A warm welcome to the Revd Jo Neary as Tutor in Rural Ministry with immediate effect. Jo is being seconded part-time to Sarum College’s Centre for Formation in Ministry by the Diocese of Salisbury until early 2023 as part of the Diocesan Rural Hope Project.
Jo brings her lived and current experience of rural ministry, together with her enthusiasm for pioneering rural ministry. The aim is to bring together teaching at Sarum College with the practical Rural Hope work in Salisbury Diocese to ensure the continuation of developing rural expertise within the diocese and the wider church following the ending of central church funding for the project.
‘I am extremely grateful to the Incumbent of the Beaminster Team for enabling Jo to step into this temporary role to help Sarum College and the diocese further integrate practical and ministerial training for the rural church,’ says The Rt Revd Karen Gorham, Bishop of Sherbourne. ‘This will ensure that an emphasis on supporting the rural church will continue beyond the life of the Rural Hope project through our training programmes for lay and ordained ministers, offering practical work experience and encouraging individuals to serve in rural areas. Jo brings significant experience and I am pleased she has this opportunity to share it more widely.’
‘We are delighted to welcome Jo to the Rural Hope team,’ said Sarah Keen, Rural Hope Programme Manager. ‘In combining her new role as Rural Ministry Tutor with her existing work as a rural minister, Jo will help develop a lasting legacy for the Rural Hope programme.’
Jo is team vicar and pioneer priest in the Beaminster Area Team of 12 parishes and 15 churches in rural West Dorset working in a mixed ecology of traditional church and Fresh Expressions. In the past ten years the team has worked hard to remove barriers between church and community, develop work with schools, create outreach opportunities and new worshipping communities. The team has worked with the church and community to explore a common way of life as a means of discipleship, to offer hospitality, and to speak about and address rural poverty.
Jo previously served as a self-supporting minister (SSM) for a couple of years in Charlton Down, a new build village without a church building, working with young families and establishing a Messy Church and pop-up community café. Her curacy was in London diocese, in outer estate ministry in Northolt in a parish of 19,000, with the challenges of urban deprivation.
‘Jo brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the team which will help strengthen our commitment to support students in their formation for rural ministry,’ says Sarum College Principal James Woodward. ‘We look forward to learning with and from her.’