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Happy Christmas from Rural Hope!

by Michael Ford last modified 10 Dec, 2019 05:30 PM

Rural clergy are receiving a special Christmas gift from the Rural Hope Team.

A free copy of the 2020 Rural Hope Calendar containing the winning pictures from our Calendar Competition is being sent out to our rural incumbents.

But this gift is one meant for sharing, as Rural Hope Programme Manager Sarah Keen explains:

"We wanted to say a huge thank you to our rural incumbents, who serve groups of churches and often manage large teams of ordained clergy and laity. Without their hard work and enagagement with Rural Hope, the programme would never have been so successful.

"But we want to make sure that everyone in the parishes is aware of Rural Hope and how it can help them, so we are asking our rural incumbents to display them prominently in their local church or community space and then they can be used as a real mission tool, inviting their communities to find out more about the programme and how they might get involved in the local rural church in their area."

Funds are limited so copies of the calendar, that will also be sent to the competition winners, won't be widely circulated.

"We hope these will be a talking point and a unique gift that goes on giving," Sarah said.

Rural Hope is designed to identify, enthuse and equip our rural leaders of the future and resources those who now minister in rural contexts throughout our Diocese.

The programme is supported by the National Church and it enables us to be a Beacon Diocese for the rural church across the country.

40% of Church of England worshippers are in rural congregations. In this diocese, 90% of parishes and 50% of the population is rural. Rural church has a unique dynamic, deeply rooted in the wider community.

Large rural multi-parish benefices need particular skills, and small congregations may not have sufficient numbers of people to do all the necessary jobs. Yet clergy in the countryside have always had an incarnational ministry and continue to be an important focus in their communities.

We want to continue investing in identifying, nurturing and training rural church leaders who, working with local congregations, will take hold of mission opportunities and move into church growth – in numbers, depth and impact.

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