A body which originated in 1877 as the result of a rift in the Sunderland PM Circuit. The immediate cause was a proposal to divide the circuit, despite opposition by a substantial number of members. It was finally enforced by the Connexional General Committee. A group of local preachers seceded in protest and established a Church which had no paid ministry. About 200 members followed. By 1882 there were 21 churches in five circuits and the Northern Counties Confederation of Christian Lay Churches was formed. In 1895 the Confederation merged with the Independent Methodist Connexion and remains a constituent part of it.