Barnard Castle and Teesdale Methodist Circuit Website
Report to Spring Synod 2019
Jesus' words about the vine and the branches in John 15 are a fair description of the circuit in the last 12 months. After much pruning of buildings and activities in the last few years it is good to now see new shoots and fruit emerging.
Pruning of buildings and societies has taken place in the closure of Eggleston Chapel, on which an offer has been accepted, and the sale of Newbiggin and the old Middleton-in-Teesdale buildings. Forest are seeking permission of synod to cease worship and Cotherstone are currently prayerfully considering their sustainability as key members have died or are becoming increasingly frail.
In contrast, the renewal project at Middleton, now known as The Pathway, has been completed. In the month following the rededication service with the preacher Rev Steve Wild 3 people moved into the area and transferred their membership to The Pathway and 4 others started attending! The Christmas day lunch fed over 30 people this year and as the building is being used more by the community ways are being planned to engage with people and to share the love of God with them as we look to bear fruit.
Barnard Castle has also welcomed new members, one who started attending following the care given during his wife's final weeks of life. Requests continue to come for infant baptisms and funerals which give good opportunities for building relationships and sharing the Good News. Following a visit by Charles Palmer from the Connexional Property Committee and with further advice from Maurice Aspey consultations are taking place with a view to releasing the rear part of the building for alternative use whilst making the front part multi purpose.
Staindrop were delighted to appoint Mark Bagnall as a Community worker. He has made good contacts throughout the village and new activities are being tried to enable conversations about faith, including an Easter photography competition.
We have been pleased to welcome Rev Harold Stuteley to assist in the circuit with preaching and pastoral work to allow the Superintendent to extend her work to Darlington Circuit. Different styles and times of worship continue across the circuit as do housegroups. An ecumenical team continue to deliver Open The Book to four schools. Bible Month has been followed the last two years, incorporating an arts workshop and this will continue in July as we study Colossians.
Conversations have continued with Darlington Circuit with a view to forming a new circuit and formal consultations with each Church Council are about to take place.
We praise God for all that is past; and trust God for all that's to come.