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Student prepares to become minister

Wesley Sanders’ classes have played a strong, supporting role in his pursuit to become a Methodist minister.

Sanders, a 19-year-old junior from Freeville, said his psychology major has been instrumental as he goes through the ministry’s candidacy process.

“So much of being a pastor isn’t about theology or knowing facts about religion,” said Sanders, who grew up in Georgia, moved to New York five years ago and became active in his community church. “It’s about your relationship with parishioners and being able to help them relate to God. My psychology has helped me to understand how people think and why they do the things they do.”

Sanders is taking a Biblical history course from the Judaic Studies Department for a different viewpoint on the Old Testament. He also has taken acting courses that have made him aware of speaking habits that he can improve upon when at the pulpit or interacting with others in the future.

Acting observations keep Sanders busy in the Theatre Department. Last year, his first on the campus, he was stage manager for the productions of Rabbit Hole and Little Women. This year, he will manage the musical Urinetown. The key off-stage job requires him to coordinate actors and the design team, move props and give instructions to the crew from the control room during the performance.

“I jumped in there with both feet because stage managing a show takes up a lot of time,” he said. “There’s nightly rehearsals every weekday for four hours and a seven-hour rehearsal on the weekends.”

Anne Brady, associate professor of Theatre and director of Rabbit Hole,
Little Women and Urinetown, said Sanders has been an integral part of the theater team.

“I cannot say enough positive things about (him),” she said. “He is an extremely  intelligent, knowledgeable, kind, generous, highly responsible and efficient young man who is an enormous pleasure to work with.”

Although he hopes to attend a seminary after graduation, Sanders has no desire to leave the stage lights behind.

“I hope I always have the chance to work in the theater,” he said. “I love the people in the Theatre Department and everything I’ve done here.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08