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Building Baltic Links

by Michael Ford last modified 26 Jun, 2019 11:30 AM

No visit to the Diocese of Salisbury would be complete without an opportunity to see our beautiful countryside and hear about our approach to rural ministry and mission.

Building Baltic Links

The group at Hilfield Friary

So, with Brother Clark as a generous host, Programme Manager Sarah Keen and Rural Field Officer Alice Farnhill (RFO for Sherborne) made a presentation on Rural Hope to Archbishop Janis and his episcopal colleagues from Latvia in the lovely surroundings of Hilfield Friary.

Outside of its three cities, Latvia is a largely agrarian country and hence the church in Latvia is experiencing many of the same problems as we are in terms of aging congregations, spread thinly around tiny rural churches. Archbishop Janis and his team were therefore interested to hear about the various initiatives we are taking forward through Rural Hope.

They proved a highly engaged audience, asking detailed questions and wanting to know which elements were proving the most effective.

As Sarah and Alice said, "It was great to find them listening so attentively. We hope that Rural Hope has provided them with some ideas they can apply back in Latvia."

Following the overview of the Rural Hope programme, our Latvian visitors travelled on to Sixpenny Handley where they had an opportunity to attend the new Father’s Day service developed by our RFO for Dorset, Revd Richard Hancock. In keeping with the Rural Hope ethos, the service and the community celebration afterwards were aimed at encouraging new people to give church a try.

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