The Trinity Circuit came into being in September 2011 from the joining of the Retford and Worksop & Kiveton circuits. Its founding vision was to be a dynamic and encouraging agent in the life and mission of our local churches, using its resources to help deliver Christian service, worship and outreach in a way which was practical and supportive.
Conversations about the creation of a new circuit began in the late1990s and were driven by a number of factors common across Methodism. The Connexional document 'Mapping a Way Forward' (MAWF) published in 2007 provided a focus for planning and action. Discussions began in earnest in 2009 and from these a forum emerged entitled 'Regrouping for Mission' led by Revs Mark Pengelly and George Brigham.
The naming of the new circuit in 2010 caused considerable debate. There was a feeling that 'Sherwood' or 'Dukeries' described the circuit's history and location well, but of course both names encompass areas beyond the boundaries of our circuit. 'Bassetlaw' is the local authority serving much of the circuit, but the western churches are part of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough. 'Trinity' was chosen because it has a profound theological significance and also recognizes that we are a circuit working in three counties – Derbyshire, South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. The area looks to Sheffield for larger amenities and it is thus appropriate for the Trinity Circuit to be part of the Sheffield Methodist District.
It was envisaged that the new circuit would be led by a new Superintendent Minister but this appointment could not be made for September 2011 and Rev Mark Pengelly led the new circuit for its first year. He was succeeded in September 2012 by Rev Peter Sheasby who brought his strong leadership and administrative gifts to a circuit seeking to forge a new identity with an appropriate staffing structure. Whilst building on the strong ecumenical links which are a part of the circuit's identity, Peter enabled difficult decisions to be made in terms of chapel closures and a restructuring of the circuit's staffing, so that a financially viable circuit could be achieved.
Rev Julie Coates joined the Trinity Circuit as its Superintendent Minister in September 2019 to take its mission forward and consolidate the work of Rev Peter Sheasby. Few could have predicted that only a few months later, as she was beginning to become known across the circuit, she would discover that her main task was to lead the circuit through a global pandemic, which devastated community life for more than a year. This was done with great positivity and sensitivity and the circuit's churches emerged from Covid 19 in better spirits and with greater numerical strength than might have been feared.
Moving beyond Covid 19, the founding vision of the circuit remains relevant and timely. We must continue to use our resources – human, financial and property – to shape the circuit effectively for worship, service and outreach, whilst looking to promote new work for Christ and new engagement with our local communities. For some chapels it may be a case of mission accomplished, for others new beginnings and fresh opportunities.