The organisation of the Methodist Church of Great Britain is based on the principle of connexionalism. This means that British Methodism, from its inception under John Wesley (1703-1791), has always laid strong emphasis on mutual support, in terms of ministry, mission and finance, of one local congregation for another. No singular church community has never been seen in isolation either from its immediately neighbouring church communities or from the centralised national organisation. Wesley himself journeyed around the country, preaching and establishing local worshipping communities, called "societies", often under lay leadership. Soon these local communities of worshipping Christians formalised their relationships with neighbouring Methodist communities to create "circuits", and the circuits and societies contained within them, were from the very beginning 'connected' (hence the distinctive Methodist concept of the "Connexion") to the centre and Methodism's governing body, the annual Conference. Today, societies are better known as local churches, although the concept of a community of worshipping Christians tied to a particular location, and subdivided into smaller cell groups called "classes", remains essentially based on Wesley's societies.
Other Methodist Churches which were established by British Missionaries are also modelled on the structure of the British Church.
The earliest preachers under John Wesley were itinerant, and preached around an area from a home base. The "circuit", or "round" as they were first named, was therefore the natural name for the area they covered. At first they were named after their founder of main itinerant preacher. For example, 'John Bennet's Round', or the 'Circuit of William Darney's Societies'. The first official list dates from 1746.
Within that area a number of "societies" would be formed. During the 18th century, John Wesley did not intend establishing churches in a new denomination. His vision was for a revival movement within the Church of England. The societies would be a gathering of people who met for Bible study, prayer, mutual encouragement, and preaching. Usually, this was during the week so that they could attend services in the parish church. The earliest circuits covered a very large area, but gradually shrank as the number of societies increased.
The first (Wesleyan) Methodist Conference took place at the Foundery in June 1744. The known first plan (of preaching appointments) was made by Wesley in London in 1754. The first recorded quarterly meeting (the usual business meeting of the circuit) was at Todmorden Edge Farm, Todmorden, on 18 October 1748.
John Wesley drew on existing structures, especially those used by the Moravians, who had been so instrumental in his own spiritual development. At their Herrnhut colony he witnessed gatherings for testimony and mutual edification, select bands, classes, conferences on doctrine, open air preaching, preaching by laymen, itinerant preachers, and orphan homes. Most of these features had, indeed, been anticipated by the Waldenses in the 16th century, between whose organisation and that of the Moravians and Methodists there are striking, though probably accidental, resemblances.
The Wesleyan societies were composed of "bands", which were meetings of 5 to 10 like-minded people seeking Christian perfection, and considered the inner core of the societies. John Wesley drew up rules for these in December 1738. Some of the early societies were known by the name of the person in whose home they met, such as 'Mr. Fox's Society', and 'Mr. Ingham's Society'. The origin of the "class" was partly accidental. By 1742, John and Charles Wesley had about 1100 Methodists in London for whom they felt a pastoral responsibility, but could not keep in touch with them and continue their other work. While in Bristol, John Wesley met some members of the society there. One, Captain Foy, suggested that every member give a penny a week until a debt there be paid. When someone objected due to the poverty of many, he offered that 11 of the poorest be grouped with him, he would collect the subscription, and make up any shortfall if any could not pay. Soon afterwards, on hearing that someone was not living as he should, Wesley realised that the group of 12 for collection of money was the basis of a group for weekly meeting for prayer, Bible study, and mutual encouragement.
A class book was kept recording their attendance and their contribution to the funds. When membership rolls started being used to record names of those attending, the very early ones begin with a list of class members. Members were defined as those who had been baptised, received instruction in Methodist governance, and at a special service, were received into "full membership". Others in the congregation were called simply "adherents", and although they supported the activities of the Church as fully as members, they did not enjoy voting rights. Each class was headed by a class leader.
One function of the class leader is that the "class ticket", a quarterly membership ticket for Methodists, be given to his class members, and withheld from those whom they judged unworthy of being called Methodists. The ticket is the membership card for Methodists.
Wesley did not claim the class as essential or of "divine institution", but as wise for practical regulation of Methodists.
The following is a summary of the main units.
Do not allow yourself one thought of separating from your brothers and sisters, whether their opinions agree with yours or not.
The old-fashioned spelling of connexion reflects Methodism's origins in the 18th century, when the term was used generally, in e.g. political, commercial and religious contexts, to refer to the circle of those connected to some person or group, and to the relationship thus created. But it was the particular character of the connexion John Wesley maintained with his members, his societies and his itinerant preachers that gave the term its technical significance in Methodism. All were in connexion primarily with him and thence with each other. The term came to be in some senses equivalent to 'denomination' and, later, to 'Church', and connexionalism was descriptive of a particular principle and pattern of church life which emphasized the interdependence of the constituent parts (over against independency). All circuits and districts are ultimately subject to the annual Conference.
After Wesley's death, schisms and resultant branches of Methodism in Britain meant that there were multiple connexions, each with its own conference, before the connexions were united in 1932. Whilst the various branches differed in the balance of authority accorded to the various levels of church government, all accepted some form of connexionalism. This was manifested in "a common bond of discipline and usage for the societies with transferable membership, and the itinerant ministry of those 'in full connexion' with the Conference and stationed by the Conference." Methodist ministers are still "received into full connexion" prior to being ordained.
Districts are geographical units, typically one to three counties in extent. There are thirty districts across Great Britain--including two overlapping districts in Wales, one English-speaking and one Welsh. The governing body is called a synod. The Methodist Church formally defines the nature and purpose of the district as being:
to advance the mission of the Church in a region, by providing opportunities for Circuits to work together and support each other, by offering them resources of finance, personnel and expertise, which may not be available locally and by enabling them to engage with the wider society of the region as a whole and address its concerns. (...) It has responsibility for the evaluation of applications by Local Churches and Circuits for approval of or consent to their proposals, when required, or for assistance from district or connexional bodies or funds. Wherever possible the work of the District is carried out ecumenically. The District is thus an expression, over a wider geographical area than the Circuit, of the connexional character of the Church.
A circuit is a grouping of local churches under the care of one or more ministers. They number about 360 (as counted in 2019 ), and this figure is declining as more circuits amalgamate. The circuit is the main functional unit of Methodism, in that a large number of activities are organised at this level. For example, ministers are appointed firstly to the circuit and secondly to the pastoral care of local churches (the exercise of pastoral charge). Preaching appointments for both ministers and (lay) local preachers are organised by the circuit and advertised on a preaching plan issued every three months by the leader of the circuit, the superintendent minister.
Also called societies in certain formal contexts (although an increasingly antiquated label), the term "local church" can refer to both the congregation as well as the particular building it meets in. Membership is always tied to the local church, where members meet together for worship and fellowship. Each congregation is led by a presbyter referred to as "the minister". As of 2019 there were almost 170,000 members of 4,110 churches.
A class is a group of Methodists, normally about twelve, under the guidance of a class leader. In the 20th century it became less common for classes to actually meet together, but many local churches have home fellowships, Bible studies groups, and cell groups by other names.
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Superscriptions indicate a local ecumenical partnership (LEP) with one or more other denominations: (B) Baptist; (C) Church of England; (Co) Congregational; (E) Scottish Episcopal Church; (I) Welsh Independents; (M) Moravian; (P) Presbyterian Church of Wales; (S) Church of Scotland; (U) United Reformed Church; (W) Church in Wales
|District||Web||Circuit||Web||No. of churches||Churches|
|Bedfordshire, Essex and Hertfordshire||||Bishop's Stortford||||3||Bishop's Stortford, ClaveringCU, Stansted FreeU|
|Chelmsford||||13||Braintree (Christ Church)U, Broomsfield, Coggeshall (Christ Church)BU, Great NotleyBCU, Chelmsford (Hall Street), Halstead, Hatfield Peverel, Maldon, Moulsham Lodge, South Woodham Ferrers, Springfield (St Augustine's)CU, Chelmsford (Trinity), Witham|
|Colchester||||8||The Ark Colchester, Castle Colchester, Lexden, Mersea, The Well Colchester, Tollgate, Wimpole Road Colchester, Wivenhoe|
|Herts & Essex Border Ecu Area||||9||Christ Church Waltham CrossC, Church LangleyBCU, Epping, Hertford, Hoddesdon, Leaside WareU, North Weald, St Andrew's Harlow, Watton at Stone|
|North Bedfordshire||||27||Ampthill, Beeston, Trinity Biggleswade, Howard Memorial Cardington, Clapham, Clophill, Cranfield, Flitwick, Haynes, Henlow, Kempston East, Kempston West, Langford, Lidlington, London Road Bedford, Oakley, Park Road Bedford, Priory Bedford, Putnoe Heights Bedford, Sandy, Sharnbrook, Shefford, Stewartby UnitedBCU, Upper Caldecote, Willington, Wilstead, New Life Wootton|
|North Hertfordshire||||14||All Saints StevenageC, Arlesey, Baldock, Benington, Central Letchworth, Christchurch HitchinU, High Street Stevenage, Norton Letchworth, Pirton, St Faith's HitchinC, St Hugh & St John StevenageC, St Paul's Broadwater, Stotfold, Trinity KnebworthU|
|St Albans & Welwyn||||10||Birchwood Hatfield, Digswell VillageC, Hatfield Road St Albans, Ludwick Way Welwyn, Marlborough Road St Albans, Oxlease Hatfield, PanshangerBCU, Radlett United FreeU, St John's Potters Bar, Shenley|
|South Bedfordshire||||22||Aley Green, Barton, Beech Hill Luton, All Saints DagnallC, Eaton Bray, Edlesborough, Farley Hill Luton, Gravenhurst, Harlington, High Street Leagrave, High Town Luton, Kensworth, Luton Road Dunstable, Mount Pleasant Leagrave, Oakdale Luton, St John's Luton, St Margaret's Luton, Strathmore Avenue Luton, The Square Dunstable, Toddington, Trinity Leighton Buzzard, Wigmore LutonU|
|South Essex||||11||Langdon Hills, St Paul's Basildon, Trinity Basildon, Billericay, Grays, Hordon-on-the-Hill, Linford, Stanford-le-Hope, Christ Church WickfordU|
|Southend & Leigh||||14||Belfairs Leigh-on-Sea, Benfleet, Canvey Island, Chalkwell Park, Hadleigh, Highlands Leigh-on-Sea, Hockley, Fishermen's Chapel Leigh-on-Sea, Rayleigh, Rochford, Thorpe Bay, Thundersley, Trinity Westcliff-on-Sea, Great Wakering, Shoebury, Wesley Leigh-on-Sea|
|Tendring||||13||Ardleigh, Brightlingsea UnitedU, Dovercourt CentralU, Emmanuel WaltonU, Frinton, Great Bentley, Great Clacton, Great Holland, Holland on Sea, Jaywick, Manningtree, Trinity Clacton, Upper Dovercourt|
|West Herts & Borders||22||Studham, Gaddesden Row, Markyate, Flamstead, Redbourn, High Street Harpenden, Southdown Harpenden, Batford, St Martha's Tring, All Saints BerkhamstedC, Ley Hill, Hemel Hempstead, Kings Langley, Abbots Langley, The Scroll WatfordU, Trinity Watford, Croxley Green, Bushey & Oxhey, Berry Lane Rickmansworth, St Mary's RickmansworthC, St Andrew's Bushey Heath, Carpenders Park & South Oxhey|
|Birmingham||||Birmingham||||34||Acocks Green, Beacon PheaseyC, Birmingham Chinese, Cambridge Road King's Heath, Carrs LaneU, Castle Bromwich, Coleshill UnitedU, CotteridgeCU, Dorridge, Earlswood, Great Barr, Hall Green United Community ChurchMU, HawksleyC, HazelwellC, Longbridge, Lozells, Lyndon, Maypole, Whitacre, Northfield, Perry Barr, Perry Hall, Saltley, Selly Oak, Shirley, Solihull, South Yardley, Sparkhill, St Andrew's Chelmsley WoodC, St Andrew's Stirchley, St Michael's Hall GreenC, Trinity MonkspathBCS, Villa Road, Water Orton|
|Sutton Park||||13||Blackwood, Boldmere, Erdington, Falcon Lodge, Four Oaks, Kingsbury, Kingstanding, Nechells, South Parade Sutton Coldfield, St Chad's ErdingtonC, Stockland Green, Streetly, Witton|
|Birmingham (West) & Oldbury||||12||Akrill, Causeway Green, City Road Birmingham, Court Oak, Ladywood, Quinton, Ridgacre, Rounds Green, St John's Smethwick, Tipton Road Tividale, Warley Woods, West Smethwick|
|Blackheath & Halesowen||||6||Central Blackheath, Crossway Halesowen, Hasbury, Hurst Green, Romsley, Short Cross|
|Bromsgrove & Redditch||||10||Alcester, Bromsgrove, Catshill, Crabbs Cross, Emmanuel RedditchU, Lickey End, Rowney Green, St Andrew's Church Hill, Studley, The Bridge RedditchC|
|Coventry & Nuneaton||||15||Wesley Hall Arley, Trinity AtherstoneU, Balsall Common, Bedworth, Central Hall Coventry, Ebenezer Collycroft, Earlsdon, St Mary & All Saints FillongleyC, Horeston Grange EcumenicalCU, Meriden, Nuneaton, Radford & Holbrooks, Ridge Lane, Ryton, Woodside Coventry|
|Herefordshire (South & East)||||4||Ledbury, Christ Church Ross-on-WyeU, Bromyard, St John's Hereford|
|South West Worcestershire||||12||Bromyard Road Worcester, Ombersley Road Worcester, Lansdowne Crescent Malvern, St Andrew's Worcester, Droitwich, Norton, Somers Park Malvern Link, St Nicholas WarndonC, Upper Welland Malvern Wells, Broadway, Evesham, Willersey|
|South Warwickshire||||16||Kenilworth, St Michael's StocktonC, Warwick, Wellesbourne, Whitnash, Cubbington, Dale Street Leamington Spa, Henley-in-Arden, Stratford-upon-Avon, Radford Road Leamington SpaU, Bidford-on-Avon, Mickleton, Tysoe, Welford-on-Avon, Fenny Compton, Kineton|
|Tamworth & Lichfield||||8||Lichfield, New Life Aldergate Tamworth, Glascote, Alrewas, New Life Thackeray Drive Tamworth, Trinity Shenstone, St Martin's StoneydelphC, Hopwas|
|Bolton & Rochdale||||Bolton||||11||Ainsworth, Chew Moor, Edgworth, Harwood, Hawkshaw, St Andrew's Bolton, St Helen's Road Bolton, St John's Road Horwich, The Triangle Bolton, Trinity Bolton, Westhoughton|
|Bolton Mission||||1||Victoria Hall Bolton|
|Bury||||15||Bolton Road Bury, Brandlesholme Bury, Bridge Community Church Radcliffe, Christ Church RamsbottomB, Edenfield, Heaton Park, Holcombe Brook, Jericho, Prestwich, Rowlands Summerseat, Seedfield, Tottington, Trinity Heywood, Wesley Radcliffe, Whitefield|
|Farnworth & Worsley||||8||Boothstown, Christ Church Little LeverU, Kearsley Mount, St Catherine's HighfieldC, Trinity FarnworthCo, Walkden, Wharton & Cleggs LaneU, Worsley Road North|
|Leigh & Hindley||||11||Astley & Tyldesley, Atherton Central, Bag Lane, Bamfurlong, Bedford (Leigh), Culcheth, Glazebury, Hindley Green, Kingsleigh, St John's Hindley, Wigan Road Leigh|
|Rochdale & Littleborough||||13||Brimrod, Castleton Moor, Dearnley, Greenhill, Moorhouse, Norden, St Andrew's RochdaleU, Smithy Bridge, Spotland, Syke, Thrum Hall, Trinity Rochdale, Wardle Village ChurchC|
|Rossendale||||7||Bacup Central, Irwell Vale, Longholme Rawtenstall, Newchurch, Rakefoot Crawshawbooth, Shawforth, Stacksteads|
|Wigan||13||Aspull, Bispham, Blackrod, Clowes, Crooke, Goose Green, Ince, Orrell Post, Queen's Hall Wigan, Shevington, Standish, The Vale Appley Bridge, Spencer Road Whitley|
|Bristol||||Bristol & South Gloucestershire||||42||Alveston, Badminton Road Downend, Bethesda Redfield, Bishopston, Easter Compton, Eastville Park, Eden Grove Horfield, Fishponds, Hanham, Hawkesbury Upton, Holy Trinity Bradley StokeC, Horfield, Kingswood, Longwell UnitedC, Wesley Made-For-Ever, Olveston & Tockington, Parkway Bristol, Potters Wood Kingswood, Sea Mills, Shirehampton, Shortwood, Bedminster, St Peter's Brislington, Knowle, Totterdown, Speedwell, St Andrew's Filton, St Chad's PatchwayC, Staple Hill, Summerhill, St Peter's PilningC, Thornbury, Unity Oldland, Victoria Bristol, Salem Watley's End, Wesley Memorial Bristol, Westbury-on-Trym, Westbury ParkC, Winterbourne Down, WithywoodC, Yate, Zion United Frampton CotterellU|
|Gloucestershire||||41||Holy Trinity AmberleyC, Apperley, Aylburton, Bailey Lane End, Barton Street Gloucester, Bethesda Cheltenham, Bishop's Cleeve, Bream, Brimscombe, Cam, Chalford Hill, Christ Church AbbeydaleBCU, Christ Church NailsworthBU, Churchdown, Cinderford, Ashcroft CirencesterU, Clements End, Coalway, Drybrook, Dursley, Eastington, Fairford UnitedU, Hartpury, Hawling, Hucclecote, Lonsdale Road Gloucester, St Mary's NewentBC, Pillowell, Quedgeley, St John the Baptist's RandwickC, South Cerney UnitedCo, St John's Northgate Gloucester, St Mark's Cheltenham, Stonehouse, Stroud, Christ Church TetburyU, Tewkesbury, Holy Trinity TibbertonC, St Michael's WhaddonC, Winchcombe, Wotton-Under-Edge UnitedCo|
|North East Somerset & Bath|
|Weston-super-Mare & Burnham-on-Sea|
|Wiltshire United Area|
|Cornwall & Isles of Scilly||||Bodmin, Padstow & Wadebridge||||11||Bodmin, Innis, Lanivet, Millpool, Nanstallon, Padstow, Rock, Rosenannon, St Mawgan, Trelights, Cornerstone Wadebridge|
|Callington & Gunnislake||||4||Callington, Stoke Climsland, St Dominick, Tamar Valley (Albaston)|
|Camborne, Redruth & Hayle||||14||Angarrack, Barripper, Beacon, Wesley Camborne, Centenary Camborne, Four Lanes & PencoysC, Gateway Porth an Dre, Hayle, Illogan Highway, Kehelland, Mawla, Porthtowan, Troon, Wall|
|Camelford & Week St Mary||||14||Canworthy Water, Bethel Trelash, Maxworthy, Rehoboth Tresmeer, Tresparrett, Week St Mary, Boscastle, Bossiney, Camelford, St Breward, St Tudy, Treveighan, Tintagel, Delabole|
|Falmouth & Gwennap||||15||Falmouth, Carharrack, Carnkie, Edgcumbe, Frogpool, Lanner, Mawnan Smith, Mylor, Penmarth, Penryn, Perranwell, Ponsanooth, St Day, Stithians, Trenoweth|
|Fore Street St Ives||||1||Fore Street St Ives|
|Isles of Scilly||||2||St Mary's, St Martin's|
|Launceston Area||||12||Launceston Central, Boyton, Coads Green, LewannickC, Lifton, Pipers Pool, Polyphant, South Petherwin, TregadillettC, Trebullet, Yeolmbridge, LinkinhorneC|
|Liskeard & Looe||10||Connon, Dobwalls, Liskeard, Mount, Pelynt, Pensilva, Polperro, Riverside United (West Looe)U, St Neot, Trevelmond|
|The Lizard & Mounts Bay||||15||Balwest, Breaney, Helston Central, Cury, Crowlas, Goldsithney, Leedstown, Meneage, Marazion, Mullion, Porthleven, Ruan Minor, Lizard, Trinity Porkellis, St Keverne United|
|Newquay, Perranporth & St Agnes||7||Crantock, Cubert, Mount Hawke, Newquay, Perranporth, Rose, St Agnes|
|St Austell||||20||Bethel St Austell, Bugle, Carclaze, Gunwen, Indian Queens, Leek Seed, Lostwithiel, Mevagissey, Mount Charles, Nanpean, Par, Polgooth, Roche, St Dennis, St John's St Austell, Stenalees, Tregrehan, Trinity Trewoon, Tywardreath, Whitemoor|
|Saltash||||9||Wesley Saltash, Bealbury, Blunts, Burraton, Crafthole, Downderry, Landrake, St Germans, St Ive|
|Truro||||15||Allet, Carnon Downs, Chacewater, Devoran, Feock, Hicks Mill, Penpoll, All Saints PortloeC, Portscatho, Shortlanesend, Threemilestone, Tresillian, Trispen, Twelveheads, Truro|
|West Cornwall||||18||Bible Christian (St Ives), Wesley Carbis Bay, Centenary Newlyn, Chapel Street Penzance, Chy an Gweal Carbis Bay, Drift, Escalls, Gulval, Hellesveor, High Street Penzance, Madron, Mousehole, St Buryan, St Erth, St Just, Trinity Newlyn, United St Ives, Wesley Rock Heamoor|
|Cumbria||||Kendal||||9||Arnside, Cowan Bridge, Fellside (Kendal), Kirkby Lonsdale, Levens, Sandylands (Kendal), StorthC, Stricklandgate (Kendal)|
|Western Fells||||12||BassenthwaiteC, Brigham, Cleator Moor, Cockermouth, Egremont, Frizington, Gosforth, Hensingham, Keswick, Lamplugh Kirkland & EnnerdaleC, SeascaleC, Whitehaven|
|Kirkby Stephen, Appleby & Tebay||||18||The Sands Appleby, Dufton with Knock, Bolton, Kings Meaburn, Crosby Ravensworth, Great Asby, Warcop, Kirkby Stephen, Soulby, Crosby Garrett UnitedB, Nateby, WintonB, Brough, Brough Sowerby, Tebay, Orton, Newbiggin-on-Lune, Ravenstonedale|
|Kirkoswald & Alston Moor||||7||Alston, Ainstable, Gamblesby, Kirkoswald, Langwathby, Renwick, Salkeld Dykes|
|North Cumbria||||14||Brampton, Dalston, Gilsland, Longtown, Monkhill, Newtown, Solway, Thursby, Thurstonfield, Tithe Barn (Carlisle), Upperby (Carlisle), Walton, Wetheral, Wigton Road (Carlisle)|
|Penrith||||7||Cottage Wood Centre (Plumpton), PatterdaleC, Penrith, Shap, Skelton, Sleagill, Stainton|
|Sedbergh||||7||Cornerstone SedberghU, Cautley, Dentdale, Dent Foot, Garsdale, Garsdale Street, Hawes Junction|
|Solway||5||Dearham, Workington UnitedU, Harrington, Maryport, Great Clifton|
|South Lakes||||9||Ambleside, Cartmel, Coniston, Grange-over-Sands, Hawkshead, Swarthmoor, Ulverston, Windermere CarverU, Windermere Methodist|
|South West Cumbria United Area||||8||Askam, Beacon Hill (Barrow), Dalton Community ChurchU, Hartington Street (Barrow), Kirkby, Millom, Trinity BarrowU, Vickerstown|
|East Anglia||||Bury St Edmunds||||9||Bradfield, Christchurch Needham MarketU, Glemsford, Ixworth, Northumberland Avenue Bury St Edmunds, Trinity Bury St Edmunds, Old Newton, Stowmarket, Sudbury|
|Cambridge||||11||Bar HillBCU, CambourneBCU, Castle Street Cambridge, Chesterton, Haslingfield, Histon, Orwell, Royston, Sawston FreeU, ToftC, Wesley Cambridge|
|Central Norfolk||||25||Beetley, Pilgrim Church Blakeney, Trinity Dereham, Fulmodeston, Garvestone, Great Cressingham, Great Ellingham, Gressenhall, Hingham, Holt, Litcham, Mattishall, New Holkham, Saham Hills, Sculthorpe & Fakenham, Sporle, Stibbard, Swaffham, Thursford, Tittleshall, Toftwood, Pilgrim Church Walsingham, Watton, Wells & Wighton, Wendling|
|Ely & Newmarket||||14||Trinity BurwellU, Emmanuel ChatterisBU, Coveney, Ely, Haddenham, Little DownhamC, St John's Littleport, Christ Church NewmarketU, Pymoor, Red Lodge Community ChurchC, Saxon Street, Soham, Wicken, Wickhambrook|
|The Fens||10||Doddington, Emneth, Trinity MarchU, Marshland St James, Murrow, Outwell, Parson Drove, Terrington St John, Upwell, Trinity Wisbech|
|Ipswich||||22||Alan Road Ipswich, Bramford, Bramford Road Ipswich, Brantham, Capel St Mary, Chantry Ipswich, Chelmondiston, Elmsett, Framlingham United FreeU, Holbrook, Kelsale, Kirton, Knodishall, Landseer Road Ipswich, Leiston UnitedU, Museum Street Ipswich, Orford, Peasenhall & Sibton, Seaton Road Felixstowe, Trimley, Trinity Felixstowe, Woodbridge|
|Lowestoft & East Suffolk||9||BecclesU, Corton, Kessingland, LoddonC, Trinity Lowestoft, Norton Subcourse LEP, South Lowestoft, Southwold, Wenhaston|
|Norfolk Broads||17||Acle, Bradwell, Caister, Fleggburgh, Freethorpe, Lowestoft Road Gorleston, Magdalen Way Gorleston, Christ Church Great YarmouthU, Newtown Great Yarmouth, Hemsby, Horsey, Lingwood, Ludham, Martham, Potter Heigham, Sutton, Thurne|
|North Norfolk||||14||Aylsham, Barton Turf, Cromer, Hickling, Gresham, Lessingham, North Walsham, Mundesley, Overstrand, Reepham, St Andrew's Sheringham, Sloley, Trunch, Weybourne|
|Norwich||||23||Attleborough, BowthorpeBCU, Bowthorpe Road, Brooke, Costessey, Drayton, Forncett, Framingham Earl, Hethersett, Horsford, Mile Cross, Morley, Chapel Field Road Norwich, Heartsease Lane Norwich, Rosebery Road Norwich, St Faith's HorshamC, St Peter's NorwichU, Trinity Thorpe MarriottC, Old Buckenham, Spixworth, Old Catton, Wroxham Road Sprowston, Wymondham|
|St Neots & Huntingdon||||14||AlconburyC, Barkley Street Eynesbury, Brampton, Buckden, Eaton Ford, Great Barford, Hilton, Huntingdon, Over, Ramsey, Sawtry, St Ives, Tempsford, Warboys|
|Thetford, Diss & Mildenhall||13||Beck Row, Botesdale, Brandon, Diss, East Harling, Garboldisham, Holywell Row, Hopton, Lakenheath, Mildenhall, Mundford, Stanton, Thetford|
|Waveney Valley Ecu. Partnership||||4||Emmanuel BungayU, Fressingfield, HarlestonU, Pulham Market|
|West Norfolk||||21||Burnham Market, Clenchwarton, Dersingham, Downham Market, Feltwell, St Faith's GaywoodC, Heacham, Highgate King's Lynn, Hilgay, Hunstanton, London Road King's Lynn, Marham, North Lynn, Pott Row, Snettisham, Southery, South Wootton, Stanhoe, St Peter's StowbridgeC, Terrington St Clement, Wimbotsham|
|London||||Barking, Dagenham & Ilford||||9||Barking, Barkingside, Beacontree Heath, Gantshill, Goodmayes, Ilford, Old Dagenham, Seven Kings, The Drive (Redbridge)|
|Barnet & Queensbury||||9||Barnet & Brookside, East Finchley, Edgware, Finchley, Trinity Golders GreenU, Hendon, Manor Drive (Friern Barnet), Trinity Mill HillU, Queensbury|
|Battersea & Wandle Valley||7||Battersea Central, Broomwood, Mitcham, St Helier, St John's Wandsworth, Tooting, Upper Tooting|
|Blackheath & Crystal Palace||||9||Anerley, Burnt Ash, Eltham Park, Forest Hill, Hither Green, Lewisham, Sunfields Blackheath, Upper Norwood, Wesley Hall Sydenham|
|Bromley||||3||Beckenham, Bromley, West Wickham|
|Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham||||5||Askew Road Shepherds BushU, Chelsea, Fulham Broadway, Rivercourt, Shepherds Bush Road|
|City Road||||1||Wesley's Chapel|
|Croydon||||8||Addington, Christ Church Addiscombe, Downsview Upper Norwood, Norbury, Parchmore, Shirley, South Norwood, West Croydon|
|Ealing Trinity||||8||Acton HillU, Ealing GreenU, Greenford, Hanwell, King's Hall Southall, Kingsdown West Ealing, Northolt, Pitshanger|
|Enfield||||8||Bush Hill Park, Edmonton, Goffs Oak, Grange Park, Ordnance Road Enfield, Ponders End, The Bourne Southgate, Trinity EnfieldU|
|Forest||||12||Cann Hall, Trinity Leyton, Leytonstone, Lighthouse Walthamstow, Loughton, Trinity Debden, North Chingford, Shernhall, South Chingford, Wanstead, Winchester Road (Highams Park), Woodford|
|Hackney & Stoke Newington||||5||Clapton, Clapton Park, Dalston, Mare Street Hackney, Stoke Newington|
|Harrow & Hillingdon||||16||Cannon Lane, Christ Church UxbridgeU, Eastcote, Hayes, Hayes End, Kenton, North Harrow, North Hillingdon, Northwood, Pinner, Ruislip, Ruislip Manor, South Harrow, Trinity HarrowU, Wealdstone, Yiewsley|
|Islington & Camden Mission||5||Archway, Caledonian Road, Camden Town, Epworth Euston, Islington Central|
|Kingston-upon-Thames||||4||Chessington, Kingston-upon-Thames, New Malden, Surbiton Hill|
|Lambeth||||9||Brixton Hill, Clapham, Lambeth Mission & St Mary's, Mostyn Road (Stockwell), Railton Road (Brixton), Springfield (Stockwell), Stockwell, Streatham, Tulse Hill|
|Lesnes Abbey||||11||Abbey Wood, Barnehurst, Belvedere, Bexleyheath, Church of the Cross ThamesmeadCU, St Mark's United GreenwichU, Pantiles, St Paul's ThamesmeadCU, Trinity Plumstead, Welling, Wesley Hall Plumstead|
|London Mission North West||4||Fernhead Road, Gospel Oak, Kensal Rise, Kilburn|
|New River||||9||Finsbury Park, Holly Park, Middle Lane Hornsey, Miller Memorial Tottenham, Muswell Hill, Ravensdale Road Stamford Hill, St Mark's Tottenham, Trinity at Bowes, Willoughby Road Hornsey|
|Newham||7||Bryant Street Stratford, Forest Gate, High Street South (East Ham), Keir Hardie (Canning Town), Manor Park, Pilgrims Way (East Ham), Newtown Stratford|
|Notting Hill||||1||Notting Hill|
|Orpington & Chislehurst||||8||Bromley Common, Chelsfield, Chislehurst, Emmanuel SidcupU, Mottingham, New Eltham, Orpington, Petts Wood|
|Purley||||7||Caterham, Coulsdon, Hurst Green, Sanderstead, South Croydon UnitedU, Warlingham, Whitethorn Avenue (Sutton)|
|Richmond & Hounslow||8||Barnes, Chiswick, Heston, Hounslow, Putney, Richmond UnitedU, Roehampton, Whitton|
|Romford||||11||Aveley, Brentwood, Farmlands (Doddingshurst), Gidea Park, Harold Wood, Havering Road Romford, Hornchurch, Rainham, South Ockendon, Trinity Romford, Upminster|
|Southwark & Deptford||7||Bermondsey Central, Christ Church East DulwichU, Deptford Mission, Herne Hill, Manor Bermondsey, Peckham, Walworth|
|Sutton||||8||Banstead, Carshalton, Cheam, Epsom, St John's BelmontC, Trinity SuttonU, St Mark's Tattenham CornerC, Wallington|
|Teddington||||5||East Molesey, Hampton, Hanworth, Sunbury, Teddington|
|Tower Hamlets||||4||Bethnal Green, Bow Road, Old Ford, Poplar|
|Wembley||4||Ealing Road, Neasden, Park Lane, Sudbury|
|West London Mission||||2||Hinde Street, King's Cross|
|Westminster||6||Central Hall Westminster, Christ Church with St Philip (Worcester Park)C, Martin Way Morden, Lantern (Raynes Park & Wimbledon), RuxleyC, Stoneleigh|
|South East||||Berkshire Surrey Borders||||8||Bracknell, Wokingham, WoosehillC, Church @ The Pines BracknellC, Crowthorne, Bagshot, Sandhurst & Yateley, High Cross CamberleyU|
|Brighton & Hove||||5||Dorset Gardens, Hove, Patcham, Stanford Avenue, Woodingdean|
|Canterbury & East Kent||||19||Birchington, Broadstairs, Challock, Faversham UnitedU, Garlinge, Greenstreet, Herne Bay UnitedU, Margate UnionU, Marshside, Monkton, Old Wives Lees, Hardres Street United (Ramsgate)U, River (Dover), St Andrew's ShepherdswellC, St John's Whitstable, St Peter's Canterbury, SturryC, The Beacon DoverU, Trinity DealU|
|Central Sussex United Area||||18||Broadway United (Eastbourne)U, Burgess Hill, Buxted, Christ Church LewesU, Chyngton, Cornerstone UckfieldU, Cross in Hand, Cross Way SeafordU, Crowborough UnitedU, Emmanuel EastbourneU, Gamelands, Hailsham, Haywards Heath, Hurstpierpoint, St Barnabas United (Eastbourne)U, St Michael's NewhavenC, The Haven EastbourneC, Trinity WillingdonBU|
|Dorking & Horsham||8||Cobham UnitedU, Effingham, Leatherhead, London Road Horsham, Partridge Green, Southwater, St Martin's DorkingC, St Andrew's Roffey|
|Hants-Surrey Border||||12||Aldershot, Alton, Cove, Elvetham Heath, The Spire FarnhamU, Fleet, Frimley Green, Hale, Hartley Wintney, North Camp (Farnborough), Rowledge, The Chapel (Ash Vale)|
|Hastings, Bexhill & Rye||||12||Battle, Calvert Memorial Hastings, Christ Church Bexhill, Little Common, Ninfield, Pett, Rye, Sackville Road Bexhill, St Helen's Hastings, St Leonards-on-Sea, Trinity Broad Oak, Winchelsea|
|Malta||||1||St Andrew's MaltaS|
|North Kent||||27||Dene Holm Gravesend, Ebbsfleet Community Church, Gravesend, Hextable, Spital Street, Swanscombe, The Brent Dartford, Bearsted, The Church in Burham, Eccles, KingswoodC, Larkfield, Peninsula Stoke, Peninsula Strood, St Luke's Rochester, Tonbridge Road Maidstone, Union Street Maidstone, Chinese Church (Gillingham), Hartlip, Newington, Sittingbourne, Third Avenue Gillingham, The Church in Hope Street (Sheerness)U, St Alban's South ChathamC, St David's South ChathamC, St William's South ChathamC, Christ Church LutonC|
|Redhill & East Grinstead||5||Horley, Redhill, Reigate, St Paul's Crawley, Trinity East Grinstead|
|South Kent||||17||Appledore, Charing, Good Shepherd HamstreetC, Dymchurch, Elham, Folkestone, Headcorn, Ashford UnitedU, Lydd, Lyminge, New Romney, Rhodes Minnis, Shadoxhurst, St Michael's HytheC, St Andrew's Cheriton, Tenterden, Wye|
|Staines & Feltham||||8||Staines, St Jude's United (Englefield Green)C, Egham UnitedU, Southville, Ashford Common, Ashford, Laleham, Christ Church FelthamC|
|Thames Valley||||12||Burnham, Colnbrook & Poyle UnitedU, Cookham Rise, Eton Wick, Hampshire Avenue Slough, High Street Maidenhead, Ledgers Road Slough, Old Windsor, St Andrew's Slough, St Mark's Crescent Maidenhead, Windsor, Woodlands Park Maidenhead|
|Weald of Kent||||8||Otford, St Andrew's Paddock WoodC, The Drive Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, East Peckham, Hawkhurst, Horsmonden|
|West Sussex (Coast & Downs)||||14||Bognor Regis, Christ Church ChichesterU, Felpham, Goring-by-Sea, Lancing, Littlehampton UnitedU, Offington Park, Rustington, Selsey, Shoreham-by-Sea, Southwick, Steyning, Trinity Storrington, Westergate|
|Wey Valley||||13||Addlestone, Byfleet, Cranleigh, Godalming UnitedU, Guildford St Mary'sC, Knaphill, Merrow, St Michael's SheerwaterC, Stoughton, Walton-on-Thames, West Horsley, Weybridge, Woking Trinity|
|Wales Synod (English-speaking)||||Bangor & Holyhead||||5||Amlwch, Holyhead, Llanfairfechan, St Paul's PenmaenmawrU, St John's Bangor|
|Bridgend||8||Bridgend UnitedU, Brynna, Cefn Cribwr, Bethel Gilfach Goch, Maesteg Central, Christ Church Ogmore ValeU, Trinity PorthcawlU, Wesley Tondu|
|Buckley & Deeside||||12||Buckley Cross, Drury, Emmaus Flint, Highway Ewloe, Wesley Leeswood, Mold, Northop Hall, Pentrobin, Quaystone ChapelP, Sandycroft, St Andrew's Connah's Quay, Trinity PenyfforddP|
|Cardiff||||17||Conway Road Cardiff, Ely, Radyr, St Paul's Butetown, Wesley Canton, Llandaff North, Llanishen, Taffs Well UnitedB, Wesley Caerphilly, Whitchurch, Cathays, Cyncoed, Rumney, St Andrew's Birchgrove, Pontprennau Community ChurchBUW, Resurrection St MellonsBPUW, Urdu Fellowship|
|Ceredigion||||2||St Paul's Aberystwyth (English), St Thomas' Lampeter|
|Conwy & Prestatyn||||9||St Paul's Abergele, St John's Conwy, St David's Craig-y-Don, Llanddulas, Old Colwyn, Rhos-on-Sea, Rhuddlan, St John's Llandudno, Trinity Prestatyn|
|Gwent Hills & Vales||||28||Castle Street Abergavenny, Abertillery, Zion Beaufort Hill, Bedwas, Blackwood, Blaenau Gwent (Abertillery), Blaina, Cwmcelyn Blaina, Fairhill, Bethel Garndiffaith, Glasbury, Hope Pontnewydd, Llanelly Hill, Llanyrafon, Wesley Nantyglo, Newbridge, Panteg New Inn, Pontllanfraith, Pontnewynydd, Pontypool, Race, St James Ebbw Vale, Tredegar, Trinant, Trinity Abersychan, Tyllwyn, Upper Cwmbran, Bethel Beaufort|
|Mid-Glamorgan Mission||||8||Aberdare, Cascade Penpedairheol, Newtown Mountain Ash, Norton Bridge, Rhondda Fach (Ferndale), Rhydyfelin, Treherbert, Ystrad Mynach|
|Neath Port Talbot||||9||Cymmer, Glyncorrwg, Glynneath, Jersey Marine, Neath, North Cornelly, Sandfields, Skewen, Wesley Taibach|
|Newport & Lower Wye||||20||Bishpool Ringland, Broad Oak, Caldicot, Chepstow, Crosskeys, Dan-y-Graig RiscaPU, Earlswood, Earlswood Valley, Gwehelog, Langstone, Llancloudy, Monmouth, Penycaemawr, Trinity PontywaunCoP, Rogiet, Shaftesbury Street Newport, St David's RiscaW, St Julian's Newport, Trellech, Trinity Newport|
|South West Wales||||15||Burry Port, Wesley Carew, Wesley Carmarthen, Albany HaverfordwestU, Merlin's Bridge Haverfordwest, Trinity Kidwelly, Hall Street LlanelliU, Victoria Road Llanelli, Llangwm, Christ Church Milford HavenU, Pembroke Ferry, Trinity Pontarddulais (English), Saundersfoot, Stepaside, St John's TenbyU|
|Swansea & Gower||||11||Brunswick, Capel y Nant Clydach, Morriston, Mumbles, Penlan, Sketty UnitingU, Wesley Eaton Road Swansea, Horton, Murton, Pitton, Reynoldston|
|Vale of Glamorgan||||8||Barry UnitingU, Hope Church Cadoxton, Crossway Barry, Dinas Powys, Penarth, St Athan, St David's Barry, St John's Barry Island|
|Welshpool & Bro Hafren||||6||Wesley Newtown, Caersws, Zoar Trefeglwys, Welshpool, Cefn Trewern, Pentre Llifior|
|Wrexham||11||Regent Street Wrexham, Caergwrle, Ruabon, Gresford, Ffrwd, Brymbo, Rhosddu, Llangollen, Overton, Rhosymedre|
|Synod Cymru (Welsh-speaking)||||Cymru||||57||Bathafarn Ruthin, Bethel Aberdyfi, Bethel Amlwch, Bethel Caerau, Bethel Cardiff, Bethel Crynant, Bethel Deganwy, Bethel Flint Mountain, Bethel Gronant, Bethel Prestatyn, Bethel Rhigos, Bethesda Llanfair, Carmel Moelfre, Cefnblodwel, Cnwch Coch, Cymdu, Cynfaen Calcoed, Disgwylfa Penmaen, Ebeneser Dolgellau, Ebeneser Eglwysbach, Ebeneser Trefor, Ebeneser Treuddyn, Ebeneser Tywyn, Eglwys Unedig Seilo LlandudnoBIP, Gwyddelwern, Horeb Betws-yn-Rhos, Horeb Colwyn Bay, Horeb Llanrwst, Horeb Oswestry, Jerusalem Wrexham, Llanarmon, Llanfyllin, Llangynog, Llanrhaeadr, Llansantffraid, Llansilin, Pencarnisiog, Pendref Denbigh, Pendref Mold, Penrhyndeudraeth, Pisgah Rhiwlas, Pontrobert, Preswylfa Llandudno Junction, Rehoboth Corwen, Rehoboth Llanbedrog, Salem Pentre Halkyn, Salem Rhyd-y-foel, Saron (Bethel, Gwynedd), Saron Gwaenynog, Seion Glyndyfrdwy, Seion Llangollen, Shiloh Tregarth, Soar Llanfyllin, St John's Lloc, St Paul's Aberystwyth (Welsh), Trinity Pontarddulais (Welsh), Y Briw, Ystumtuen|
|Scotland||||Angus, Dundee & Perthshire||5||St John's Arbroath, Blairgowrie, Dundee, Montrose, Perth|
|Ayrshire & Renfrewshire||3||Barrhead, Girvan, Paisley|
|Forth Valley||||11||Armadale, Edinburgh, Grahamston UnitedCoS, Granton UnitedU, Kirkcaldy, Livingston UnitedCoES, Rosyth, St Anne's DunbarE, Stirling, Tranent with Cockenzie, Wallacestone|
|North of Scotland||6||Aberdeen, Buckie, Cullen, Findochty, Peterhead, Portessie|
|Strathclyde||12||Anniesland, Clydebank, St John's DumfriesE, East Kilbride, Kilsyth, Milton, Netherton, New Stevenston, Partick, Pollokshaws, Shettleston, Woodlands|
|Shetland||Lerwick & Walls||9||Fair Isle, Lerwick, Scalloway, Whiteness, Vidlin, North Roe, East Yell, Haroldswick, Shetland Rural|
|Channel Islands||Bailiwick of Guernsey||||12||Alderney, Bordeaux, Forest, Les Adams, Les Camps, Les Capelles, Rohais, SarkC, St Pauls, St Martins, Torteval, Wesley St Peter Port|
|Jersey||||8||Bethesda (St Peter), Bethlehem (St Mary), Ebenezer (Trinity), Georgetown, St Helier, St Aubin, St Martin's, St Ouen|
|Isle of Man||||Isle of Man||||31||Abbeylands, Agneash, Baldrine, Ballabeg, Ballafesson, Ballagarey, Ballakilpheric, Barregarrow, Bride, Castletown, Colby, Cooil, Crosby, Glen Maye, Kerrowkeil, Kirk Michael, Laxey, Onchan, Orrisdale, Peel, Port Erin, Port St Mary, Promenade Douglas, Pulrose, Ramsey, Sandygate, St John's, Sulby, The Howe, Trinity Douglas, Union Mills|
^ a. The Gibraltar Circuit became part of the then London South West District in 1997, and is now a circuit in the South East District. The Methodist/Church of Scotland LEP in Malta is also part of the South East District.
^ b. On 1 September 2017, the four former districts in Yorkshire were reduced to three: Yorkshire North and East, Yorkshire West and Sheffield.
The people involved in Methodist organisation are as follows.
Early Methodism, as organised by Wesley, had "local preachers" and "travelling preachers". A local preacher was a layman appointed to preach within his own circuit. A travelling preacher, or "minister" (specifically, a presbyter) in modern Methodism, is appointed by Conference to serve for a limited time in a circuit and then move around the country to any other circuit where Conference may send him. In Wesley's time, this could be as little as a few months. As Methodism became more settled as a denomination, this was from one to four years, now typically five to ten years. In recent years, some circuits may also have lay pastors.
The non-pastoral work is done by "church stewards" and "circuit stewards". These are appointed to various functions, such as treasurer, or property steward, etc. to look after various practical needs. Usually these are voluntary workers, but some situations also require paid staff.
Methodism holds in principle 'the priesthood of all believers', which is a Protestant doctrine that all true Christians have equal access to God, and Church offices are functional rather than hierarchical. So while this list implies a chain of authority, it is of function rather than rank.
The president of conference is a presbyter, with the vice-president being a layperson or deacon. The one exception was layman William Hartley, elected President of the Primitive Methodist Conference in 1909.
Nominations are invited each year for president and vice-president. Each is voted upon and designated a year ahead. Each nomination needs to be signed by five ministerial and five lay members of the Representative Session of the Conference. Nominations are collected during the first three days of that Session and displayed for 24 hours before a vote is taken. Voting is by single transferable vote. Voters do not choose one name only but mark all the names in order of preference. In this way if their first choice is not elected, they may influence the voting for an alternative.
The Conference resolves at the beginning of the Representative Session that the president designated the previous year be elected and similarly for the vice-president-designate. Each holds office for one year.
A minister who is appointed to take administrative responsibility, along with pastoral responsibility for the ministers, for a district. This is undertaken as if a normal appointment to serve in a circuit, and the term of service is typically some 5 to 10 years.
The senior minister on any circuit is the superintendent (sometimes informally shortened to "super"), who may be the only minister, though the current trend for amalgamation of circuits makes this rare. The superintendent will also have pastoral responsibility for at least one of the local churches on the circuit, with pastoral responsibility for others being allocated to the other ministers.
Ministers within the Methodist Diaconal Order (MDO) are referred to as deacons. A warden is appointed by the Conference from among the deacons to exercise oversight over the MDO, and there is now also a deputy warden.
Local preachers are accredited laypeople who preach and lead worship services in any church on the circuit to which they may be appointed. In Wesleyan Methodism it was not usual practice for local preachers to administer the Lord's Supper (Holy Communion), but in Primitive Methodism (1811 to 1932 in Britain) the local preachers did administer sacraments. Local preachers continue to serve an indispensable role in the Methodist Church, with the majority of church services led by laypeople, but special authorisation is required to preside over Communion.
The "Circuit Meeting" (originally the "Quarterly Meeting") is the main governing body of the circuit, and consists of all ministers living in the circuit, circuit officers, and officers and elected representatives of the various churches in the circuit. The circuit officers are officially responsible for the running of a circuit; they are collectively responsible for finances, though almost invariably one of them will be appointed treasurer. The preachers (local preachers and ministers) also hold a quarterly "(Local) Preachers' Meeting" that governs worship and preaching issues.
The "Church Council" is held twice per year or as required to govern the business of individual churches. Officers of the church council will include a secretary and treasurer.
Some Methodist churches in countries outside Britain have retained the circuit system; others have not, or never had it. Where Methodist churches have entered national united churches (such as the Church of South India or the United Church of Canada, the circuit system has generally disappeared or been greatly modified even if it existed before. The US United Methodist Church does not at present operate on a circuit system, though something like it is reappearing in places. The Methodist Church of New Zealand has a circuit system, but refers to its circuits as parishes.
This section possibly contains original research. (January 2021)
The diagrammatic map of the Leek area shows the number of "preaching stations" and chapels in existence during the 18th and 19th centuries, both Wesleyan and Primitive. (This is not exhaustive, but shows information at the time of drawing.) Some of the places were cottages or farmhouses, and not the final location of a chapel. The diagram includes a reference to a preaching plan of 1798.
It is easier to describe the origins of the Wetton and Longnor Circuit by reference to the "family tree," which shows the sequence by which the north of England was divided into Circuits of smaller areas as the number of Methodists grew. This had the advantages of both reducing the time spent in traveling, and ensuring that the work load of the Travelling Preachers was manageable.
In 1870, the Wesleyan Leek Circuit was divided to form the Wetton and Longnor Circuit. A new manse was built at Wetton to house the minister. The Methodist Union of 1932 brought new chapels from the Primitive Methodists. In some cases, such as at Warslow, this meant having two buildings in the same road a couple of hundred yards apart. The P.M. building was the more suitable, so the Wesleyan building was eventually sold.
In 1962, for example, there were 10 societies in the Circuit. These were Wetton, Alstonefield, Hartington. Butterton, Warslow, Longnor, Rewlach, Sheen, Newtown, and Hollinsclough. Rewlach, for example, was a chapel in a remote location associated with one farmhouse and little else. Yet even in the 1990s, not long before closure, it still attracted enough people to fill the building for harvest festival. The only chapel still open as a place of worship is Hollinsclough, which celebrated its 200th anniversary at Easter 2001.
Modern population trends, and economic pressures, led to the end of Wetton and Longnor as a separate Circuit. In 1969, it ceased and the various chapels were allocated to neighbouring Circuits of Leek, Ashbourne and Buxton. It is not only Methodist chapels that have closed. Many village schools have also closed during the same time.
A Circuit which considers that any of its churches or a significant number of church members or other Christians in the local community is deprived of reasonably frequent and regular celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper through lack of ordained ministers may apply for the authorisation of persons other than ministers to preside at that sacrament when appointed to do so on the circuit plan, or on other occasions when authorised by the Superintendent.