Rural Ministry: Supporting Rural Communities
Our rural communities are an important part of "Cheshire Life" which our Diocese seeks to serve.
- The ‘State of Agriculture in England Today’ (Waverton) - 23 May 2013
Making and Growing Disciples in the countryside
Northampton – 4 to 5 June 2013
New Guide to Training for Lay People in Rural Churches
It is through the actions and initiatives of rural congregations that mission and ministry takes place in the countryside. Providing training to enable lay people to fulfil these roles and tasks is a vital part of the work of the modern rural church. This new resource from the Arthur Rank Centre provides examples of how lay people in rural churches have been trained and enabled for mission and ministry in their own local area. It also contains guidance on the best approaches to providing training for rural congregations.
Nurture & Discipleship in Rural Churches
A free tool to enhance the mission and ministry of rural churches. Aimed at developing discipleship in rural church congregations and is for both lay people and ordained ministers. It contains: practical resources that can be used in church, guidance on how to adapt existing discipleship resources for use in rural churches and case studies.
Living Buildings, Living Churches’
Summary notes of the presentation given by Susan Rowe (Consultant in using churches for community use) on 22 Nov 2012.
Church Growth Research Programme
A new website built to support the work of the Church Growth Research Programme. This national 18-month academic research project will explore the factors related to spiritual and in particular numerical church growth of the Church of England.
‘Future Directions in Rural Development’
The report sets out this changed rural landscape and review the varying success of different approaches to rural development.
Faith Sector Building Assets West Cheshire
DVD of about 5 different churches from across West Cheshire that use their buildings for community use or have had refurbishments
ARC briefing HS2 phase 2 route to Leeds and Manchester
Free briefing paper for village communities affected by the announcement of the High Speed Rail 2 route to Manchester and Leeds.
Android App showing which CofE churches are open (or locked) for tourists and visitors
A new Android app (‘Keyholder’) has been developed which displays opening information for visitors and tourists to Church of England churches. There are two versions available on the Play Store. Free demo. Full application.
Rural Support in the Diocese:
Economic factors are placing great strain on many of our farmers whilst the make-up of village communities, the price of housing, and the changing uses of the countryside all contribute to social stresses. As well as finding a voice on community issues, we also need to support the mission of the Clergy and Parishes. At present we do not have a designated Rural Officer but the Diocese has been working to ensure that the needs of rural clergy and parishes are met, and that we contribute to meeting the challenges posed as social issues in the countryside. In order to achieve this, the Committee for Social Responsibility has accepted the task of overseeing the Rural Ministry of the diocese, alongside its parallel concern for Urban Ministry and the Parish Development Team has accepted responsibility to support the mission of clergy and parishes. Officers will work collaboratively across CSR and the PDT to ensure that clergy and parishes are supported.
Diocesan Rural Steering Group - meets to organise events, training, support groups and to ensure that a plan for rural emergencies is in place and that relevant information is communicated. The group consists of clergy and lay people from rural parishes across the diocese, the Parish Mission Development Officers and the Director of Social Responsibility, and work in conjunction with the Agricultural Chaplain (Keith Ineson). There is also support at a more local level.
Rural Ministry Support Group - in each Archdeaconry, for serving clergy and lay ministers, to provide an opportunity to meet, support, pray and share ideas together.
Rural Ministry Meetings - two events held during the year for anyone interested in Rural Ministry. The meetings will look at parish support and growth and rural issues, and will include speakers who will address wider issues. Details of future meetings will appear on the Rural webpage, diocesan events page and E-bulletin.
Community Led Planning Toolkit
Action with Communities in Rural Engalnd's (ACRE) new toolkit for Community Led Planning provides step by step guidance for communities who want to produce a holistic plan that will improve the wellbeing and sustainability of their neighbourhood.
Journey To Faith: a Local Rural Church Training Course in Evangelism
This is a low key, simple training programme that can be run by any local church – or group of churches - over 2 half-days. It requires no outside or expert help; all the material and resources that are required are freely available to download. Besides the material required to run the two course sessions, there are other resources, optional supplementary material, links to good material and ideas elsewhere, and a Resource Manual that every participant can take away with them to use in their own church to improve their ministry of witness & evangelism.
Resources for Rural Places of Worship
This is a comprehensive online information and advice hub covering every aspect of rural church buildings, with links to details elsewhere and numerous case studies. It includes: theological foundations; listed places of worship and statements of need & significance; ecclesiastical exemption & non-exemption; looking after the building; funding; miscellaneous other building issues (e.g. bats, metal theft, security); getting the most out of the building; opening up the building for visitors; energy efficiency & sustainability; church art works.
Equipping for Rural Mission Toolkit - It will help you to: gain an accurate picture of the nature, state and population of the local communities served by the church(es) and what resources or facilities already exist to help meet those needs; gain an accurate picture of the resources, abilities, gifts and people present within the local churches; investigate what possibilities exist for partnership with other local bodies, agencies or organisations; assess in what areas and in what ways the local churches can and should engage with and serve their communities.
Developing Rural and Small Church Worship
Training & resources for small & rural churches. It includes: A set of answers and training materials in response to the sort of FAQs that often arise in these circumstances; a directory of web-based resources and links; access to our fully-searchable bank of worship resources, and further examples of good practice that have been developed; more detailed case studies of how contextual worship has been developed and employed in rural circumstances.
Help the rural and farming communities to be ready for rural emergencies!
We have no way of knowing what the next agricultural crisis will be or when it will happen. But what we do know, from past experience, is that the rural Church will be invaluable in providing support.
The diocese of Chester is putting a rural emergency plan into place to provide vital pastoral and practical support to the farming community during the devastating crisis.
Are you interested in the countryside and the people who work in it? Would you like to be involved in supporting the farming and agricultural community in the event of a crisis?
If you are lay or ordained and live or work in a rural parish or have rural experience please consider becoming a Cheshire Farm Crisis Network helper. As a helper, the network will contact you (only in an emergency situation) and ask you to visit or make telephone contact with someone affected by the crisis. You may also wish to become involved as a church.
For more information please contact Keith Ineson on 01270 522576, Mobile: 07967 559594 or e-mail email@example.com.
Seasons and Festivals of the Agricultural Year (Service Ideas):
Harvest - A great opportunity for the church to connect in imaginative ways with their communities and to bring God to the people at the same time as we enable the community to bring praises and thanks to Him.
Rogationtide - An ancient Christian tradition in which God’s blessing is asked on the crops and on the land that takes place from the Sunday to Wednesday before Ascension Day. It often includes ‘Beating the Bounds’ - when parishioners walk around the boundary of the parish as a reminder to those in the parish and beyond as to where the boundaries lay.
Lammastide - An ancient Christian festival which many village and farming communities have re-discovered in recent years. It is the festival at which the thanks is given to God for the start of the harvest and grain and bread are offered as a symbol of this thanksgiving. Lammas is an Anglo-Saxon word for ‘loaf’ which is followed by ‘mass’ to indicate a Christian festival at which the Eucharist or Communion is celebrated.
Ideas in Action
If you would like to be added to the Rural mailing list please email Victoria Day