Devon Churches Rural Forum

Meeting 1st February 2022

Our next meeting will be 1st February 2022 by Zoom

Please download the agenda here

Please find the Farming Update for Item 7 here

Please note that we have changed this from a hybrid in person/zoom meeting to a fully zoom meeting and the zoom code will be sent out nearer the time. If you would like to attend, but are not already on the DCRF group email list, please email
As well as the resurgence of Covid, we want to use some of the meeting time for break out discussion groups, which would be difficult to do in a hybrid format. We plan to be back together for the hybrid model in July.

If anyone has a particular gift in helping to run zoom meetings could they let me know as it would be helpful for AD Verena to be able to chair the meeting and have someone else manage the admin and break out groups.

At our meeting in November we took the opportunity to review the work of the DCRF over the past five years and to consider both our work and organisation going forward. There was significant enthusiasm to work more in “Task Groups” with “Champions” for the different identified work streams. At the meeting itself several people offered their services in these ways, and we would now like to take this further and formalise some new groups and aims at our meeting on 1st February. The main advantages of working in this way will be that work can be progressed more easily in between meetings, and by bringing the “Champions” together to form a steering group for the DCRF we can more easily plan and shape our annual programme of themes and events.

As a summary, the work streams  agreed at our meeting on 2nd November are shown below. Please could you look at these before the meeting and email me (Penny) to let me know which areas you would be most interested in working in – potentially in a task group or as the “Champion” for that work stream. If you are unable to join in at the meeting, then please email me your interest areas anyway, and I can put you in touch once the shape of the groups emerges from the meeting. In our meeting, we will then gather people with similar interests into breakout groups which can then begin to flesh out some aims for each area of work, and agree a champion for the work stream who is able to represent that area of work within our new steering group.

If you are unable for whatever reason to take on a role within a task group – you will always be welcome to participate in the Forum meetings themselves, so please don’t feel under pressure. The work of the DCRF has always been shaped by the expertise and interests of its members – so we are not necessarily trying to fill holes and make groups for each work stream. Paraphrasing the adage from Mission Shaped Church “Discern what God is doing and join in” – we would like to discern where there is interest, enthusiasm and energy, and follow these areas of work as our priorities – we can never do everything!

  • Pastoral Care for farmers and livestock market chaplaincy
    • Led by both Farming Community Network and Andy Jerrard in his Agricultural Support Worker and Market Chaplaincy Co-ordinator role with the Methodist Church
  • Keeping abreast of farming issues in Devon and raising awareness and educating our churches on these
    • This would include compiling our farming news briefings and working on our farm visit programme – links to training in this respect
  • Identifying needs and developing training opportunities for rural ministry
    • To convey the breadth and depth of rural ministry with enthusiasm
    • Could be linked with theological reflection/learning on rural social issues thus supporting churches support their communities
  • Rural Worship and Spirituality
    • To include rural specific themed Quiet Days and rural worship resources, with emphasis on missional worship events
    • Could also include some theological reflection sessions on rural social issues – linking with training above
  • Exploring and reflecting theologically on models of rural ministry
    • Previously our work in developing “Lightening the Load” would have come into this category – Bright Field Community also active – as are Diocese and PEMD
  • Monitoring and responding to rural social and economic issues and concern
    • This would include exploring how to influence local and national policy in areas where the church has particular knowledge and experience
    • Particular emphasis on rural housing and rural youth noted – but many issues inter-linked and important
      • Summarised by Anglican Marks of Mission 4 and 5 … To respond to human need by loving service and To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to
        challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
  • Communication and Resources
    • Liaising with Newsletter editors from Exeter Diocese and Plymouth and Exeter Methodist District and other methods for communicating briefings and events
    • Creating a newsletter two or three times per year
    • Keeping our website up to date
  • Environmental issues
    • Desire expressed at last meeting to do more to support rural churches who may struggle with this agenda – would need to work with well-established work programme in Diocese of Exeter and other ecumenical groups






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