Middlesbrough and Eston Methodist Circuit Website
Report to Spring Synod 2021
It has not been an easy year for the Middlesbrough and Eston circuit. Everything has been affected by the global pandemic and at the time of writing we are still struggling with lockdown restrictions. However, faith endures, and we continue to trust in a God who redeems and makes all things new.
The circuit said goodbye to their superintendent, Sue Greenwood, at the end of July who has now become a supernumerary in the Yorkshire North and East District. A socially distanced farewell took place at the end of July followed by a masked and sanitised welcome service for me (Revd David Godfrey) as I took over the superintendency at the beginning of September.
During the past year we have tried to find new ways to worship. Some churches have been able to host covid secure worship through the months of September — December. Others, because of the vulnerabilities of the congregation or the nature of their buildings, have not been able to gather for worship at all. Worship, therefore, has entered our homes through printed sheets, online recordings and the Zoom platform. 'Young Sunday' a group for our circuit's young people has flourished on Zoom, as have two recent circuit study courses led by the circuit ministers.
Activities have been severely restricted this year in our churches and mission projects. User groups have not been able to meet on our premises, which has had a significant social and financial impact. Pastoral care has continued through telephone, letters and occasional doorstep or garden visits when appropriate. Social isolation and related mental health issues remain a concern within our community. Our mission projects, Methodist Asylum Project, Trinity Family Friendly Centre, and Linthorpe Road Resource Centre have all continued to operate in more limited ways and we thank the district for its ongoing support for God's mission in the circuit. Food (and clothing when restrictions allow) continues to be distributed to the most vulnerable.
In all the above I am grateful to my colleagues Revd Charity Hamilton, Revd Christopher Wood-Archer, Revd Lawrence Law and to all the people God calls and uses for his mission and service in the life of this circuit. I look forward to sharing the future with you all.