Rural churches

A churchyard backs onto a thatched cottage with Union Jack bunting blowing in the wind
Enabling and empowering the rural church

The Diocese of Oxford has a long history of developing creative thinking regarding the rural church and mission and ministry in rural contexts. To quote the title of E F Schumacher’s book, 'small is beautiful', and a low-key, patient and prayerful approach often reminds us that God works on the small scale for much of the time.

Book cover of How Village Churches thrive. Click to visit Church House Publishing webpage


How Village Churches Thrive

A practical guide

Last year we hosted a series of events based on How Village Churches Thrive, an inspiring, practical guide from Bishop Robert Atwell and others. 

Find out more on the dedicated webpage - you can rewatch the inaugural rural lecture, read some prompts for your own book group and get inspired to thrive.


In the news

Hear about the issues on the hearts of our rural churches.


Mysterious as a seed

In the parable of the seed growing in Mark 4.26-29, after the seed is sown into the ground, the seed sprouts and grows with no further action by the sower. It is the earth that produces the fruit.

It is God alone who controls the mysterious process of growth and His Kingdom, and all that it stands for, emerges due to His power, which can be as quiet and invisible as a seed coming to fruition. Similarly, much of the mission and ministry in rural multi-parish benefices is quiet, gentle, and largely unseen, but ultimately flourishing, and bearing fruit for the Kingdom.

All the advisers in the Mission and Ministry Department are committed to serving the rural church. If you would like to develop your thinking and gain from others' experience and expertise, the best people to make initial contact with are the Parish Development Advisers:

Every year the Continuing Ministerial Development team aims to offer events specific to those who serve in the countryside. Do keep an eye on the CMD pages.


Useful resources

Three short documents to support ministry and mission in your rural setting:

Care for Creation:
Investigate our Environment Action webpages for resources relevant to rural churches on caring for our environment, reducing the energy used by our buildings and connecting with others doing the same.

The national body which seeks to serve the rural church is the Arthur Rank Centre, which has many useful resources.

In addition, the Rural Mission page on the Church of England website provides information about how the national church seeks to support the rural church.

Page last updated: Friday 14th June 2024 3:59 PM
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