Remembering Paul Sniffen

Paul and Leigh Sniffen in 2018.

Co-Pastor Gary Morgan announced the sad news on December 24 that our pastor Paul Sniffen passed away on December 23 after suffering what looks like a series of strokes at the end of 2020 after suffering for years from various eye ailments which he bore patiently.

Here is Gary’s update:

Leigh called me a while ago informing me that Brother Paul passed away peacefully in his sleep last night.

When the Sniffens moved here in 2007 after living so many years in Southern California, it was for the purpose of slowing down and being around some of the children and grandchildren. Even though they still intended to be involved with our GCI congregation here, little did they know what was in store for them. Job losses and layoffs forced most of the children (except Myra and her family) to relocate with their families to other cities.

The Sniffens willingly stepped up to be leaders of our Pastoral team when we could no longer afford a full time pastor. Sister Leigh took on the role of treasurer which allowed Memphis, a church from which other GCI congregations have spun off, to continue being a chartered congregation. We all remember Bro. Paul to take his role very seriously. He will definitely hear “Well done my good and faithful servant” from our Lord.

Leigh and Myra are planning a simple memorial service for our faithful Brother. Will keep you posted…

In Christ,
Gary


Of course Paul’s service to his church began a lot longer even than here in Memphis in 2007. He and beloved wife Leigh were baptized in 1967 and Paul worked at the Ambassador Press in Pasadena, CA before working as a Medical Equipment Engineer at the Veterans Administration, Wadsworth. He later started his own medical equipment engineer business while taking advantage of his church’s Ambassador College campus to study theology and church history.

This began a long stretch of useful service to the Worldwide Church of God/Grace Communion International headquarters congregation (then in Pasadena, CA) as special need coordinator, men’s ministry leader, and later a key figure in the Promise Keeper’s movement in Southern California. Along the way he picked up 82 semester units of college courses as well as earning certification as a digital electronics engineer. Meanwhile his wife, Leigh, was earning a MS degree in counseling from CSU at Los Angeles.

When the Office of Reconciliation and Mediation took shape in 1996 Paul and Leigh jumped in with both feet. Paul became a trained leader in Conflict Resolution through Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles earning praise from leaders of the social justice movement in Southern California. After serving in various capacities in conflict resolution Paul began a 501c non-profit titled Youth Mentors Inc. (YMI) to guide youth into developing individual self-worth activities, a project he felt most strongly about.

Ron Nichols of the Methodist Church prison visitation program praised Paul as a godly leader, always challenging folks to do their best. Curtis May of Office of Reconciliation and Mediation remembered Paul as a sterling man of prayer and optimism.

Paul Sniffen will be remembered as a “volunteer’s volunteer” and an unusually dedicated and forceful presence wherever he served. And served he did till the end of his days – an example that the Memphis Church can point to for years to come.