Open & Affirming

Wage Peace


Growing in faith and knowledge, commitment and support, unity and diversity, ministry and service.


Plymouth UCC is a local congregation of the United Church of Christ, a mainline, Protestant denomination of 1.5 million members, with a tradition of progressive involvement in issues which uphold the rights, dignity, and equality of all people under God.

We believe that this world and everything and everyone within it are God’s.

We believe in love. We are all children of God created with love regardless of race, culture, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, or where we come from.

Be you, be bold, be love!

We believe we are called to follow Jesus, who showed unconditional love and justice for all people.


Community. For Plymouth members and friends, the sense of community extends outside Sunday services and the church building. Opportunities for worship and fellowship happen every day and everywhere. Find fellowship opportunities

Advocacy. Whether it’s showing up at rallies or protests or allocating our resources, social justice advocacy and mission work are central to Plymouth’s identity. Each year, Plymouth budgets an amount equivalent to 20% of operating expenses for mission giving (ministry beyond the local church). Overall, nearly 30% of what the congregation gives goes to mission. Learn more

Diversity. We celebrate the diversity of our congregation and our world. We are an open & affirming church, an anti-racist church, and a just peace church.

Inclusion & Accessibility. We believe that every-body belongs at Plymouth. Our physical building is barrier-free and the spirit of our congregation strives to work towards greater inclusivity and awareness of all abilities and needs. Learn more

We Are . . .

A Christian Church. We believe in the basic tenets of Christianity: one God, experienced and expressed as Creative power, Liberating and Redeeming Christ, and present/active Spirit. As a Christian Church, we see Jesus as our lens unto God, as well as our model for what it means to be a fully faithful human being.

A Non-Doctrinal Church. That means that we do not have a list of tenets to which people must agree. Offered guidance and education through the church, individuals are free to believe and act in doctrinal matters in accordance to their own insights and perceptions. People received into membership affirm or reaffirm the Baptism vows as they understand them.

A Progressive Church. The fact that we are a non-doctrinal church, as well as our history and current practice, puts us on the “progressive” end of the Christian theological spectrum.

A Democratically-Organized Church. All matters of policy, budget, or overall church direction are decided at the Annual Meeting of the members or at a specially-called congregational meeting.




Bill Bokhout (He/Him), Director of Music

Bill became Plymouth UCC’s Director of Music in 2011. He has extensive church music experience and, for many years, has been involved in planning worship services, scheduling musicians, ensembles, worship teams, and technical staff. An operatic baritone, Bill has been the resident Baritone with Opera Grand Rapids for 26 seasons, performing as many as 35 different roles.

In 2003, Bill founded The 2nd Act Opera Company, a professional touring group dedicated to promoting Opera as an art form to young people, performing in many of the schools in the area as well as touring with his wife, Hollis, presenting Children's Opera Workshops in elementary schools across the country.

Dr. Caleb Wenzel (He/Him), Accompanist

Caleb became Plymouth UCC’s Accompanist in June 2022. Conductor, composer, and pianist Caleb R. Wenzel enjoys a creative profile equally at home with symphony orchestra, choral ensembles, new music, historical instrument ensemble, opera, and musical theater. He currently serves as Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at Grand Rapids Community College. Outside of GRCC, Dr. Wenzel serves as the Conducting Area Coordinator and Principal Conductor of the American Creators Ensemble at the Oregon Bach Festival, a position he has held since 2016, and as Program Director for Music Education at The Conducting Institute of Caminos del Inka in Fort Worth, Texas.

Rev. Peter Ross (He/Him), Church Custodian & Media Department Lead

Rev. Peter Ross has served in ministry for over 30 years, the first 25 in the Assemblies of God church, where he also taught seminary to the next generation of pastors, and then transferring to the United Church of Christ in 2015 after departing the Assemblies of God over a crisis of conscience over the call to serve ALL of God's people. He then assisted in pastoring a small UCC Church in New Jersey through their Open & Affirming process before moving to Michigan in 2016, where he joined Plymouth United Church of Christ in Grand Rapids.

Currently he is serving as Church Custodian and lead of the Media Department. A long time student of Archaeology and ancient and classical cultures, Rev. Ross earned a Masters in Theological Studies, as well as spent 12 years doing field research in ancient cultures of the Ancient Near East.

A History of Progressive Involvement

Plymouth’s history shows how we hear and respond to the lessons of Jesus Christ to care for the environment, the community, and the least of us with practical action and monetary support.

Environmental Stewardship

The most important event in recent church history demonstrates leadership in advocacy, and our commitment to environmental stewardship. In 2013, the church was in need of a new roof. As the board of trustees gathered information, they also researched solar technology, site feasibility, solar panel installers, and financing options. At the Annual Meeting, the trustees proposed a motion to launch a two-year two-year capital campaign aimed at raising $150,000, which would fund replacing and upgrading the church roof to include the installation of a 10 kW solar panel array. The total ultimately pledged was more than $187,000, and in 2015, we practiced what we preach by installing a 10 kW solar panel array on our new church roof. The solar panel array produces approximately 25% of our electricity needs.

Supporting Our Neighbors with Mental Illness

In 1992, Plymouth provided property behind the church building for the construction of apartment housing for people with chronic mental illnesses. Overcoming the opposition of neighbors, lobbying the city to change its zoning restrictions, and gaining approval for the project from the City Commission took persistence and passion over a period of 5 years. Today, Birchgrove Apartment Facility, with 18 one-bedroom apartments, is part of Hope Network’s Affordable Housing Services. We continue to interact with the residents at Birchgrove with a Bingo Night and meal with them several times a year. Some worship with us on Sundays, and meet with the pastor on request.

Open & Affirming to LGBTQIA People

In 1998, Plymouth UCC was one of the first churches in Grand Rapids to become Open and Affirming (ONA), a designation from the United Church of Christ for congregations which make a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. Plymouth UCC was also the first church in Michigan Conference to become ONA that was not a small predominantly “gay” church, but rather a mid-sized suburban church.  During this time, Plymouth also piloted the new ONA process developed by the UCC, a 6-week study program with discussion questions, reading materials, and videos.

Learn more about what we stand for.

For more about denominational history, visit the UCC website.