Friday, 1 November 2013

The Making of a Methodist Circuit Plan

As everybody knows, the first rule of the Methodist Circuit Plan Club is that you never mention Methodist Circuit Plan Club. A secret society dedicated to the most difficult mathematical and logical conundrum outside of solving the Three Body problem in Physics. Like doing 8-dimensional Sudoku while solving simultaneous equations and psychologically profiling the congregations against the preachers, only three people in the world can actually do a Methodist Circuit Plan without breaking down in tears. Unfortunately none of them are Methodists.

But after infiltrating Methodist Circuit Plan Club by pretending to be a member of a little-known circuit in the East of England, we've managed to get what we believe is a page of the training manual. It doesn't make pretty reading...


  1. First Wikileaks, then Snowden, now this - is no secret safe!!

  2. Looks very like the secret society for assembly rota planning to which I subscribe!

  3. Our Superintendents make a lot of fuss about this but I cannot believe it's really that difficult

    1. We wrote a simple computer program on a ZX81 which produced the Warrington circuit plan with no hassle for several years until we moved to the Frodsham circuit (which then merged with the Tarporley circuit [is there anyone here from Tarporley?!] to form the Delamere Forest circuit and now with the Chester circuit to become the "Chester and Delamere Forest" circuit).

      We took the ZX81 with us (but didn't let on to the new Super that we had the handy plan-making program) so presumably the newly-formed Sankey Valley circuit (which incorporates the old Warrington circuit - are you with me so far?) will have reverted to the old system, which I gather was very much as described above.

      I think that the reason Supers find plan-making so difficult is that they don't work out that you need to start with the most difficult Sunday and work towards the one where no ministers are on holiday and every local preacher is available. You would have thought that this sort of Methodi(st)cal approach would have been instilled into them during training!

    2. You can joke, Judy. But don't forget that there's a Dutch parking meter disease epidemic in London.

    3. Try doing it, Methodistical!!
      And by the way there is a computer programme - I find it a helpful tool though don't utilise all the attributes. It's called Planmaker and has been around for a while. Folks in the Darwen Circuit produced it and the last I heard they wanted someone to take over the maintenance of the computer programming... thankfully mine is still working fine!
      SueK, Not a Super!!

    4. Just try it yourself Methodistical!
      I have been helping Supers with them for years and now do our fairly large Circuit's more or less on the computer using Planmaker - a great programme from the Darwen Circuit [available online]. There is no one right way - every system is problematical in some way and only for those who enjoy [sorry, are gifted with an inclination to ] serious praying and puzzles!!

    5. I am not a Presbyter or a Superintendent Minister, but I do the Plan for the our large Circuit. I used to think along the lines of... "it can't be that difficult to do the Plan" But once a quarter, I now find myself tearing out what is left of my hair and waking in the middle of the night remembering that I can't send Mrs So-and-so to X church - you really want to try it Methodistical and for more than one quarter!

  4. I'm the Circuit Plan Administrator for the South Petherton & Crewkerne Circuit (ten churches). We don't find plan-making too challenging. I assemble all the information, the Super. actually makes the plan in collaboration with the second minister and myself, and I sort out the queries afteerwards. What I will be lacking for the quarter after next is the special Circuit Plan Paper that has been discontinued by MOH. Ken


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