Neil "Sandy" Sweet Jr.
I was born in Taunton in 1947, part of the crest of the Baby Boom, and graduated from Taunton High School in 1965. I am a “cradle Christian” and Methodist. Baptized, confirmed, and grew up in the church. As a “Jr” I have been known as Sandy all my life. Graduated from UMass Amherst, class of 1969 with a major in Political Science with a minor in Speech & Theater.
During summers in college I worked at Winthrop Akkins in Middleboro as a stock boy. My dad was part of the offset press crew there, a huge press with catwalks on the side. I Attended Seminary at Iliff School of Theology, class of 1973. I did a 15 month internship at Seattle First UMC where I was the fifth full-time pastor on the staff. In 1973 I was appointed to Bryantville UMC and West Duxbury UMC.
In November that year my son was born and I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease, a cancer of the lymph system. After six years at both churches, I served Bryantville for another three. Then I served UMC churches in South Hamilton, Maynard, Taunton, and East Bridgewater. I retired from full-time pastoring in June 2015. Three months later I was asked to be the interim pastor at my home church in Taunton “through Christmas”. Almost 4 years later in 2019, I retired from that position but on July 1, 2019.
I became part of the first Ministry Team in the then RISEM District at First UMC of Warren/Bristol, RI. I’m now in my third year on that Team. I have always served on Annual Conference and District committees and boards. Division on Worship, Site committee at Camp Aldersgate, Registrar on the Board of Ordained Ministry where I shepherded candidates through the process.
Currently I am the chair of the District Committee on Location & Building, a member of the District committee on Ministry, and the District Lay Servant Ministry committee. In the last 5 years my passion has been helping to nurture and equip lay ministry. Certified Lay Servants, Certified Lay Speakers, and Certified Lay Ministers. It is one of the most rewarding things I have done in my ministry. The future of the Methodist Church depends not on clergy but on the ministry of all baptized Christians.