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.
From a previous Superintendent, Revd Dr Malcolm Rothwell:
My latest book is entitled ‘Running the Race, finding God in the London marathon.’
It is very short but the exercises and points to ponder will take a little longer.
It can be bought in bookshops or Amazon (also the kindle version) – and from me. £5.99. Why not treat yourself – and buy a present for someone!
If you need initial or refresher training, two sessions are planned:
Saturday April 16 at Leatherhead Methodist Church, and Saturday April 30 at St Andrew's, Horsham.
More details by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 March 2016 issue: Dear Friends,
I recently heard someone describing the difference between American and British humour. I'm not familiar enough with American culture to know if this is an accurate analysis but here goes.
Americans are optimistic people. They are brought up with the idea that anyone can become president. Just work hard and there is nothing you cannot achieve. So American comedians are wisecracking heroes. They rise above the problems of life and conquer them with a positive attitude and good humoured banter.
The British expect to fail. We are the fading remnants of a once great empire. When things go wrong we shrug our shoulders and stiffen our upper lips and muddle through somehow. So our British heroes of comedy are downtrodden failures. We sympathise with the underdog. We find humour in seeing people spiral slowly downward into tragedy. Think of Tony Hancock, Basil Fawlty, Del Boy, Frank Spencer, David Brent to name but a few.
Whether or not this is a true distinction or just a sweeping generalisation I think that the attitude of expecting failure has become part of the church culture in Britain. We have only to look at the history of the traditional churches (including Methodism) over the last couple of centuries. Numbers are in decline. Buildings are closing. Young people are staying away in droves.
It doesn't mean we are in state of despair. We struggle on regardless, and we find fulfilment in the struggle. We may even get excited about occasional signs of growth. But we don't expect major changes. We don't expect that over the next generation the church will take the British nation by storm and transform it into a deeply spiritual Christian country. We don't expect to impact our world in the way the early church did – or indeed in the way that Christians in some other countries are doing right now.
So with the approach of Easter I have two thoughts to share. The first is that it is OK to celebrate foolishness and weakness. Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians that it is through our weakness that God demonstrates his strength and through our folly that God shows his wisdom.
On Good Friday we celebrate the low point of Christ's life. As far as the world was concerned this was the end. He had been betrayed by friends, rejected by the authorities, spurned by the crowds and put to an agonising and dishonourable death. Yet this lowest point was paradoxically the high point of his ministry. "It is finished!" he cried. He had achieved what he set out to do. He had died for the sins of the world.
My other thought is that our faith is not ultimately about the success or failure of the church over the last few centuries. Our faith is founded on Christ – who died and rose again! That was a real triumph. Greater than any mere church revival.
On the day I am writing this the British press are sympathising with Andy Murray who failed to win the Australian Open. But nobody really expected him to win. And our love for the underdog means we are OK with that. But wouldn't it be great if Djokovic was the British player? Wouldn't it be wonderful to see our hero enter a tennis final with the expectation of glorious victory? That's the kind of hero we have in Jesus. He is not the head of a struggling church. He is the saviour who conquered death itself. So chin up, everyone! Jesus is alive! He is risen indeed, Hallelujah!
The Circuit Meeting (the governing body of the Circuit) meets next at London Road Methodist Church, Horsham, at 7.30 pm on Thursday 15 September 2016.
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 this District.