Mineau fills Interim Associate Pastor post at Sanibel Congregational UCC
When Sandra Mineau was in high school, she thought she wanted to become an English teacher. But when she began attending Elmhurst College in her native Illinois, she discovered a higher calling.
"I heard that women could become ministers," said Mineau, who recently joined the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ as its new Interim Associate Pastor. "I had never heard that before… and certainly not in my home town."
Soon, Mineau began attending Eden Theological Seminary, located in Webster Groves, Mo. Now, more than four decades later, she has no regrets about following the path that her faith put before her.
Having arrived on the island back on July 5, Rev. Mineau smiled when she was asked about her first impressions of Sanibel.
"I really like how quiet it is," she said. "And when I’m walking my dog, Sully, at night, I’ve noticed how clear the sky is and just how many stars are in the sky. Everything has been wonderful so far."
Rev. Mineau has been an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ for 43 years, serving churches in both Illinois and Florida. Most recently, she served as an intentional interim in New Port Richey, Fla. and before that as pastor at Edgewater Union UCC and the Congregational UCC in Pecatonica, Ill. She has served in nine different interim positions.
Not too long ago, Mineau was contacted by Sanibel Congregational UCC pastor John Danner, who inquired about her interest in becoming the congregation’s Interim Associate Pastor.
"Rev. Danner called me when I was up in Illinois visiting my new grandchild," Mineau recalled. "He asked me if I could come down for an interview. I was very interested in the position, but I asked him if we could do the interview over the phone."
After speaking with the church’s administrators, Mineau knew that Sanibel would be a great opportunity for her. With her daughter’s family living in Land O Lakes, Fla., less than a day’s drive away, and with many close ties throughout the Sunshine State, it seemed like a perfect fit.
But before she took the job, she was asked to come down for an in-person visit.
According to Mineau, it was love at first sight.
"The bottom line is, I’m here… and I’m very happy to be here," she added.
Over the years, Rev. Mineau has worked extensively with children and youth, especially in church camp settings. She has two adult children — one in Illinois and the other in Florida — and seven grandchildren.
Although only a six month position, thereafter she will remain on an "as needed" basis month-to-month, Mineau is hoping she can be a positive influence in the church as well as the community.
"My philosophy is that the church should be a community of love that reaches out to people and really cares about them," she said. "I’d like to work with the younger people and bring more children and families into the church."