West Durham Methodist Circuit Website
Report to Spring Synod 2021
The pandemic has transformed worship from buildings and groups to being virtual. We are fortunate in having individuals who are technically skilled and who have worked tirelessly to provide circuit services. The advantages are that people can watch them at their leisure, and they have included those who are housebound. Those who have difficulties with technology have been catered for with printed copies of both the reflections and the District worship.
Learning and Caring
We studied the Book of Ruth for Bible month and have had access to Adrian Roux's studies on Mark's gospel. The world of YouTube has allowed people to join Spring Harvest, different churches including Westminster Central Hall, and churches where family and friends are worshipping, often some distance away. The Learning Network worked hard with the Great 50 Days during the summer, which was much appreciated, again hard copies were distributed for those without computers. Pastoral care is paramount because of lack of physical contact, and caring has become very much part of Local Preachers and Worship Leaders calling using their gifts in another direction.
We have continued with children's work with Messy Church online and with special activity bags being distributed. We had Christingle in a bag working with the schools in Weardale and supported financially by ScotMid Co-op. We distributed 300 bags throughout Weardale. We had Follow the Donkey at Frosterley School with a special nativity. Frances the Mule came to the school and stood in a shelter outside the school building and each child was photographed with her and these became family Christmas cards. Frances loved this attention as it was her only engagement in 2020 and she also enjoyed a bucket of apples as her teeth are not so good, but she is over 40 now. We have also the exciting Mr Fox series for young people produced by our children's worker Dionne.
The work of Foodbanks is still very active together with FareShare at Willington Open Door Methodist Church, the cafe has opened there for the provision of hot meals to those who visit the foodbank as a takeaway service, and they have served over 10,000 hot meals using food donated from local supermarkets. The church provides children's activity packs, and the printer has proved its worth!!
We have so many initiatives in the community, including knitted angels produced by people wanted to be involved. These angels were hung around the local villages with labels including website details. People have baked, made chutney, and provided hampers which were put together and distributed to single person households. Biscuits were left in local shops to show appreciation of their efforts and we have worked well with the local community including collection boxes on shop counters for the Children's Society.