We are one of the eight churches that make up the Dorking & Horsham Methodist Circuit
The others are to be found in Cobham, Effingham, Leatherhead, Horsham (London Road and St Andrew's), Southwater and Partridge Green.
There is a United Pastorate in the north of the Circuit. This embraces our churches in Leatherhead, Effingham and Cobham, as well as the URC churches at Christ Church (Leatherhead) and Cobham. The Pastorate is served by a Methodist minister (Revd Lynda Russell) and a URC minister (Revd Kim Plumpton).
Our Superintendent Minister is Revd Paul Cockburn. He lives in Horsham, and oversees the Churches at London Road and Partridge Green. Revd Kath Jones is Minister at St Andrew's and Southwater.
Circuit news and events are published in the Circuit Newsletter which comes out quarterly in March, June, September and December. Copies are available in church.
Paul writes in the December 2014 issue: Dear Friends,
I have recently cancelled my subscription to a magazine called "History Revealed". I've enjoyed browsing through the contents, but at such a slow rate that the initial subscription offer has been enough to give me reading material for a long while yet.
What is it that people find interesting about history? There's the academic approach: the pleasure of discovering new facts about the past. For example, I already knew that Hannibal journeyed across the Alps with elephants. I now know that amongst his army of thousands there were only 37 battle elephants, and all but one died on the journey.
There's the celebratory approach: any excuse for a party, sometimes with little relationship to historical events. I'm writing this on 5th November and I suspect that people setting off fireworks in the distance are more interested in pretty explosions than in an historical terrorist attack on Parliament.
There's the pragmatic approach: learning useful lessons from the past that will inspire and guide us in our lives today. There are some wonderful role models for us scattered throughout history.
And there's the personal relationship approach: getting to know people better by understanding how they used to live. Well-written historical fiction can be good at this. Reading Azincourt (by Bernard Cornwell) gave me a real sense of what it would have been like to be an archer in battle. But even better is a face to face conversation. A few years ago I had a fascinating chat with my mother about her life as a typist in the telegram business.
Christianity is an historical faith, based on certain key events two thousand years ago. We will soon be marking the birth of a baby called Jesus. This is the moment God himself entered history. So what will our approach be?
We might focus on the facts, of which there are relatively few. Much of the traditional nativity story is based on later embellishments to the gospel accounts, but learning to distinguish the two could be instructive. We might focus on enjoying the celebration. Food, drink, family, decorations, parties, presents, more food, more drink – what's not to like? We might look for meaning in the story which we can apply to our lives today. The nativity story raises issues about homelessness, devotion, trust, humility, commitment, vulnerability, divine guidance and many other important topics.
But my suggestion for you this Christmas is to try the personal approach. We have a friend and Saviour. His name is Jesus. He is not a historical figure but a living presence in our world. The stories of his birth give us some insights into the kind of person he is – and those insights can only be a good thing when it comes to getting to know him better.
If we talk to someone about their childhood long ago, it deepens and changes our relationship with them. It should be the same when we talk to Jesus about his birth. Reflecting on the nativity story in the company of the one who was at the centre of it is a way to grow in our love for Jesus and better appreciate his love for us.
The Circuit Meeting (the governing body of the Circuit) meets next at Effingham Methodist Church at 7.30 pm on Thursday 12 March 2015.
The Circuit in turn is part of the South-East District of the Methodist Church, which embraces much of Surrey, Sussex and Kent, and parts of Hampshire and Berkshire. Our Circuit is in what is known as the Western Area of the District.