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Learning to Grow Churches

by glynch — last modified 18 Oct, 2018 03:16 PM

“Lay and ordained people working together should be our model.”

Debbie McIsaac is the Deanery Lay Chair of Alderbury and part of a two-woman team taking part in a national course on rural church growth supported by the Diocese. She came to a lively faith relatively late in life.

“I grew up in Canada on the fringe of church, and later moved to London to work as a City lawyer and then the Law Society’s monitor of training contracts.

“In the early 2000s, a fellow member of the parent-teacher association at my daughter’s school worshipped at a large Central London church. I finally gave in to her invitations to attend an Alpha supper. I came to faith in an undeniable way at the Holy Spirit weekend.

“It is great when churches get new Christians involved in ministry quickly. Within months I was speaking at their leadership conference.

“In 2004, we bought a house in Pitton and I started attending St Peter’s.

“I’m committed to rural church growth, so I wanted to be part of the Diocese’s Leading Your Church into Growth programme. I signed up with the Revd Jane Dunlop, our Assistant Rural Dean, to take part in the Germinate course.

“We travel to the Midlands together every few months for the residentials. This is a big commitment, but gives us time together to reflect. Other participants come from different denominations, which is very healthy.

“The first residential was my most significant learning experience of the past fifteen years. Rural issues are embedded in the course, not bolted on. Participants work in multi-parish benefices, sharing the same challenges.

“I’d recommend it to anyone helping lead a rural congregation. There are also other types of training available to suit different churches and teams.”

Learn more about the Diocese’s plans to help clergy and people in rural churches lead growth at

(May 2018)

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