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 June 2015 issue: Dear Friends,
I am writing this two days before the General Election. So I can't comment on whatever you, the reader, now knows the outcome to be. But I can comment on an unfortunate trend: more and more people seem to regard voting as a waste of time.
Some think that all political parties are basically the same (by which they mean all as bad as each other). So there's not much point in helping decide who runs the country. You can't do anything about it. You just have to put up with the fact that politics exist and get on with trying to live your daily life as best as you can.
Some think that the winner in their constituency is a foregone conclusion so there is no point in voting. Either your preferred candidate will already have enough support to win without you, or he/she stands no chance of winning so your vote would be wasted.
I don't agree with either of these viewpoints. There are good and bad ways to run a country. There are right and wrong principles on which to base your policies. It makes a difference who is in charge. As a democracy we have the privilege of helping to shape our own future as a nation.
As for whether it is worth voting in a completely 'safe' seat, the answer is yes. It is still important to register our support, whether it is to bolster the confidence of the winner, or to encourage a candidate who we know can't actually win. Every vote sends a signal to the eventual winner about the concerns of his/her constituents. And who knows what impact our support may have on a losing candidate? Don't we want to encourage people with good ideas to press on, maybe standing for local government instead, or promoting their policies in future elections?
It's too late for me to influence your vote on the government of the United Kingdom, but I do want to encourage you to play your part in the future of the Kingdom of God. Too many people think that there is nothing we can do to influence God's Kingdom. It's not a democracy, they say. God's in charge. He'll do what's good and right without any input from us.
But God actually invites us to participate in his Kingdom. Consider, for example, John 15:7 in which Jesus says "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you." We are not just invited, but expected to help shape God's plans for the world we live in. An even stronger promise was made to Peter: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom ... whatever you loose on earth with be loosed in heaven." Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1-14 urges prayer for those in authority. And prayer changes things.
In Genesis 18 Abraham persuades God to change his policy over the conditions under which Sodom could be saved from destruction. In Jonah 3, the residents of Nineveh convince God to reverse his decision about destroying their city.
It's a cop-out if we think our prayers make no difference so we may as well sit back and let God get on with doing whatever he wants with our world. God invites us to pray earnestly, to tell him of our hopes and desires, to make our own contribution in shaping a future of justice and peace.
And one consequence of this is that whatever the outcome of the General Election, our responsibilities do not end with casting our vote. They continue as we work with and pray for those in government.
The Circuit Meeting (the governing body of the Circuit) meets next at St Andrew's Methodist Church, Horsham, at 7.30 pm on Thursday 17 September 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.