The Methodist Church in Britain is a nationwide church organised into groups of churches known as Circuits. Although these are often in acknowledged geographical areas, we do not in fact have formal Circuit boundaries, as such (unlike our friends in the Church of England whose parishes are formally delineated), and our members may come from quite literally anywhere in the proximity of the church of which they are members.
Having said that, many Circuits are, for the sake of administrative convenience, organised in such a way as to be as far as possible contiguous with local authority boundaries, and the Colchester Circuit is no different. With the exception of Dedham and various villages on the Dedham side of Colchester which are part of our next-door neighbours in Tendring Circuit, all Methodist Churches in the Borough of Colchester come under the wing of the Colchester Circuit of the Methodist Church: currently, we have ten chapels (the name we give to our church buildings) and ten churches (how we refer to our separate Methodist communities), albeit that one of the chapels doesn’t have a church, and currently one of the churches doesn’t have a chapel…
Methodist Circuits are, administratively, further grouped into Districts. Colchester Circuit is a constituent Circuit of the Bedfordshire, Essex, and Hertfordshire District.
Ministers, both Presbyters and Deacons (which are equal though different forms of our ordained ministry), are stationed in Circuits by our national governing body, the annual Methodist Conference. As this is written, the current establishment of the Colchester Circuit is three Presbyteral ministers.