The Church of England has over 10,000 churches in rural areas and 40% of those who attend church go to rural churches. In our diocese, 90% of parishes and 50% of the population is rural.
Rural church has a unique dynamic, deeply rooted in the wider community and we are committed to supporting our rural churches in their mission and help them to flourish.
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.
The project aims to identify, encourage and equip the next generation of rural leaders, as well as those who currently minister in rural contexts.
How we can help:
- Rural Ministry Experience Scheme for young adults (18-30) exploring God's call to ordained ministry in a rural setting.
- A Rural Training Pathway to train and equip people for the specific challenges of ordained ministry in the countryside. The Pathway has been designed in conjunction with Sarum College. Licenced lay ministers training in Sarum College will also be able to take part in the Rural placements element of this course.
- Rural Placements to give serving clergy experience of rural ministry.
- A four-year development programme to support ordained and lay rural church leaders, in groups and as individuals as they lead their churches into growth, through local topic-based training and mentoring, seed-corn funding for mission projects and support from new local mission posts.
Our Prayer God our Father, renew our hope. By the Holy Spirit’s power strengthen us to pray readily, serve joyfully and grow abundantly, rejoicing in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.