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New Beginnings, and a few Questions Answered

On Sunday March 27, 2011, I handed over the Open House radio show to its new host, veteran journalist and Sky News presenter Leigh Hatcher. As the above video shows, the moment marked a new beginning for me, for Leigh, and for the Open House program.

As I’ve mentioned previously, Open House was a 10-year dream of mine that became a reality. And this show was a most wonderful way to bring my part in that dream to an end. Broadcast in front of a live audience in the courtyard of Hope Media studios, it included some brilliant moments:

Many callers shared how Open House had changed their lives. Darlene Zscheck sent in some kind words. TV, book and film critics Mark Hadley, Kara Martin and Ben McEachen produced surprise gifts for me, and Leigh Hatcher honoured me by leading the crowd in a standing ovation. I have been flooded with emails, Facebook and Twitter messages, and comments on this blog, stating how lives have been changed through Open House. Thank you for leaving me with such special memories.

A Few Questions Answered

I have been asked many questions since the announcement of my leaving Open House. Let me take a moment to answer a few:

Why are you leaving?

As I mentioned in my original announcement, it was time for my wife Merryn to have a ‘new beginning’ of her own. Having followed me from city to city over the last few years, it was time for 2011 to be ‘her’ year.

Where are you going?

To the UK: Oxford, to be exact. Since deciding to move God has blessed Merryn with an exciting new role at Oxford University. It will be an excellent base for us both, opening up opportunities in Europe also.

What will you be doing next?

Open House was always one of three things I did, the other two being writing and speaking. For the rest of the year I’ll be taking a writing sabbatical to finish a book project tentatively titled More Than This. It will explore the way we long for God, often without realising it, and suggest that God can be ‘seen’ in experiences of beauty, goodness, truth and love.

In 2012 I hope to launch some new media venture: perhaps a new radio or TV program.

Along the way there will be a new edition of Unseen Footprints to release, an Unseen Footprints audio book, and a new podcast. I’ll continue to speak at conferences, churches and other events as requests come.

Will we hear you in Australia again?

Almost definitely. There is quite some interest in me contributing to Australian radio and other media from the UK. You’ll hear about on this blog when it happens!

How do you feel about Leigh Hatcher as your successor?

Absolutely thrilled. Leigh’s broadcasting experience is superb, his heart is generous and his faith is strong. As Leigh has said in his statement, he feels like his career will culminate in this new role. As I joked in the interview above, Open House is like a daughter to me and as her ‘father’ I was keen to know of Leigh’s intentions with her! I’m content that the show’s best days lie ahead. I feel honoured to be followed by someone of such calibre.

What lessons have you learnt through hosting Open House?

I’ll be answering that question in my next post. There have been many, but four lessons in particular stand out to me. (Now posted here.)

Open House became the first live-networked radio program in Australian Christian radio. It exceeded my dreams. And believing in a God who continually offers us new beginnings I’m excited at what lies ahead – for Leigh Hatcher, Open House, for my wife, and for me.

***

Q: Your general comments are welcome. I’m also happy to answer any further questions you have.

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  • Vivienne Voysey

    Great to watch this Sheridan after listening to your final show.
    I think your daughter is in very good hands and she will continue to grow into an even finer young woman. You can be so proud of your achievement – your dream that came true. All the time, hard work, sweat and tears, highs and lows that made it what it turned out to be – something unique in Christian radio, touching thousands of persons for good. Bringing many to their first encounter with our Lord Jesus.
    When you as a little boy used to tape-record a commentary to the car races of Piquet, I thought then that you would end up doing something similar when you grew up. You have, but for a far greater purpose than a car race! Bless you I know you will have many new experiences in the future in the UK.
    I love you. Mum.

    • I remember that Piquet commentary. It was quickly erased, if I remember correctly! Thanks Mum. You’re right – the show is in good hands.

      • Vivienne Voysey

        Is that why I could never find that tape again! 🙁

  • Mike Hardie

    Loved the final show (the parts I caught). What a gift you are. Great days ahead of creative renewal; fresh vision; time for writing and dreaming the future. We can’t wait to have you back at THRIVE and also celebrate with you your new ventures. We are sad & happy. Mike & Terasa

  • Scott Haas

    Gonna miss you mate. You’ve been brilliant and an inspiration to me and many others! Stay in touch. Looking forward to also reading your enxt long awaited book lol. Will look forward to hearing you Aussie radio again soon 🙂
    Scott Haas (ultra106five PD)

    • And you, my friend, are an inspiration. It’s been wonderful working with you all these years, and hope we can again soon!

  • congrats on a solid innings.

  • Clare Bruce

    This office is not quite the same without you, for starters your old computer monitor has had to be lowered 🙂 haha… God’s best seasons are ahead for you guys! Looking forward to hearing exciting reports from Oxford…
    ~ The Person Formerly Known As Your Producer, Clare B

    • And you know I’d take you to the UK in a flash if I could, Clare. You’re the best there is. Thanks for the joy of working with you over the last two years.

      • Katrina Roe

        Oh really. ”The best there is!” Ha! What about your other fabulous producers???

        • Clare Bruce

          🙂 hehe true, I caught the wave you started Katrina…you me and KL, equal best…three gold medals…

        • Oh man, I’m in trouble… 🙂 You got a big wrap on Sunday night too, Katrina! Open House wouldn’t be where it is without you and those late night planning sessions.

          (How was that? Am I redeemed? :))

        • And Kirsty, if you read this… you were ‘the best’ too!

          (Truly folks, I had three great producers for Open House.)

  • Sheridan, that was a great handover between yourself and Leigh. Great to see the decorum and humility that you brought to this time. I’m really pleased for you that you can have such assurance in the way your ‘girl’ will be treated because of Leigh’s heart and professionalism.
    Long live Hedgehog flavoured ‘crisps’!!
    (whats this chips thing!!?!)

    Keep it real for sanity’s sake,
    Ensure its aligned with the common man,
    Make sure its within grasp of a short arm,
    And keep Jesus in your Vision

    You will do well!
    God Bless,
    Andrew

    • Thanks Andrew. My ‘daughter’ as I called her, IS in good hands. Still got to try those ‘crisps’ but :). See you at CMA soon.