MSIA Minister, Margaret Sinclair New, reached the age of 100 in August of 2019. Age-wise, she is the oldest living MSIA Minister. Margaret was born on the 10th of August of 1919. She was ordained on the 23rd of August of 1995, at the age of 76.
Here is an impromptu interview taken from conversations at Margaret’s 100th birthday celebration attended by Paget Aisling, Nathalie Franks, Isabel New (Margaret’s daughter), Lars Forsberg and Sam Westmacott. Isabel asked Margaret what it’s like to be the oldest MSIA Minister and have your oldest birthday. She laughed, and then said what is below.
Q: How did you come to be involved with MSIA?
Margaret: I became interested in joining MSIA after reading books given to me by my daughter (Isabel New). Subsequently I went to an MSIA Open Seminar/Open House event. Somebody, who I’ve never seen again since, asked me how long had I been in MSIA. I replied, ‘I’m not a member but my husband has just died and I can’t come to a decision because he didn’t subscribe to religious activities/spiritual teachings.’ This man replied ‘But you are on your own now and you should come to your own decision about it and not be influenced by that.’ From that, I came to the conclusion that I was only hanging back because of what my late husband said about my daughter, ‘she’ll get you in the end.’
I decided to involve myself so that I could make an informed decision for myself – and went onto Discourses. Subsequently, a PAT I became available and I made the decision to participate as I saw it as an opportunity to explore the Teachings further and to get to know the people better.
Q: I think you’ve told me before that PAT I was instrumental in you becoming a Minister. Can you explain to us what happened there?
Margaret: Early on, another participant at the training made a bee-line for me and I immediately felt a deep connection and overwhelming desire to help her and meet her needs. During the course of the week, I was also partnered at one time with a lady who was herself experiencing considerable emotional distress. Once again, I felt moved to comfort her. Later, I was partnered with another lady with whom I had a deep intellectual rapport. As a consequence of these three quite different encounters, I experienced a great sense of belonging and empathy with the values that I saw being expressed. I was aware that I was learning something about myself, and I felt moved to participate further and discover more.
Before the week ended Paul Hunting, who was assisting, approached me and asked me why I was not a Minister. I explained that I had not long been in the Movement and hadn’t yet received my first initiation. And he said ‘You should be a Minister.’ I was surprised that:
- he had been watching me and
- that he recognised something in me that I was unaware of.
So I continued to work with myself until the opportunity presented itself for me to be ordained, which happened in 1995 at the One Accord Training in Brighton. Paul Kaye was the one who ordained me.
Q: So in the 24 years since you became a Minister what do you think it means to you now?
Margaret: The opportunity to help, support and nourish other people. Whereas in the past I may have engaged with people by virtue of an established relationship or my role with that person, once I became a Minister I found that the opportunities to serve other people increased: more people seemed to seek me out and, that part of my nature which is giving, grew as a consequence and my own spirit was nourished. As I nourished others, so I was nourished – I think its called karma.
Q: You’ve recently had a milestone birthday – in fact you’re the oldest MSIA Minister on the planet at the present time. How do you feel about that?
Margaret: It’s only really now that I’ve reached 100 that I can appreciate it’s actually quite a long time. When I was living it, time didn’t seem to have the same significance (as when I look back on it). I have done more looking back as a consequence of being 100, and have seen that life has had its testing times. But they were overshadowed by the love and support I’ve received from my family and many friends, both in MSIA and elsewhere, through the years.