Rural Pathway

Sarum College runs a unique Rural Ministry Training pathway.

The rural pathway is the only course in the Church of England which specifically trains and equips people for the challenges of ordained ministry in the countryside. Licenced lay ministers training in Sarum College are also be able to take part in the rural placements element of this course.

This innovative programme is being further developed by Canon Dr Jill Hopkinson, who joined as Rural Ministry Tutor in Autumn 2018. She previously had been National Rural Officer for the Church of England since 2004.

The Sarum Centre for Formation in Ministry Rural Ministry Ordination Pathway arose from the Released for Mission report in 2015 which articulated the need for clergy in rural multi-church groups ‘to develop an enabling and equipping style of leadership that seeks to grow and facilitate the ministry of lay people’.

To meet Ministry Division requirements, this pathway runs alongside our other ordination pathways so that Rural Pathway candidates are an identifiable group within the larger student community. It shares some core modules with our standard ordination pathways together with two new modules that are wholly rural-specific, and the majority of existing modules rewritten to contain rural-specific material.

Students follow the DipHE pathway, though the rural modules are also available to students on the CertHE pathway. They take the same modules as the standard pathway, though in most cases rural specific versions. In the DipHE, where the standard pathway takes the Leadership module, the rural pathway takes a Rural Context and Rural Leadership combination of modules.

Given the huge variety of different rural contexts, students will be encouraged to think deeply about their own situation and those different to their own, while attending to the narratives that surround living and working in rural contexts: developing discipleship and mission; nurturing vocations; intergenerational ministry in small congregations; the use of buildings for mission; collaborative and imaginative ministry in multi-benefice parishes including pioneer ministry; and self care and resilience in ministry.

On completion of the course, students will have been through all the appropriate academic and formational training to be able to minister in a variety of situations, not just rural.

This pathway doesn’t preclude students from deciding that rural ministry is not for them, and exploring other contexts. However, those on this pathway will have engaged deeply and prayerfully with the particular challenges and opportunities of rural mission and ministry, and be better equipped for the changing rural environment they will encounter.

For more information, please contact the Sarum Centre for Formation in Ministry via our academic administrator, Annette Young. Email ayoung@sarum.ac.uk or telephone 01722 424820.