Canon Dr Jill Hopkinson, who has been National Rural Officer for the Church of England since 2004, has been announced today as the new Rural Ministry Tutor at Sarum College.
Jill’s current post for Mission and Public Affairs in the Archbishops’ Council has been based at Germinate: the Arthur Rank Centre.
This new post will see Jill take the lead in further developing the Rural Training Pathway at Sarum College. The Rural Training Pathway, which has been running since 2016, 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.
The pathway is open to trainees from across the country, and is supported by the Diocese of Salisbury as part of its Rural Hope programme, which is enabled by strategic funding from the national church.
Canon Dr Jill Hopkinson said:
“It has been a privilege to serve the rural Church for the last fourteen years and work with inspiring and expert colleagues at the Archbishops’ Council. I am also sad to be leaving Germinate: the Arthur Rank Centre, particularly at such an exciting time, but I could not pass up an opportunity to contribute to training people across the country for ministry in rural contexts. I feel strongly that this is a step God is calling me to take.
“My first priority is to do a high quality job for those who are in training. Ministry in rural contexts is highly specialised, and there is huge potential for the Gospel of Christ to be shared with those who are yet to hear it in rural communities. A major objective for me is to train people to do this well and so that they can enable rural congregations to do this well also.
“As well as this post, I’ll also be spending time on research into rural mission and growth, sociology of religion in rural communities and other areas of interest. I want to put Sarum College and training at the heart of cutting edge research, and I am looking for partners to do this work with.”
The Revd Prof Canon James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College, said:
“As Principal of Sarum College I am delighted to welcome the announcement of Canon Dr Jill Hopkinson to the newly created post of Rural Ministry Tutor in the Sarum Centre for Formation in Ministry.”
“Jill brings into this work an extraordinary wealth of experience and skill. She has been a pioneer in the theology and practice of the missional presence of the church in rural communities across this country and beyond. She is a strategic thinker, an inspiring teacher, and insightful researcher, as her published work clearly demonstrates”
“We look forward to working with Jill as together we develop our national rural pathway here at Sarum College. As a significant lay leader and theologian, Jill’s creativity and commitment will greatly enrich our work in equipping new generations of lay and ordained ministers for mission and ministry in the rural context.”
The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, said:
“Jill’s appointment is great news for the Diocese of Salisbury as well as for Sarum College. It is also good news for a Church of England in which 66% of parishes are rural. She brings high quality experience and understanding to a diocese committed to Renewing Rural Hope.”