Explanation of our Church "Circuit", by Henry Waters
With our Church being right on one of Knutsford’s busy main streets, we are very well placed to take an active role in our town, and it is very appropriate that we should try to reach out, in the name of our Lord Jesus, to our local community.
But we are also part of a Circuit, and we are reminded of this at the start of each Sunday morning service when we light our Circuit candle, and pray for the other churches in our Circuit, the Alderley Edge and Knutsford Circuit.
Our Circuit is one of 19 Circuits in the Manchester and Stockport District of the Methodist Church, which has a total membership of 8,400, and in October 2016 (official figures are recorded each October), the seven Churches in our Circuit had a membership of 511. It is the Circuit which is the primary unit in which Local Churches express and experience their interconnexion in the Body of Christ, for purposes of mission, mutual encouragement and help – as explained in CPD, the Constitutional Practice and Discipline of the Methodist Church.
So how is our Circuit organised and run?
Circuits are ‘managed’ by Circuit Meetings, and we hold two each year, generally in September and March. The members of Circuit Meeting are the Trustees of the Circuit, and are made up of our Circuit Leadership Team (CLT), the Secretary of the Local Preachers Meeting, and representatives of each of the seven churches. These church representatives are the Senior Church Steward (for Knutsford it is one of our Joint Senior Stewards), the Church Treasurer, and representatives from each Church Council, with Knutsford appointing five, Alderley Edge three, and one from each of the other Churches. Circuit Meetings must exercise that combination of spiritual leadership and administrative efficiency which will enable the Circuit to fulfil its purposes. In addition to Circuit Meetings our CLT hold meetings every six to eight weeks, and the Team is made up of our Circuit Ministers, the Circuit Stewards and Officials – the Circuit Treasurer, Circuit Property Steward and Secretary of Circuit Meeting.
At each Circuit Meeting we receive Reports from each of the churches, generally prepared by the Senior Church Steward, from the Local Preachers Meeting, and from the Circuit Treasurer and Property Steward. At our September Meeting we also discussed the arrangements that have been made for the closure of Over Peover Methodist Church, considered the Trustees’ Report and Circuit Reserves Policy, received a Report on the Proposed District Partnership Fund (which it is hoped will provide greater help and support to Circuits on matters such as finance and property), and reviewed the Circuit’s Safeguarding provisions. In February the Circuit Treasurer and the CLT draft a Budget for the next year (from September) to cover our Ministers Stipends and expenses, the maintenance of the three Manses and other Circuit costs, which in total come to almost £200,000. The Circuit Treasurer then meets with the Church Treasurers to consider the assessments for the next years (the amount each Church will contribute to the Circuit) and then the Budget and Assessments are agreed by the March Circuit Meeting.
Many events are organised by the Circuit to foster closer links between the Churches, such as the Circuit Prayer Day and Prayer Cobweb on the weekend of 14th to 15th October, the Firefest weekend at Knutsford on 11th to 13th May 2018, and the Circuit Supper, which will be held at Alderley Edge on Saturday 9th June 2018. We hope that, perhaps because we are the largest church in the Circuit, we can, at Knutsford, support and encourage the smaller churches in our Circuit. We also benefit greatly from being in the Circuit, with one of the more recent examples at the morning services on Sunday 8th October, when the Circuit Worship Team helped us celebrate our Harvest Festival: there was something to inspire and appeal to everyone, whatever our age.
Secretary to Circuit Meeting