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Rural mission

Roy Crowne met with rural ministry leaders at the start of the year to dream about HOPE spreading out through Britain’s 13,000 rural churches into villages and communities country-wide. Roy met with the denominations’ rural ministry teams and the Arthur Rank Foundation, which focuses on providing resources and encouragement for rural churches. It was time for casting fresh vision as HOPE builds to 2014.
cream tea, St Marys Devon in 2008
As part of HOPE 08, 89 events in villages across Devon and Cornwall hosted a ‘Big Cream Tea’ involving over 150 churches. The biggest took place on Exeter’s cathedral green, with volunteers preparing over 700 cream teas.

Roy Crowne said: “What more perfect way to do mission in their particular regional and rural context than cream teas, bringing people together. This is an example of how the vision of HOPE can and should be worked out in relevant ways in the local context.”

There are about 9,700 Anglican, 3,000 Methodist/ URC and 400 Baptist rural churches nationwide. 

Beer & Carols in a country pub - Dean Ayres flickrRoy continued: “We want to make sure that churches in villages feel they are not overlooked and all are part of HOPE; HOPE isn’t only for suburban or urban areas.”

Jerry Marshall CEO of the Arthur Rank Centre said: “We are so excited about the potential and opportunities that village churches have for mission. We share ideas, good practice and resources to inspire ways of doing mission in the countryside, ranging from fresh expressions to community shops, or Post Office schemes to pub discussions and beer mat mentoring (elder entrepreneurs providing small business support to younger folk at the pub).

“At this time we are seeing a reinvention of the rural church. There are big challenges but at the same time exciting opportunities to move from maintenance to mission.”

Check out the Country Way magazine and resources provided by Arthur Rank Centre


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