It’s not unusual for Judy Snyder to be asked if choir practice was canceled for the evening or when Vacation Bible School begins.
“I’ll say, ‘I don’t know why they asked me about that.’ They say, ‘Because they think you’re on the staff,’ ” Snyder said with a laugh. “They tease me about it.”
The 80-year-old mother of four and grandmother to two is a fixture of several behind-the-scenes ministries at Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church, her congregation for about 25 years.
“I never get bored. I’m going to find something to do,” she said. “I truly enjoy being up here at the church, being with the people.”
Snyder has gotten to know many church members through the CareForce Correspondence Ministry, a ministry of 12 women who write to members of the church.
“We send notes, get-well cards, sympathy cards, encouragement cards to all those who put in a prayer request, and all those that we at the church know about who have a new baby or illness or whatever,” said Snyder, who writes up to 25 cards a week.
Snyder’s mother had cancer. At first, tons of letters arrived. After a while, correspondence dropped off.
“She used to go frequently to the mail box looking for a card,” she said.
On her way to the mailbox one day, her mother broke her hip.
“She was looking for a card, so that’s so dear to me,” Snyder said. “I try to especially, even if people are no longer on the list, if they’re having chemo for six months or nine months, they get a card a week from me because I want them to know that they’re not forgotten.”
In retirement, Snyder “continues to work tirelessly for Trinity,” said church member Kathy Leysath.
Snyder volunteers with a prayer task force, makes Chrismons and banners for the church and delivers meals to others. She also served as a coordinator for worship services for 14 years.
“It’s sort of a behind-the-scenes thing. Be sure the candles are lit. Be sure the right banners are out. It’s somebody’s job to do all those things, but it was my job to be sure that it was done before the service began.”
Service, she said, is “an extension of my love for God. He says what we do for others we’re doing for him, so that’s sort of how I look at it.”
So many senior adults in the church are committed volunteers, Snyder said. It’s part of the culture of the church.
“There are so many people who do so much,” she said. “You would just be surprised at the seniors that work around here.”
They restock the pews, volunteer in the office to get out newsletters and mailings and shepherd children at summer Bible classes and on Sundays.
It’s one of the secrets of happiness, Snyder said.
“I think (people are) happier in their churches when they get involved because then they know the people,” she said. “I think doing things for others makes you happy, makes me happy.”
Don’t just come and sit in a pew and not get involved, Snyder cautioned. “You’ve got to step out just a little bit. When they ask for a volunteer, say ‘I can do that.’ ”