Nunthorpe Methodist Church
Connaught Road,
Nunthorpe,
Middlesbrough
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Superintendent Minister: Revd. David Godfrey,

10th September 2023

Dear Friends,

Please find enclosed with this letter a briefing note for members and friends of Marton and Nunthorpe Methodist Churches.

In response to the Circuit consultation last year, Marton leadership team and the Stewards at Nunthorpe have been looking at ways that the two churches can work together. We have enjoyed some joint services (with more planned), but have begun to seriously consider whether the future of the two Churches may be as one. The Circuit consultation highlighted that doing nothing is a sure route to further decline in the churches. If our two Churches join, then we may be able to do more and have more chance of growth with the combined energies of our people.

The briefing documents for each Church looks at the pros and cons of becoming one Church on one site. We have been as honest as we can with these, but there may be things we haven’t considered and we now want to consult the wider church. I must emphasise that no decision has been made and that this is not an irreversible direction of travel. We would simply like to receive comments and feedback from the wider Church so that we might have your authority to explore this further.

We will discuss this at our formal meetings, but I or any of our leadership team members (Marton), or stewards (Nunthorpe), would be happy to have an informal conversation with you, or answer any questions. If you would prefer to write down your thoughts and pass them on to any of the above, then that will be welcome too. It would be helpful to have your responses by the first week in October please.

Finally, may I request your continued prayers as our two Churches journey into the new Methodist year. Please pray for God to guide us as we seek his will together.

Yours in Christ,

Revd. David Godfrey

Nunthorpe Situation

NOW

5 Years Ago

Number of Members

91

107

Number on Pastoral Roll

147

181

Number attending Sunday Worship

Average 40+

50-60

Reserves in bank

£40892

£39683

Total Annual Income [including property]

£70,700 Minus £15,885 3 years HMRC GADS refund £54,815

£55541



No Tax Refund that year

NUNTHORPE Briefing [30 August 2023 version]


Following the Circuit Review, the leadership team at Marton have given further consideration to the future. We, at Nunthorpe can do the same about possible futures and their implications. .

Whilst No Decisions have been made, it would appear that there are two main options which could be considered  

        i) Stay as we are, as independent separate churches, in decline

        ii) Move towards creating a ‘partnership church’ merging with Marton with the new joint church worshipping at Nunthorpe.  


 Pros and Cons of Staying separate as we are:

Pros-

1. We are happy and comfortable and  the Church ticks along nicely

2.   The Church family is well known to us and we share a strong sense of fellowship

3.  Our connections with the wider community are strong : Toddlers, Coffee Mornings, Wednesday Afternoons, Carols on the Grass. Luncheon Club. Developing better links With Community Council too.  

4. Doing nothing is relatively hassle free. Initially.

BUT: Cons/Challenges

1.  Membership numbers likely to continue to decline mainly as a result of ageing/relocating congregation…leading to

2.  Fewer people able to carry out key roles within the Church

3. Financial position relatively satisfactory at present. Direct debit helps, but if income declines any further then will not be sufficient to cover expenditure and will put pressure on reserves.

4. As we are, aged and declining, how can we develop mission?


ii) Pros and cons of creating a ‘partnership church’ with Marton at Nunthorpe

Pros

1. We could continue to follow a style of worship that we feel comfortable with as the churches are similar.

2. We could develop new friendships of Methodist family in a larger church

3. There would be  more people to carry out key roles and provide ideas and expertise.

4. A combined income may ease pressures on fund raising for maintaining the Church

5. There would be an opportunity to develop  new initiatives to serve Nunthorpe community on our site

6. There would be  more people to support groups that meet during the week or promote new groups

7. There would be an  opportunity to use combined financial /energy resources to modify the Nunthorpe premises to better suit current and future needs.

Cons/Challenges

1. It will be unsettling, challenging  as people from Marton would join our church as “partners”  and equals..

2. So, our church would need to change its name eg Marton & Nunthorpe Methodist Church because it would not be a case of Nunthorpe “taking over” with Marton closing. It would be a merger, closing one building.  

3. People originally from Marton will have their own ideas about how the joint merged church would continue. This  might be unsettling as our habits might need to change.


We will discuss these matter at the next Church Council 19.10.23, so, if you have any comments/questions  to make  or have other ideas then we would love to receive them.

You can put them in writing or speak to Rev David, any Church Council member [see Handbook] or Pastoral Visitor.

We hope that as many of you as possible will respond as we really want to find out how you think we should go forward over the next five years

Thank you    

                             

Marton Briefing

Following the Circuit Review , the Leadership Team have given further consideration to the future at Marton over the next five years.



Marton Situation

NOW

5 Years Ago

Number of Members

69

83

Number on Pastoral Roll

110

131

Number attending Sunday Worship

30 +

50

Reserves in bank

£60000

£7000

Total Annual Income [including property]

£49000

£52000

WHILST NO DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE, it would appear that there are two main options which could be considered  

        i) Stay as we are

        ii) Move towards creating a ‘partnership church’ at Nunthorpe.  


Pros and cons of Staying as we are:

-  continue to worship at Marton where we feel welcome and comfortable and where the Church  is relatively compact

- generally continue with the same style of worship or explore alternatives if desired

- Church family is well known to us and share a strong sense of fellowship

- continue to interact with the wider community especially by making the premises available to  groups eg Toddlers , women’s fellowship ; third parties

- Membership numbers likely to continue to decline mainly as a result of ageing congregation

- fewer people able to carry out key roles within the Church

- financial position relatively satisfactory at present, particularly if we receive the legacy , but if income declines any further then will not be sufficient to cover expenditure and will put  pressure on reserves.

   - adequate on –site parking and smaller, more intimate worship area more suited to smaller    congregations



ii) Pro’s and cons of creating a ‘partnership church’ at Nunthorpe

-  Continue to follow a style of worship that we feel comfortable with

-  continue to be able to meet with current church family as well as developing new friendships

-  more people to carry out key roles

-  combined income may ease pressures on fund raising for maintaining the Church

-  opportunity to develop  new initiatives to serve a wider community on a site which is more   central to housing areas.

- opportunity to get to know more people within the Middlesbrough Methodist family

- more people to support groups that meet during the week or promote new groups

- opportunity to use combined financial resources to modify the Nunthorpe premises to better suit current and future needs.

- any move  from Marton site would be unsettling, some people would have to travel further and there is  lack of convenient on-site parking at Nunthorpe.


We will discuss the matter at the next Church Council on 10th October .

If you have any comments to make on these options or have other ideas then we would like to receive them by that date. You can put them in writing or speak to David, any Church Council member or LeadershipTeam. We hope that as many of you as possible will respond as we really want to find out how you think we should go forward over the next five years


Thank you