Rev. McMunn: 'It's difficult to say good-bye'
July 06, 2011 - Saying good-bye is never an easy thing in life, especially for pastors in the United Methodist Church (UMC) who are routinely moved from community to community.
"I cried when I left town as I've cried each time I have moved as a pastor," said Rev. Doug McMunn, who's service as the pastor of Oxford UMC ended June 30.
McMunn, who arrived in Oxford in July 2006, took over as pastor of Milford UMC.
"It sure went quickly," he said, referring to his years in the Gravel Capital of the World.
McMunn was very involved in his church, in the Rotary Club of Oxford and in various local groups such as Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC), Oxford-Orion FISH and the Oxford-Orion Ministers Association.
"I've made lots of good friends here," he said. "It's difficult to say good-bye to them."
Oxford's cooperative spirit and boundless compassion never ceased to amaze McMunn.
"The churches in this area collaborate at a higher level than in any other community I've served," he said.
A hands-on minister, McMunn was grateful for the opportunity Love INC gave him to roll up his sleeves and help people who had been evicted from their homes or apartments pack up their belongings and move.
He truly appreciated all the people from the community and his congregation who pitched in when he called on them, especially those who jumped in on short notice or came after a full day's work at their jobs.
"They came and helped be a moving company for the poor," he said.
Within Oxford UMC, McMunn was proudest of two programs which he helped initiate – the free community meals offered every Wednesday evening to anyone who needs or wants them and the Transitions program, a group of unemployed individuals who meet weekly for networking opportunities, professional advice and emotional support.
"When I think about the relevance of a church, I like to ask, 'If your church disappeared, who would miss it besides your members?'" he said. "In this case, both programs are meeting real needs and people from outside the congregation are being served. I think their lives are better because of those programs."
Beyond the programs, it was the one-on-one time with his church members that McMunn valued most, from "serving families in their time of need" to "walking with people through their grief and loss experiences."
"It was a privilege that they shared their lives with me," he said. "I got to be part of those sacred moments and I treasure that privilege."
On a personal note, McMunn's time at Oxford UMC was different than his experiences at other churches because he and his lovely wife, Marianne, became "empty-nesters" as all three of their children have left home to pursue their dreams.
Another major adjustment occurred when Marianne left her husband's congregation to become pastor of her own church – Omo Zion UMC in Macomb County's Lenox Township.
"I was the only one from my family (in the congregation) and that was a big change for me, personally," McMunn said. "I missed them a lot. We had always done ministry as a family. I had to learn how to do it without them."
Marianne is also beginning a new pastorship at a different church, Willow UMC in New Boston, Michigan.
As for his new role in Milford, McMunn is very excited about the church's "strong involvement" in the Appalachia Service Project.
"They take teenagers down to Appalachia each summer for a week of home repair as Christian service," he said. "A group of 25 just returned from Kentucky. I hope I can travel with them next year."
A new pastor for Oxford UMC has not yet been appointed.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.