New pastor leads church into Nativity, new year

After 6 months at helm, Shaeffer looks to future with Bellefontaine’s United Methodist Church

UMC pastor shaeffer

Pastor Ben Shaeffer, who took over as full-time pastor of Bellefontaine’s First United Methodist Church in June, is preparing to lead the congregation into the Christmas season but has a vision of giving back to the community year-round. (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)

After six months as the pastor of Bellefontaine’s First United Methodist Church, Ben Shaeffer now has his first Thanksgiving meal under his belt and is ready to celebrate his first Nativity. But the new pastor also says he has a broader vision for strengthening the church’s involvement within the community with the start of a new year.

“This is such an important time for the church to celebrate the birth of Christ,” the church’s new pastor said. “It is a time for new beginnings and being a new pastor here is a good way to start the season.”

A second career pastor, Shaeffer, 60, was ordained June 6 and began serving the Bellefontaine congregation immediately afterward, but he has had several appointments prior to his ordination. In his first career, he worked as a sales manager for AT&T and was called to the Methodist ministry in 2004.

His first appointment was as pastor or New Hope UMC in Toledo, followed in 2008 by five years at Christ UMC in Napoleon, during which time he retired from AT&T and went into ministry full time. He was reassigned in 2013 to Meeker UMC in Marion while he attended seminary.

Now that he has his first appointment as an ordained minister, Pastor Shaeffer said he is looking forward to growing the local congregation and providing outreach to the community.

“The number one thing I’ve found since being here is that this church has been a light for in this community for many years and has made an impact on the people and I want to continue to build on that,” he said, noting the success of the church’s outreach efforts that include providing warm Thanksgiving meals to individuals or families in need as well as service workers on the job during the holiday.

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