New Church of England Book Challenges Rural Churches

Churches in the countryside should consider setting up farmers' markets and using school buildings after hours to organise café-style events to reach out to rural communities, argues a new book released today by the Church of England.

Mission-shaped and Rural, written by the Rev Sally Gaze, comes one week after a report supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs showed that the actions of people of faith enhance and sustain vibrant rural communities.

The book sheds light on how traditional models of the Church's work in the countryside should be complemented by emerging forms of ministry in order to meet the needs of today's rural communities.

The insights of Mission-shaped and Rural have been praised by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who said: "Rural faith today is in the process of finding its own distinctive voice in a climate of enormous cultural change and economic challenge. In this informed and inspiring guide Sally Gaze affirms the distinctive and complex quality of rural life today while courageously exploring new possibilities for ministry."

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