Darlington Methodist Circuit Website
Report to Spring Synod
The new tagline 'disciples making disciples' has been an important focus for our Circuit, as we seek to discover both what it means to be disciples in Darlington today and how to openly and generously share our faith. In September 2017, we welcomed the Rev'd Bill and Val Mullally to the Circuit. Bill arrived from a year as President of the Irish Methodist Conference, and is here in the British Conference to undertake research on the new supervision process.
After 18 months of 'fallow time' following the decision of its Church Council to cease worship, the Northland building has begun to be repurposed and relaunched as a Community Hosting Space. The successful Giving Garden project at Pierremont has expanded into the Northland yard, and with the help of student work experience placements from the QE Sixth Form College, the Charity Shop has reopened, and a cafe now runs, Tuesdays to Thursdays 10am-2pm. A prayer space and an alpha course will be coming soon.
Out at Hurworth, the Mustard Tree Cafe is also flourishing and a development project to use the old caretaker's cottage at the rear of the site for further community use has begun. At Elm Ridge, plans to bring the gardens into greater use are being formulated, and three large crosses have recently been dedicated, forming part of the prayer trail around the garden which is open to all. Haughton's cafe also continues to be a strong centre for the local community. The deepest joy in all of this are the new people who are engaging with church and exploring faith as a result of having become connected through our community projects.
Bondgate has had a challenging time, but with the support of the Circuit and the District, a new Church Council is now working to enable its ministry and mission in the centre of Darlington to continue, develop and flourish. Worship Together services held at Bondgate every month for the whole Circuit have been refreshed by the addition of members of Embrace Church and Oath of God Church, two new Christian communities who are now regularly worshipping at Bondgate.
At the end of 2017, Methodist members who live in the new West Park Development planted a fresh church community, using one of their homes and local community spaces, with the help of our Pioneer Missioner Graham Jones and Bill Mullally. Already, this has connected with a number of families, and we are excited to see how this fresh expression of church develops.
The Staff team has expanded this year, with the arrival of Emma and Lauren, two part-time children and youth work assistants, helping Morvyn to expand our work engaging with our young people. It was a particular joy to have a large group attending 3Generate from the Darlington Circuit. A new partnership with ChurchDesk, an online church management tool, will enable us to engage more effectively and efficiently with both members and new contacts, and a new website will be coming soon. Rev Dr Andrew Stobart will be moving on at the end of this year to a new post as Director of Research at Wesley House, Cambridge. As yet, the Circuit awaits news of a new superintendent, and we are in much prayer and planning for the future. As we re-centre around our tag-line, 'disciples making disciples', and the Calling of the Methodist Church, we continue to pray that as long as we are alive in Darlington, we will be good ambassadors for God's Kingdom.