New resources from the Arthur Rank Centre
The Revd Dr Dagmar Winter, Diocesan Rural Affairs Officer, writes:
The Arthur Rank Centre, forty years old this year is the churches' rural resources centre.
It has an ecumenical foundation shared between the Church of England, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church, with input also from Roman Catholic, Salvation Army, Baptist Union and Congregational Federation, within England. Based at the ARC are the National Rural Officers, Dr Jill Hopkinson (pictured right) for the Church of England and the Revd Graham Jones for the Methodist and United Reformed Churches.
The primary purpose of the Arthur Rank Centre is to provide information, ideas, training and resources to rural churches. Now, in its 40th birthday year, the ARC website has had an overhaul. And it's not just cosmetic: Following the ARC report "Resourcing and Training for the Rural Church: surveying the experience of contemporary practitioners and churchgoers" which was completed and published in November 2011, a considerable number of new resources and training materials have been produced. These are all available free to any rural practitioners who need them, and all are either delivered online, or can be downloaded, from the ARC website:
1. Signposts for Rural Mission and Ministry: an ongoing comprehensive signposting, description and evaluation resource that points rural church practitioners to the most useful materials for their mission or ministry.
2. Library of Rural Good Practice: a growing collection of case studies and examples of rural-related good practice – including resources, training and activities undertaken by rural churches or communities.
3. How Best to Use: detailed guidance, substantial background material and specific case studies that provide help in developing the use of certain crucial resources that deserve to be more widely employed in the rural church.
4. Where to Turn for Help: a template for any locality listing a wide range of organisations or bodies that can assist in all sorts of pastoral or community-related situations.
5. Journey To Faith - a Local Rural Church Training Course in Evangelism: a low key, simple training programme that can be run by any local rural church; designed to envision and equip lay people to engage in appropriate evangelism.
6. Resources for Rural Places of Worship: a comprehensive online information and advice hub covering every aspect of rural church buildings, with links to details elsewhere and numerous case studies.
7. Equipping for Rural Mission: a toolkit that helps provide a firm foundation for longer-term planning for community-based mission by small, rural or dispersed churches.
8. Developing Rural and Small Church Worship: designed to meet the combined needs of lay people across various denominations for preparing and leading worship in small and, most frequently, rural settings.
9. Outlines, notes and resources for regional or sub-regional rural ministry training: based on the ARC’s own central training courses and materials, this includes outlines, delivery guidelines, skill-set descriptions, and content from the ARC’s wider resources.
10. An online peer-to-peer network for rural church practitioners: for direct contact with others in similar circumstances, to share questions, answers, ideas & resources.
So if over the summer you are looking for some new ideas for the autumn, log on to www.arthurrankcentre.org.uk , have a browse and be inspired! It's a real mine of information of considerable breadth - from an online image library to rural population statistics and much inbetween.
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