Grace Staff!

always ready to help

Rev. Nate Nims

Rev. Nate Nims

Senior Pastor

As the Senior Pastor at Grace, I get to do a little bit of everything, from preaching and hanging out in the preschool, to meetings, classes and everything in between. I joined the ministry team at Grace in the summer of 2019.

I grew up in Iowa, spending most of my childhood in Cedar Rapids and graduating from high school in Spencer. I attended Simpson College, majoring in religion, with a minor in philosophy. In 2007, I graduated as the Roger Betsworth Outstanding Senior in Religion and went to Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey, graduating in 2010 with a Master of Divinity.
My wife, Irene DeMaris, and I have two dogs, Leo and Oats, and two cats, Felix and Selina. We both enjoy cooking, cycling, and getting involved in the community.
You can find me on facebook (Nate Nims), on twitter (@nate_nims) and instagram (nate_nims) or email: or on NateTV
Coreen Witke

Coreen Witke

Director of Christian Education


Coreen was born in Montana, but has lived in Iowa since the age of eight when her family moved to Adel. After high school, she attended Simpson College earning a BA in Communication in 1991. In 1992, she married her husband Todd, at Grace. They now live in Urbandale and have two sons…one who is a freshman at Iowa State University and one who is a sophomore at Urbandale High School.

Her ministry at Grace began in 2011. She keeps busy managing the Sunday School program for children through adults, planning and organizing Vacation Bible School, overseeing the Safe Sanctuary program at Grace, managing the church nursery, serving on the worship committee, running the acolyte program, organizing the Advent and Lent Soup & Sermon events, along with a variety of other duties. Anyone who is interested in joining a Sunday School or Bible Study class, should contact Coreen for suggestions. Email:

When not at church, she enjoys knitting prayer shawls and baking chocolate chip cookies.

Ann Gerdom

Ann Gerdom

Director of Music and Organist

Ann Gerdom is the organist at Grace and accompanies the Chancel Choir. She started attending Grace UMC when she was 5 and grew up singing in the Grace choirs. She had her first organ lessons at Grace at age 15. Ann attended Iowa State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in music education, and Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she received a master’s degree in organ and church music. She lived in the Chicago area for 30 years, where she served several churches as music director, choir director and organist and worked for non-profit organizations in public relations/marketing. Before moving back to Iowa in 2007, she received a master’s degree in teaching reading from Northeastern Illinois University. She currently teaches music at Holy Family Catholic School in Des Moines.



Michael Gookin

Michael Gookin

Chancel Choir & Grace Chimers Director

Michael Gookin is the director of the Chancel Choir and Grace Chimers, an adult mixed choir and handbell choir at Grace UMC. The Chancel Choir is open for all adults, and Grace Chimers is open for any adult or student in high school. The Grace Chimers rehearse in the Grace UMC Sanctuary on Wednesdays from 6:00-7:00 pm. The Chancel Choir rehearses on Wednesdays in the Wesley Hall (second floor) from 7:00-8:00 pm. If you have questions about joining either ensemble, please contact Michael at

Michael is from Fairfield, Iowa, where he attended First United Methodist Church. He recently graduated from the University of Northern Iowa, where he received his K-12 Bachelor of Music Education degree. In his collegiate career, he accompanied UNI Singers, UNI Varsity Men’s Glee Club, and the flagship mixed ensemble, Concert Chorale. It was with those ensembles he toured as an accompanist and solo pianist to Estonia, Iceland, and Norway. In 2015, he was chosen as a Promising Artist of the 21st Century, a prestigious young artist program in Costa Rica. Michael has directed or accompanied churches, soloists, trios, choirs, and a professional musical theater company throughout his time at the University of Northern Iowa, Des Moines, and Fairfield.

Michael was featured as the musical director of Evelyn Gamrath’s Summer Camp at the Sondheim Theatre for the Performing Arts (Fairfield), where he assisted playwright and composer Andrea Green with her musical The Same Sky in 2017. He was also the music director and vocal coach for the American Gothic Music Festival in Ottumwa, IA in  July of 2018. He is currently the director of Choral Activities in the West Central Valley Community Schools, where he teaches grades 6-12. In his first year as choral director, the West Central Valley High School Choir was invited to perform and participate in a choral masterclass for composer and professor André Thomas of Florida State University.

Kelly Donnelly

Kelly Donnelly

Grace Preschool Director

My job is to ensure that all children and families are welcomed to Grace Preschool and Grace United Methodist Church.

For the preschool, my staff and I provide high-quality care and early childhood education in a safe, nurturing play-based environment that will encourage hands-on exploration and build problem-solving skills.

Would you like to help? We’re always looking for “Field Experts” for our Projects Based Learning—projects that draw children’s attention to questions such as: How do things work? What do people do? What tools do people use? Possible Topics include Trees, Pumpkins, Robots, Water, Snow, Gardens, Pets, Buildings, Pizza, Lunch, and Wheels. So if you have any expertise in any of these things, I’d love to hear from you.

Families and parents can get involved in other ways. A few ideas:
• Come share knowledge of a topic: Gardeners, cooks, and others who work with their hands—I’m talking to you!
• Bring in materials that tell stories: Family photos, a rake, old cookie pans, etc.)
• Volunteer time in the classroom or on field trips.

Please contact me if you’d like to know more about Grace Preschool, or if you’d like to be a “field expert.” I’m at 515-279-5942 Ext. 100; Grace Preschool.

PS: To keep up with what I’m doing, follow Grace Preschool on Facebook!


Nathan DeLange

Nathan DeLange

Director of Youth Group

I  direct the United Methodist Youth Fellowship (UMYF) for our church. We meet on Sunday nights, and we have an active schedule, filled with plenty of learning, service opportunities and fun. For example, this semester alone will find us heading to a corn maze and a haunted house (for fun), preparing a Consecration Sunday dinner and singing Christmas Carols at Wesley Acres (as our service projects), and following a program on Poverty Awareness. And that’s just the fall semester. Spring semester brings even more–including our annual Ski Trip to Minnesota.

If you have any questions about either of these programs–or better yet, if you’d like to help out–I’d love to hear from you!

Find me at or 255-6400, extension 231.

Charlene Hjort

Office Manager


Charlene Hjort is our office manager. She can be reached at 515-255-6400, ext. 222, or

Sometimes you know what you want but not who to send it to, this list is designed to get your request to the right person. Click on the link to send an email to the responsible staff member.

Grace United Methodist Church
3700 Cottage Grove, Des Moines, Iowa 50311

Phone: 515-255-2131

Building Hours:
Sunday: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m. – Noon

Office Hours:
Sunday: 8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday: Closed