Meet the Ordinand: Meredith Kadet Sanderson

Image above: The Bishop and staff of the Diocese of Central New York at the ordination of Meredith Kadet Sanderson (left) to the transitional diaconate in July 2021. 

Will you be in Auburn or online Easter Saturday to welcome our diocese’s newest priest?

Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe will ordain the Rev. Meredith Kadet Sanderson to the Priesthood on Saturday, April 23rd at 10:00 a.m. at the Episcopal Church of Saints Peter & John in Auburn, New York. All are welcome to participate in-person and online; details available at cnyepiscopal.org/ordination-sanderson.

Following her ordination, Meredith will continue as chief of staff and director of the communications on the diocesan staff, and will also serve as long-term supply priest for Christ Episcopal Church in Jordan, New York beginning April 24th.

As Meredith prepares for her new priestly ministry, we are re-publishing an interview conducted last July prior to her ordination to the transitional diaconate. Please keep her in your prayers, along with all our clergy and lay ministers, and all those discerning a call to ordained ministry.

Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts, in your divine providence you have appointed various orders in your Church: Give your grace, we humbly pray, to all who are called to any office and ministry for your people; and so fill them with the truth of your doctrine and clothe them with holiness of life, that they may faithfully serve before you, to the glory of your great Name and for the benefit of your holy Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 256)

Can you tell us about your background?

Meredith Kadet Sanderson (center) with two diocesan staff colleagues, Cathy Hobart (left) and Kathy Dengler (right), at the 2019 Diocesan Convention.

In 2015, I moved to Central New York with my brand-new husband Christopher and began my ministry on the diocesan staff. We’d been living in New York City where I had completed a Master of Divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary and served as Director of Programs for Episcopal Charities of New York, a foundation that provides grants, support, and resources to parish-based outreach programs. I grew up outside of Buffalo and was glad to be back in beautiful upstate New York. Since we’ve moved here, Christopher and I have become parents to our four-year-old son, Max.

Farming with Sister Helena Marie at the Community of the Holy Spirit, an Episcopal monastic community in Brewster, New York.

When I first began to articulate a sense of call to ministry in my mid-twenties, I wasn’t a churchgoer and wasn’t even sure I believed in God. This felt like a problem for me, but it wasn’t a problem for God. Long story short, I enrolled in seminary out of a desire to learn more about God, and it was during my studies that I first encountered the Episcopal Church. A friend introduced me to a community of Episcopal nuns who were stewarding a biodynamic farm  in the Hudson Valley. I spent a summer between semesters as an intern living with the sisters, joining with them in their daily prayers. I was swept into the tide of their beautiful liturgy, which was at once deeply traditional, radically inclusive, and reflected a deep reverence for the earth and God’s creatures. That summer (I wrote about it here) changed me for life and I knew I had found a home in The Episcopal Church.

Over the past six years, my ministry with the Church has deepened, and it’s been a privilege to work closely with Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe, our deeply faithful diocesan staff, and the remarkable people of this Diocese. I currently serve as the bishop’s chief of staff and director of communications. I love learning and sharing the stories of our faith communities, facilitating clear communication between the Church, the diocese, our parishes, and our communities, and supporting the bishop, staff, and other diocesan leaders as we work to realize our vision of a “world healed by love.”

 

Where are you currently doing ministry, and what will you be doing after your ordination?

The Rev. Meredith Kadet Sanderson preaching at Grace Episcopal Church in August 2021 during her transitional diaconate.

My ministry as the bishop’s chief of staff and diocesan director of communications will continue after my ordination to the transitional diaconate. Over the past year, my role on the diocesan staff has shifted in response to mutual discernment with our bishop and our diocesan commission on ministry. So for instance, one of the best parts of my formation for ordination this past year has been accompanying our bishop on her visitations and coordinating diocesan services. During the height of the pandemic, this assignment gave me the opportunity to work alongside dozens of our churches planning online-only worship services. We even created an all-Diocese online worship service for Christmas Eve that involved contributions from hundreds of people—it was a beautiful thing. Now that the bishop’s visitations are in-person again, I’m learning about live-streaming on-site (and sharing my learnings with parish leaders) while seeing first-hand how our love of God and one another is expressed in diverse communities all over the Diocese.

Update for April 2022: Following her ordination to the priesthood on April 23rd, Meredith will continue as chief of staff and director of the communications on the diocesan staff, and will also serve as long-term supply priest for Christ Episcopal Church in Jordan, New York beginning April 24th.

 

What’s your hope or your dream for your ministry in the Diocese of Central New York?

“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

I believe that God intends the Church to last—though the form of the Church, for this and coming generations, may be outside the bounds of what we “can ask or imagine.” God wants the Church to last as long as God’s dream for the world lasts, as long as God’s love for the world lasts.

I hope that in my ministry, I will contribute to a culture of faithfulness in the Church: that we will love God, and love ourselves, and love one another, and love strangers enough to be willing to change, to lay down our ways and our lives, and to take up the ways of God’s love for the healing of the world.

 

As you reflect on the journey that has brought you to this point, to whom or to what do you feel most grateful?

I’m deeply grateful to the communities and family and friends who have formed me: Park Slope United Methodist Church, Judson Memorial Church in NYC, the Community of the Holy Spirit, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan, the Companions of Mary the Apostle, the brothers of Holy Cross Monastery, the Church of the Resurrection in Oswego, Grace Episcopal Church in Syracuse, my sending parish St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Liverpool, Episcopal Communicators, and this beautiful Diocese of Central New York.

I must single out my husband, Christopher Carter Sanderson: your staunch support keeps me going, keeps me honest, and keeps me hopeful and faithful. Thank you for being my partner in ministry and parenthood.

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