Birstall Methodist Church in 2013

The church continues to be guided by the mission statement formulated by the Leicester North Circuit – ‘Deepening Discipleship – Making More Disciples’.



We are an open and inclusive organisation which values everyone who chooses to join us.  Membership is open to all who wish to serve Jesus Christ and current membership stands at 162 with many friends who choose to worship with us.

 Weekly Worship

The church has a morning service every Sunday and an evening service on the 2nd and 4th Sundays in the month with regular services including Holy Communion.  There are occasional additional special services.  The church also has a mid-week service of Holy Communion on a Wednesday morning.


There are five children on the cradle roll at present, however, this year we have had some baptisms where the child was over three years of age.  In May we had our first Messy Church baptism, it was a very special service and hopefully there will be more in the future.

Sunday Club

The Sunday Club remains active.  14 attend on a regular basis with a few more attending only occasionally.  Most of the older group have joined the monthly youth group ‘STYG’ (Sunday Teenage Youth Group).  Sadly, one of our helpers of the older age group had to withdraw.  Members of the Sunday Club took part in the meal at the ‘Sharing God’s Love’ weekend.

Messy Church

Messy Church is a joint initiative of Birstall Methodist Church and St James’ Anglican churches and in its third year continues to develop.  It offers an alternative experience of church for families who find Sunday mornings difficult either because of the timing or the formality of the content.  In a two hour session we offer crafts based on a biblical theme, followed by a simple act of worship and a shared meal.  Contributions from the families usually cover the costs of food.  Both churches make a contribution to cover costs of craft materials.  Typically, around 40 adults and children attend a Saturday session.  The sessions are supported by families who attend regularly and some families who attend on a more casual basis.  The whole project is considered a great success and adds to our mission within the community whilst promoting a true spirit of Churches Together.


Girls’ Brigade

The Brigade has 3 Officers, 3 Auxiliaries, 1 other helper.  There is 1 Advanced Young Leader,

 6 Brigadiers, 12 seniors, 9 Junior and 13 Explorers that gives a total of 41 young people taking part in activities.  The Brigade is a vibrant and active company which is supported by the church membership.  To mark this support a special dinner was prepared for office holders of the church in the summer.   A performance of Christmas Carol was presented to an appreciative audience in December.  In September 2012 the Girls’ Brigade welcomed a new Captain who had already given good service to the Brigade.


Boys’ Brigade

The Boys’ Brigade continues to be well supported by three officers who provide structured activities for twenty boys who attend regularly.  They had a successful and enjoyable out to Twin Lakes during the summer.  Three Coffee Morning to raise funds was held during the year.


Laudate Worship Group

The Laudate Worship Group is a group of singers, (all members or friends of the church) accompanied by guitarists, who compliment the act of worship by providing music in a different idiom.  During the year it has led worship at many services.  In particular the group has been active at the Sunday Café Worship evenings.  The group has also been involved in Circuit services.


Monday Women’s Group

The average attendance for meetings over the year has been 30.  Our extra ‘Amongst Ourselves’ evenings voted for by members have been a great success with ‘Call my Bluff, bingo, Poems and Anecdotes and quiz evenings.  Other evenings included talks on the Life and Times of an Ambulance Man, How to Grow Geraniums, Wet on Wet Painting, Canal Boat People, The Salvation Army, Australia and ‘A Birstall Lad’.

Fund raising has continued to go well with coffee mornings, regular, cake and book stalls, raffles and wonderful afternoon cream tea in the garden of the groups Chair during the summer break.  Altogether £2,335 was raised for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.


Thursday Group

The Thursday Group had another successful year with interesting speakers and enjoyable social events.  We continue to have well attended meeting of 45 – 50 members.  Our various project events helped us to raise £2,500 throughout the year.  This was divided equally between B.A.G.S and Macmillan Nurses to charities involved in action against cancer.

Men’s Pantomime

The Men’s Pantomime performed ‘Cinderella’ to a series of appreciative audiences in February.  ‘Cinderella’ was chosen as it was 65 years since the very first Men’s Pantomime, ‘Cinderella’, was performed in 1947.  A considerable milestone for an amateur company.  The pantomime planned for next year is ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’.


 Bright Hour

The organiser of this long established group has this to say ‘it is my pleasure to say how very pleased I am to report that the group is still a popular place to be and still going strong’.  Members have expressed their allegiance to the group and are one of their highlights of the week.  Most of the ladies do not attend church (anywhere) but we always start with a hymn, a reading and a prayer asking for special thoughts for anyone who needs our prayers. 


Community Bible Study

This is a significant group within the Church.  It not only attracts members of the Church but its membership includes Christians from other Churches with Birstall and beyond.  We were pleased to welcome two new members during the year.


The Pastoral Committee

Our Pastoral visitors have been busy visiting members and friends regarding the Lay Witness weekend.  As a result of the Lay Witness weekend.  Another church members has joined the team.  However one of the long standing members of the team has felt it necessary to give up as a Pastoral visitor.  Pastoral visitors help to serve tea and coffee and talk to people after our annual Memorial Service held in November. 


 Birstall Methodist Preschool

Birstall Methodist Preschool is an OFSTED registered preschool offering 30 places a day 5 days a week.  Currently the preschool has 39 children on the register which is 97% to full capacity with a healthy waiting list for next year.  The preschool is fully staffed with 3 full time members of staff and 1 part time staff member.  There is also a full time administrator who is also qualified to assist in the preschool when needed.  The preschool also has its own group of supply staff who are called on to cover holiday, illness and training or when there is a higher ratio of 2 year olds present.  Staff are up to date with their training needs and continue to attend relevant training courses when necessary.


Lay Witness Weekend

In March we held a Lay Witness Weekend which was organised with the help of the Lay Witness Movement.  It started on Friday evening with a meal and was followed by study groups which also continued through Saturday.  There was finally worship on Sunday morning was also followed by a lunch for all participants.

As a result of the weekend three Bible Study Groups were formed which met in the houses of members.



The Lunch Club

The Lunch Club was forced to close down in December due to the retirement of the cook.  However in May it was able to re-open with different arrangements made for provision of the lunch.  Approximately 30 volunteers working on a rota basis prepare the room, set tables, dish up and serve the meals which is now provided by a commercial company and delivered ready to eat to the church.


Christian Aid Week

This took place during the week of 12th – 18th May 2013 the amount raised was £3,455


Weekday Coffee Shop

The Coffee Shop continues to be well supported but not to the same extent as previous year. It has attracted some new volunteers during the year but we would still welcome anyone who would like to help.


The Action for Children collection box raised £42


Saturday Coffee Shop

All Saturdays during 2013/13 were booked either by the church or local organisations.  Income to the church during the year increased to £1,386.  The charge made to outside groups using the Coffee Shop on Saturday increased from £25 to £30.  15 Saturday produced no income as they were used by organisation which had their hire charge waived by the Church Council.


World Church

The total amount raised for World Church in the year 2012-13 was £963..  This was slightly down on the previous year.  With the current financial climate we consider we did quite well..  Thanks go to all those who continue to support this important aspect of the church.  There is a special service for World Church every year in the autumn.  This year, our World Church Service was in October when Olusunmi Olayisade from the Mission House and is co-ordinator for African affairs.


Women’s World Day of Prayer

The Women’s World Day of Prayer took place on Friday 1st  March 2013 and was a Churches Together event held at Birstall Methodist Church.  The service with the theme ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’ was written by the Christian women of France.  The speaker was Mrs Hilary Cox.  A Preparation Day and lunch which was held at before the event.


Special Needs Playgroup

The group continues to be organised by two paid workers, but the help given by volunteers is vital for the running of the playgroup.  The group is much appreciated by the parents and they themselves meet in the Coffee Shop on a Friday whilst the session is in progress.  On Mondays special arrangements have been made by Birstall Methodist Church for parents to meet in the lounge.  22 children have benefited from the service offered by the group.  Most are little more than babies and currently the majority have quite severe physical needs.


Action for Children

There have been several fund raising events run by the Leicester Support Group over the year as follows:

                  6th April                  Coffee Morning

                  21st April                A stall at the Abbey Pumping Station’s Hobbies and Pastimes Steam Day

                  2nd May                  Collection at Asda – Thurmaston

                  1st June                   Collection at Tesco – South Wigston

                  19th September Collection at Tesco – Loughborough

The offertory from a Circuit Service held at Birstall was also donated to Action for Children


The Garden Trail

This year was the twenty fourth year of the Birstall Methodist Garden Trail and took place during the weekend 8th and 9th June.  We were fortunate to enjoy sunny weather on both days.  The proceeds for this year were divided between ‘Cancer Reseacrh UK’ and the Church. We were able to make a presentation of £1,200 to a representative of ‘Cancer Research’ at a celebration service at the church in August.  This was the last year of the Garden Trail project.

© January 2014 (Prepared by David Bark)

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