Stokesley Methodist Circuit Website
Report to Spring Synod 2021
Like everyone else, the Stokesley Circuit has faced unprecedented challenges and new opportunities in the past year. We had had to adapt to new technologies and understand how we can continue with our Mission without being with each other and meeting physically.
Worship in our churches was radically disrupted in March 2020 but we have been able to offer online worship across the circuit since the first lockdown, with some recordings reaching over 300 people a week. Pre-recorded services were available across the circuit (and beyond) and when restrictions permitted, live streaming from one of our churches was also available. We recognise that online access to worship will remain important in the future so have invested in new technology in Stokesley Church thanks to a local Co-Op grant.
Our weekly prayer groups have continued to meet online as well as house groups and bible study groups.
When we were able to, many of our churches opened for private prayer before reopening for public worship. We are thankful to our volunteers who have carried out numerous risk assessments, drafted procedures and organised cleaning to make sure that our members, and members of the public feel safe in our spaces.
We continue to work with our local schools and work hard to maintain our links with them. Some of our churches have provided materials and worksheets to local pupils for events such as Christingle. Although our toddler groups and children's groups cannot meet, our volunteers across the circuit have distributed craft bags, activity packs, Christmas cards and treats to families who usually attend our groups.
This year, more than ever, we know the importance of creating opportunities for people to be together and reducing isolation and loneliness. This hasn't always been easy, particularly with those who do not have access to the technology to join us online. A huge effort has been made to maintain fellowship in our churches. This has been done through a commitment to daily calls to others, online lunches and coffee mornings, reaching out to those who are isolated with deliveries of Sunday lunches, regular newsletters and Christmas cards. Our Chapel Hub in Hutton Rudby remains a popular and important community hub and was used as a central point for coordinating deliveries of food, medicine and other essentials for those who were self-isolating or vulnerable throughout the pandemic.
Our online radio station, LevenOnline continues to grow and is extending its work into local schools. This has been a challenge but we continue to work hard to spread the Christian ethos to the younger generation.
There are many other ways in which our people seek to share their faith and the Good News of God's love in daily life. Support for Foodbanks across the circuit has continued along with collecting winter clothing for the homeless, toiletries for the Middlesbrough Asylum project, care packs for Seafarers at Teesport, and toys for the Christmas Salvation Army appeal.