Setting

Audlem is a small and attractive south Cheshire village, covering some two and a half thousand acres. The A525 and the A529 pass through the village, as does the Shropshire Union canal. The River Weaver passes close by. The main roads become Cheshire Street and Shropshire Street in the middle of the village and they meet in The Square which, like much of the heart of Audlem, is overlooked by the Parish Church of St James the Great.

The current population is about two thousand. It occupies a variety of pleasant accommodation, ranging from older distinctive properties to modern estate housing. Audlem is an active community with numerous groups and societies. It has an excellent 'special events team' (ASET) that arranges a variety of large scale occasions throughout the year.

The village is well provided for by its own medical practice, primary school, Post Office, fire station and policeman. It can also boast three churches, three public houses, two community halls and a selection of shops and eating places.

Audlem has an active Parish Council and Amenities Society. Through their efforts the village has often won awards for 'best kept village' and 'Britain in bloom'. In 2005 Audlem won 'Calor Northern Village of the Year', and was also a Defra 'building community life' national winner. For more information about Audlem, visit AudlemOnline.

Ecumenism

The different churches in Audlem have worked closely together over many years. Representatives meet regularly for planning and discussion, and arrange united services (Memorial Service, Service of Remembrance, Carol Service, Women's World Day of Prayer), a united Lent and Holy Week programme and occasional joint publications.

In January each year, the churches mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In 2013 there was another 'pulpit swap'; in 2011 there was a 'pew swap'.

Circuit

Audlem is one of thirty-seven churches that make up the Cheshire South Circuit. The thirty-seven churches are grouped in thirteen 'Mission Areas', with Audlem being in the Audlem Mission Area along with the Methodist Church in Hankelow.

Four previous circuits (Crewe, Nantwich, Sandbach & Alsager, Whitchurch) came together in September 2010 to form the Cheshire South Circuit. It is currently the largest circuit in the Chester & Stoke-on-Trent District, with more than sixteen hundred members. The Circuit employs a large team of both presbyters and lay people and is led by Superintendent, Malcolm Lorimer.

District

The Cheshire South Circuit is one of eleven circuits that make up the Chester & Stoke-on-Trent District. The District encompasses the villages and market towns of Cheshire, North Shropshire and the Staffordshire Moorlands, the cathedral city of Chester, the new town of Runcorn, and the Potteries conurbation. Within the Cheshire South Circuit (at the Broad Lane chapel) is the District Centre.

District contacts:

Visit the District's website at www.chestokemethodists.com.

Connection

With its roots in the Church of England (www.cofe.anglican.org), the Methodist Church is a Protestant church. As it is separate from the established Church of England, it is a 'free' church. In fact it is the largest free church in the country with over five thousand churches and two hundred and twenty thousand members. These five thousand churches are grouped into circuits (here the Cheshire South Circuit) and the circuits are grouped into districts (here the Chester & Stoke-on-Trent District). There are thirty-one districts in the British Methodist Church. Its headquarters are in London (Methodist Church House, 25 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5JR, telephone 020 7486 5502. (www.methodist.org.uk).

The decision-making body of the British Methodist Church is the annual Methodist Conference. Each year this elects a President (currently the Rev. Ruth Gee) and a Vice-President (currently Dr. Daleep Mukarji). The administrative head is a General Secretary

Methodists in this country are part of a world-wide Methodist Church through the World Methodist Council. (www.worldmethodistcouncil.org) There are eighty million Methodists across the world, in over a hundred different countries.

In Britain many Methodists have been prominent in the ecumenical movement. In numerous local situations Methodists are involved in Churches Together activities (www.churches-together.org.uk.net). In different parts of the country there are united congregations, including many where the Methodist Church has joined with the United Reformed Church. (www.urc.org.uk) In November 2003 the British Methodist Church signed a covenant with the Church of England to further co-operation and commitment between the two churches.

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