We aim to recruit, train and support new ministry and mission teams in our rural multi-parish benefices, with clergy and laity working together - in order to reshape the rural church's engagement with God's mission.
In five years' time, ministry in these benefices will have been reimagined, with simplified structures, identified lead/focal ministers and the creation of new teams.
In Year One, four pilot benefices will take part, and teams of lay and ordained ministers will be created and trained.
What we are doing
What does ‘re-imagining rural ministry’ mean?
It means thinking afresh about what we do and how we do it. It means making changes, trying to keep what’s good and equip ourselves for a healthy and sustainable future.
The first pilot benefice has introduced a lay and ordained ministry team which is already making a positive impact on the area, and we are now creating a second pilot.
In parallel, our plan for wider implementation across the rural diocese is being established.
Twenty parishes/benefices have been identified and a new method of working that sets out the structure of ministry teams for rural benefices with multiple churches is being developed.
We are also simplifying parochial structures, encouraging closer-working relationships with schools and local communities, and partnering with other organisations to find sustainable futures for our church buildings.
Our hope is to see a service in every parish every week with confident, growing congregations, and that parishes and benefices support and care for each other.
"When we started talking, we realised we could gain by coming together: through the sharing of information, expertise and resources."
"Rather than losing energy, we found we had the possibility of benefiting from more ministers, and therefore different voices."
"We discovered there was plenty of good will and we decided to focus on eight themes, among them a joint magazine, a joint fabric team, and a joint pastoral team."