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The story of the six men who were arrested, tried, found guilty and sentenced to seven years' transportation for forming an agricultural 'Friendly Society' (an early form of Trades Union) is well known to many.

DD Southampton Tolpuddle 0712For the Tolpuddle Festival weekend in 2011, Tolpuddle Methodist Chapel in the Southampton District, staffed by a team of volunteers, opened its doors to hundreds of visitors who flocked to learn more about its social heritage.

Tolpuddle made the most of this opportunity to speak about the faith of the "martyrs," and to show that Christianity and social justice to hand-in-hand.

The displays of historical artefacts in the refurbished church led to enthusiastic discussions with the visitors about the beliefs that inspire modern-day Methodists to play their part in progressive social movements.


DD Stories iconFollowing a circuit review, using the four 'P's (Ready for Pruning; Parked; Progressing; Opportunity for Planting), Banbury Methodist Circuit in the Northampton District felt challenged to develop their evangelism to share their faith.

DD Northampton Rural 0712

They appointed a Rural Church and Community Co-ordinator to strengthen links between the rural chapels in the circuit and their communities, and to help the chapels to find ways in which they can be "light and salt" to those around them.

Outreach and evangelism ideas and initiatives are shared at the Circuit Meeting, and the rural chapels have found themselves able to take "small, fragile" steps with confidence into their local communities.


DD Stories iconIt might be tempting to think that the Olympic Games would be of little interest to the Channel Islands District. You would be wrong!

Over the last few months, Jersey Methodists, inspired by the Revd Billy Slatter, have been enthusiastically engaging with the Olympics.

DD Channel Is Olympics 0712Billy and the team have been developing a series of Christian festivals and events to be held in Jersey throughout the summer. This includes 12 parish festivals, drama and author visits to local schools, art exhibitions, flower festivals, fun runs, as well as holiday clubs and special services.

The Jersey festival has been officially recognised as part of the cultural Olympiad, and demonstrates the deep commitment to evangelism and ecumenical mission in Jersey.


DD Stories iconWhen Youth Evangelist Gareth Baron looked around the congregation on his first Sunday in Cotgrave Methodist Church in the Nottingham and Derby District, he realised that the whole congregation could have been sat with him in the front pew, but instead they were scattered very thinly indeed across a Victorian building designed for 150.

DD Cotgrave congregation 0712Five years later, the pews replaced by chairs, the Sunday congregation of 30-40 is multi-generational and thriving. Many congregation members now volunteer with children and young people, and the wider community has been encouraged to reconsider the needs of its youth.

A growing group of young people have found a home with the Sunday morning congregation, and two 11-year-olds will be baptised this summer - they have asked for the service to fall during term-time, so that they can invite their friends to hear about Jesus.

Disproportionate resources, including money, time, skills, prayer and tears have been generously poured into this project. A church that the circuit expected would be closed by now has not only been enabled to breathe new life into a troubled community, but has come alive in ways that those involved could scarcely have imagined.


DD Stories iconAt opposite ends of the Lancashire District, exciting evangelism is taking place.

In Morecambe, a new congregation is being planted in Central Methodist Church, which closed its doors in January 2011.

DD Lancashire Morecambe 0712This was part of the mission strategy of the circuit to invite a nearby church outside of Lancaster, Brookhouse, to plant a new way of being church in this very needy community.

The mission has focussed on exciting activities for young people, and a congregation of young adults is continuing to grow.

In the Burnley Circuit, on the edge of a poor and needy estate, the Parkside congregation requested permission to cease worship which was granted in July 2012.

With the arrival of the new superintendent minister, the Revd Phil Clarke, conversations were held across all the churches about mission and Parkside reversed their decision and decided to remain as a presence on the estate.

Through developing messy church, the appointment of a youth evangelist and a concentration of resources there is now growing hope that lives will continue to be changed for Christ. 


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