The essays brought together here present a broad assessment of the serious issues facing rural life and the rural church today. The authors are drawn from the Anglican, Baptist, Methodist and Pentecostal Churches. The essays explore a wide range of biblical, theological, sociological, and historical concerns and topics. Throughout, the book is informed by a spirit of listening - to church-goers, clergy, church leaders, and local communities. Rural Life and Rural Church provides an invaluable resource for clergy and lay Christians involved in rural ministry, initial and continuing ministerial education, and Christian men and women living in the countryside.
Table of Contents
Preface Foreword by The Bishop of Shrewsbury INTRODUCTION Shaping rural theology Leslie Francis PERSPECTIVES FROM THE BIBLE Israelite Wisdom and pastoral theology in the rural church Gareth Lloyd Jones, University of Wales, Bangor The invisible countryside of the New Testament William Strange, Archdeacon of Cardigan Sheep and goats: pastoral imagery in the bible and today Richard France, Anglican clergyman PERSPECTIVES FROM ORDINARY THEOLOGY Ordinary theology for rural theology and rural ministry Jeff Astley, North of England Institute for Christian Education The kneelers are most impressive: reflections on reading a visitors' book Norman Morris, Rector of Wentnor, and Lewis Burton, retired Methodist minister Ordinary prayer and the rural church: an empirical study of prayer cards Tania ap Sion, University of Warwick THEOLOGICAL AND SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES Encountering new age spirituality: opportunities and challenges for the rural church John Drane, St John's College, Durham God in creation: a reflection of Jurgen Moltmann's theology William Kay, Glyndwr University, Wales Belonging to rural church and society: theological and sociological perspectives David Walker, Bishop of Dudley HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES Blackshawhead: a local case history in rural church categorisation Lewis Burton Is the rural church different? The special case of confirmation David Lankshear, University of Warwick Rural Anglicanism: one face or many? Carol Roberts, Parish of Bangor Pastoral fragments: discovered remnants of a rural past Trevor Kerry, University of Lincoln LISTENING TO VISITORS I was glad: listening to visitors to country churches Leith Littler, St Mary's Centre, Wales, Leslie Francis and Jeremy Martineau, Centre for Studies in Rural Ministry Sacred place and pilgrimage: modern visitors to the shrine of St Melangell Michael Keulemans and Lewis Burton Visitor experiences of St David's Cathedral: the two worlds of pilgrims and secular tourists Emyr Williams, Glyndwr University, Wales, Leslie Francis, Mandy Robbins and Jennie Annis, St Mary's Centre, Wales LISTENING TO THE COMMUNITY Social capital generated by two rural churches: the role of individual believers Keith Ineson, Churches Together in Cheshire, and Lewis Burton Local festivals in two Pennine villages: the reactions of the local Methodist church congregations Sue Pegg, Methodist minister, and Lewis Burton Extended communion: a second best option for rural Anglicanism? Stella Mills, Staffordshire University LISTENING TO CHURCHGOERS All types are called, but some are more likely to respond Leslie Francis, Mandy Robbins, Angela Williams, Benefice of Llandegfan with Llandysilio, and Rhys Williams, Diocese of Bangor The social significance of Harvest Festivals in the countryside: an empirical enquiry among those who attend David Walker Psychological type profile of volunteer workers in a rural Christian charity shop Leslie Francis and Sue Pegg LISTENING TO CHURCH LEADERS Deployment of the churches' ministry Lewis Burton Views on baptism and confirmation in the Church in Wales: are rural clergy different? Keith Littler Children and communion: listening to churchwardens in rural and urban Wales Ann Howells, Parish of Llandybie, and Keith Littler SATISFACTION AND STRESS IN MINISTRY Burnout and the practice of ministry among rural clergy: looking for the hidden signs Christopher Rutledge, St Mark's, Talbot Village How happy are rural Anglican clergy? Christine Brewster, St Seiriol's Centre Perceptions of stress on those in rural ministry: listening to church leaders Paul Rolph, Glyndwr University, Wales, and Jenny Rolph, The Olive Branch Christian Counselling Service
Leslie J. Francis is Professor of Religions and Education within the University of Warwick, and Canon Theologian of Bangor Cathedral. He has served for a number of years as President of the Rural Theology Association, and since 2003 as senior editor of the journal Rural Theology: International, ecumenical and interdisciplinary perspectives. Mandy Robbins is Senior Research Fellow in the Religions and Education Research Institute at the University of Warwick.