for about eight years. Before that, they lived in Virginia, Texas, Illinois, Alabama, and Germany with the Air Force. Brian teaches in the Business School at KU. Kristin teaches Pilates and volunteers with the League of Women Voters and other organizations. Jackson graduates from Free State High School in May and will attend Arizona State University this fall. The twins are finishing their sixth-grade year at Southwest Middle School. They love participating in the youth group and handbell choir!
“I’m originally from Topeka. After graduating from KU, I lived in San Diego and Chicago. I moved back to Lawrence in 2015 and worked for the Office of Admissions at KU. I am currently a stay-at-home mother to my two-year-old son and 12-year-old stepdaughter.”
Laura moved to Lawrence from New Orleans in 2019 with her husband, Sam. Their twin toddlers, Jack and Charlie, were born in May 2020. Laura is a non-profit attorney and is passionate about social justice; she has been a stay-at-home mom during the pandemic, but she is very excited to get back to work soon! She enjoys writing, Crossfit, interior design, and anything that reminds her of New Orleans. Laura is the co-leader of the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group at Plymouth.
Wendy & James Traul
James and Wendy were both born and raised in Lawrence. Both graduated from LHS in 1986 but were only acquaintances until they started dating in 2007 and then married in 2009. Wendy works for The Douglas County Register of Deeds, and James works in the KU Landscape Department. James and Wendy enjoy traveling to Mexico and Jamaica during the winter months, and they spend their summers fishing at Clinton Lake. Wendy enjoys buying and selling second-hand items online, and James is an avid gardener and cook. James attended Plymouth as a child. Now he and Wendy are anxious to become reacquainted with the church and their walk with Christ.
Mike is originally from Shawnee, KS, having moved to Lawrence in 2020 to pursue a doctorate (PhD) in school psychology at the University of Kansas. Mike currently works for the Lansing School District but is soon transitioning to a graduate teaching position at KU to be full-time in the PhD program. Mike has attended Plymouth around eight months and decided to join because of its progressive theology and active role in the community, as well as its rich history and traditional worship options. Mike is an avid KU basketball and Kansas City Chiefs fan.