Church of England – National Rural Officer
Canon Dr Jill Hopkinson
Canon Dr Jill Hopkinson has been National Rural Officer for the Church of England since 2004. She is a staff member of the Mission and Public Affairs Division of the Archbishop’s Council and is seconded to Germinate: The Arthur Rank Centre as part of the Church’s commitment to working collaboratively and ecumenically.
There are 10,000 rural Anglican churches in England, 66% of the total number of Church of England churches, with 40% of average weekly attendance. Churches still have an important role in rural community life with many opportunities for mission and evangelism and much to contribute to pastoral care, tackling isolation and community involvement, amongst many others.
Jill’s primary responsibilities include:
- Being an advocate for the rural church within the structures of the church itself working with the Rural Affairs Group of General Synod.
- Working within the Renewal and Reform Programme to facilitate strategies for growth in rural multi-church groups
- Implementation of the recommendations made in the report Released for Mission: growing the rural church.
- Support the mission, growth and ministry of rural churches through:
- offering consultancy to dioceses
- providing training and resources for clergy and congregations
- speaking at conferences
- training for ordinands and new Bishops
- working with a network of lcoally based Rural Officers and Agricultural Chaplains.
- Carrying out research relevant to rural multi-church groups. Current research projects include: leadership and lay ministry development; discipleship; focal ministry and discipleship.
- Working with colleagues at Germinate: The Arthur Rank Centre on resources, training and research.
- Providing briefings and advice on – rural communities, food, agriculture, housing planning, and local government.
- Partnership working with external organisations including Government departments, the Rural Coalition, the Plunkett Foundation and other voluntary and community organisations.
Jill’s original training is in ecology and agricultural science. She has worked previously in practical agronomy and conservation, policy research and rural community development. In 2011 she was appointed an Honorary Lay Canon of Worcester Cathedral.
‘The narrative of the rural church can be one of decline and failure. Recent research tells us that this is not the case and it is time to tell a new story of the rural church. Rural churches at their best have many opportunities, not only to serve the needs of their communities, but to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who are yet to hear it.’
Tel: 07685 3073
Church of England website