DCRF 2018 Conference Re-imagining Rural Ministry: Moving towards new structures

Bookmark and Share

Start here - Conference Proceedings

The Conference Proceedings document contains summaries of all the addresses, presentations, exercises and plenaries, with links to further resources. Links to the individual presentations and main resources are also set out below for convenience.

Read the Conference Proceedings here

Summary here ...

Our 2018 Conference Re-imagining Rural Ministry: Moving Towards New Structures covered the following subjects (and more!) ...

  • Change – or should we call it adapting to our modern context?
  • Turning aside to the Bright Field – a focus on the present and what is to come rather than dwelling in what has been.
  • The great variety of marvellous activities and service already being undertaken by our rural churches within their communities.
  • The need to help people see that where they are and what they do in daily life is their Christian ministry, and help to develop a language of faith that leads to deepening relationships and conversations.
  • New structures for multi-parish groups being needed to support the current reality of people, governance requirements and the mission and ministry priority.
  • Learning reflective skills, valuing and celebrating what we have, considering what resources and structures best support the good.
  • Great emphasis, in all models of ministry explored, on the ministry of all believers, of collaborative working, identifying gifts, calling out and supporting through training and mentoring.
  • The need for specialist ministries.
  • Flexibility with clergy budgets to support whole church ministry.
  • Learning together and becoming a Learning Community.
  • Finding ways to facilitate ecumenical dialogue and co-operation at the “middle” level (deaneries and circuits being non-contiguous to consider only two denominations) as well as at the District/Diocese level and on the ground practical working.
  • Exploring the special gifts of each church and what it can bring to the whole.
  • Our churches and communities having already within them all the gifts needed to be a ministering community in their place.
  • Never forgetting that we exist to serve others – those people who live and work and visit our communities.

Links here ...

Addresses, Presentations, Plenary sessions

Rev'd Graham Thompson's Opening Address

Bishop Robert's Opening Address

Link to Audio of Rev'd Graham Thompson's and Bishop Robert's addresses

Appreciative Enquiry Questions

Notes from Appreciative Enquiry Exercise

Link to audio for presentations from Rev'ds Liz Singleton, Susanna Metz, Tim Treanor, Nick Shutt and Rosie Austin, chaired by Rev'd Simon Franklin

Rev'd Susanna Metz's Presentation - The Northern Michigan Model

Rev'd Tim Treanor's Presentation - The Learning Community

Rev'd Nick Shutt's Presentation - The West Dartmoor Experience

Rev'd Rosie Austin's Presentation - Vision Circles

Afternoon Practical Case Study Scenario and Questions

Feedback from Practical Exercise applying above ideas and inputs to a case study group of churches

Notes from the Final plenary session including general comments, themes and next steps

Resources referenced during the conference


Kingdom Learning: Experiential and Reflective Approaches to Christian Formation by David Heywood

Born of Water, Born of Spirit:Supporting the ministry of the Baptised in small congregations by  Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook and Fredrica Harris Thompsett who are Anglican theologians in the USA.

Study Materials

Fruitfulness on the Frontline

The Pastoral Cycle (a tool for theological reflection)

Stories on the Street - A Growing the Rural Church Project with Shirwell Diocese - working with communities to serve with the reources available within themselves


Released for Mission

Setting God's People Free

Shaping Strategies for Mission and Growth in Rural Multi-Church Groups

Moving on in Mission and Ministry Exeter Diocese 2003 (the report behind the initial formation of Mission Communities)

Exeter Diocescan Strategy - Growing in Prayer, Making new disciples, serving the people of Devon with joy - 2016


Growing the Rural Church

The Northern Michigan Model

The New Zealand Model

Information on these and more resources are available by browsing the section of articles in the "Rural Ministry and Mission" section of our website