The Manchester and Stockport, and Bolton and Rochdale Districts had the pleasure of hosting the President, Revd Gill Newton, and Vice-President, Deacon Kerry Scarlett in their Districts from Thursday 16 November to Sunday 19 November 2023.


To begin the visit, Revd Gill and Deacon Kerry visited the Tiviot Dale Community Café in the United Stockport Circuit on Thursday afternoon. They helped to serve food for 50 homeless and vulnerably housed people and others, alongside Deacon Janet Amey and Circuit Property Officer Maggie Thompson who oversee the work.

Kerry, Gill and Janet serving food in the Tiviot Dale kitchen.

After the Café, they joined Revds Cathy Bird and Raj Patta, and Community Worker JoAnne Roy at a gathering outside Stockport Town Call to call for a Ceasefire in Gaza, alongside other local community groups such as Stockport For Peace and Stand Up for Migrants and Refugees.

The President and Vice President calling for ceasefire alongside United Stockport Methodists

The two District teams were greatly encouraged as they met together with Kerry and Gill on Friday morning and were affirmed as they shared insight into their work.

The district teams standing around a table, themed on the presidential theme of hidden treasure.

They then attended a Christmas Tree Light Switch on at Syke Methodist Church in Rochdale.

The next day, Deacon Kerry visited a key project at Moston Methodist Church in the Manchester Circuit. Baby basket works with health care professionals, accepting referrals to help new mums with the provision of a baby basket. Baby basket are always grateful for wonderful donations from across Manchester, and volunteers are welcome to help out on Thursday mornings 10-12noon.

Deacon Kerry with Rev. Sharon Read and volunteers of the baby basket project

On Saturday afternoon, Deacon Kerry visited Manchester Central Hall to meet with Greater Manchester Citizens and speak about Community Organising. This was followed by a community organiser’s prayer walk in the City Centre, in the footsteps of Pankhurst, Peterloo and Gandhi.

A group of women standing in front of a Pankhurst statue

Revd. Gill participated in and spoke at a spirituality retreat on Saturday, based on the presidential theme for this Connexional year of ‘Hidden Treasures’.

On Sunday morning, Deacon Kerry preached at a United Stockpirt Circuit service while Revd Gill preached at Cheadle Hulme Methodist Church, in the Bramhall and Wythenshawe Circuit, on the theme of ‘Hidden Treasures’.

Rev Gill shaking hands at the church service

They then attended a community justice event in Glossop, with Gill preaching later in the afternoon.

Revd Cathy Bird, Superintendent of the United Stockport Circuit and Deputy Chair of the Manchester and Stockport District said, “It was a privilege to welcome Gill and Kerry and to be able to introduce them to some of the exciting work which is happening over the two districts as we seek to bring God’s love and justice into people’s lives. I think they were able to see that there is a lot of Hidden Treasure in the Methodist Church in this part of the world!”

The weekend offered a varied insight for the President and Vice-President into the life and ministry of the two districts. It was a joy for all involved to share their ministries with Gill and Kerry.