Since the Circuit's birth in September 2009, we have been seeking to discern the purposes to which God is calling us. This journey has included the work of an initial Strategy Group, followed by a Strategy Implementation Group. Since September 2012 we have been served by a team ministry, with pastoral charge exercised collectively by the team. The journey continued with a new group asking each church to reflect on its local mission, using questions from the Healthy Churches' Handbook.
These reflections, together with the strategy work which proceeded them, fed into a Leadership Team away day in October 2014 which, in turn, led us to a Circuit Consultation in December 2014. We took the beginning of Isaiah 54, which in The Message reads:
Clear lots of ground for your tents!
Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big!
Use plenty of rope,
drive the tent pegs deep.
You’re going to need lots of elbow room
for your growing family.
You’re going to take over whole nations;
you’re going to resettle abandoned cities.
Don’t be afraid—you’re not going to be embarrassed.
Don’t hold back—you’re not going to come up short.
From this, we had our own "tent" which toured the Circuit during 2015 and 2016 - Meet the Tent - see photos of the wonderful banners created by visitors to the Isaiah Tent. That chapter of our mission journey drew to a close at the Circuit Meeting on 15 March 2016 when Rev Nick Blundell shared reflections on the tent.
The mission which matters is that of the local church, and the circuit exists to support and facilitate that mission. The ministry we are all called to exercise is always local, seeking to serve people in the places we inhabit - where we live, work, spend our time. This mission and ministry, diverse and varied though it is in response to local contexts, will reflect appropriately the calling of the Methodist Church. In coming to decisions about how we use our resources we need a balance between local need and opportunity, and wider concerns. We seek to help one another be good stewards of the time, talent and treasure entrusted to us.
Our journey of discernment continues as we explore what it means to be "church" in our communities. These Good News stories are shared through the Circuit magazine the Link, our blog, our facebook page and Twitter.
God is touching an amazing number of people through all that we do.