The rural church is at the heart of the communities it serves. In the Oxford Diocese, more than 50 per cent of parishes are classified as rural. Those parishes face unique challenges.
A new programme, Enhancing the Rural Church in the Diocese of Oxford, highlights the needs of rural churches. Rural churches have less infrastructure and very different needs to those in large towns or cities. The programme comes after a two-year consultation. The consultation report approved by the Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee makes wide ranging recommendations to enhance and resource the rural church.. This is not a top down report, and the implementation of the recommendations will include the involvement of parishes, benefices and deaneries as well as diocesan departments working together to develop solutions.
The programme addresses nine areas which impinge on the life of the rural church, from addressing the environment, context and wellbeing of those who serve in rural areas, to replenishing the rural church for the future.