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A tale of two Residentials

by Michael Ford last modified 27 Feb, 2019 01:41 PM

There was a contrast of climate but not content at the two Diocesan Rural Residentials.

The Ammerdown Conference and Retreat Centre, in Radstock was the venue for both Residentials – and both groups found it hard to leave, for very different reasons.

It was a Ramsbury snow-in and a Sherborne sun-out: a case of literally digging out cars on the one hand, and figuratively digging out the sun-loungers on the other!

With each group meeting over two days, the Residentials provided a fantastic opportunity for those who are ministering within a Rural context to come together to share ideas and experiences in relation to Rural Ministry and Mission.

Combining discussion, workshops and talks from key-note speakers, the days were a fantastic affirmation and endorsement of the call to Rural Ministry and provided an opportunity to pray, listen, learn, discuss and dream.

Sessions included ‘A Vision Expressed: Becoming Faith Communities’, ‘The Parish: Past and Future’, ‘The Living Cycle of the Sun: Celebrating the Agricultural Year’, ‘A Dog Called Mabel: Animating the Church to Animate the Community’, and ‘Prayer Spaces in Schools’.

In response to one of the sessions, an attendee explained:
“It was very stimulating and demonstrated a way of engaging with a particular group of people that might never come to a regular Sunday service.

“They provided a wonderful mix of creativity, honesty and a desire to see the Kingdom of God extended in rural communities.”

Another attendee said:
“These residentials have been so valuable. It has been such an affirmation of my call to Rural Ministry.”

Co-organiser Steve Inglis said:
“Opportunities to come together like this highlight the true value and worth of rural ministry and hopefully go some way towards debunking the myth that rural ministry and mission somehow plays second-fiddle to any other context of ministry and mission.

“On the contrary, it is a fantastic opportunity to partner with God and reach out to people and communities with the hope and message of King Jesus - as we want to do, everywhere.”

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