Pastor brings positivity to Magnolia

Published 9:41 pm Friday, November 15, 2019

Sheena Laine has been making a difference in her congregation as the Magnolia United Methodist Church pastor since the summer, and she plans to stay involved both in her church and in the Suffolk community.

Pastor Laine officially started at Magnolia UMC on June 26. Mike Harrington, the previous pastor at Magnolia UMC, transferred to Lyndhurst United Methodist Church and Oak Hill United Methodist Church in Waynesboro, she wrote in an email.

Laine is happily married to her husband Steve — who’s both her “rock” and “best friend,” she wrote — and is a mother to three girls: Sally, 11, Sofia, 7, and ShayKathryn, 1.

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One of her favorite activities that she does with her daughters is painting. Laine said that she got her start in art through her friend Bernie Camper’s ministry in Wakefield, “The Silver Spoon Ministries.” Her work can be seen in her office at the church, along with a fun SpongeBob painting by Sofia.

“I never painted before,” Laine said in an August interview. “I wanted to do something with my daughters.”

Laine started out doing children’s sermons regularly in 2011 at Wakefield United Methodist Church. She went on to further help youth, she wrote in an email.

In 2016 she was a lay servant, filling in for pastors at Sunday services throughout the James River District when needed. She also started an online ministry called “Living Ablaze” in May 2016.

She assisted at Ingleside Church from fall 2018 to summer 2019, and before that she was “lay supply,” she wrote, at Claremont United Methodist Church in the summer of 2018.

She attended licensing school in May, with her baby along for the ride.

“They were so supportive of a nursing mother becoming a pastor,” Laine wrote.

She said it’s been a “rewarding challenge” to be both a working mother and pastor for Magnolia United Methodist Church. She’s also part of Suffolk Clergy United and is her church’s Night Stay coordinator for the Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk program.

The church also kept busy with apples, apple cider and apple butter for the church’s 29th annual Applefest in October, which surpassed its numbers from the previous year, according to Laine.

Laine is excited to be engaged in community outreach, and to do her best work possible to be a positive force in the Suffolk community — because this isn’t just “work” for Laine.

“Being a pastor is not just a job to me,” Laine said. “It’s a life, just like me being a mother. It’s another aspect of who I am instead of what I do. I’m not only just a wife and a mother. I get to do ministry, (and) I get to work for God.”

Sunday worship at Magnolia UMC is held at 10:30 a.m., and evening contemporary praise and worship services are held on the first and third Sundays each month at 6 p.m. The church’s food pantry is held every third Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon.

The church will hold its Christmas Bazaar on Dec. 14 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and its Christmas Eve candlelight service at 5 p.m. There will also be a New Year’s Eve Watch Service and Supper at 11 p.m.

Magnolia UMC is located at 1764 Wilroy Road and can be reached via phone at 538-8552.