Countryside compassion for the city

Strategies for mission and growth

Reflecting on rural mission in Cornwall

Heavenly Feet forward in rural mission

Elizabeth Clark, the National Rural Officer for Methodist and United Reformed Churches, had a good trip to Ponsanooth, near Truro, Cornwall, last weekend. On Saturday 11 Feb she took part in Heavenly Feet, a day conference for those involved in rural mission organised by the Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network of the Methodist Church but attended by around 40 lay and ordained participants from across the ecumenical spectrum.

Elizabeth’s key note presentation encouraged rural churches to feel positive about themselves and outlined some of the Germinate: The Arthur Rank Centre’s key resources. There was a choice of workshops and Elizabeth led one on Germinate Enterprise to encourage churches to run the program for the benefit of their communities. Her second workshop introduced people to Equipping for Rural Mission as a way of beginning to think strategically about their mission.

The event was held at Ponsanooth Village Hall which featured in a recent edition of Country Way magazine – you can read more about its recent development into a vital community resource here.

Germinate Enterprise recognised by Cinnamon Network

New programme to help rural communities flourish recognised by Cinnamon Network

Germinate Enterprise, which enables rural churches to help their community flourish, has been accepted as a Cinnamon Network-recognised project.

Developed by Germinate: The Arthur Rank Centre, this business start-up programme can be run by any church to encourage local people to develop their entrepreneurial skills, work out what business to start and check whether it would be viable. Follow up Beer Mat Mentoring material facilitates informal follow up support of aspiring entrepreneurs.

‘We are really excited that Germinate Enterprise has become a Cinnamon Recognised Project,’ said Cinnamon Network founder Matt Bird. ‘Germinate Enterprise is a simple and effective way for local churches to help people in rural communities to create prosperity for their families and their community.  We’re looking forward to seeing local churches across the country start Germinate.’

All the materials can be downloaded free at and there is a short explanatory film.

The development of Germinate Enterprise was supported by the Prince’s Countryside Fund.

‘This is a way people can create real jobs for themselves and others,’ said Jerry Marshall, CEO of Germinate: The Arthur Rank Centre and a serial entrepreneur himself. ‘There is a particular need in rural areas to keep young and working age people by providing local jobs and the growth of high speed rural internet will help reduce the drift to the city.’

‘My dream is to find 1000 facilitators across the country, he added. “That would be transformational.’


Case study 1

Jayne Brassington attended a pilot Germinate Enterprise programme in Worcester in 2015. She and her husband already had a business idea when she came on the course, but she said it was their ‘springboard’. It helped her ‘consolidate their thoughts’. It gave her the business skills she needed and she was encouraged that those leading the course thought her idea was ‘not bonkers’ and that they were ‘looking at a serious business’.

The sold their house and now live in a caravan next to a barn they have purchased in rural Worcestershire. They have a vision to provide spa services and therapies, offer workshops in natural and holistic areas of interest, and provide accommodation for those wanting a break in beautiful surroundings as well as training and meeting facilities for hire. They are developing the barn with passive design to minimise energy cost and efficiency.

They are making progress and already have a salon up and running but also have challenges, especially around funding and development, although their architect is confident that these will be overcome. They expect to be employing around 10 people in five years’ time. 01386 751837 Paddock Barn, Birlingham WR10 3AF


Case study 2

Matt Croxton ran one of the first programmes in Rushton, Northants, with a group that included homeless people. He himself has recently launched a business as a result, . He is planning to start a Beer Mat Mentoring group.

Come and join us! We’re recruiting…

Ever fancied being part of the Germinate: The Arthur Rank Centre team? Well, now’s your opportunity! We’re looking to recruit a part-time (17.5hrs) admin assistant to join us in our Stoneleigh office at least three days a week, salary £13-16k pro rata (depending on experience). We’re friendly, welcoming and love cake…

You can download the job description here. If you’d like to apply, please send your CV and a covering letter of no more than two A4 sides to Closing date Wednesday 15 February 2017. Interviews will be held on Tuesday 28 February.

Jan 2017 Country Way now available

The January 2017 edition of Country Way magazine explores the opportunities and challenges of developing lay leaders and is now available! Editor and Germinate projects and communications officer Louise Davis writes:

‘Leadership has been under the microscope in 2016. Despite many high-profile examples of principled and effective leadership there have been as many examples of poor or unqualified leadership.

‘There is a growing desire for leaders to be larger-than-life individuals who lead by sheer force of personality, while those who lead through personal humility, skill and a collaborative approach are considered much less attractive. This has meant that experience, expertise and integrity are no longer perceived by many to be key prerequisites for leadership: charisma triumphs over character.

‘One of my earliest experiences of leadership came in my early teens when a few of us from church decided we would set up a young people’s drama group. I don’t think Andy and I set out to be leaders; it just happened naturally as we responded to the circumstances we found ourselves in.

‘One of the most challenging aspects of that early experience of leadership came when it was made clear to us by the leadership of the church and the established youth work team that what we were doing wasn’t welcome. Our choice to invest time and energy in an existing friendship group was considered exclusive, our decision to opt out of the church’s wider youth work provision perceived as arrogant and our age meant Andy and I weren’t considered qualified to be leaders. The resulting fall out was painful but character-building; our group was subsumed back into the church’s provision but with ‘proper’ adult leadership; both Andy and I later ended up working for the church’s youth work team as young adults.

‘Leadership isn’t always as clear cut as we might like it to be. Many churches have historically had clear distinctions between those who lead and those who are led but the times – in the words of Bob Dylan – they are a-changin’. The development of lay leadership is widely acknowledged as vital to the health and well-being of the Church, particularly in rural areas.

‘I’m grateful that my early painful foray into leadership didn’t put me off! As a leader I’m still very much a work in progress and I’m grateful to those who have enabled, encouraged and challenged me to grow in both character and competence. It’s my hope that the current abundance of resources mean that some of my more challenging personal experiences – particularly around being a young leader – won’t be shared by those growing into leadership in the future.’

Click for information about how to subscribe to our print edition and for individual articles.

Fresh Expression Rural Conference, 22-24 May 2017

Dying to Live is the latest event from the Rural Fresh Expressions Hub. They are seeking to gather practitioners from across denominations and from rural areas right across the country and to come together at the Hayes Centre in Swanick for 48 hours of storytelling, praying, connecting and reflecting on the theme of making and growing disciples in the countryside.

The Rural Hub particularly want to gather those who are passionate about following Christ in the countryside, who long to help others find faith and who have either started, planted or intend to plant a Fresh Expression of Church in the countryside.

The gathering takes place from 22-24 May 2017 at the Hayes Conference Centre, Swanick, Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 1AU.

The gathering costs £160 with reductions for young adults and early bookings.  For a booking form contact or visit their online form.

Beat the price rise! Rural Ministry Course April 2017

The price for attending the Rural Ministry Course will rise to £255 per course on Wednesday 1 February: so this is your last chance to attend for the lower price of £245. Details below.

Rural Ministry Course, 25-27 April 2017

25-27 April 2017 at Kings Park, Northampton.

Bookings are now open for the April 2017 Rural Ministry Course. It’s a three-day residential course for lay and ordained people who are new to rural ministry, and explores current rural contexts, mission and ministry in multiple places, leadership and working with children and young people in the countryside. It is ecumenical and suitable for those in their first appointment or wanting a refresher.


For more details and a booking form please email