Stockton Methodist Circuit Website
Report to Spring Synod 2021
ENGAGE WITH COMMUNITY (Local and global)
CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER
SHARE JESUS CHRIST
1Peter 3:15 Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you. (Good News Bible).
Significant development during the year
Over this year the circuit has been developing an online presence seeking to encourage churches to work together rather than duplicating. We have regular YouTube presence through Yarm and a weekly Zoom worship in traditional and family styles of worship. The family expression was developed by the Baptismal Support worker as part of her work as we tried to remain in contact with families who had children baptised. This was attempted using a new website, familytimeuk.co.uk paid for by the circuit, and through social media and telephone contacts. This was not as successful as we had hoped and a review of the current policy on baptism is being undertaken, resourced by a full report from the Baptismal Support Worker who resigned her post in August 2020 to train for presbyteral ministry.
Online presence has included regular Bible Study and Coffee Mornings as well as an online Christmas Lunch and Party organised by one of the churches. There has been work across the circuit in partnership with local schools which has continued during the pandemic using Zoom and recording material to be used for assemblies.
In-person worship has taken place in some, but not all, of the church buildings. All churches have been working on ways to keep in touch with their communities appropriately.
This year St Andrews, the church on the Hardwick estate, was due to celebrate the 60th Anniversary. This was cancelled due to the pandemic but the local community is planning to mark this once the restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, the Foodbank has continued to seek to serve the community and individuals have been supported by the worker.
In Port Clarence the Circuit continues to support the work of Billingham Environmental Link Program (BELP) by providing a chaplain on the allotment on a monthly basis and supporting initiatives in the community during the summer.
Yarm Road Church has continued to develop support of the Asylum Seeker project. The pandemic has meant they are no longer meeting however the space is being used for storage and contact is being maintained.
Two members of staff had sabbaticals during the year with the support of the circuit, this was a time of renewal for the staff and opportunity to share ministry between lay and ordained in a new way especially during the time of pandemic.
Along with the churches we continue to struggle to find volunteers to fill roles at a circuit level. This is causing a rethink in the way the circuit is structured.