07. Leek Circuit

There is some uncertainty as to the date when Primitive Methodism entered Leek. It was undoubtedly the outcome of a great religious Movement which had its origin in the Tunstall Circuit. From that centre “the enthusiasm of evangelism, like a tidal wave, rose high and went far. The Missionaries of the Connexion found their way into remote villages and startled the villagers.” By the year 1820 it had reached that wild country stretching from Leek and Warslow, “taking in the rugged elevations of Morridge and Weaver, with the semi-mountainous character of much of its surface and its scattered population.” In 1838 Leek was “partially made” out of that scattered branch of the Tunstall Circuit which had its centre in Ramsor.

The present church in Fountain Street is the third erected on that site. During the years many worthy names figure in the history of this church and many stories are recorded of sacrifice and devotion on the part of those who built up the town church and traversed “the rugged elevations” to minister to the spiritual needs ot the scattered population. The fragrant memories of the Mottrams, Redferns, Traffords, Mears, Braddocks, with a host of other worthy souls, and the zeal of those still actively engaged in the service of the church, will not be lost when Primitive Methodism is merged into a larger Methodism, but will remain an inspiration in the years to come.

Whatever form the Union may take in Leek, we shall carry into it a live Church of which we have every reason to be proud, preserving “the enthusiasm of evangelism” in which it had its origin. We may not adhere scrupulously to the methods of our fathers, who, in the protracted meetings of March, 1839, met at 5 each morning for an hour’s prayer meeting; then adjourned until dinner-hour, when they met again in the Market Place for prayer and exhortation; then again at 8 in the evening for a service in the chapel. Still, we thank God for the devotion manifest in School and Church.

At present the Circuit comprises nine societies. Five of these are upon the hills and have but a small membership. The Circuit membership is 220, 21 Local Preachers, 5 Sunday Schools, 27 Teachers, and 213 Scholars,

We thank God for the past, with its heroic, consecrated enthusiasm and feel that a great work still lies before us in a larger field, with the greater opportunities which it will bring to us.


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