Castle Eden Methodist Circuit Website (formerly United North East Circuit)
Report to Spring Synod 2019
Here in the Castle Eden Circuit, many folk look back to the days when each chapel had a thriving Sunday School/youth club and regret that those days seem no longer to be with us.
At those times, I delight in being able to remind them of those opportunities which we still have to connect with the younger generation, albeit, perhaps, in a slightly different way.
At Westbourne, we have a thriving Boys Brigade company, and their current minister, Revd Janice Trimble, has worked hard to make links between the company and the church, going along on a Friday evening and holding regular parade services with worship appropriate for all ages.
At Peterlee and at Grange Road we have toddler groups, both of which are fed by and feed into the many baptisms which we have in this circuit.
At Milbank, Kids Klub meets every Wednesday evening during term time, as indeed it has for the past twenty years or so.
At Hesleden, there is still a very active, and quite traditional, Sunday School as well as a monthly Messy Church, attended by children and carers alike.
And in many places across the circuit, the church is welcomed into the school — to lead assembly, for Open the Book, which is done ecumenically, and even to lead RE lessons as Deacon Annabel does every week in two of the villages in the circuit — and the schools make regular visits to the chapel, for all sorts of different reasons.
Sometimes they come to learn about the building and our particular Methodist heritage, sometimes they come to learn about baptism, bringing their dollies with them for a very hands on experience, sometimes they come to learn about weddings, and what a joy when all the parents and teachers engage with the experience by turning up in all their finery!!
And just before Christmas, with the help of a team of wonderful volunteers from across the circuit, we presented the Christmas journey to children from both Easington Colliery and Horden primary schools. It was so encouraging to see how, not just the children, but the teachers as well, engaged with the story. One teaching assistant who came the first two days because she had to, told us that she had come the rest of the week, because she wanted to.
So you see, we might not have Sunday schools and youth clubs bursting at the seams anymore, but the Gospel is still being heard among the generation of younger people who are growing up in this circuit and in that we really do rejoice.