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My Open House Announcement

Picture: David MacCullagh Photography

I remember the night the idea of the Open House show was conceived. I was sitting by the Brisbane River, sometime in 1995. Sitting there at Southbank, watching the city’s lights dance in the water, I dreamt of hosting an evening talk show that interviewed guests from around the world on issues of life and faith; a show that welcomed authors, artists, actors and activists; a show with a national audience, live music performances, and all done in a way that engaged both people of faith and people interested in faith. It turned out I wasn’t the only one with that dream.

Ten years after that night I got a phone call. It was from a radio station manager. ‘We’re ready to do that talk show,’ he said. I moved cities, we got planning, someone wise came up with the name ‘Open House’, and the show was born on Sunday evening, April 2, 2006.

Looking back now, five years on, I’m overwhelmed at what God has done with the program. Our first show aired on two stations: Sydney’s Hope 1032 and Melbourne’s 89.9 Light FM. Today Open House airs on eight stations, feature interviews are replayed on another national network, around 100,000 people listen in each week, our iTunes podcast is frequently in the top 10 for the Religion and Spirituality category, we’ve produced three books, and we hear regularly of lives changed by the show.

So, it’s a sad thing for me to announce that I’m leaving Open House. Don’t worry: there have been no scandals, no blow ups with management—nothing worthy of a headline. And it’s not that I’m going to something ‘better’ either. The conversations we’ve had these last few years will be hard to beat.

Professionally speaking, these five years have been a highlight. On the personal front, however, they’ve included some pretty difficult times—times that have affected my wife Merryn in particular. It’s been a rough journey for her. And it’s time she had a fresh start.

So, in May we’ll be moving to the UK. Merryn’s always wanted to live and work overseas and that is a dream she can have fulfilled. My last Open House show will be Sunday March 27. We’ll spend April packing and tidying up loose ends.

The good news is that Open House will continue. A special show is being planned for March 27—which I hope you can be part of—and on that night we’ll be revealing the new host of the show. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised who it is! With that new host, and with producer Clare Bruce and the whole Hope Media team who make the show happen each week, Open House will be in good hands indeed. I’ll be listening.

What does the future hold for me? Well, the great unfinished business of my life is a book project I’ve been working on for some time. It’s about seeing God’s nature reflected in everyday experiences like beauty and love. I’ve been running hard these last few years and this book keeps chasing me, so a writing sabbatical for the rest of the year to finish it will be welcome indeed. I’d love to launch some kind of new media project in 2012, but I’ll have to wait and see what God comes up with. He’s often a God of surprises, isn’t he?

I’d love to stay in touch with you through this blog, and on Facebook and Twitter.

But I mustn’t get too far ahead of myself. We’ve still got three more shows together. I’ll be savouring each one.

***

Q: Life doesn’t always work out to plan, does it? Tell me about a time when your life took an unexpected, adventurous turn. What happened?

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  • Kathryn

    Wow! What a shock! Your show is amazing, Sheridan! All the best for you and your family in the future!!
    Just recently we lost our pet dog and then my childrens rabbit, that lives at their dad’s house died. My very intelligent, inquisitive son has asked lots of questions about what happens to animals when they die. I answered as best as I could but then your recent show about animals and death came on. Even though I wasn’t able to listen live I could download the mp3!!
    Thank you for your faithfulness to God’s calling and or blessing Australia with your work!!

    • We’ve had so much response to that discussion on animals with animal theologian Andrew Linzey. I’ll post something new on it in the weeks to come. Thanks for the nice words Kathryn.

  • Rohan Burgess

    I’m sorry to hear that you are moving on Sheridan but excited for a new season in your life. God bless you and Merryn in your new life. 

  • Sam Elbers

    Sheridan what an exciting new season ahead for you and your wife Merryn follow dreams and passions that God has given you. You have been a gift to us in Australia on Open House and as you embark on this new journey may God fill your hearts a fresh and take you to places that you have only imagined. Thank you for your time at Open House it has been a pleasure listening to you. Many Blessings Sam Elbers

  • Matt

    All the best to you and Merryn. I’m sure that God is leading you both to something new in His plan for you because you have been obedient and faithful with what he has given you already. 😀 May God go before you and bless you both abundantly!

  • Hi Sheridan, We were saddened to hear you are leaving Open House. You have been part of our Sunday evenings over the past 3 years and we will miss your voice. You have an amazing ability to delve into deep and often difficult topics. You do this with compassion and wisdom. You don’t shy away from gently challenging callers and listeners. The subtle guidance you provide throughout conversations and interviews is a real gift. I don’t envy your successor – it will be a hard act to follow. All the best for your time in the UK. God bless Gavin and Meredith Martin

    • Your words are very kind Gavin. Thank you. I think you’ll enjoy the new host of Open House too though! Thanks again Gavin (and Meredith).

  • wow! big news! i’m really thankful to God for being introduced to your work on Open House. I look forward to seeing how God continues to use you in the UK. keep preaching Jesus.

  • Kquee

    So sad to hear you’re leaving Open House (and Australia) but excited to know that God has amazing things ahead for you and your family. Looking forward to reading the new book.

    • I hope the book is worth the read after the long wait :). Thanks for your encouragment.

  • Denise Whittaker

    I’ve often wondered, whenever I hear Open House being advertised or listen in, what Merryn is doing. I pray that her dream to work overseas will be all that she envisages it to be and more. Will look forward to hearing what you’re both up to whilst in the UK. My husband, Troy, will be over there with the Melbourne Staff Band of the Salvation Army in May/June. Maybe you’ll get the opportunity to hear them! Love to Merryn.

  • Eteuben70

    Well this is shocking news Sheridan! But when reading your Announcement realising that it is for a much “Nobler Cause”, I would like to wish both You & Merryn All the Best & May God’s Blessings follow you. Hoping that this Fresh Start holds many wonderful gifts & surprises in store ~ God Bless You Both ~ You will remain in our prayers <3 PT&EBJ

  • Sarah-Jane

    I am going to have to travel for days now to crash on your couch 🙂 Maybe you should visit Perth on the way to the UK????

    • Ah, but a warm bed while the rain pours (and pours, and pours) down outside will be all the worth it. Don’t think we’ll get to Perth before leaving, but the heart is with you SJ.

  • irreplaceable….

  • David

    You will be greatly missed – God’s blessings to you both as you launch into the new chapter.

  • Barry Gittins

    Mate, it’s Monday morning and I’ve only just read of the move for you and Merryn to the UK – what an exciting chapter you guys are starting. I am stoked for you both and I pray the joys of new experiences will renew your spirts, hearts and minds. Thank you for the powerful way you have impacted my life and the lives of many Australians across the continent. ‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is the Lord’s faithfulness.’ May you continue to find this truth inside the joys and pains and vicissitudes of life. Shalom, Barry

    • Mr Encouragement-Incarnate strikes again. You’ve always been a blessing barry. And your film reviews were damn good too! Thanks friend.

  • Mjstedman

    Very sorry to hear you’re moving on. I’ve loved listening to interviews on my way home from church on Sunday nights. Some of the more memorable for me – Donald Miller, and the father of a girl killed in a US school shooting.
    Thanks for all your efforts and godspeed.
    Matt

    • Ah, yes, that conversation with Darrell Scott, father of Columbine shooting victim Rachael Scott, was quite moving. Thanks very much Matt.

  • J& T

    Sheridan, your show has given me hope and joy in sad times, happy times… you name it! you will be missed but I am sure that all your listeners know that you have to follow where God leads you. God bless you!

  • Awoke this morning to all these lovely comments. Thank you everyone. Deeply touching. I’ll try and reply to as many as I can.

  • Ali

    Thank you for everything Sheridan. You will be missed. May God guide you and your wife always. With God on your side, you can do it!

  • Anonymous

    Hello, Sheridan, a humble beginning & simple concept have brought so much fruits and they probed and blessed many over the years. What you have explored every evening brought a new food for thought and provided wisdom to many issues I was challenged with. I have no doubt the decision about putting your wife’s interest before yours and going away from the limelight will deepen your faith. My prayer is that you will be surprised to go & find a place you had never been, in relationship with Jesus. It’s all about Him! Please keep in touch. Bless you both! YL

    • Lovely words, jeweloforchards. thank you. So glad the show was of beneift to you as you sought, thought and prayed.

  • Simon Turnbull

    Just when I was thinking about spending some time together my friend told me your leaving for the freezing UK. Can’t I talk you out of hhis madness? Regards, Simon Turnbull.

    • This one’s a non-negotiable I’m afraid! Happy to get together beforehand if we can make the diaries work though. Thanks Simon.

  • Ajdrayton

    You are an inspiration Sheridan. Hope this new phase in your life will be as much a blessing to yourself as you have been to others. Thanks for your dedication to sorting out the nuts and bolts of faith and culture as well as the amazing conversations with people of faith and those who are searching you have had over the years. I know these conversations will continue, with God blessing you in whatever he has planned next.

    • And thank *you* Adrian for wrestling with the spiritual undercurrents of film and culture too. Let’s stay in touch mate.

  • Deegladden

    Don’t know whether to be sad about this or happy for you?? Will miss you but so good t know you are going where all my huge family live. How can I share you with them??

    • No doubt if I knew your family they’d be saying the same thing about you when you visited. Thanks Dee.

  • James

    Sheridan, All the best to you and Merryn. Your show has challenged me, your professionalism has inspired me, and your guests have blessed me. God bless you.

  • CM

    Dear Sheridan,
    Like many others I was deeply saddened by your announcement last night. But doing it for your family is a noble thing to do and shows your greatness.
    I started listening to your show in early 2007 after the death of my husband from cancer that we tried to fight for one year. At that time, I was desperately clinging to my faith. I wanted to give up on God but listening to you and the many enlightening interviews you did helped me find my peace with God. He never really gave up on me. I thank you so much and pray that this is what He wants for you and your family. I will greatly miss your soothing voice and your admirable ability to handle all those interviews many of which were quite challenging. I can’t imagine how anyone can fill your shoes.

    • Oh wow, CM… to have had a small role in your recent journey is reason enough for these past few years of the show. Thank you *very* much for sharing this… and for sticking in with God. As you say, He never gave up on you (or me). The Great Comforter…

  • Leigh

    Q: Life doesn’t always work out to plan, does it? Tell me about a time when your life took an unexpected, adventurous turn. What happened?

    I have been widowed twice, and after both losses I have managed well on my own, though missing close companionship. Two years after my second wife died, I was visiting friends, who asked me how I was managing on my own. I said that I was doing okay, and had told the Lord that this was the year I would like to meet someone. ( I didn’t realise the audacity of “telling” the Lord, rather than ” asking”!)

    They laughed, and then explained that they knew a lady who was hoping to meet someone. She had lost two husbands, and was ready for a new relationship. The irony of things was that she was in Kununurra, in the north of W A, and I was in Gawler north of Adelaide.

    They put us in touch with each other, and we communicated by phone and email for two months, realising that we had a future together. Then Fay moved to Adelaide, and we married three months later. We have been married now for 18 months, and are finding enjoyment in each other , and in serving the Lord together.

  • Elise

    May God bless you in your new endevours. You will be missed on Sunday nights.

  • Lynne Parsons

    So sorry to hear you are leaving the show! And I’ve enjoyed the books SO much (still hoping for Vol 3 for Mothers’ Day).
    When something good is happening, it’s hard to imagine it changing. BUT we will get used to a new presenter. And, more importantly, I pray that you and Merryn will keep on discovering the good things God has in store for you. Many blessings 🙂

    • Thanks so much Lynne. And hoping all the appropriate Mothers’ Day hints have been recognised!

  • All the best with your plans in the UK Sheridan. I hope you enjoy working on your book project as much as I have with my own writing. I’ll always be thankful for you being the MC at my wedding in Brisbane 18 years ago. It’s funny how life led us in similar directions, and I’ll be sure to read your work in the future. I hope Merryn and yourself make a wonderful future together in England. God bless!

    • You know, Phil, your wedding was my very first ‘public speaking’ event. I shudder to think of what I was like but I was glad to be part of your special day. It’s good to be in touch again all these years later.

  • Khat

    What???/\

    huh?Z/……

    Shock. …….

    complete shock.

    Understand though, that you guy’s need to do , what you need to do.

    God bless you both. Thankyou Sheridan, for what you have given in open house.
    Thankyou Merryn, for allowing that to be possible.

    God Bless

    Will be thinking of you both on your journey… .and adventure

    • Thanks for the feelings Khat. They’re special. I’m glad we can keep in touch here. And new media projects will follow in the future. God’s blessings to you too!

  • Jaki Ffrench

    Life is an incredible journey in faith, and God blesses those who follow!

    Q: Life doesn’t always work out to plan, does it? Tell me about a time when your life took an unexpected, adventurous turn. What happened?

    About 4 years ago, my husbands dad offered (once again) to help us move to Victoria from WA. I had always said no, it never felt like something I wanted. Anyhow, this particular time I felt God said go. Now I have learnt that when God says go, you dont wait for a year to see how things pan out 😉 so, I said ok… lets do it.

    Six years, many struggles later, we are starting to find our feet in our new place, learning that God’s grace extends to the simplest of things. We are now attending a new Church plant, which is just the beginning of all wonderful things to come.

    Its not easy to move, or go so far, but God does and will keep you. Even in the hardest times. It is still a journey of one step of faith at a time, but it is never without adventure, never without God there helping/guiding.

    All the best in the journey Sheridan 🙂 I know in the past God has used you in pivitol places in peoples lives (including mine) and He will continue to do so! Many blessings to you and your lovely wife 🙂

    • Poignant words Jaki. The adventure can be tough in places, can’t it? To think anything less can be naive. Great to hear that the move is starting to look fruitful now. Never realised you’d mved states! And thanks for the kind words too :).

  • Vivienne Voysey

    When I gave you the scripture that reads: “I have plans for you, plans that will not harm you, plans to prosper you and bring you peace”. I really felt God wanted me to write that down and impress on you that, that is what would happen. That was his will for you.
    He has been faithful to his promise. That was way back in the early 90s! You had only just become a Christian and were at a crossroads in your life. With this new move you can only be continuing in that plan, doing his will and spreading your faith to others in another land, because it has been all good up till now and there is no way God changes his mind.
    I eagerly look forward to what comes next in the next chapter of your life. I am so glad you were faithful to his will.
    It breaks my heart to see you go, but I am confident our loving father will continue to be faithful and use you for his and your good.

    • The words of a faithful (and faith-filled) mother, folks. Thanks Mum.

  • Bob Mendelsohn

    I’m delighted and saddened at the reading of this announcement. Delighted for you and your wife; saddened for our Aussie loss. God go with you Sheridan and Merryn in the continuing adventure of life, even in the UK.

    • Thanks very much Bob. Let’s stay in touch.

      • Bob Mendelsohn

        Count on it, although probably on Facebook or Twitter. It’s so tough to find the right arena anymore.

  • Poignant words Jaki. The adventure can be tough in places, can’t it? To think anything less can be naive. Great to hear that the move is starting to look fruitful now. Never realised you’d mved states! And thanks for the kind words too :).

  • Angela E Seneviratne

    I have enjoyed reading your devotionals on ODJ…..I have been always inspired by the stories you relate and connect with God’s teaching of His word….I am amazed today that God lead me to read this blog today….and i see you are working on a book…which seems like miracle . Well if you like to know my friend who lives in OZ has written Enjoy the journey! in similar lines.(It’s about seeing God’s nature reflected in everyday experiences like beauty and love.)to quote your own words. Perhaps you can contact her .She launched her book in Sri Lanka last year……”anusha.atukorala” May God Bless your efforts to teach people that God works through everyday mundane things too!

    • Thanks for the tip on Anusha’s book Angela. I’ll keep an eye out for it. And thanks for the kind words too. So glad you get something out of the Our Daily Jourey devotionals.

  • Jessie

    Thanks for very much for hosting ‘Open House’ for the last few years, it is an excellent show, I particularly like the variety, the conversation really helps us to put the Christian faith into context of life, culture and the world we live in. Your voice will be greatly missed. May God bless your life ahead in UK, hope to see your new book soon! I hope the show will continue to reach out people around Australia in its unique way!

  • terry darmody

    Hi Sheridan

    I have to agree with all the nice things everyone else has said here.

    I’d like to add: I believe that you are going from strength to strength and into an even broader perspective on what God/ Jesus is doing in these times; something like moving from Minnesota to New York, or Perth to Sydney.
    Open House has held an important place in my life since it started. It feeds the “whole man”: spirit, soul, body and intellect. I’m sure your successor will continue in this role.
    Also, O.H. has consistently provided strong ‘gentle’ biblical role models for Christian men like me who gravitate more to reading than sport. John Eldredge, Phil Yancey, Sy Rogers, Jason Stevens and many others have made invaluable contributions.
    And I treasure the interviews with Irene Gleeson, Jeremy Begbie, Bishop Nazir-Ali and the debate between Robyn Williams and the Creation Science lady. Come to think of it there must have been hundreds of these chats! It’s hardly surprising if you could use a bit of brainspace.

    Thanks so much for stepping out in faith and servanthood.
    The Lord will be waiting for you over there. (Matthew 28:20; Isaiah 41:10).

    Terry Darmody

    • Glad you liked Jeremy Begbie too, Terry. One of my favourite interviews. Thanks for the most encouraging words.

  • Vt2lee

    enjoy the next chapter of your life my oldest friend.. im sure both you and Merryn will fulfill every dream… love always, Lee..

    • Gosh, Lee, I guess you and I go back longer than anyone. (Next door neighbours as 5 and 6 year olds.) Thanks!

  • Cres

    life doesn’t always work out to plan,.. no!, more so bacause the man above has bigger & greater plans..
    plans that always seem to exceed our own expectations. ..
    i’ve been a follower of your show ever since i stumbled upon open house, which was sometime in 2008. It was also during this time that I became an active youth member in my own parish community and really started to take my faith seriously. It’s amazing how much your show has impacted myself, and all the youth to really dig in deeper in their faith! To learn and grow spiritually, in creatively using all avenues available to develop a relationship with our God. Young people of today are being empowered and spiritually nourished from OPEN HOUSE. Hearing how “open house” as an idea that has been sparked and initiated, it’s gives be “goosebumps” and also a sense of joy in witnessing as living proof, that God truly sends down the holy spirit to work and move us. I’ve constantly followed open house and will continue to do so. I am 23 years of age, and a full time uni student. Your show has inspired me and my fellow youth in our parish to engage and be aware of cultural, spiritual & world issues in gaining insights, to expand on the talents that we have been blessed and given and to take advantage of the things that are readily available and are accessible to us in engaging with other like minded youth in proclaiming and being a witness to an amazing bloke J.C! (Jesus Christ).

    thank you, Sheridan!

    • Wow Cres, I couldn’t ask for more encouraging feedback. Thank you! So glad the connection that began on Open House can continue here too.

  • Don Roy

     Sheriden,
    Thank you, again, for the challenge and inspiration of your address to the Living Stones Conference of SDA Education in Adelaide last Monday evening.  I am looking forward to the recording I understand the organisers are going to make available so that I will be able to go back through it and reflect further on it.
    I pray that your sojourn in the UK will be a blessing to you, you wife and those whose lives you will touch in the process.
    Sincerely, Don Roy

    • Thank you Don. I loved speaking at the event! Yes, I believe a DVD will be made available to conference participants. I’ll be posting snippets of the video here too. 

  • pete

    you should interview Nicky wire from manic street preachers (and the rest of the band) while in the UK – mate, if you want to talk politics,  philosophy, faith, culture, education etc with a highly ead and educated person – this is the guy. If you dont mind cross dressing, glitter wearing musicians with a politics degree.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4I9yqvv_0U
    I always secrety wished you interviewed him when you were here.

    • What a great idea. I’m putting together some ideas for a new UK-based (and hopefully more widely broadcast) show at the moment, and will add Nicky to the list.

      • pete

        good luck with it. I reckon it would be a very interesting interview with him and certinaly people are polarised over him and the band in the UK because of their outspoken views, leftist ideology and social justice stances. I just saw him give his opinion on the uk riots and he had some good insight. Hope your new show gets up soon