One Body with Many Parts

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”

1 Corinthians 12:12

The church is made of individuals each called to live in a particular place at a particular time but we do not live alone; we are called by God to gather together to share our gifts to work together so that all may live in God’s abundant life and love.

In Methodism, just as individuals are gathered into churches (with structures and rules to help us to ensure all are safe) so churches are gathered into circuits.

Ministers are appointed to circuits (not churches) so it is the circuit’s job to write the profile when a new minister is appointed, to provide a house and make sure it is good condition, to review the minister’s appointment and to ensure that ministers have the conditions in which they can thrive and carry out their calling well.

While it is easy to think of mission being carried out at church level, being grouped into a circuit means we can share skills and ideas, and work together to be more effective. As a circuit we can challenge and support churches to discern and carry out their distinctive mission in their particular contexts.

This means that it’s important that we think about our mission and priorities as a circuit rather than just as individual churches.

The circuit is also responsible for ensuring that churches and their officers and volunteers receive the training they need either by offering the training in the circuit or by signposting to training offered by the district or elsewhere. This includes training in safeguarding, preaching and worship leading, equality, diversity and inclusion, and much more.

The circuit also organises the quarterly preaching plan, through the superintendent minister. This plan organises who will lead worship in each of our services each week. In doing this the superintendent minister talks with others to determine the priorities and needs.  

In Methodism as well as ministers (Deacons and Presbyters) we have Local Preachers who have been trained and authorised to lead worship and to preach. We also have Worship Leaders who are trained to lead worship under the authority of a Local Preacher or minister but who are not trained to preach.

Sometimes services are termed ‘local arrangements’ where the local congregation is given the opportunity to lead the service, to do something different, and to challenge others to have a go and explore whether they might be called to be a worship leader or local preacher.

The circuit is responsible for this and much more.

It is tempting at times to think about the circuit as a separate body but in fact the circuit and churches are inseparable.

To use St Paul’s metaphor of the body with many parts, it would make no sense for my head or my foot to decide it was separate from my body as a whole, neither does it make any sense for us as churches or individuals to think of the circuit as separate from us.

We are one whole.

So rather than thinking of the circuit as something “out there”, why not:

  • Come along to the Circuit Meeting at Ealing Green on 7th June at 8.00pm and join the conversation about our future
  • Join in a conversation about our mission and ministry
  • Pray for our life together
  • Come to a Circuit Service or event and get to know other people
  • Offer to join a committee
  • Support the care of our properties
  • Become a circuit steward?
  • Find out how else you could be active in our circuit

Our body needs every part to be active and joined as one.

First published on: 18th May 2023
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