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July 2, 2014

New pastor starts at St. Paul's

DUNCAN — St. Paul’s United Methodist’s newest reverend, Pastor Andrew Haire, hopes to become a pastor for the community.

Originally from Alabama, Haire arrived in Oklahoma in 2009. After graduating from Oral Roberts University in 2010, he received his Master’s in Divinity in May.

“We are Oklahoma transplants,” he said. “My wife and I came here directly from Seminary.”

Appointed by Bishop Hayes, Haire and his family arrived in Duncan on June 7. The next day, Haire performed his first sermons for the church’s Sunday service. At 27-years-old, Haire found a home at St. Paul’s through the kindness and support from his congregation, he said.

“A lot of people have the impression that I am too young to be a senior pastor,” he said. “The congregation has been wonderfully receiving of us. We have enjoyed our time here so far. It has been wonderful.”

Haire balances working full-time and being the father of three children. Although it has been a challenge, he is thankful for his church’s support during his move to a new parsonage.

“I’ve moved all over the country with my dad being in the military. I don’t know if we have been more warmly received anywhere else,” he said. “This church has been fabulous. We walked into a home that already had food in the pantry and the refrigerator.”

The new pastor said he has enjoyed Duncan’s hometown feel and its citizens’ dedication to their community.

“I preached just this past Sunday about setting a vision,” said Haire. “I am beginning to really like Duncan and getting to know its people and am beginning to feel like a part of the community. I feel like I can fight for the community and fight for this church.”

Haire hopes to reach out to all ages to see his congregation grow with new life.

“The nice thing about St. Paul’s is we have the facilities,” he said. “We have an entire education wing. We have Sunday rooms, and we have sanctuary that will fit almost 200. We have a lot of room to where we can expand.”

Besides expansion, the pastor hopes to become an important figure for the community. Haire works as a volunteer chaplain on nights and weekends at Duncan Regional and plans to participate in more activities.

“My office is held here. My staff is held here, but I want to be a pastor for the community,” he said. “Our church wants to be a church for the community where people young and old can come and be welcomed in the house of God here.”

Haire said he enjoys his role as a pastor for his ability to work and help others. The new pastor loves creating connections with others and seeing them grow in their lives, said Haire.

“I love getting out and getting to know people.” he said. “As a pastor, you get to walk through people’s lives with them. You get to walk through the good times when babies are born or walk through the bad times when people pass on to Glory. You get to walk through marriages and unfortunately sometimes divorce. I love seeing them grow in their walks with the Lord.”

Haire plans to lead his church through the word and way of the Lord to reach its new vision.

“Saint Paul’s is alive and well,” said Haire. “We’ve got a new vision and are going to press forward with this vision to reach this community. My focus is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and lead these people in the way of the Lord. And that’s what I intend to do.”

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