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A Letter from Rev Shaun Sanders

September 1st marks the start of the new Methodist year.  The Methodist Conference which m eets in June or July each year approves the list of ‘stations’ in which every ordained minister is ‘stationed’ to a named circuit.  Ministers who move circuits start their new appointments on the 1st September.

I am in the unusual, although not unknown situation, of moving within the Circuit.  As far as the Methodist Conference is concerned, it’s business as usual as I enter my 6th year in the Barnet and Queensbury Circuit.  However, here at Wesley Hall and Brookside, and the East Barnet Anglican Methodist Partnership, I begin my 1st year in a new appointment as minister of Barnet Brookside and Manor Drive Methodist Churches and remaining at Hendon Methodist Church.  I shall be pleased to be working with my colleague Rev David Newton who will be sharing the appointment with me.  I hope to be moving to the manse at Church Crescent in Whetstone in early October.

It is the latest move in a journey which started in mid Cornwall where I grew up.  I can remember when the site of the Eden Project was a china clay pit.  My earliest memories from infants school days were assemblies led by Rev Martin Caldwell who was later minister at High Barnet.  It is the first of several links with this new appointment.

I came to London in 1984 to study economics and lived for the first year at Chester House Methodist Hostel in Muswell Hill.  I became a local preacher on trial, first in the West London Mission and later in the former Highgate Circuit which then included Manor Drive Methodist Church.  I first preached at Manor Drive in 1988. 

Whilst at Muswell Hill Methodist Church, I got to know Alice Mortimer (mother of Sheila) and became a good friend of Colin Smith, and who I now follow as minister of Barnet Brookside.

After seven years working in NHS Finance, I trained for ministry at Wesley House, Cambridge.  My first appointment was in Milton Keynes where I had my first taste of ecumenical work.  I also enjoyed community ministry at an NCH Family Centre and multi-faith chaplaincy at Woodhill Prison.

In 2002, I moved to the Hackney Circuit.  I got to know Rev Jenny King there who was a good support in leading worship in the Circuit. Hackney was a great experience in multi-cultural congregations which were all very different to each other. I learnt a lot there.

I moved to the Barnet and Queensbury Circuit five years ago and sometimes came to Brookside and Wesley Hall and other churches in the Circuit. The circuit system is a great strength of Methodism which I value.

I very much look forward to being minister here.  As I enter my 20th year of ministry, the one thing I have learnt is that we never stop learning. There are new possibilities and challenges from which we draw strength and grow.

Charles Wesley wrote:

“By your unerring Spirit led,
we shall not in the desert stray;
we shall not full direction need,
nor miss our providential way;
as far from danger as from fear,
while love, almighty love, is near.”      (Singing the Faith 459)

As we start this new Methodist year, I pray God’s blessing as we continue this journey together.