My name is Susan Rand and am the Senior Area Steward of SENEA for the time being.

I grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne and was a member of Gosforth Presbyterian Church until I got married and moved to London in 1970.  Since then we have moved around the country trying hard to get back to the North East, Saffron Walden, High Wycombe, Manchester, Bury, Darwen, Bedlington, Forest Hall and finally back to Bedlington where I worship and am a member at Trinity Church.  My background is in insurance but most of my working life has been in advice work, firstly with Citizens Advice as a volunteer then managing a disability project in Blackburn.  Latterly I worked as an advice worker for Disability North in Newcastle helping people with disability benefits.  Appealing decisions where necessary.  Justice and equality are very important to me.  I was the first convenor of the Equal Opportunities committee for the URC many years ago.

In order to increase my knowledge of the bible, deepen my faith and increase my confidence in sharing the word I have completed the URC’s TLS (Training for Learning and Sharing) foundation course and Life of Prayer. I have always been connected with church and feel passionately that we should do all we can to breakdown the barriers between denominations.  I was delighted when the United Reformed Church was born and hoped that this was a start of greater unions between churches.  Unfortunately the Christian climate changed and further unions have not happened so I was delighted when SENEA was born, a coming together of Methodist and URC’s within an area to work more closely together and share the various administrative tasks, supporting individual churches where possible.

Our children are grown up with families of their own and living in the North West which is where they did their growing up.  I am married to Peter who is a retired URC minister, hence all the different places we have been.

The role of Senior Steward seems to grow and change, sometimes weekly, but is never boring!  The team  of Area Stewards do their best to care for the ministers, look after the manses, respond to the various demands of our parent denominations and contribute to and try to carry out the wider vision of the Area.