Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Financial boost for rural churches

Struggling rural churches in England are to be given a giant funding boost after a £180,000 training project was given the green light this week.

Funded by the Arthur Rank Centre (ARC), a Church of England-backed organisation which supports rural communities and churches, the money is in response to an urgent call from church leaders.

The initiative, called ‘Rural Life and Faith’, could benefit 13,000 rural churches of all denominations and will help equip them for a modern role in villages and the countryside.

Dr Jill Hopkinson, National Rural Officer for the Church of England, who will be heading the project, said: “The church is a vital force in vibrant village communities. But ARC has identified big problems in training provision through research, our teaching and training activities, the experience of the National Rural Officers and their networks, and calls from church leaders.”

She added: “The message is that rural training and development (particularly for lay people) is insufficient and inadequate.

“Rural Life and Faith responds to that need, and will build new skills, confidence and competence specific to rural situations. The idea is that rural churches will respond more readily to opportunities, and maintain a flourishing Christian presence in their communities.” Read more
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