About the Rural Pioneering course
Exploring the reality and challenge of rural ministry. What could a collaboration between parish and pioneering offer for the future of the rural church?
This course will focus on exploring some of the current issues in rural ministry and how pioneering might offer creative methods and examples for engaging in a fresh way with ministry in the countryside. This course is for anyone interested in growing faith and community in the rural context.
Session 1: We begin the day with a brief overview of pioneering, reflecting on the history, theology and practice of pioneering ministry with a specific focus on rural contexts.
Session 2: Naming the Elephant. We will engage with some of the current issues and challenges in rural ministry. We will identify the problems and pitfalls of pioneering and parish and explore what might need to die in order for other things to grow and flourish.
Session 3: Through case studies and shared experience, we will explore some ways in which pioneering and mixed ecology might offer creative solutions for the future. We will reflect on the long term impact of pioneering and on the skills required in leadership to create a permission giving space where new expressions of church are able to flourish.
Session 4: There will be time to pray, reflect plan, dream and ask questions of those who have led rural pioneering projects or enabled them and explore what it might mean to begin and continue pioneering in the countryside.
Pioneering in the rural context is being open to the work of the Holy Spirit and seeking to connect with people outside the more traditional Sunday worship patterns in order to help people come to know and discover God.
Examples of rural pioneering might be as simple as creating a group of people who meet outside to walk together, to chat together, to seek the presence of God in nature: Forest Church, Muddy Church or walking church might fit this model.
Jo Neary is Rural Tutor in Ministry and Mission at Sarum College and has been Pioneer Priest in the Beaminster Area Team since 2012.
Sally Taylor is a Pioneer Priest working in Hamworthy Parish and in Old Town.