Sustaining Faith in the Future: a Lent Course
A Lent Course in 6 sessions, focusing on some of the most pressing needs of rural congregations. It provides opportunity for small groups to reflect, pray, study Scripture, look at simple case studies, discuss … and consider practical outcomes for the congregation as a whole.
Introduction & Explanation
It is over 20 years since the Archbishops’ Commission On Rural Areas (ACORA) brought out the report Faith in the Countryside. In the last 2 decades there has been much that has happened in the rural church and in rural communities for which we should be grateful.
However, all in the garden is not rosy. There continue to be challenges for rural churches. This Lent course is designed to help churches corporately to identify and rise to their own particular challenges. It is being put together with the needs of small rural churches to the fore. As such it can also serve as part of the ongoing faith development and discipleship of such churches.
If it is simply run as a course that a group of keener church members come to, talk about and then go away from, then this course will have failed. It is more likely to produce long term benefits for rural churches if whatever group is engaged in these discussions is also the group that makes decisions for the church. For that reason it would be good if this course could be seen as an extension of the PCC’s activities.
The sessions include a discussion as to what the local church should do. So that this course doesn’t end up as just yet more hot air from the church it would be good if the answers to those questions could be recorded and PCC’s could consider how those decisions can be implemented.
1. Buildings – blessings or burden?
2. Administration – round pegs & square holes
3. Worship – make a joyful noise to the Lord
4. Working Together – sing choirs of angels
5. Vocation – a pilgrim people
6. Evangelism – the dreaded “E” word
Download the course here.
A word to Non-Anglican denominations
Just as the original report was a Church of England report addressed to Church of England churches but something which was a source of insight and blessing to other denominations so too I hope this course, whilst addressing particularly Church of England concerns, will be something that other denominations will find accessible. Please accept my apologies for using Church of England terminology throughout, talking about PCCs etc, but please feel free to translate it into your own language!
Revd Robert Barlow
Priest-in-Charge, Teme Valley South, Worcester Diocese
formerly Chaplain for Agriculture & Rural Life, Worcester Diocese