The House of Hope Ministry Team
The people listed on this page only represent a small percentage of those who make our ministries possible. Check out this page to see a list of some of our "official" volunteer staff.
Our Pastor, Renee Ford
Rev. Dr. Renee Ford is a mother (of Wesley who is a student at Penn College), spouse (of Bob who’s also a pastor in the Susquehanna Conference), minister, musician, beagler, instructional designer, and lover of God and people. Pastor Renee has lived in Happy Valley since 2003, serving the Houserville-Woodycrest charge in State College and now the Nittany Charge (Grays, Houserville, Woodycrest, Port Matilda, and Mt. Pleasant UMCs). Renee is from Mooers NY, a small town in Northeastern NY state on the Canadian Border. She has been in ministry since 1993, serving as a campus ministry intern at SUNY Plattsburgh from 1993-1995, as youth minister at a large church in Dublin OH from 1996-1998, as a circuit minister in the British Methodist Church from 1998-1999, and as a pastor in Northeastern and Central PA since 1999).
Renee received her B.A. in Music, Philosophy & Religious Studies from SUNY Plattsburgh in 1994, Master of Divinity from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio in 1999 and also completed her Ph.D. in Workforce Education and Development in 2015 at Penn State. Her dissertation explored factors that influence clergy leadership effectiveness. Renee’s “day-job” is working at the Smeal College of Business at Penn State as an instructional designer.
Pastor Renee did not grow up in a “churched” family, but she has a heart for building church community, forming relationships and reaching out to the vast majority of people around us who love God but aren’t necessarily “churchy.” Renee is passionate about ministering to people who are the “last, least, and lost” among us with a particular concern for individuals and families struggling with poverty. People sometimes don’t believe Renee is a pastor because she doesn’t “fit the mold”...or maybe it’s because her dad is a truck driver and she hasn’t forgotten all the words she learned growing up. Either way, she is excited to be trusted with the honor of serving the people of the Houserville UMC House of Hope and seeing all the places God leads us on this new adventure together!
Renee has administrative oversight of the Nittany Charge, and is the primary worship planner for Grays UMC, Houserville UMC, and Woodycrest UMC.
Pastor Contact Info:
OUR lay minister, donna snyder
Donna Snyder loves God and loves people. Her life and work experiences uniquely qualify her to walk with congregations and people who have experienced change and loss. She is an expert at ‘being new.’ For the past thirteen years, Donna has served as Director of Christian Education at St. Paul’s UMC in State College. She has been instrumental in established Life After Loss and Divorce Care in our community, and is a foundational member of the Suicide Prevention program in Centre County. Donna has a passion for veterans (she is one) and for connecting the church and the community.
Donna is the primary worship planner for Port Matilda and Mount Pleasant, and provides chaplaincy care/hospital visitation for the churches of the Nittany Charge.
OUR LAY MINISTER, JEAN STAUFFER
Jean Stauffer grew up in Lancaster County in a Mennonite pastor’s family that sang together and gave family music programs. When she got married in 1971, her husband Richard joined the family music group with his guitar. Richard and Jean went on to perform with several soft contemporary Christian groups in the 70’s and 80’s.
Jean and Richard had three biological children and also foster parented for twenty years. Their family now includes a beautiful multi-ethnic mix of 20 children, in-laws, and grandchildren.
Jean spent over twenty years as music teacher at Manheim Christian Day School and as praise and worship leader at Grace Community Fellowship in Manheim, PA. She has a passion for worship that invites the presence of the Lord and years of successful experience working with children, youth, and adults, helping them to discover and use their musical gifts effectively.
In 2009 Jean and Richard moved to the State College area to be near their son and his family.