The Vale of Aylesbury is a large area of mainly flat land mostly in Buckinghamshire, its boundary is marked by Milton Keynes to the north, Leighton Buzzard and the Chiltern Hills to the east and south, Thame to the south and Bicester to the west.
The Vale of Aylesbury Methodist Circuit is more localised around the County Town of Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury extending as far as Thame in Oxfordshire and almost to Milton Keynes, the chapel at Stoke Hammond being the northern outpost.
Within its boundaries are the two Anglican Churches where John Wesley preached his first sermons after his ordination in 1725 some 13 years before he "Felt his heart strangely warmed" at the meeting in Aldersgate Street, London on May 24th. 1738, the occasion which eventually led to the formation of the Methodist Church.
In the early 1800s Methodist societies grew in many of the villages in the area, chapels were built largely supported by folk who made their living from the land, one of the earliest being a chapel in Stoke Mandeville built in 1815, this was in use until the 1950s when it was replaced; many built about the same time, that have been lovingly maintained and adapted, are still in use as places of worship and service to their local communities.
In 2004 the original Aylesbury Methodist Circuit, comprised 10 churches in and around Aylesbury, in the London North West District; with the formation in 2005 of the Methodist London District and rearrangements to the Districts and Circuits serving the Home Counties, it became the Aylesbury Vale Methodist Circuit and moved into the Methodist Northampton District at the same time as being enlarged by the addition of 4 churches from the Leighton Buzzard Circuit, to a total of 14.
Further changes have led to the addition of 4 more churches from the Ex Thame & Watlington Circuit bringing the number of churches to 18.
There is a wide variety of architecture, size of congregations and styles of worship but all with a common purpose of channelling God's unchanging love for all people in our constantly changing world, through:
We seek to provide meaningful services of worship in all our churches both large and small. This can take alternative forms and the involvement and encouragement of local congregations.
Christian commitment and church membership will be a regular challenge in our services.
Worshipping and praying together at Circuit events can help develop our sense of Circuit identity.
Each church is encouraged to explore sharing worship with other local churches.
The Circuit provides help and opportunity for personal and church growth through training events as needed. These can be for Church Stewards, Youth and Children's workers, Local Preachers, Worship Leaders, Musicians, Pastoral Carers and other groups, including ecumenical partners.
Development of personal faith is encouraged through Bible study, fellowship and small group meetings.
Providing appropriate pastoral care for all congregations is important to us.
A constant challenge to us is how best to present the life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ to our local communities.
This aim is helped by ensuring each church has an attractive external image. This needs to be matched by the practical Christian love of our members within the community.
We strive to help people explore and share their Christian faith effectively. This spirituality is expressed in the love and concern we show for each other, the local community and the wider world.
We encourage churches to discover and respond to the needs of their local communities, especially in the creative use of our buildings. New housing offers more opportunities for us.
All our churches seek to provide a welcoming environment. This includes family occasions, Christian festivals and many other community events.
We support and publicise issues of local or global concern, especially climate change, justice, freedom and humanity.
We are a Fair Trade Circuit. We aim to maximise our use of fairly traded goods to help third world producers.
The Vale of Aylesbury Methodist Circuit is situated at the southern end of the Northampton Methodist District
http://www.northamptonmethodistdistrict.org.uk/ which is one of the 36 Districts in the
Methodist Church of Great Britain http://www.methodist.org.uk/