Sheringham Methodists get new minister
St Andrews Methodist Church in Sheringham has a new minister, Rev Sharon Thraves, and Network Norfolk caught up with her to find out more about what motivates this busy lady. Tony Rothe reports.
Sharon grew up in Blackpool in Lancashire, home of the pleasure beach, trams and famous illuminations. She started attending the local Methodist chapel from age 9, accompanying her older brother, but this attendance tended to be sporadic. She led a busy and varied life in Blackpool and, at one point, even ran a pub!
However, determined to do more to serve the community, Sharon trained to be a nurse, and qualified around 15 years ago. “I decided that providing people with the means to get drunk wasn’t exactly a fulfilling role in life” she explained.
She started going along to the Methodist church in Blackpool and was bowled over by the non-judgemental love that was shown to her, which eventually drew her in to the fellowship. “Gradually, I was becoming more spiritually fruitful. Several people told me I should seek to become a minister or pastor, but I really didn’t feel worthy of that calling.”
Sharon was eventually persuaded to test the call to ministry by going through a Discernment process which took a year. “By the end of that year I was absolutely certain that the ministry was where God wanted me” she said. “Much as I loved my nursing job, there was no longer any doubt in my mind”.
A further two years at college followed in order to qualify, and then her first post was in East Lancashire. “It is unusual to be posted so close to home, although it was the other side of the county to Blackpool. However, it was clearly where God wanted me to be, and those formative years were very rewarding”.
Five years later, the call came to Sheringham in North Norfolk. “It felt like a ‘Blind date’ selection process – All the Methodist churches apply to the central office, and they have a list of those ministers available for moves. They send you to a church with a vacant post to see if they like you, and if you like them! I knew, as soon as I got here, that this was the right place”
Sharon is enthusiastic and excited about her new role on the North Norfolk coast. “There’s a keen spirit at St Andrews. The church is determined to move forward and be more active in the town, and they are especially keen to build up the children’s and youth work.
“I have met up with the other ministers in the area, and there is a keen desire to talk to each other and for the churches to work together for the community. I feel a real sense of anticipation about what God is going to do around here - Sheringham has a real buzz, and I want to know what God’s up to!”
Sharon, whose ministry also includes the Methodist chapels at Aylsham, Reepham, Mundesley, Trunch, Weybourne and Gresham, was welcomed in at a special induction service at St Andrews on Saturday September 1.
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