Welcome to our new Minister - 07/09/20

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Welcome to our new Minister

 

The United Reformed Churches of Maldon, Burnham and Southminster welcomed their new minister, the Rev Anne Sardeson, at a service held at Maldon URC on Saturday, 5th September.

Rev Anne, 54, has been Training Officer for the Thames North Synod of the URC for the past decade, and before that served as a Minister in various parts of London, including East Ham and Walthamstow, after being ordained in 1995.

Although the service to formally welcome her as the minister of the three churches, which are joining together for the first time, was held in the church on Market Hill; most of the congregation had to join via Zoom because of social distancing. This will also make Anne’s new role considerably more challenging to begin with.

“Physically meeting up with people would normally be a starting point in any ministry, and that is going to be hard,” she says. “We’re all learning more and more about meeting and worshipping and caring in a socially distanced world, so while this will be a challenge, it is one I share with everyone, so we’ll enjoy learning together.”

Anne, along with her partner Lesley and daughter Rebekah, moved into the Manse in Burnham a few weeks ago and is already enjoying the more rural location. “I’ve always been very drawn to water, boats and the coast,” she says. “I love the sounds, the smells and the air. The edge of the land has always fascinated me, so this is an extra excitement for me. As I walk and drive around I keep thinking, ‘this is lovely - I live here!’”

Ministering to three churches spread across a rural area will be quite different from being in the East End of London, but Anne, who was brought up in Lincolnshire, is looking forward to the contrast. “This isn’t London - not least the roads and the traffic - but there are a lot of people with links to London, so there’s a familiarity as well. I’ve not worked as a minister within the life of a local church for 10 years now as I’ve had a wider role in training and support in churches across North London, so I’m particularly looking forward to being closely connected with just three churches and getting to know these local communities really well.”

Anne, who has professional qualifications in ministry, theology and spiritual direction and has also studied counselling and psychology, sees a big part of her role as helping individuals to explore their faith: “I think that for faith communities all over the country there is a deep need to work out what faith is about in the times we live in, and for churches, the question is what we can do to help broaden people’s expectation in terms of faith exploration.”

As she settles into her new role, Anne also intends to take an active role in community life in Maldon, Burnham and Southminster. “I’m always drawn to social justice activities that work alongside those who find less easy to be heard or noticed, and climate issues are crucial at the moment. I’m also keen to explore how we can work together with other faith and community groups to support people in their day-to-day lives.”

Frances Patten, church secretary and an Elder at Maldon URC, said: “The Elders at Maldon are absolutely delighted to welcome Rev Anne to our church and we look forward to working with her, and the URC churches in Burnham and Southminster, in the months and years ahead.”