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Oxford UMC gets interim pastor



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August 31, 2011 - Oxford United Methodist Church has a new man, er woman in charge.

Jean Snyder took over on a interim pastor basis on July 1, 2011 following the departure of Rev. Doug McMunn earlier this year. McMunn took over as pastor of Milford UMC.

"I am a retired pastor and this is what you call an interim appointment by the bishop," Snyder said. "So I will be here until July 1 next year.

"Unfortunately, pastors become ill or they have family emergencies and I get called to fill in for a month, six months or whatever the need might be," she added.

Snyder calls herself a "second career pastor." She worked at Michigan Bell Telephone for 37 years before hearing the calling to become a minister.

"After I retired, I answered my call to ministry and went to seminary and I graduated from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio in 1997," she said.

"While being a seminarian, I worked at the Chaplins Office at Oakland County Jail and then I served Four Towns United Methodist Church in Waterford. Then I served as a student seminarian at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Ferndale," she added.

After she was ordained, she served at United Methodist Churches in Lexington and Armada before coming to Oxford.

OUMC members can expect Snyder to "preach from the pulpit."

"I use my notes. I'm not one who wanders around," she said. "I stick pretty close to scripture, and my interpretation might be different from someone else's, but we all, based on our life experiences, interpret scripture differently based on our experiences, based on our traditions, both family and traditions within the church."

Snyder said she was going to continue the church's outreach programs.

"We do mission projects that support the church and support the needs of the community and none of that will change," she said.

According to Snyder, the church is planning on having a pig roast on Sept. 10 beginning at 5:30 p.m. along with the free meals programs on Wednesdays and the groups Christian education will be kicked off on Sunday, Sept. 11 with OUMC Sunday school and youth programs, along with the weekly adult bible studies.

Other events include the men's ministry annual potato drop on Oct. 15 and Operation Christmas Child, where members of OUMC fill shoe boxes with gifts for children, which get shipped across the United States, to Haiti and other countries according to Snyder.

She is also looking to add a few mission projects and outreach programs to OUMC, but hasn't had a chance to sit down and evaluate their potential yet.

Even though she has only been here for two months, she has already grown to love Oxford and the people she serves.

"I like Oxford a lot and I love the people," she said. "The people of the church have been marvelous, just marvelous and the spirit of working together to do ministry is wonderful within the walls and the outreach of the community. It is just a really good place to be."

"I am looking forward to getting to know the people of the community and becoming more and more involved in the community even though my stay will be short here," she said. "The church has made me feel like I have already been a part of this, and there is a genuine sense of hospitality in the community that I really enjoy."

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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