Rev. Sarah Payne

Pastor of Caring and Special Needs

Rev. Sarah Payne doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t know the name of Jesus and, as a result, describes her faith journey as a “slow burn.”

“God’s loving action in my life has been less Elijah and the prophets of Ba’al, and more ‘stirring up the flame that is the gift of God.’ The fire of God’s holy presence has always been there, shaping and molding my life,” she says.

One of Sarah’s earliest memories is feeling convicted as a small child by the words of Charles Wesley’s hymn “And Can It Be,” so that by age 8, Sarah gave her heart to Jesus. As a teenager, Sarah began feeling God draw her to a life of ministry and service. After reading Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place and with encouragement from her church leadership, Sarah attended Milligan University. She studied to be an English teacher with the hope of becoming a missionary.

Sarah met her husband, Rev. Clayton Payne, during her senior year at Milligan, and they planned to serve on the mission field together. However, God had other plans. Sarah was a classroom teacher for several years where she gained experience and an interest in working with persons with special needs. The embers of a call continued to burn in Sarah, and during her last year teaching, God invited her to serve as a lay assigned pastor. Over the next decade, Sarah transitioned into motherhood, entered full-time ministry, attended seminary, earned a master’s degree in divinity, and became an ordained elder. While at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Sarah wrestled with God through grief, and God was present even in the darkest places. God used her experience to give Sarah the theological knowledge, passion and empathy to work with those who are hurting and feeling hopeless.

Of her new role, Sarah says, “I am excited to follow God’s call to serve as Pastor of Caring and Special Needs at TWMC and to see the hearts of all people — especially persons with special needs, their families and those journeying through loss — drawn to Jesus by the warm invitation of the Holy Spirit. It is truly a privilege to serve those who are vulnerable and endlessly valuable to Jesus and the Kingdom of God.”

Sarah and Clayton have one adult son, Cody.