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 2014 issue: Dear Friends,
I'm writing this in the week leading up to my sabbatical. For three months (May, June, July) I will not be taking part in the normal activities of a circuit minister. I will be involved in a range of other useful, relaxing, inspiring and worthwhile pursuits, but these will be outside the regular business of ministering to a local church or circuit.
First I need to ensure that other people are around to cover all the important responsibilities which I will be temporarily relinquishing. In doing so I have discovered that other people are also taking time off – for long holidays, or for visiting family, or to recover from a patch of ill health. In putting together the circuit plan there is a slight shortage of available preachers, so one Sunday in the summer each church will have to cope with 'local arrangements' in order to ensure that an act of worship takes place.
All this leads me to reflect on the extent of our responsibility to the church. On the one hand we need people to hold office. We need circuit stewards and church stewards and treasurers and property officers and preachers and communion stewards and pastoral visitors and cleaners and people willing to bake cakes and serve drinks. Without people to do these things the church could not function as it does.
On the other hand, no-one is indispensable. The future of the church does not rest on any one person's shoulders. This can be demonstrated by the fact that when a person does leave a role, whether through choice or as a result of unavoidable circumstances, the church does not immediately roll over and die. God's work goes on. Others step into the breach. (Though admittedly sometimes only after considerable anguish and arm-twisting.) Or the work changes and we realise some roles are no longer needed.
I think all our churches struggle to find the right people (or indeed any people at all) to fill the various roles which we see as important. Maybe we should take our cue from Jesus. Matthew 9:37-38 reads: Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
Interestingly Jesus did not tell his disciples to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in. He told them to pray for God to send more workers. I like this approach for two reasons.
One. It saves us from thinking that everything depends on our own personal efforts. Over the centuries God has called many people to do the work of the Kingdom. One of the most effective things we can do to address any shortage of workers is to pray for God to stir up and equip people to take on the important tasks. After all, it's God's harvest not ours.
Two. If we are consistently praying for God to send people to help, and if we are honest and sincere about that prayer, we can't help but reflect on whether the task is something we could be tackling ourselves. When we pray earnestly for God to do something we must always keep our ears open for his voice telling us this particular job is ours.
The Circuit Meeting (the governing body of the Circuit) meets next at London Road Methodist Church, Horsham, at 7.30 pm on Thursday 25 September 2014.
There will be a service for the whole Circuit at 6.30 pm on Sunday September 21 at London Road Methodist Church in Horsham. The preacher will be Martin Ellis and this will be our opportunity to thank him for his service to the Circuit, and to wish him well in retirement in Suffolk.
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.