The Thames Valley Circuit is a mixed, diverse, multi-ethnic circuit with 12 churches (13 congregations) set along the Thames Valley corridor comprising three towns:
- Slough with its industrial/commercial community and transient, very diverse population
- Windsor with its tourism and commuters
- Maidenhead with its commerce and commuters
and smaller "village" commuter communities not greatly separated from nearby towns.
There are two congregations at St Andrew's, Slough: the larger worships in English and is very multi-cultural; the smaller worships in Urdu.
The Circuit is one of 19 Circuits (with over 200 Methodist Churches and over 10,000 members) in the South East District of the Methodist Church. The District covers Kent, East and West Sussex, Surrey, North East Hampshire, East Berkshire, Malta and Gibraltar!
Since 1st September 2013, three Districts (South-East, Southampton and Channel Islands) have together formed the Southern and Islands Region. This is one of a network of 11 Regions in the Methodist Church in Britain. The network is called the Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network. Its aims are to:
- Help the Methodist people grow and learn as disciples.
- Encourage patterns of witness and evangelism and inspire loving and prophetic action.
- Create mutually dependent ministries rooted in church communities which are participatory, pioneering and contextual.
The Circuit has a membership of around 760. It also has pastoral responsibility for over 1300 others.
Rev Sonia Hicks is the Circuit's Superintendent Minister, and she with four additional ministers — three presbyters and a deacon — comprise the Circuit Staff. The four presbyters look after the churches and members of the circuit, with the deacon concentrating his efforts on outreach in the community, in the Chalvey and Manor Park areas of Slough and other parts of the circuit.
Several other ministers — supernumeraries or ministers not in circuit appointment — also reside in the circuit.
In addition we have around 30 local preachers on full plan, plus several preachers in training.
Members of this circuit are very active!
Examples of the activities and outreach projects for individual churches are given in the Our Churches section of this website.
Likewise, many of the organisations and activities for the entire circuit, have their own pages in the Outreach section.
The diary includes details both for circuit events and for church events to which members of other churches or none are invited. It includes information about circuit organisations which do not have a page to themselves, such as the Circuit Teens Group and the Circuit Men's Walking Group.
The circuit enjoys strong ecumenical links. Indeed, one of the churches, Colnbrook & Poyle, is a Methodist/URC (United Reformed Church) Local Ecumenical Partnership. Hampshire Avenue is a Local Ecumenical Project with the Anglican Church in North Slough. Further examples of ecumenical relationships are included under the individual churches.
There are many examples of churches working together, such as in work among immigrants and refugees, and supporting and providing finance for ecumenical projects. It should also be noted that two of our churches provide and run (with ecumenical help) Night Shelters for the homeless during the worst of the winter. Several churches are involved in Street Angels and many collect for Food Banks.
A Methodist fellowship of Christian communities in the Thames Valley, transformed by the Good News of Jesus and demonstrating God's love, peace and justice in all we do.
WORSHIP OF THE LIVING GOD
LEARN AND CARE
- Seek to enable all to encounter God in ways which are Spirit-led and celebratory, through worship which is diverse and relevant to our local communities.
- Be aware of the nature and context of the Thames Valley.
- Explore the word of God, in study, prayer and fellowship.
- Resource local churches to offer pastoral care.
- Support the presence and witness of the smaller churches.
- Build disciples by nurturing faith and recognising and developing gifts; encourage new leaders.
- Value our place within the Methodist Connexion and the World Church.
- Encourage team working.
- Be a prophetic and free church voice, and initiate action for social justice.
- Respond to needs locally and globally.
- Provide safe spaces for the community.
- Support both the Methodist and World Church through prayer and action.
- Work ecumenically whenever the opportunity arises and, when appropriate, with other faiths.
- Offer love in the name of Jesus Christ.
- Confidently share and proclaim our faith in ways which are sensitive and respectful.
Let us build a house where hands will reach
beyond the wood and stone
to heal and strengthen, serve and teach,
and live the Word they've known.
Here the outcast and the stranger
bear the image of God's face;
let us bring an end to fear and danger:
All are welcome,
all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.
Singing the Faith 409
A Celtic Cross south of the border! This picture shows a Celtic Cross created by members attending a Circuit Service. Made out of pieces of sea-smoothed, coloured broken glass from the shores of Iona, it illustrates how something beautiful can be made out of rubbish!
The circuit's policies in areas such as Safeguarding, and Health and Safety are those of the Methodist Church. Safeguarding is about preventing the abuse of children, young people and vulnerable adults and promoting their welfare. The aim of the Methodist Safeguarding policy is to create Christian communities of love and care, where good practice in this area becomes a way of life.
In view of the importance of safeguarding, the circuit's detailed safeguarding policy statement is included as a page in its own right.
The history of OUR CIRCUIT is obviously tied into the history of Methodism. Indeed, the Circuit is almost as old as Methodism itself. To find out more, a short history of Methodism, and the Thames Valley Circuit is available from the menu above. The website also includes a brief history of each of its current churches together with their forerunners. The history of each of our churches is included in the church section of this website.