The Drive Methodist Church relies on a team of people who support worship and the work of the church, playing their part in music, flower arranging, catering, the church office, projection, and many other activities.
The Minister leads the church assisted by local preachers, Stewards and Finance and Property (F&P).
Meet our Team.
REV. DERMOT THORNBERRY
Rev. Dermot N Thornberry our current Minister, arrived in Sevenoaks in September 2019. He hails from Belfast, where he attended the Methodist College known affectionately as “Methody”. He left for Australia in 1969 to escape the ‘troubles’, travelled on through New Zealand and South East Asia, and finally settled in South Africa where he worked as a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce. During a “’Pint for a Pint” blood donor drive in Capetown, Dermot met his wife Charlene. She was working as a technician in the Western Province Blood Transfusion Services during riots in Cape Town, at the clinic where Dermot gave blood. The couple became Christians on their honeymoon in 1979, and in 1992 Dermot was ordained into the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. He had a number of Church appointments in South Africa & Namibia including time in local government, and as a chaplain in the military. He returned with Charlene to the UK in 1999, and was first stationed in Great Ayton, then Reading, Paignton in Devon, Blackwell in Derbyshire and Brighton. He enjoys all aspects of ministry and especially sees his strength in pastoral work and teaching. He has interests in Narrative Theology, Celtic Spirituality, and Christian Mindfulness – studied during a sabbatical in 2017, he is now in the final stages of qualifying as a practitioner.
Charlene was born and raised in Cape Town, the youngest of 6 girls. She attended St Mary’s Convent for Girls and matriculated in 1973. She was working as a technician in the Western Province Blood Transfusion Services when she met Dermot. They married in 1979 and became Christians on their honeymoon. Dermot eventually felt a call into the Methodist ministry and was ordained in 1992. Charlene has always been very involved in Dermot’s Ministry. Her other interests include songs from musicals, modern praise and worship, entertaining, and anything to do with Golden Retrievers. Now settled in England they still have the travel bug and continue to visit other countries when possible.
Dermot and Charlene speak strongly of always knowing God’s guiding hand over them – going into full time ministry was a natural progression. They emphasize that their manse door is always OPEN! They have no children but do have a very well loved and thoroughly spoilt rescue Golden Retriever called Bridie.
REV. GERALD GARDINER
Local Preachers, a unique aspect of Methodism, were established by John Wesley to nurture new local societies while Ministers were absent, like the one he founded in Sevenoaks, They are an essential part of The Drive preaching team, and country-wide continue to be responsible for leading many Methodist services. The Methodist Church places great emphasis on properly discerning the call of a potential local preacher, and on thorough training and preparation for this key role. The process takes place under the supervision of the Circuit Local Preachers’ Meeting. There are eight members of The Drive Methodist Church Sevenoaks listed in the current Circuit Preaching Plan, who are local preachers. Anyone interested in becoming a local preacher should ask for a conversation with Rev. Dermot.
Senior Steward and Local Preacher
Steward and Safeguarding Lead
F&P Lead and Local Preacher
Senior Steward and Pastoral Lead