Norwich man writes his first book as US pastor
2009: A Norwich man, who is now a pastoral minister in the USA, has just published his first book which takes a new look at the story of God as told through the Bible. Here Sean Gladding tells his own story.
I was born and raised in Norwich, where most of my family still lives. I grew up going to Meadow Way chapel in Hellesdon, a few minutes walk from our home. My good friend Mark Heybourne (who is now the Youth and Children’s Work Coordinator for the Anglican Diocese of Norwich) attended Capernwray Bible School in Lancashire after leaving school, and I followed in his footsteps a year later.
I became friends with a young man from Texas, Matt Russell, and Matt and I have remained best friends for the best part of 25 years.
After a few years working at Bertram Books, I moved to the States when I was 24 to work with Matt in campus ministry at Texas Tech University, in Lubbock. I was there for seven years, during which time I also worked in local missions at First Methodist Church downtown, as well as starting an alternative worshipping community there. I got to spend time in Mexico, Guatemala and Venezuela over the years, and love the Latin culture.
From Lubbock I moved to Lexington, Kentucky
, and spent four years studying at Asbury Theological Seminary
, graduating with a Masters of Divinity degree in 2002. While I was there I helped start a small missional community called Communality
in downtown Lexington, which is the community I call home today.
While at Asbury I met my wife, Rebecca, and after graduating, we moved to Houston, Texas, where I co-pastored a church called Mercy Street, again with Matt. Mercy Street is a community of folk who are in recovery from all kinds of addictions, and also from bad church experiences.
After seven years with Mercy Street, during which time we had two great kids – Maggie, six and Seth, five, we moved back to Lexington to rejoin Communality, which is part of the family of New Monastic communities.
We have been here since the summer of 2009, and are enjoying being back in the bluegrass, and in a much smaller city that in many ways reminds me a lot of Norwich and Norfolk (we’re twinned with Newmarket).
The move also afforded me the time to finally turn the narrative introduction to the Bible that Rebecca and I have been teaching for a decade into a book, which was published in September by InterVarsity Press.
In the book, The Story of God, The Story of Us, we attempt to tell the epic Story that scripture is narrating – a Story I am convinced that many of us have still yet to hear, even if we’ve been reading the Bible our whole life.
Told as a story from Genesis to the Revelation, we hope that those who read the book will be transformed by the Story of God just as we have been – a Story that continues to compel me to seek the Kingdom of God where I am – and to seek the One whose Story this is.
There's also a series of 6 short films to accompany the book, produced by 'The Work of the People'. Click here to find them.