Summary of the CRG meeting 07.01.19
The Churches Rural Group (CRG) is a co-ordinating Group of Churches Together in England, bringing together representatives of Christian denominations and other organisations concerned with rural life and ministry to discuss issues of common interest.
At the meeting in January 2019, we were pleased to welcome Heather Major, who will act as a link with the International Rural Churches Association (IRCA) and rural church networks in Scotland. Topics discussed included:
Brexit and rural churches
Political and practical uncertainties about Brexit are likely to continue for some time. The CRG discussed ways in which village churches could offer help and support for their local communities, and particularly farmers and agricultural workers who may be feeling under pressure. There are many good examples of rural / agricultural chaplaincy around the country, and the CRG has prepared a short paper with background information, suggestions for building relationships now and contact details of organisations that can provide practical help.
Link to document on CTE website here.
The conference held in October 2018 was well received, with high approval ratings for venue, programme overall and the separate elements of the day. People engaged in rural mission and ministry shared ideas and experiences of building fruitful relationships within their communities, with the keynote address by Bishop David Walker reflecting on different ways of expressing faith and a sense of belonging. The address and other footage from the day can be found on http://germinate.net/training/germinateconference/germinate-conference-2018-resources/
Rev Dr Mark Betson has been appointed as National Rural Officer for the Church of England.
Applications for the next Germinate leadership course are now open.
‘Seeds of prayer.’ a helpful monthly resource for individuals, groups and church services, which includes seasonal and current topics for prayer for rural life. https://www.worldprayer.org.uk/call-to-action/hope-for-the-countryside
Book the date:
15 May: Germinate lecture at Kings Park Conference Centre, Northampton. George Dunn, CEO, Tenant Farmers Association, will speak on ‘Salt, light and feet of clay – celebrating the ministry of lay people.’ Details from http://germinate.net
14 July: Rural Mission Sunday. Theme – ‘Living the life.’
23-27 September. Conference at Lee Abbey on ‘Faith and the future of the countryside.’ https://leeabbeydevon.org.uk/programme/faith-and-the-future-of-the-countryside/
A highlight of 2018 for Elizabeth Clark was attendance at the House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy, when she and Jill Hopkinson presented evidence and answered questions on the role of rural churches in supporting health and social care provision.
Elizabeth Clark (Chair & ARC / Methodist / URC), Jim Currin (CTE), Yann Dubreuil (New Wine), David Evans (SA), Andrew Foster (RC), Roger Greene (treasurer), Heather Major (Scottish rural church networks / IRCA), Barry Osborne (Smaller Free Churches / REN), Ann Wright (C of E / IRCA Europe)