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.

Enabling and Resourcing the Rural Church

This report, given to the Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee in January 2017, presents the results of a 2-year process of consultation (begun in late 2014) with key players within the diocese and includes wide-ranging recommendations to enhance the Rural Church in the Diocese of Oxford.

The report addresses 9 key areas:

  • Addressing the environment, context and well-being of those who serve in a rural context
  • Raising vocations
  • Ensuring the future of church buildings
  • Exploring different models of governance in Multi Parish Benefices
  • Strengthening finance
  • Supporting rural schools
  • Engaging with the changes new housing brings
  • Training for people in leadership roles
  • Replenishing the rural church for the future

Read the full report here.

Biennial Rural Forum 2017 – Rural Poverty

Saturday 25th November 9.30am – 3pm

Stadhampton Church & Village Hall.

Lessons for rural churches and communities from “For Richer for Poorer”

The day will be chaired by Alison Webster (Social Responsibility Adviser)

Theological Reflection by Bishop Steven

Address from Jane Perry, author for ‘For Richer For Poorer’ report

Local stories

Opportunities to share with, and learn from, others in rural situations

Rural Resource Roadshows

Held in the summer of 2017 these roadshows explored the challenges of rural church and ministry and responded to the Bishop of Oxford’s vision and strategy for the future of the Diocese.

Watch the video above or view the full presentation here.